Monday, August 8, 2011

Breed prejudices: they always surprise me

I was at the Dollar Tree the other day.  I frequently go there for rope toys for Elka; they have a variety of lengths and knots and what have you, and as I've mentioned, she loves playing Tug.  She'll also chew up a rope, if I just let her have it and am not vigilant, so it's best if they're cheap, really.  Many of the Dollar Tree ones appear to be undyed cotton, which is a bonus.

As I was leaving Dollar Tree, I glanced at the quarter machines that they have at the front.  Typically ,it's one machine full of varying fake tattoos and then the rest are plastic junk.  I've always had a love for these machines, and as a grownup, I don't need to beg quarters off of anybody should I want to indulge.  There are worse things, really.

But, this time, the fake tattoo ones included an interesting selection: Dawgz  4 Life (picture from the distributer's site,, not owned by me in any way)
I of course saw the Doberman right away and thought, reflexively, "Hey a Doberman."  Then I realized that they were all spikey collared, frowning "mean dogs" and thought "Oh, are you kidding me?"  

English Bulldogs and English Bull Terriers are both breeds that were for fighting and bull baiting and what have you.  I don't know about English Bulldogs, but I do know that, depending on the line, English Bull Terriers can be dog aggressive.  Are they ever people aggressive?  To tell you the truth, I don't know that I've ever seen one mentioned in a dog bite article or report.  It's hard to find mention of English Bull Terriers without finding society's bogeyman, the "Pit Bull Terrier", instead.  They are also prominently featured in the frowny spikey fake tattoo dog breeds, as you've noticed.  

Rottweilers were, according to Wikipedia and other sources, used to pull butcher's carts, and to herd livestock, though the breed in fact dates from Roman times.  I've seen videos of Border Collies at work herding, but never a Rottweiler, and the idea delights me.  Can a Rottweiler big a big intimidating dog?  Yes.  Can a dog be a territorial dog who prefers dealing with family to strangers?  Yes, and I know that first hand; one of my best friends in high school had a Rottweiler named Jessie.  Jessie was a very sweet dog, who listened to the family and, strangely (or perhaps not), to me.  For whatever reason, be it lack of sense or personal confidence, I tend not to be intimidated by a dog out of hand. I guess that's useful when dealing with Rottweilers.  

And, of course, the breed feature that hurts my feelings the most is the Doberman.  Granted, the Doberman is the breed for personal protection, or at least that was the original intent.  The Doberman is meant to be with her people, and protect her people, and be able to both take cues and decide whether a person is to be worried about.  Are Dobermans involved in accidental bites every year?  Yes.  So are Labs, and Cocker Spaniels, and Dachshunds.  

Granted, these fake tattoos aren't "that bad".  They're macho pictures of "dawgz" as status symbols, really.  It takes a tough guy (or girl, I guess), to handle a tough dog.  Tough guys/girls shouldn't be messed with and should be respected.  They may or may not be dangerous, so be careful around them.  They wear sunglasses and bandannas (apparently. That one is cute, actually).  So, am I truly offended by these fake tattoos?  Not entirely.  Not fire-breathing letter-writing angry.  But, as mentioned, I was a little perplexed.


  1. The funny thing is some of the people who love having a "tough dog" seem to love their affectionate natures most of all. It's like having a dog that scares some people curl up in your lap says something about you.

  2. A person does enjoy being the special one who can sooth the savage beast, that's for sure. That's certainly what a lot of stories revolve around: White Fang, Call of the Wild, and The Black Stallion, for a few. Granted, a lot of people are scared by the sight of any dog, not just my own personal "vicious killer" (who is currently curled up on the couch next to me, in fact).

  3. Hi Jen,
    thanks for the visit, I love it when some one comments.
    Breed prejudiceis very strong I think. If you lived here in Melbourne, a lot of people would be very afraid of Elka, because she has cropped ears and a docked tail .
    The law has been changed and it is now illegal to dock, consiquently dobermans and rotties do not look like the stereo type [ ferocious guard dog]any more, therefor people who were afraid, will now come up and pat the lovely big "black and brown" dogs with the smiley faces. They definately do not look like the animals on the guard dog posters.
    Anne -- mum of Midnight

  4. Hello yourself! I'm always thrilled to have a comment as well.

    It's funny, there's something I adore about a natural Rottweiler; their tails seem remarkably uniform and just fit. With a Doberman, sometimes the natural ears are adorable, others not, and I've only rarely seen a natural tail that wasn't all wonky. I'm not an expert on natural Dobies by any means, but I can definitely see how natural can be perceived as "less threatening", only by merit of the pricked ears not being present.

    I've heard that a lot of Australian Doberman breeders are having New Zealand litters, as a result of the ban (can't comment on the Rottie breeders).

  5. This is hilarious! I have an English Bulldog and that representation could not be further from the truth. The English Bully should be shown laying on a couch, on his back, tounge part way poking out, snoring, with his big droopy lips flopping!

  6. That was really my vision of English Bulldogs, so I'm glad somebody can first hand confirm for me that they are not in fact ravening maniacs and vicious killers ;)

    I have, however, hear that they snore!