Double-click to start typing

Information on Bully Breeds

Click here to edit subtitle

What You Need To Know:

What you need to know when you give your dogs to shelters, and why the best thing to do is to find a good home for them. 

5 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Bully Breeds
By Sarah Grace McCandless
Celebs love bully breeds.

When you mention "bully breeds" and "fame" in the same breath, many people's thoughts go immediately to Michael Vick. The NFL superstar received a prison sentence in 2007 for his part in an illegal dog-fighting ring involving pit bulls -- a situation that only perpetuated the inaccurate stereotypes about these dogs' supposedly aggressive natures. But bully breeds have had some other, more positive, brushes with fame as well: Talk-show host Jon Stewart, actor Jamie Foxx and actress Jessica Biel are all celebrity bully owners. And that's not all. Over the years, many bully breed dogs -- from American pit bull terriers to bulldogs -- have earned some notoriety of their own, simply by being themselves. Keep reading to learn about just a few of the traits and actions that make bullies so special. What you find out may surprise you.


5: Bully Breeds Work in the Community
Bullies are great volunteers and working dogs.

Bully breeds are no strangers to community service; it's common to find them working with police, customs agents, drug-enforcement officers and rescue operations. One of the most famous public service dogs was Popsicle, an abandoned bully breed pup who was discovered by a Buffalo, New York officer and subsequently trained to work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. According to U.S. Customs Today magazine, Popsicle once intercepted 140 million dollars worth of cocaine, which was the dog's biggest bust until his retirement in 2002.

Bully breeds also 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, Calif. These dogs work under the guidance of Marthina McClay, a certified dog trainer and founder of the bully breed advocacy group, Our Pack.


4: Bully Breeds Are Heroes
Bully breeds have served our country.

Several bully breed dogs have served their owners -- and their countries -- in times of need. For example, in addition to appearing on war propaganda posters, military-trained American pit bull terriers delivered tactical messages to soldiers on the field during World War I and World War II.

Bullies such as Thor, a pit bull living near South Bend, Ind., have pulled off some more recent heroic acts. 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.


3: Bully Breed Are Athletes
From the Canine Olympics to top dog shows, bully breeds are athletic competitors.

If there were such a thing as the Canine Olympics, bully breeds might be the ones to beat. Their strong, muscular frames make them natural athletes, and as such, they excel in agility activities, including weight-pulling. Competitions usually take place on snow, dirt or train-tracklike rail systems, which are for pulls of more than 6,000 pounds. The bully breed weight-pulling record is about 8,000 pounds.

Bully breeds like the American pit bull terrier and the Boston terrier are also great candidates for the dog show circuit, because they're highly intelligent and quick learners. Also, Staffordshire bull terriers are popular entries in the terrier group of the U.S. National Dog Show held annually in Philadelphia and have won top honors there.


2: Bully Breeds Are Celebrities
Not only do celebs love bullies, they are celebs in their own right.

The paparazzi should be hot on the trails of several bully breed dogs that have become international celebrities and icons. 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.


1: Bully Breeds Are Great with Kids
Bullies make great nannies.

When raised and socialized properly, bullies have proven to be loyal and loving family pets, and they're particularly affectionate with children. In fact, 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. While bully breed dogs can't actually take the place of babysitters or nannies, this nurturing attitude toward kids is just another surprising quality that defies the stereotypes about these unique pets.

  • American Kennel Club. "AKC Meet the Breeds: Bulldog." (Sept. 2, 2010)
  • American Kennel Club. "AKC Meet the Breeds: Staffordshire Bull Terrier." (Sept. 2, 2010)
  • Bully Breed Kennel Club. (Sept. 2, 2010)
  • Delise, Karen. The Pit Bull Placebo: The Myths, Media, and Politics of Canine Aggression. Anubis Publishing. June 2010. (Sept. 2, 2010)
  • Department of Homeland Security. "Kool K-9 Popsicle Retires." U.S. Customs Today. October 2002. (Sept. 2, 2010)
  • Mann, Jason. "Pit Bull Weight Pulling - Is Weight Pull Training Right for Your Pit Bull?" (Sept. 2, 2010)
  • Pit Bull Rescue Central. (Sept. 2, 2010)
  • Schulte, Brigid. "Saving Michael Vick's Dogs." The Washington Post. July 7, 2008. (Sept. 9, 2010)
  • Simon, Scott. "Trainer turns pit bull into therapy dog." National Public Radio. June 21, 2008. (Sept. 2, 2010)
  • Smithsonian National Museum of American History. "Stubby." (Sept. 9, 2010)
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America. "Nature of the Beast." (Sept. 9, 2010)
  • FOX28 News, South Bend, Indiana. "Pit bull is hailed as hero." July 8, 2010.


Training Secrets for Bully Breeds Teach your bully the basics.

By Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz


When it comes to living with a well-mannered bully breed, training him to follow a few basic cues makes all the difference in the world. An intelligent, loyal and eager-to-please dog can learn at any age, but the earlier you start, the sooner he will begin acting like a gentleman. Puppies and senior dogs can learn these basics as soon as you bring them home.

Reward-based training is the way to go, says Mary Harwelik, executive director of The Real Pit Bull Inc., an education and rescue organization ( in Cranford, N.J., that focuses on American Pit Bull Terriers. “It’s the most humane, stress-free way to teach dogs new behaviors, and pit bulls and related breeds do really well with this.”

Clicks That Click
Clicker training — using a clicking device or other sound that marks the desired behavior with a food treat — works well with bullies. “It allows them to use their brains and exercise those mental muscles,” Harwelik says. “Start with something simple, like saying ‘watch me,’ clicking, and giving your dog a treat when he looks at you. Besides a great bonding exercise, this helps your dog focus on you.”

Think precise timing when using a clicker to train your bully-breed dog. Correct timing lets him know exactly which behavior you are rewarding. He will feel confused if you praise too soon or too late. With some practice, you can master the skill of good timing. Focus on what your dog is doing at the exact moment that you tell him “good dog.” For example, if you give him a treat as he gets up from a sit, he will figure out that standing instead of sitting earns a reward.

“You can click faster than you can give your dog a treat, so it’s easier to mark the desired behavior,” says Marcy Setter, director of education and public relations at Pit Bull Rescue Central ( in Milford, Mass.

Consider these tips: Vary the tone of your voice when giving cues, as your dog loses interest if he hears the same thing every time. Keep training sessions short and fun. Limit sessions to a few minutes each, and gradually increase to 10 minutes or longer. It’s OK to repeat sessions several times a day. If you feel frustrated while training, simply end the lesson with a happy attitude.

When using food with or without a clicker to lure or reward your dog into performing a new behavior, select moist and flavorful tidbits. These high-value treats should differ from your dog’s usual diet, because they need to grab your dog’s attention. Pieces of cheese, apple, hot dogs or chicken strips work well, while hard biscuit or dried packaged treats — known as low-value treats — are less exciting and take longer for your dog to chew. Cut or break them into 1/2-inch-long pieces so your dog can gobble them quickly.

Training your dog takes time, so remain patient and positive. If you feel frustrated, stop the lesson, but do not give up completely. With practice, praise and goodies, these intelligent dogs can learn anything.

Teaching your bully to sit is easier than it first might appear.

  1. Start by putting a treat in your hand and holding it in front of your dog’s nose.
  2. Slowly move it over your bully’s head — not too high, as this encourages your dog to jump for it.
  3. Say your dog’s name, followed by the cue “sit.” Move the treat horizontally and parallel to the ground over your dog’s head. When your bully moves into a sitting position, give him the treat.
  4. If you use a clicker, click it and say “yes” in a happy tone of voice, and give your dog a treat. If he backs up, move into a corner and repeat the cue.
  5. To release your bully from the sit position and to let him know that it’s permissible to move, say “OK,” “all done,” “free” or another release word. Pet and praise your dog, too. After a few repetitions, he will begin to associate the word “sit” with receiving the food reward. Once your bully sits reliably on cue, randomly space out the rewards. This conditions him to keep working because he doesn’t know when something yummy might come his way.

Stay, Stay, Stay
In an emergency, the stay cue can save your bully breed’s life if he’s escaping from your yard into a busy street.

  1. Ask your dog to sit or lie down facing you.
  2. Show a treat, and say “stay.” Some trainers also use “wait” interchangeably with “stay.” “I use ‘wait’ to prevent a dog from forging ahead and rushing out the door or into traffic,” Setter says. “It lets him know that we’ll be moving in a few minutes.” Either cue works.
  3. While your bully is sitting or lying down, say “good stay” in an upbeat tone of voice. After a few seconds, say “OK,” and give the treat. Withhold the reward if your dog moves before you say the release word.
    Mealtimes provide great practice for the stay. Make eye contact with your bully, and say the stay cue before putting the food dish on the floor. Tell him “OK,” and let him dive into his dinner.

Increase the length of time that you ask your bully to stay, and gradually take a few steps away from him. This teaches your dog to maintain his position until he hears the release cue. Sit-stays should take one to three minutes; down-stays can last longer — about 10 to 15 minutes.


To maintain your bully’s interest in training, keep lessons short, fun and exciting. Once he learns what you want him to do, add distractions, different locales and new behaviors to his repertoire. Soon, he will become a well-behaved bully and the envy of all of your dog friends.

Try to re-home your pet instead of taking to a shelter

2012 in Anti-Cruelity Soceity of chicago

Finding a New Home for Your Pet
No one knows your pet better than you. You know his/her likes, dislikes, interests and temperament, therefore you have a far greater chance of ...
finding a successful new home than anyone else. By making a determined effort to re-home your pet, not only will you be giving him/her a better future – you’ll also be creating a future for another animal by leaving a spot open at our shelter.

Here are a few tips to try to re-home your pet before bringing it to a shelter:

Give yourself time to re-home your pet. It can often take weeks to months to find the right home.
The more people that know your pet needs a new home will increase the chances of finding
a home. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, church members, neighbors and ask them to help
Increase your pet’s adoptability by having it spayed or neutered and current on vaccinations.
Spread the word: Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can help spread the word.
Use attractive pictures and video of your pet.
If you advertise in public places, use caution when considering unknown individuals or families
as your pet’s new owners. Hold the initial meeting in a public place and ask questions to screen potential owners. Share your expectations for your pet’s new home. When you find a family that meets your needs, ask for identification and contact information.
Talk with breed specific rescue groups. Rescue groups that focus on caring for a specific breed
are available for almost any type of dog.

Never abandon your animal. In the event these alternative resources don’t address the circumstance you are experiencing with your pet, please review Giving Up Your Pet (below). The Anti-Cruelty Society is an open admission organization and will accept any animal in need.

Giving Up Your Pet

If you must consider surrendering an animal to the shelter, please review the following important information. Stress and disease are the two greatest dangers facing an animal in the shelter environment. We can’t make these risks disappear, but a new program - The Planned Relinquishment Program (PREP) can help minimize these risks and create a happy outcome for any pet you leave in our care. This program assures that your pet is vaccinated against common diseases and neutered and ready to go to a new home as soon as someone chooses them from our adoption population.

If your pet is not current on its vaccinations or not spayed/neutered, these services are available through our clinic at no cost to you. You must agree to make a convenient appointment and keep the animal in your home for a short additional time to allow the vaccines to provide the necessary protection before they are exposed to the shelter environment. Having these necessary steps done in advance of arrival will minimize the time spent in the shelter and help ensure a happy new home for your pet.

For more information on how to participate in this program and to schedule an appointment send an email to [email protected]

Please note that while we request that you schedule an appointment, The Anti-Cruelty Society is an open admission organization and will not turn an animal away.

Please allow adequate time, at least 30 minutes to meet with a receiving staff member. You will be asked to complete a Pet Profile designed to address common questions about your pet. Please bring any previous veterinary and vaccination records, if available. Items such as favorite toys, food, and bedding are welcome but may not remain with your pet throughout its entire stay.

Will My Pet be Adopted?
If your pet is healthy both medically and behaviorally and is accepted into our adoption program, he/she will stay available for adoption until a new home is found. We have no time limits on an animal’s stay with us.

Unfortunately not all animals are considered adoptable. Some animals may be disqualified from the adoption program by obvious signs of disease, physical disability that seriously impacts quality of life, or those that demonstrate a high degree of aggression at intake. Additionally, information provided by the owner on the condition, temperament, or behavior of his/her pet may result in a recommendation of euthanasia if the pet is to be left in our care. These considerations may make it impossible to re-home your pet and may include, but are not limited to: chronic house-soiling, serious destructive behavior, aggression to other animals, self-mutilation, or depression. We will try to provide you with as much information as possible at the time of intake to give you the opportunity to make the best choice for you and your pet before you relinquish to us. However, keep in mind, the shelter environment is stressful and your pet may react quite differently than they have in a home environment.

Hours and Location to Give Up Your Pet

Relinquished animals are accepted daily from the hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a current driver’s license or state identification. Entrance is at 510 LaSalle. Free parking is available on Wells. To help cover our costs, we respectfully ask for a minimum donation of $35.

This is what HAPPENS to your Dog When Turned in to Shelters

I think our society needs a huge "Wake-up" call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all...a view from the inside if you will. First off, all of you people who have ever surrendered a pet to a shelter or humane society should be made to work in the "back" of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would stop flagging the ads on craigslist and help these animals find homes. That puppy you just bought will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore. Just so you know there's a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it’s dumped at? Purebred or not! About 25% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays", that come into a shelter are purebred dogs.

 The most common excuses: "We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving too that doesn't allow pets? Or they say "The dog got bigger than we thought it would". How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? "We don't have time for her". Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! "She's tearing up our yard". How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me "We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she'll get adopted, she's a good dog".

 Odds are your pet won't get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the "Bully" breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don't get adopted. It doesn't matter how 'sweet' or 'well behaved' they are.

 If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because the shelter gets paid a fee to euthanize each animal and making money is better than spending money to take this animal to the vet.

 Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down". First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to "The Room", every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 shelter workers depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a shelter worker who we call a euthanasia tech (not a vet) find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff". Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don't just "go to sleep", sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves. You see shelters are trying to make money to pay employee pay checks and don’t forget the board of directors needs to be paid too, so we don’t spend our funds to tranquilize the animal before injecting them with the lethal drug, we just put the burning lethal drug in the vein and let them suffer until dead. If it were not a “making money issue” and we had to have a licensed vet do this procedure, the animal would be sedated or tranquilized and then euthanized, but to do this procedure correctly would cost more money so we do not follow what is right for the animal, we just follow what is the fastest way we can make a dollar. Shelters do not have to have a vet perform their euthanasia’s so even if it takes our employee 50 pokes with a needle and 3 hours to get the vein that is what we do. Making money is the issue here not loosing money.

 When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? Or used for the schools to dissect and experiment on? You'll never know and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right!

 I hope that those of you who still have a beating heart and have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head, I deal with this everyday. I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and start educating the public. Do research, do your homework, and know exactly what you are getting into before getting a pet. These shelters and humane societies exist because people just do not care about animals anymore. Animals were not intended to be disposable but somehow that is what they are these days. Animal shelters are an easy way out when you get tired of your dog (or cat), and breeders are the ones blamed for this. Animal shelters and rescue organizations are making a hefty profit by keeping this misconception going.

 Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about taking their dog to a shelter, a humane society, or buying a dog. For those of you that care--- please repost this to at least one other craiglist in another city/state. Let's see if we can get this all around the US and have an impact.


You can't keep your pet? Really? By: A Shelter Director (Everywhere) Edited by
by "Save Our Shelter Animals" MuttShack Animal Rescue on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 5:51pm

Here's what the ASPCA thinks

Can't Keep My Pet Anymore
I can no longer keep my pet. what can I do?

The ASPCA considers pets to be members of the family.With many millions of companion animals surrendered to animal shelters each year, and countless stray animals roaming our streets, giving up a companion animal is not a decision to be taken lightly. If circumstances arise that prohibit you from caring for your pet, there may be options for you to consider before relinquishing your pet.

Many companion animals are given up by their owners because of behavior problems—and in most cases, there are things you can do to change your animal's unwanted behavior.Before you give up on your pet, please consult a reputable trainer or animal behaviorist for assistance. Your local humane organization can help with a referral. You can also see our online behavior information for helpful tips. Pet owners in Central Illinois can also make an appointment with the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center

. If you have made up your mind to re-home your companion animal, your best bet is find your pet a home through your own personal contacts (i.e., your veterinarian, dog walker, pet sitter, friends, family, co-workers, etc.). You may also wish to list your pet on

Do not give up if you do not find a home for your animal right away!Finding an ideal home for a companion animal may take considerable time and effort, but your pet's future is in your hands.Be sure to screen potential adopters carefully; ask them for references; inquire about employment, financial stability, and previous pet ownership.Ask to visit their homes before you place your animal to ensurethat the environmentis suitable, and be sure to follow up with calls and visits.

If you can no longer keep a purebred dog, you may wish to visit the American Kennel Club's website, which provides a list of breed-specific rescue groups that place purebred dogs in homes. Putting your pet in a shelter should be your last resort. Most animal shelters operate at full capacity, and there is often a waiting list to get an animal into a non-animal control ("no-kill") shelter. Even if your pet does qualify for entrance into a "no-kill" shelter and there is space available, there are no guarantees that your pet will be adopted quickly, or at all. Remember, thenumber of animals in need of homes faroutweighs the number ofpeople looking to adopt. Most shelters reserve the right to end the life of any animal evaluated to be unfit for adoption, or if time or space has run out. Rules and regulations vary in every shelter, and so do the conditions. Make sure that any shelter you bring your animal to has a reputation for humane conditions and successful adoptions.To find a shelter near you, please visit our Shelter Directory


Things you need to know about bully breeds before adopting.

10 Things You Need to Know Before You Adopt a Bully Breed
By Joy H. Montgomery
Do your homework. Be sure a bully breed is right for you.
Tail wagging, tongue lapping and full body hugs are just a few of the reactions you can expect to come home to when you adopt a bully breed. These sturdy, active dogs make wonderful companions. But too often, unaware pet owners relinquish their bully breeds to shelters because they didn't realize the commitment required to own such a dog. Before you bring a bully breed into your life, make sure you know all the facts about these dynamic dogs. Are they good with children and other people? How much time and attention do they really need? What is Breed Specific Legislation, and how could it affect your decision to adopt? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more, plus find out if adopting a bully breed is really right for you.


10. Bullies Are Anatomically Normal
Don't believe the hype. Bullies are normal and adoptable.
There are a lot of really outrageous -- and just plain wrong -- myths about these breeds' physical make-up. From claims that they come equipped with super powerful jaws that lock like a crocodile's to theories that they have swelling brains that make them go crazy, it's no wonder bully breeds have a somewhat spotty reputation. Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia conducted research on pit bull mixes and a variety of similar breeds and concluded they have the exact same anatomy as any other dog, including that harmless-looking teacup Chihuahua your neighbor carries in her purse. Rest assured when you adopt a bully breed, he doesn't come equipped with supernatural anatomy.


9. Bully Breeds Are Active Breeds
Keep your bully active and entertained.
Pit bull mixes and other breeds that fall into the bully category are generally very athletic and love lots of exercise. They typically excel in agility, flyball and other sports. Look for organizations in your area that cater to bully breeds for group activities that will keep them engaged. For example, a group in Chicago started a skateboarding club for pit bulls, and there are agility groups all across the country where bully breeds are welcome.

As is true with most other dogs, a bored bully is a bad bully. If you prefer slow living, a breed in this category is probably not the dog for you. Also keep in mind that you should never have your bully breed off-leash in public, so finding open spaces where he can run free might pose a challenge. If you don't have a fenced-in yard, but have space, a dog run makes an excellent option, as does a doggie treadmill. Many people mistakenly believe that treadmills are only used to exercise dog-fighters, but many dogs of all breeds get exercise this way when they aren't able to go outdoors. Just remember to supervise all of your dog's activities


8. Bullies Require Proper Socialization
Get social. Test your adopted dog's tolerance for people and other pets.
If you've ever been to a dog park, you've most likely seen a group of dogs involved in a tussle. Dog-on-dog aggression is not a breed-specific behavior, and even the littlest dogs can turn on each other. According to Pit Bull Rescue Central (PBRC), it's true that pit bull mixes do have a history of being less tolerant of other animals due to the way they were originally bred, but every dog is different. Some might love other animals, while others might only be accepting of those they've been raised with or not tolerant at all. It's up to you to learn your dog's patience for other pets and take the appropriate measures to ensure a safe environment.

Most shelters work on socializing and should know the tolerance level of all the rescued dogs in their care. Once you've settled on a dog to adopt, ask the shelter if you can visit with your other pets to ensure they'll get along. After adoption, you should work on socializing as soon as possible.


7. Bully Breeds Love Kids
Bullies are good with kids. Train your bully and your child on how to play together.
Bully breeds such as the Staffordshire bull terrier have a long history of being good with children and are often called "Nanny Dogs" in England thanks to their sweet and nurturing demeanor around kids. Bullies that are well-socialized and properly cared for are generally wonderful pets for children, as they are able to handle any rough-housing and are drawn to kids' carefree dispositions.

When you introduce a new dog into your home, you should not only train the dog how to treat your child, but also train your child how to treat the dog. One thing to note, bully breeds are typically of stout build so they could knock over young children and therefore, need supervision. Regardless of breed, dog trainer Victoria Stilwell says you should never, under any condition, leave a child unattended with any dog for any length of time.


6. Bullies Need Your Love...Among Other Things
Like any other dog consider the time, space and attention needed to care for a bully breed.
You've got lots of love to give a bully breed, but what about space, time and money? Most bully breeds will do OK in an apartment and can succeed in an urban setting, as long as they get plenty of exercise and at least 30 minutes of outdoor activity on a daily basis. Pit bull mixes are especially notorious for escaping, so if you have a fenced-in yard for playtime, make sure it's secure and that there aren't any loose boards your bully could use as an escape route. Consider the height of your enclosure too, since some bully breeds are excellent jumpers.

The annual cost of owning a bully breed will be about the same as with any other dog, plus a few extra considerations. Before you adopt, find out if your homeowner's insurance includes an exclusion on pit bull mixes or other breeds; you may need to pay an additional premium to call one of these dogs part of the family. Likewise, if you rent, check with your landlord to make sure you can have a bully breed in your building.


5. Bullies Have Breed-specific Laws to Follow
Some cities and counties have specific laws for owning bully breeds. Get to know them.
It may be surprising to know there are actual laws on the books in many cities and counties regarding dogs, but thanks to fear and irresponsible pet ownership, many local governments have enacted breed specific legislation (BSL) to curb perceived issues with bully breeds. The easiest way to find out if your town has passed BSL is to contact your local animal control facility. The shelter where you plan to adopt should know the regulations also, but if you're adopting out of town, it's best to check for yourself first.

Another thing to consider is your long-term living arrangement. Is there a move in your future? If you think you might be moving to another city or state, check to see what BSL is on record in the city to which you plan to relocate. Besides total breed bans, some cities have specific regulations for owning a bully breed, including muzzling in public, mandatory micro-chipping and carrying liability insurance. Do your research before you try to adopt, and be a responsible pet parent by following any rules established in your area.


4. Bully Breeds Are Socialites
Bully breeds are very trusting and naturally gregarious.
Bullies are very sociable animals and generally love being around people. They enjoy making new friends and are typically trusting of strangers. Their fondness for human contact and gregarious personality really makes them a perfect companion for someone who is a people person.

If you've heard that these breeds are malicious or overly aggressive, you should know they're always at the top of the class in temperament testing. The American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS) conducts annual evaluations for all dog breeds, and pit bull mixes consistently rate higher than some of their more popular counterparts, including the Golden Retriever and Collie. Bully breeds also excel at the American Kennel Club's (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) training, which is a program that teaches good dog manners and responsible pet ownership. Dogs who become certified as CGCs might also qualify for reduced insurance rates, so it's an extra bonus to take this course with your bully breed.


3. Bullies Have Good Genes
Generally, bully breeds are pretty healthy.
Providing the best care for a bully breed doesn't differ much from any other breed. They all need annual veterinarian exams and vaccines, and should be fed a healthy diet on a regular schedule. These breeds are typically very fit with few health concerns. Joint problems are a common issue some bully breeds might face due to their highly active nature. To minimize the chance of future complications, try to walk your dog on dirt or grass, since asphalt is harder on joints. Also try to warm him up with a short 5- to10-minute walk before any strenuous activity.

Bully breeds are shorthaired dogs that don't require much grooming. Your dog can probably get away with a "wash and go" once a month. Start working with your bully as soon as you bring him home to get him used to having his nails clipped or ears cleaned. If you're uncomfortable performing these duties, find a groomer who understands bully breeds and is well-trained to groom them.


2. Adopting a Bully Breed May Take Time
The process to adopt a bully breed may be more rigorous than for other breeds.
Any reputable shelter will put you through a thorough screening process before allowing you to adopt a dog, but the process is usually more rigorous for someone looking to take home a bully breed. Don't be offended if a shelter really questions your motives in adopting pit bull mixes and other breeds that have a history of abuse or dog-fighting. Shelters could request a list of references along with a home visit to see where your adopted bully will live. You should also be prepared to answer a detailed questionnaire in which you will be asked things like why you want to adopt a bully breed and your history as a pet owner.

Consider the shelter as your own pet matchmaking service. The more they know about your life, the better they can match you with the perfect pet. For example, an adult bully breed might make a better fit than a puppy, since adults are more settled. Always tell a shelter if you have small children, how active you are and other factors that might help them pair you with the right pooch. This will ensure every adopted bully finds a permanent home with a loving family that understands the unique needs and personalities of these breeds.


1. Bullies Are Loyal to a Fault
Bully breeds are loyal and faithful companions. You should be one too.
Bully breeds are generally very loving and loyal companions. They normally form very close bonds with their owners and will be a constant presence around your home. As the group Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls (BAD RAP) explains, "Be ready to commit lots of quality time to your pet for life." These people-lovers won't like being relegated to the backyard or left alone for long periods of time. Be prepared to commit at least two hours a day of undivided attention to your bully breed to ensure his happiness. Remember, you can't judge an entire breed by a few negative news reports. If you're ready to adopt a loving and active dog, you will have a faithful companion for life in a bully breed.
  • American Kennel Club. "AKC Canine Good Citizen Program." (Aug. 17, 2010)
  • American Society Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Ten Tips for Adopting a Pit Bull." (Aug.17, 2010)
  • American Temperament Testing Society, Inc. (Aug. 17, 2010)
  • American Veterinary Medical Association. "State Legislative Resources." October 2007. (Aug. 17, 2010)
  • Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls. "Monster Myths." (Aug. 17, 2010)
  • Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls. "Pros and Cons of Owning a Pitbull." (Aug. 18, 2010)
  • National Canine Research Council. "Fear vs. Fact" (Aug. 17, 2010)
  • Pit Bull Rescue Central. "Socializing Your Pit Bull." (Aug. 18, 2010)
  • Saunders, Kim. "The Adopted Dog Bible." Petfinder. Collins Living. 2009.
  • Stilwell, Victoria. "Teaching Dog Safety." Scholastic Parent & Child. February 2010. (Aug.17, 2010)

Understanding Dog Aggression Dogs become aggressive out of frustration and dominance.

By Cesar Millan

Any breed can cause trouble but the bigger breeds can create bigger damage. This is where I find a lot of what I call my red-zone cases.

Its important to recognize the power of a strong breed like the pit bull, the Cane Corso and the Mastiffs. These dogs are very powerful and can destroy anything in an instant.

Remember that these dogs don't dream of being in the news when they grow up. Dogs don't premeditate bad acts like people do. Bad things happen when powerful breeds (or mixes of powerful breeds) live with humans who like the breed but don't understand the animal in the dog.

In a larger breed, frustration will intensify what the animal can do. Many people consider the look or popularity of a breed before thinking about whether the dog works for their lifestyle. This is a recipe for disaster.

Wanted: Leadership
To control a powerful breed you need to become the dogs pack leader and establish rules, boundaries and limitations. You need to fulfill the dog as Nature intended him to be fulfilled.

Dogs become aggressive out of frustration and dominance. The frustration comes from a lack of exercise and the dominance comes from a lack of calm, assertive leadership.

I work with owners of many red-zone dogs. First I work with the owners to establish them as pack leaders and to understand the animal in their dog.

I also explain to the owners the importance of exercise. Physical activity burns the dogs excess energy and maintains his healthy state of mind. This is important because in order to talk to the mind you need to remove the energy from the body.

If you live with an aggressive dog, I urge you to find a professional dog trainer to work with you and your dog. Many so-called aggressive dogs can be rehabilitated with time and dedication, and we owe it to our dogs to try.

Oops! This site has expired.

If you are the site owner, please renew your premium subscription or contact support.