Get to know bully breeds and all the fun things that they do!
Bully breeds serve in therapy roles. For example, some of the bullies who were part of Vick's infamous dog-fighting ring have been rehabilitated to work with patients at a cancer treatment facility in Mountain View, California. These dogs work under the guidance of Marthina McClay, a certified dog trainer and founder of the bully breed advocacy group. These bullies help patients get through daily life and give them a sense of warmth, hope and stability. A therapy dog must pass a rigorous set of tests and have a superb temperament to be qualified.
Some of the most famous bullies include Petey, an American Staffordshire Terrier who appeared in the television series "Our Gang" and "The Little Rascals." Bull Terriers are also quite familiar with the canine red carpet, having been featured in movies such as "Toy Story" and "Babe: Pig in the City." Advertising darling Spuds McKenzie, the face of past Budweiser beer campaigns, was also a Bull Terrier. Bully breed dogs make great mascots too; the American Bulldog, for example, has motivated fans at Ivy League schools, such as Georgetown and Yale, for years.
Bullies such as Thor, a Pit Bull living near South Bend, Indiana, pulled off a recent heroic act that saved lives. In July 2010, Thor barked to alert his sleeping owners to a fire that had broken out in their mobile home during the middle of the night. Though the fire consumed most of their material things, Thor's actions saved both his owners, as well as their 3-month-old baby girl, whose bassinet he pulled to the front door to facilitate her escape. Thor is a prime example of loyalty and intelligence!
According to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America, canines of this specific breed earned the nicknames "The Nanny Dog" and "The Children's Nursemaid" because of their maternal interactions with and tolerance for kids. English Bulldogs, which have gentle yet protective temperaments, are also known for forming strong bonds with children. Tthis nurturing attitude toward kids is just another surprising quality that defies the stereotypes about these unique dogs.
Stories of bullies' super-strong jaws might make great horror film stories, but science doesn't support them. Research conducted by Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin at the University of Georgia shows that bully breeds don't show any mechanical or morphological differences in jaw structure when compared to other dogs -- nor do their jaws come equipped with locking capabilities.
To explore the question of jaw strength, a 2005 National Geographic study measured force of bite for several creatures as pounds of bite pressure. On average, dogs exhibited about 320 pounds of pressure, while humans came in at 120 pounds and great white sharks at 600. The study also included a simulated bite sleeve test with a German Shepherd, a Rottweiler and an American Pit Bull Terrier. The Pit Bull actually registered the least amount pressure among the group, despite rumors that bully breeds can clamp down with an alarming 1600 pounds of force. Wow, that's a huge difference!
Of the many dogs available in shelters, bullies are among those most in need of adoption. PBRC (Pit Bull Rescue Central) reports that 40 percent of all the dogs across 12 Los Angeles shelters fall into the bully breed category. This is not just in Los Angles but in shelters all over the United States. In general, bullies are lovable, loyal and energetic, especially when given the proper socialization, boundaries and training. Don't let a handful of unfounded myths keep you from opening your home to one of the hundreds of thousands of bullies in need of a forever home!