Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Nanny Dog Myth Revealed

From 2004 to 2010 59 US children were killed by the family's, babysitter's, neighbor's or friend's pit bull.
The pit bull apologia would have you believe that their fighting bred dogs are just like any other dog in many ways, but so superior in their unparalleled love and devotion for children they were commonly known as "The Nanny Dog" throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If pit bulls are held in low esteem today, it is only due to ignorance and the gullible acceptance of biased news reporting because, once upon a time, pit bulls were the most beloved dog in England and the United States.

A google search brings up 77,100 results for the term "nanny dog." While some sites bestow the Nanny Dog mantle on the American Pit Bull Terrier or the American Staffordshire Terrier and some lead you to productions of Peter Pan, most of the results lead you to 21st century blogs and news articles about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

120 sites dedicated to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier include this phrase in support of the fighting nanny dog mythology,
"These dogs were renowned for their courage and tenacity and despite their ferocity in the pit were excellent companions and good with children. In fact it was not unknown for an injured dog to be transported home in a pram with the baby!"
Frankly, even if this anecdote were plausible, let alone true, this doesn't support a nanny dog claim so much as it supports a sociopathic, baby abusing, dog abusing, parent claim.

Dig as hard as you want, the pram story is all you'll find to support the Nanny Dog myth in any of these sites. You won't find a single citation, quote or reference of any kind to a 19th century, or early 20th century text. Since the Staffordshire Bull Terrier enthusiasts didn't see fit to support their claims, I decided I would have to find the origin of the Nanny Dog myself.

Meet the Nanny Dog - the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, England's ultimate fighting dog and, inexplicably, the supposed dog of choice to care for England's children in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

It is not hard to find old references to the Bull Terrier. The various histories and descriptions of the breed largely agree with each other. After bull baiting was banned in England, Coalminers in various cities including Staffordshire were at a loss for blood sporting alternatives for their beloved, courageous bulldogs. So, they developed another blood sport - pit dog fighting. Sadly, they soon found their bulldogs were not suited to win in the pit.

According to a 1908 New York Times article,
"The old lovers of the bulldog found to their dismay that sometimes a terrier, with only quickness and a pair of punishing jaws to recommend him, would kill a bulldog while the latter was merely hanging on. The bulldog would be brave to the death of course, and would withstand pain that the terrier would never endure, but that was poor consolation when the terrier had killed the dog.
The dog fighters were, however, as persevering a set of men as were the bull baiters, and they set to work to remodel their favorites for their new occupation. They began to cross their bulldogs with the white English terrier, a breed now practically extinct, but the same in every respect, save color, as the modern Manchester or black-and-tan. The progeny was named the bull terrier, the greatest fighting machine, pound for pound, on four legs. The bull terrier had the courage of the bulldog and the jaws and quickness of the white terrier. Moreover, he has the terrier's way of fighting. He does not simply take a hold and stay there. He takes a hold and begins to eat his way through and tear and worry. If his first hold doesn't suit, he takes another. If he gets his adversary by the throat, he will tear out the throat in a minute or so and end the battle."
"There is perhaps no more beautiful illustration of the results of artificial selection than is provided in the history of the bulldog. It is a wonderful example of patient and skillful breeding for an object that is not wholly ignoble.
We can agree to disagree on that last point.

It is a bit confounding that the New York Times author neglected to mention the Staffordshire dog fighter's even more stupendous genetic achievement, that of creating an unstoppable "fighting machine" that can also be used to nanny their children.

Nineteenth century dog breed books, such as The Illustrated Natural History (Mammalia), by Rev. JG Wood (1853), and The Dogs of the British Islands, by J.H. Walsh (1878) very precisely describe the deadly nature of the Bull Terrier, including an account of a Bull Terrier's attack on a rhinoceros by a dog "called Venus in derision of her ugliness."(Wood, p. 311) Walsh suggests that, "unlike the bulldog, he (the Bull Terrier) is an excellent companion for the male sex, being a little too violent in his quarrels to make him desirable as a ladies' pet (p. 221)." Nanny Dog? Not so much.

In 1894, Rawdon B. Lee wrote A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland in which he explains that in the middle of the 19th century, fanciers began to breed bull terriers as "a gentleman's companion" and began showing them. It was about this time that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier began to be recognized as distinct from the Bull Terrier. The Kennel Club in England recognized the Bull Terrier in the last quarter of the 19th century, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier became the pit fighting dog of choice. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was denied Kennel Club recognition until 1935 because of its reputation as a pit fighting dog.

Lee illustrates the Bull Terrier's unsavory past by revealing that Bulls-eye, one of the meanest dogs in literary history and Bill Sykes' sidekick and alter ego from Oliver Twist (1838) was a Bull Terrier. Dickens describes Bull's-Eye as having a face "scratched and torn in twenty different places..." and..."who by a certain malicious licking of his lips seemed to be meditating an attack up on the legs of the first gentleman or lady he might encounter in the streets when he went out." Charles Dickens also seemed unaware of the Bull Terrier's special powers as a nanny, but was aware of the pit bull's capacity for human aggression.

Charles Dickens' Bill Sikes and Bull's-Eye

Lee (p. 23) contends, "our modern Bull Terrier is a very different creature from what he was half a century ago." According to Lee, they had been perhaps the most popular dog in England, until they were recently supplanted by the Fox Terrier. They were kept for pets and companions, they gained recognition in dog shows, and became fashionable to own among the undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge. If any pit fighting dog might have been called England's Nanny Dog, surely it would have been the white Bull Terrier. And yet there is no mention of it.

Mr. Lee is perhaps the first recorded pit nutter. He penned what might be the first known iteration of, "It's how you raise them" (p.22, p. 26) which is hilariously followed by the woeful tale of the demise of Mr. Lee's own beloved Bull Terrier, Sam. Sam was incredibly talented and an incomparable companion who, owing to fighting blood on his sire's side, became increasingly aggressive. After killing at least two dogs, Sam was dumped at a warehouse to be a guard dog where he died of a broken heart. 30 years later, Mr. Lee still laments the incredible and bloodthirsty Sam. But, I thought it was how you raise them...

As for 19th century mentions of the "Staffordshire Bull Terrier" that can be found online, there is one. It is a want ad for a fighting dog:
Pleshey Chelmsford Wanted a Staffordshire bull terrier dog must have an exceedingly long nose and thoroughly game to face anything and win A tried dog preferred PS For special purpose weight 34 lb 944 (1871 Exchange and Mart and Journal of the Household (p. 614))

Archive searches of British, American and Canadian newspapers going as far back as the 18th century turn up not one single mention of "Nanny Dog" with regards to ANY breed until 1904 when the first stage production of Peter Pan opened featuring a nursemaid dog named Nana. Though J.M. Barrie patterned Nana after his Landseer Newfoundland, Nana has been portrayed by a St. Bernard, and an Old English Sheep Dog in subsequent stage and screen productions. No mention of Nana ever being a Staffie Bull. Not even in Never Never Land.

So, where is the oldest known reference to the Staffie Bull as a nanny dog? In a New York Times article. In 1971, Walter R. Fletcher wrote an article entitled, "A Breed That Came Up the Hard Way" in which he interviewed William R. Daniels and Mrs. Lilian Rant, President and magazine editor for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America on the eve of the Staffie Bull's being granted permission to be shown in the American Kennel Club's miscellaneous class. It's the first step to AKC recognition and the club wanted to polish their dog's image.

Daniels brings up Dickens' villainous Bull's-Eye again and Mrs. Rant acknowledges that the Stafford "had an unsavory reputation for fighting and violence and his name became associated with ruffians, who cared little for him as a dog but only for his ability in the pit. The Stafford we know today quickly becomes a member of the family circle. He loves children and is often referred to as a 'nursemaid dog.'"

Well, there it is. Mrs. Rant, lover and promoter of the Stafford, is clearly speaking in the present tense about the dog of today (1971) currently being referred to as a 'nursemaid dog' in the United States. She is using a variation of the argument that Mr. Lee used 77 years before about the Bull Terrier, suggesting that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier's unsavory reputation as a fighting dog has been left in the far distant past. She harkens back to Dickens again, before the Staffordshire Bull Terrier even existed as a distinct breed. Her contention that Staffordshire Bull Terriers are OFTEN referred to as nursmaid dogs is a little bit of a stretch, too. In 1971, there were 99 registered Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the United States. As editor of the club's magazine, she must have been at the center of all conversation about the breed. It is likely that she either coined the nickname or promulgated it through the magazine, and the term may have gained popularity among those few Stafford enthusiasts who subscribed to her magazine.

A timeline search does not turn up a mention of the "nanny dog" until 1987 in an archived Toronto Star article entitled, Move to Outlaw Pit Bulls Under Study in Several Cities.

"Breeder Kathy Thomas, president of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Association said, 'We're aware of the fighting - there's a lot of it in the Hamilton area. We only sell to family homes.'"

"Thomas, mother of two young children, said her eight Staffordshires are 'wonderful with children. In England, our Staffies were called the nanny-dog because they were gentle with kids.'"

Here's where the lie begins to get twisted into its most bizarre and current form and the Nanny Dog myth jumps on the crazy train. The Nanny Dog argument is no longer valid in the way that Mrs. Rant used it in 1971 when the general public was not aware of contemporary dog fighting. By the 1980s, dog fighting had become a generally recognized problem and initiatives to ban pit bulls were beginning. Kathy Thomas acknowledges that there is dog fighting going on all around her in 1987 near Toronto. She can no longer say that the Staffie was once, long ago, in Dickensian England a fighting dog, but has been transformed by many years of selective breeding to be a gentle nanny dog. The dogs are fighting all around her. So, the lie becomes that Staffordshire Bull Terriers were ALWAYS known as nanny dogs. They snuggled with the babies by day, ripped out throats and gutted each other by night and, returning from the fight, snuggled once again with the baby in the pram, this time ripped to shreds and soaked in blood.

It took about 16 years for the story to mutate into the Nanny dog of England - historic fighter and lover of children. But, the myth did not really take off for another 4 years, when Mrs. Rant published her book in 1991, Staffordshire Bull Terriers: Owner's Companion. She uses the term "nursemaid dog" three times and significantly says, " He has a great affection for children, having earned the title 'nursemaid dog' many years ago." (p.117) In this instance, "many years ago" means about 20 years previous, when she first coined or adopted the term.

And how about the history of the term "America's Nanny Dog" referring to the American Pit Bull Terrier or the American Staffordshire Terrier? 5,570 results come up for that query. Again, you cannot find one single citation, source or reference to a text from the 1940s that confirms this assertion. A google timeline search for "America's Nanny Dog" shows the earliest online publication date is September 25, 2007 as an opinion piece in the online publication, Times-Standard entitled "America's Nanny Dog" by Tyla Hafstrom. It is a complete fabrication and an utter lie.

Go ahead and prove me wrong, not with a single primary source, but with a preponderance of evidence that demonstrates the incredible existence of the baby loving fighting dog that was so beloved and so popular in times gone by that it was commonly called the nanny dog.

This, by the way, doesn't count.
This is the truth of the Stafforshire Bull Terrier today. Note this one is in fighting trim and has a a heavily scarred muzzle. This ain't no nanny dog.

~We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
Eric Hoffer


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vintage Pit Bull Photos Prove What?

The tide is turning once again. The pit bull apologia recently went on a large scale cut n' paste spree, asking dull minded and lazy journalists to pop a pre-fab nanny dog blog into their columns. That spree has been sending several thousand people to the Nanny Dog Myth post in this blog. Thanks guys for putting the Truth About Pit Bulls blog on the first page of google results. It's so much easier to find now! And lo and behold, In the comments sections of those articles, we read with astonishment that the pit bull apologia is actually backing away from the nanny dog myth:
And previously, from the KC dog blog:
Ah, look at that. Now the pit bull apologists are backing away from the nanny dog myth and pulling out old photographs as "proof" that pit bulls were always regarded as house pets who were safe and loving companions to children.
As blogger Digger astutely argued, they're "moving the goal post."
Supposedly, the existence of these old photographs with no provenance and no accompanying explanation proves several things:
1. The parents who let their children pose with an animal always have good judgment and would not put their children in a dangerous situation.
2. The dogs we see in those old photographs of pit bulls with the children were simply family pets and weren't used for dogfighting.
3. The dogs pictured were cherished and valued solely as devoted companions of the children they're pictured with, and the owners weren't dog fighters making brag photos of their most prized possession next to a child that was being used solely as a prop.
4. Capturing that one moment in time proves that a pit bull is safe.

First Point
Parents who let their children pose with an animal always have good judgment and would not put their children in a dangerous situation.
Nanny alligators and crocodiles:
Nanny bermese pythons:
Nanny lions and tigers:
Nanny Rhinocerous:
Nanny dog: Alfas Ch Brick Rom 5xw 1xl

Click at your own risk to see some extremely disturbing photos that demonstrate the above photographs lie if presented as proof of safety and good judgment.

Second Point
The dogs we see in those old photographs of pit bulls with the children were simply family pets and weren't used for dogfighting.
The following photos look like the many vintage family photos on pit bull apologist websites purporting to show pit bulls as simply family pets.

There is provenance and a written record of these photos, however. They are from the family scrapbooks of Gary Wilkes, an acclaimed animal behaviorist, trainer and author with over 30 years experience studying and training dogs. His grandfather was a dogfighter and the dogs seen above with the family fought in the pit. One of them attacked a man and caused the man to lose his leg. After that, the family got rid of the dogs. He wrote an insightful and instructive article about about pit bulls and why regulation is necessary.

Third Point
The dogs pictured were valued and cherished solely as devoted companions of the children they're pictured with, and the owners weren't dog fighters making brag photos of their most prized possession next to a child that was being used solely as a prop.

Do any of these children look like they're with their devoted and beloved companion? All three children look somewhat worried and afraid. The dogs aren't attentive to the children either and seem to be attentive to someone off camera. Could the children be afraid of taking a picture? Sure. Could they be scared of a dog they don't know? Sure. Is there anything to indicate more than a dog that is sitting on command next to a child that does not look comfortable or relaxed for a very short period of time? No. Supposing anything more would just be guessing and spinning tales.

"This is little Mudd & our fine dog Jack"
--from inscription on third photo
Are these photos of a child with their dog, or photos of a valuable asset with a child being used as a prop? These photos show the dogs front and center literally and figuratively. Can we know the the motives and priorities that prompted these portraits? No.

Fourth Point
Capturing that one moment in time proves that a pit bull is safe.
A few portraits really do seem to convey affection between a child and a pit bull.
This boy really seems to like his pit bull.
This boy really seems to like his pit bulls, too. However, these pit bulls killed a 10 year old boy after this photograph was taken.
And this boy really seems to love his pit bulls, as well. His pit bulls viciously killed him a couple years after these photos were taken.

These old photographs can't prove that the pit bulls in the photos were safe or that it was good judgment to let those children pose with the dog. These old photographs can't prove that the photos are of family pets and companions of the child. We can't tell by looking at many of these brag photos if the owner was showing off a child and their pet or showing off a valuable and prestigious fighting dog with a child. No one can know how many pet pit bulls later "turned on" and attacked after their portrait was taken.
These old photographs prove exactly nothing. And often when we know the story that surrounds the photos, we find the photo, if used as proof of a cherished, loyal, safe family dog, is an outright lie.

Without provocation, this pit bull jumped over its fence and killed an elderly man on the man's property in South Africa after this photo was taken:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Find the Pit Bull

After hearing from someone who was frustrated that "grown men with children are still asking, 'but how can you identify a pit bull?'" and wondering if BSL is feasible because pit bulls are shape shifting , I decided to break down the "Find the Pit Bull" test. The fact that the pit bull community has now decided they can identify the headless corpse of a puppy as a pit bull kind of has taken the wind out of my sails, but I persevere anyway.
Click on the title to go to the original. Click on image to make it larger.
Key: 1. Boxer 2. Dogue de Bordeaux 3. Alapaha Blue Bull Dog 4. Great Swiss Mountain Dog 5. Vizsla 6. Rhodesian Ridgeback 7. Dogo Argentino 8. Chocolate Labrador Retriever 9. Bullmastiff 10. Jack Russell Terrier 11. Fila Brasileiro 12. Rottweiler 13. Presa Canario 14. American Bulldog 15. Cane Corso 16. American Pit Bull Terrier 17. Patterdale Terrier 18. Olde English Bulldogge 19. Catahoula 20. Bull Terrier 21. Black Mouth Cur 22. Alano Espanol 23. Boerboel 24. Ca de Bou 25. Thai Ridgeback
The "Find the Pit Bull" test pretends to show us that pit bulls are virtually impossible to distinguish from other breeds. The test is intended to deceive. In short, the creator uses scarce to rare breeds that are related to the pit bull's ancestry, juvenile dogs or dogs that are atypical of the breed and pretends that using one photo is the same as seeing the actual dog. The pit bull they use as an example of a typical pit bull is a puppy, for crying out loud!
The long answer:
To trick the viewer, the creator uses the following techniques:
A. Uses photos that do not show relative size.
B. Uses photos that do not show the whole dog when body type is much different than a bully breed.
C. Uses photos of juvenile dogs that have not developed their breed specific characteristics or size.
D. Uses photos of dog breeds that are rare to non-existant in the United States making it very unlikely that the general public or animal control officers have encountered or ever will encounter these breeds
E. Inclusion of many examples of similar dogs of three breed types that are known to have been used to develop the pit bull - terriers, bulldogs and mastiffs. The last two are also themselves closely related to each other.
F. Uses photos that show an atypical or less common type of a breed.
G. Uses poor photos that don't show distinguishing characteristics of the breed or that create the illusion the breed has pit bull characteristics.
The question is: Can Animal Control Officers distinguish the breeds in the photos if presented with the actual dogs?
BOXER photos:
1. BOXER - A, B, C, E, F The first german registered BOXER was half english white bulldog. However, during the 20th century, breeders have created a decidedly distinct and unique looking dog. The BOXER in the quiz is the less common white color and the dog is a young puppy. In addition, the angle of this photo does not show the characteristic scooped break in the nose bridge.
Conclusion: In real life, an animal control officer would have no problem distinguishing a BOXER from a pit bull.
2. DOGUE DE BORDEAUX - A, B, E This is the french version of the large mastiff dog. Both bulldogs and pit bulls have been bred to mastiffs for size since the 19th century. These french mastiffs have been bred for great size (minimum 110 pounds) and a very distinctive look for most of the 20th century.
Conclusion: Animal control officers would have no problem distinguishing a DOGUE DE BORDEAUX in real life because of their size and differing body and head features.
3. ALAPAHA BLUE BULLDOG - D, E - The ALAPAHA BLUE BULLDOG is a mix of bulldog and pit bull and is described as "a well-developed, exaggerated bulldog with a broad head and natural drop ears."William Chester is described as an "Ol Pit-Bull Man" who bred alapahas that were often man aggressive. Chester's old family silver dollar recipe: catahoula x american pit bull terrier x mountain bulldog. It is absolutely true that it is often impossible to distinguish an ALAPAHA BLUE BULLDOG from an american bulldog or from an american pit bull terrier precisely because these bulldogs are a pit bull mix.
Conclusion: Any city seeking to establish BSL with regards to pit bulls should craft their legislation so that it covers all the variations of the american bulldog because american bulldogs are nothing more than a pit bull mix that have inherited physical, temperamental and behavioral traits of the pit bull.
4. GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG. A, B,D, G As you can see a photo was purposely used that hides the muzzle length of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and does not show the body at all. Also note the fixity of the color pattern in the GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG that is both characteristic and distinguishing.
Conclusion:Animal control officers would have no problem distinguishing a GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG in real life because of their size and differing body and head types.
Photos of VIZSLAS:
5. VIZSLA - G - Often described as looking like a red Weimeraner. They look nothing like a pit bull except that they are colored like a "red nose" pit bull. The VIZSLA rescue association was made aware that some rescues are trying to pass off red nose pit bulls as VIZSLA mixes and they were not happy about it.
Conclusion: The ridge is a dead giveaway for the dogs that possess it. And even without the ridge, the body type and ears are very different than a pit bull. Animal Control officers who see this dog in real life will have no problem distinguishing it from a pit bull.
7. DOGO ARGENTINO - A, D, E. This is considered the Argentine version of the mastiff, but it is much more closely related to the pit bull and other fighting dogs than other mastiff breeds are. 19th century bull terriers (the pit fighting dogs of the 19th century) were bred with mastiffs and bulldogs to create the fighting dog of cordoba. That is virtually the same mix of dogs that created the pit bull breeds. From the fighting dog of cordoba breeders created the larger DOGO ARGENTINO as a big game hunting dog by breeding with the great dane, pointer, bull terrier, english bulldog, dogue de bordeaux, boxer, and pyrenean mastiff. However, DOGO ARGENTINOS have also been used as fighting dogs. DOGO ARGENTINOS are in general larger, with heavier legs, and slightly smaller jaw muscles than pit bulls. Tia Torres claims she was asked to provide a white pit bull for an advertising campaign and she used this DOGO ARGENTINO for that job. Here is a man bragging that DOGO ARGENTINOS have a bite second only to the pit bull.
Conclusion: It is indeed difficult to distinguish a DOGO ARGENTINO from a pit bull because these dogs were both bred using the same foundation stock for exactly the same purpose. Any community considering BSL should write their description so that it covers DOGO ARGENTINOS despite the dogo's relative scarcity.
8. CHOCOLATE LABRADOR RETRIEVER - A, B, G - Conclusion: Animal Control when faced with arguably the most common pet dog of the 20th and 21st century will see the water dog's characteristic double coat and otter tail in no time.

9. BULLMASTIFF - A, E These dogs weigh between 110 and 130 pounds.
Conclusion: Animal Control can tell the difference between the BULLMASTIFF and a pit bull in real life.
10. JACK RUSSELL TERRIER - A, E JACK RUSSELL TERRIERS weigh between 14 -18 pounds. The only physical characteristic they share with pit bulls is terrier ears. Conclusion: No problem for Animal Control to distinguish.
11. FILA BRASILEIRO - A, B, D, E - This is known as the Brazilian Mastiff. These dogs are thankfully still fairly rare in the US. These dogs are so aggressive toward strangers that aggression toward dog show judges will not disqualify the dog and judges are advised not to touch the fila brasilieros while judging them. (Can you say best job ever?) Required temperament tests not only assume an attack, the proper attack style is prescribed. Breeders acknowledge that no FILA BRASILEIRO will be friendly with strangers. Many countries ban this breed.FILA BRASILEIRO have bloodhound in their ancestry which gave them very large drooping ears. They are also extremely large, weighing a minimum of 110 pounds. These are on breed ban lists of many countries because of their their extreme aggression.
Conclusion: If AC ever encountered a FILA BRASILEIRO, they could distinguish it from a pit bull.
12. ROTTWEILER - A,B - The photo chosen deceptively shows a less typical head. ROTTWEILERS typically have rounder faces, more loose skin around the jowls, are generally larger, have a slightly longer coat, and have a color pattern that is fairly fixed.
Conclusion: Animal Control would have no problem distinguishing a pit bull from a ROTTWEILER.
13. PRESA CANARIO - A,D, E - This is the mastiff of the Canary Islands that was , beginning in the 18th century, crossed with English fighting dogs for the purpose of dog fighting. In the 1970s PRESA CANARIOS were near extinction. The breed was revived by fanciers in the 1970s and 1980s. They are suspicious of strangers and known to be aggressive with other dogs. This is the kind of dog that killed Diane Whipple. These dogs are a minimum of 100 pounds.
Conclusion: Although these dogs are generally larger and favor their mastiff ancestry, it is indeed sometimes difficult to distinguish a PRESA CANARIO from a pit bull because PRESA CANARIOS were bred using the same foundation breeds for exactly the same purpose as the pit bull terrier. Any community considering BSL should write their description so that it covers PRESA CANARIOS.
14. AMERICAN BULLDOG - A, E - The modern American bulldog is a reconstituted breed. The old south bulldog was practically extinct by the 1950s and in an effort to bring it back, the original breeders crossed the bulldogs they could find with American pit bull terriers, boxers, and mastiffs. The Bulldog Information Library informs us that the AMERICAN BULLDOG can look like a "large, coarse, leggy white pit bull." In the 70s, some were bred for dogfighting. They are still being crossed with pit bulls from famous fighting bloodlines today. The dog used to play Petey the pit bull in the recent movie remake of Little Rascals (1994) was named Kershner's Screamer and is classified as 100% Johnson type AMERICAN BULLDOG. However, it has both american pit bull terrier and american bulldog fighting lines in its pedigree.
Conclusion: Any community considering BSL should write their description so that it covers American bulldogs because it is a pit bull mix and has inherited the same physical, temperamental and behavioral traits that make pit bulls dangerous.
CANE CORSO photos:
15. CANE CORSO - A, D, E - called the Italian mastiff, Sicillian bulldog or the Sicillain mastiff. They weigh between 80 and 160 pounds. The CANE CORSO was near extinction by the 1970's when fanciers began to redevelop the breed. The CANE CORSO came to the US in the 1980s. According to breeders' clubs they are naturally dominant dogs and will never back down from a challenge and their bite is legendary.
Conclusion: Animal Control can tell the difference between the CANE CORSO and a pit bull in real life because of their classic mastiff head, heavy build and often enormous size.
PIT BULL photos:
16. PIT BULL - A, C - The PIT BULL in the original test is a very young puppy. The next four photos are purebred examples the three breeds considered to be pit bulls. They all were bred from the same foundation stock for the same purpose - pit fighting in England during the first half of the 19th century. The first dog after the puppy is the oldest and smallest breed - the STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER. The next two dogs, the AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER, and the AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER are often virtually indistinguishable. In fact, owners can dual register their dogs as AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIERS with the AKC and as AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIERS with the UKC as the dog in the last photo is.
Conclusion: PIT BULL ownership advocates like to cloud the issue by suggesting it is important to be able to distinguish one PIT BULL breed from another, however it is very clear that all of the three PIT BULL breeds closely resemble each other, are very closely related, and can all be identified as PIT BULLS by Animal Control.
17. PATTERDALE TERRIER - A, D, E - Patterdale terriers weigh between 11-16 pounds. They have been used as pit dogs and here is a link that says that many PATTERDALE TERRIERS bred in the US have "a dash of pit bull terrier in them."
Conclusion: When animal control sees a 16 pound dog, they will be able to tell the PATTERDALE TERRIER from an pit bull.
18. OLDE ENGLISH BULLDOGGE - A, D, E, F - The photo used is not only not typical of OLDE ENGLISH BULLDOGGE, I don't think it is an olde english bulldogge. Unlike the other recreated breeds, this one was very well planned and documented using a line breeding scheme based on one developed by Ohio State University for breeding cattle for a very specific look. "The goal was to recreate a specific breed of bulldogge with the look, health and athleticism of the original bull baiting dogs, but without the extreme tenacity. The foundation crosses consisted of 1/2 english bulldog, 1/6 bullmastiff, 1/6 american pit bull terrier, and 1/6 american bulldog." Unlike other recreated bulldog clubs, this club actively discourages any kind of aggressive work or training. "The club promotes obedience training and competition, agility and conformation showing, as well as therapy work." They especially encourage ARBA conformation events. In essence, they are interested in preserving a very specific look and breed for ARBA bench trials and for ARBA field trials.
19. CATAHOULA - F- Also called a catahoula cur, Louisiana catahoula dog, catahoula leopard dog. These dogs are fearless pig and cattle herding dogs that do not have a bully look to them at all. They are common in parts of the south and uncommon in other parts of the country.
Conclusion: Animal control can tell the difference between a CATAHOULA and a pit bull terrier if they ever encounter one.
20. BULL TERRIER- E, G - Bull terriers are very closely related to pit bulls, but they have been bred to have a distinctive straight profile that is deceptively not at all evident in the photo used. In fact, they were the original pit fighting dog. However, modern bull terriers are dogs that were reputedly mixed with pointers, dalmatians for the white coat and with greyhounds for the straight nose break in the late 19th century.
Conclusion: No confusion whatsoever.
21. BLACK MOUTH CUR - D, G - also known as Southern Cur, Yellow Blackmouth Cur, Blackmouth Cur, American Blackmouth Cur, Red Blackmouth Cur, Ladner Blackmouth Cur, Ladner Yellow Blackmouth Cur. You will notice the familiar deceptive angle in the first photo that foreshortens the muzzle and makes it look more like a pit bull. This is another southern herding and big game hunting dog that does not look like a bully breed. They are common in parts of the south and very uncommon in other parts of the country.
Conclusion: Animal control will have no problem distinguishing a BLACK MOUTH CUR from a pit bull if they encounter one.

22. ALANO ESPANOL - D, E, F - This is the Spanish bulldog. The breed was originally used for bull baiting, hunting big game, guarding livestock and handling wild cattle. This ancient breed played an important role in developing several molosser dog breeds such as Dogue de Bordeaux and Presa Canario. These dogs have extremely powerful jaws. I found 3 breeder listings that were all dead links for the US.
Conclusion: Although the ALANO ESPANOL has a distinctive look, it could be easily confused with presa canarios and pit bulls. It is highly unlikely that animal control would encounter one in the United States. This dog is extremely rare and basically non-existent in the United States. However, it looks very similar to a pit bull because it was bred with the same foundation stock and for the same purposes. If I were crafting breed restriction laws, I would include it just because pit bull advocates always threaten if their pit bulls are restricted, they're going to inflict other dangerous breeds on the public.
BOERBOEL photos:
23. BOERBOEL - A, C, D, E, - As you can see, a deceptive photo of a very young puppy was used in the original test. Adult BOERBOEL look nothing like a pit bull. They are the most enormous mastiff type and weigh between 110 to 175 pounds and are also considered more athletic than other mastiffs. Like other large, dangerous breeds, these were nearly extinct until fanciers revived the breed in the 1980's. These are the South African mastiff bred to protect large farms and are extremely territorial and protective. They are known to have been crossed with bullmastiffs at one time. Their ancestry is largely unknown except that it is presumed that successive waves of settlers brought their biggest, fiercest mastiff-type dogs along with them to South Africa from many parts of the world.
Conclusion: The BOERBOEL will be immediately distinguishable from a pit bull by its size, body type, and mastiff head.
CA DE BOU photos:
24. CA DE BOU D, E, - also called Perro de Presa Majorquin, Mallorquin Bulldog - This bulldog was used for controlling bulls, baiting bulls, and dog fighting. Look at this link to see what one fancier thinks is the correct type of dog. It should not look too much like a bulldog, and looks almost exactly like a pit bull. I could find no breeders or dogs in the US.
Conclusion: This dog is extremely rare and basically non-existant in the United States. However, it looks very similar to a pit bull because it was bred with the same foundation stock and for the same purposes. If I were crafting breed restriction laws, I would include it just because pit bull advocates always threaten if their pit bulls are restricted, they're going to inflict other dangerous breeds on the public.
25. THAI RIDGEBACK - B, F, G, - There are 18 thai ridgebacks in the whole country available for adoption and 5 breeders that I can find.
Conclusion: They look nothing like pit bulls and are extremely rare.
Here is what the test would look like without the purposefully deceptive photos. Can you find the fighting dogs and dangerous breeds that should be banned?
Key: 1. Boxer 2. Dogue de Bordeaux 3. Alapaha Blue Bull Dog 4. Great Swiss Mountain Dog 5. Vizsla 6. Rhodesian Ridgeback 7. Dogo Argentino 8. Chocolate Labrador Retriever 9. Bullmastiff 10. Jack Russell Terrier 11. Fila Brasileiro 12. Rottweiler 13. Presa Canario 14. American Bulldog 15. Cane Corso 16. American Pit Bull Terrier 17. Patterdale Terrier 18. Olde English Bulldogge 19. Catahoula 20. Bull Terrier 21. Black Mouth Cur 22. Alano Espanol 23. Boerboel 24. Ca de Bou 25. Thai Ridgeback
Even with the less deceptive photos, the there still remain the problems of identifying a dog by one photograph and the improbability of encountering most of these breeds.
The breeds that are most confused with pit bulls are most often breeds that are
1. pit bull mixes
2. share the same foundation breeds and were bred for the same purpose.
3. also dangerous
4. often still crossed with pit bulls to this day

Other breeds that are included are
1. protective mastiff breeds
2. also dangerous
3. often crossed with pit bulls to this day.

Of course, this is simply a refutation of the 'Find a Pit Bull' game. What ACOs really need is a comprehensive guide book for dangerous dog breed and mix identification.