Misunderstood: Protecting Bully Breeds

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bully breed puppy love

Bully breeds tend to get a bad rap. Even the label “bully breed” makes them seem like the mean kid on the playground, but the name actually comes from the type of dog, which includes the Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier (sometimes called an AmStaff), the American Pit Bull Terrier (commonly called the Pit Bull), and a number of other breeds known for their protection instincts (like our beloved german shepherds). Because of their broad stance and “tough guy” appearance, they are often associated with aggression. But make no mistake, these bully breeds are really just misunderstood sweethearts.

bully breedPitties, as they’re often lovingly called, weren’t always on the wrong side of the news. In fact, a well-loved Pit Bull named Stubby was even the first American war dog, serving alongside soldiers in Germany during World War I. And before that, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was nicknamed the Nanny Dog in their origin country of England because they were so eager and willing to tend to the children. It wasn’t until the 1980s that bully breeds really took on a negative connotation.

This negative light was magnified by the media who would report incidents, often sensationalizing the story without presenting the facts. Stories of attacks drew public interest, but left out important details, like whether the dog was provoked or abused.

The media frenzy lead to politicians enacting breed specific legislation (BSL) that targets certain breeds. But this legislation goes far beyond the traditional bull-terrier dogs and includes any dog of a similar appearance, large dogs, and protection dogs. Identifying the dogs is often left to untrained public service workers who are unfamiliar with many of the purebred and hybrid breed dogs in existence.

The legislation sets restrictions on the dogs, allowing renters, insurance companies, and other businesses to prejudice any of these 30+ breeds included in the legislation. This legislation means that providing a loving home for a well-balanced dog of a specific breed could be impossible for people looking to rent a home, take their pet to the dog park, go camping with their favorite dog, or any other number of situations.

bully breed specific legislation

Only a handful of states have banned BSL, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington. But that means anyone living in the other 34 states could face discrimination because their dog is labeled as a bully breed.

The only way to fight BSL is by taking a stand. Contact your governor and let them know that condemning an entire breed because of the actions of a few isn’t fair or just. After all, any dog is capable of biting. But any dog raised in a loving environment by a caring family wants nothing more than to show their family that same love.

No matter the breed, Circle K9 is here for your boarding and kennel needs. We offer extensive training for all breeds, including pit bulls, boxers, german shepherd dogs (GSDs), rottweilers, dobermans, and any breeds that are commonly referred to as “bully breeds.” At Circle K9, our love for dogs is universal.

bully breed smile


Photos Courtesy of
Sheila Sund via Flickr under CC-2.0
Henry J Walker, 1892.
LexusIS200 via Flickr under CC-2.0
Jodylehigh via Pixabay


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