Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Mugwump Chronicles - Dog Breed Most Destined to End Up at the Pound Challenge

I have a challenge for anybody who is even vaguely interested in this discussion.

Look up the adoptable dogs at your local animal shelter.

Please don't cheat and use "Wendy's Wonderful Weimaraner Wescue," that's unfair. Go to your  Takes-in-Anybody, tax payer funded animal shelter.

Look at only the adoptable dogs, available today. This eliminates all dogs that would be held back as dangerous, which should level the playing field.

Write down the name of your shelter
Write down the total amount of adoptable dogs.
Write down the total amount of adoptable pit bulls and pit mixes.
Write down the total amount of adoptable chihuahuas and chihuahua mixes.
Write down the total amount of the breed and breed mixes you choose to profile today. I chose Golden Retrievers, because I'm still laughing over that one.

Send them to me - and I'll post the list tomorrow.
If you want to figure your own percentages, go ahead, if not, I'll do it. I just need numbers.

C'mon. Both sides of the chasm can participate here. Then we can talk about what it means.

Here's the results of my quick, yet accurate, check of our local animal shelter, The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

9 of the 44 dogs available for adoption TODAY are pit bulls or pit bull mixes.
20.45 % of ALL available dogs.

8 of the 44 dogs were chihuahuas or chihuahua mixes.
18.8 % of ALL available dogs.

0 of the 44 dogs were Golden Retrievers or Golden Retriever mixes.
0% of ALL available dogs.


  1. Possible that the Golden rescue people in the area are more involved than other breed specific rescues in the area.

  2. Laugh all you want about the Golden Retriever thing Mugs, not going to change the fact that I had three of them separately attack me to the point of drawing blood and that they scare me now because of it. I don't really think that's funny. I'm a dog lover and have four well-manned and properly socialized dogs - a Doberman, a Corgi, a Greyhound and a Catahoula - so I'm not exactly just ye old inexperienced idiot. Go ahead and laugh at my expense, that's fine.

  3. Camryn - 3 Golden Retriever Rescues in CO. 6 Pit Bull Rescues in CO.
    Let's not go there.

  4. Andrea - Again. Dog Owners. Not Dogs. Lighten up.

  5. As an aside, I looked at my local shelter and the most common breed there was Lab. There were almost 15 of them, and around 10 or so heelers. A handful of pits but none looked pureblood save for one or two.

  6. Andrea, the point of this post is not an aside. How many pits? How many Chihuahuas? How many available dogs total?
    The aside is your fear of Golden Retrievers.

  7. Oops, back to Andrea - What is the name of your local shelter? And if Labs are your choice for profiling, exactly how many were there?

  8. Okay.. I took the time to do this because it is of interest to me on several levels.. first I did Fulton County Georgia, which is Atlanta folks. As of today: 278 dogs listed, 119 Pit or pitt cross, 4 Chihuahua and 66 labs (yep, almost 50% Pitts)

    Gwinnett county, which is just outside of Atl - 111 dogs listed, 22 Pits, 8 Chis and 20 Labs

    Now, what is amusing is that the Gwinnett shelter does everything in their power to disguise the pits.. they will call them labs if they have a hint of black or yellow to them.. I have seen them listed as sheperds, collies, just about anything and they STILL list 20% of the dogs in the shelter as pitts... its just very sad that there are so many dogs in just these two shelters. I wager there are 20 more shelters or better within 30 minutes of these that have similar numbers. I can look up euthanasia numbers but it just depresses me but you can bet there are not adopting 20% of these back out.

    I don't look at these too often cause it breaks my heart..

    Gwinnett normally has a larger number of the little dogs; Chi and Chi crosses.. just an off day for them.

  9. St. Huberts, Madison, NJ
    48 total
    Bullies 9
    Boxers 5
    Rottie 1
    Aussi 1
    Mixed 13
    Beagle 2
    Border C 1
    Chi 1
    GSD 5
    Hound 4
    Maltese 1
    Peke 1
    Pointer 3
    Schnzer 1
    Shih Tzu 1

  10. Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada ~ SPCA Shelter.
    37 total dogs
    8 lab mix
    1 golden retriever mix
    11 german shepherd mix
    1 pit bull mix
    4 collie mix
    1 rotti mix
    2 jack russels
    9 undistinguishable mix

    I'm a past and current owner of purbred golden retrievers. I am suprised to hear of them attacking a person. I vote that it is the owners who shaped those dogs to be what they were.

    Mugs, this survey you are doing... the results are going to be very interesting.

    What is interesting about our local SPCA that the only two dogs who were recognizable as purebred were the two jack russel terriers. My first thought is that the people who purchased them must not have researched the breed and realized the level of energy they have and the excercise and interaction they require.

  11. I adopted a shelter dog last October, and my search for a mixed breed dog of herding type took me to nearly every shelter in the Denver area. There were too many pits, boxers and chihuahuas to count, and I ended up driving all the way to Pueblo to get my sheltie/aussie mix.

    BTW--Denver and Aurora have pit bull bans, and I'm told that boxers have filled the gap.

  12. Cullman County Animal Shelter
    141 dogs
    Pits/Mixes: 7
    Chi: 5
    Most in the shelter aside from the 135 mixes are Labs: 45
    Shepherds next at 10

  13. Andrea - since you had three attacks, all by a purebred breed, all different dogs on different properties, with different owners, in a breed that ranks extremely low on the protection scale, I would agree that you should absolute be wary of the Golden Retrievers in your area.

    It sounds like there's a good chance there's an idiot breeder pumping out dogs despite a faulty temperament.

  14. Okay, I'll play... I went to the Denver Dumb Friends League, Quebec Street Shelter, since you did the Springs and I'm in Monument.
    52 Dogs
    17 Chihuahuas 33%
    1 pit bull 1%
    8 Havanese mixes 15%.
    I tried to profile the Havenese, but apparently they are known to be gentle and quiet.

  15. Andrea- the only dog that has ever gone after me for the goal of major injury was a golden as well.

    I think that profiling for pits in the shelter is misleading as one has to take into context how overbred they are. There are many very responsible pit breeders out there who breed for specific traits and their dogs are very temperamentally sound. These are true purebreds though, not the byb who churn out as many blue dogs as they can with no regard to physical or mental flaws the dogs might have.
    I also don't believe that any dog attacks with no warning, it's just b.s. unless there is something like a brain tumor involved. It's no different than horses and how some can read an ear flick or shift in weight and know that something is going to blow, dogs also give warnings but most are ignorant of them.
    It is also good to note that many of the attacks are from unsocialized, un-neutered, chained up dogs that live a poor existence. I have owned several pits in my lifetime as well as currently having one. I have dealt with minor dog aggression in one but I also had 4 female dogs and they occasionally had a scuffle. All have been extremely human friendly, fabulous around kids and small animals.
    I will also make a note that the media is hysterical about the breed and often labels any dog attack as from a pitbull even when it isn't. How many people heard about the chihuahua that killed the infant last year, or the black lab that severely disfigured a little boy? The neighbor in the lab attack called the media about the incident and was told that if it wasn't a pit, they weren't interested in it.
    Do I think they are a powerful breed that isn't suited to everyone? Yes. Do I think they are overbred? Yes. Do I think they are evil, inherently aggressive dogs? No

  16. Oldredhorse - DID ANYBODY ON THIS BLOG SAY THAT PITS WERE EVIL? Why, why why are you representing my EXACT points as an argument?

    If there were the same amount of chihuahua,lab,or golden retriever attacks as there are pitbull attacks you can bet your bippy they would be written up by the media.

    Can you name the newspaper that said they were only interested in pit bull attacks? I would be more than happy to call them and find out their position.

  17. Genesee County Humane Society (which includes Flint, MI)
    11 "Lab/Retriever" (however many looked like they were pits or crossed with pits)
    11 "Pit Bull Terriers"
    6 Chihuahuas
    5 Beagles
    3 terriers that did not fall under pit bull
    2 "Hounds"
    1 of each for Rottweiler, Jack Russell, Shetland Sheepdog, and Dachshund
    Likewise to Francis, our humane society does whatever it can to not label a dog as a 'pit bull'.
    I was going to use the Genesee County Animal Control, as I know they have many more dogs, but they do not regularly update their adoptable dogs page.


    My local pound has designated mixes (and as far as I can tell, it's the only pit mixes) under the breed "American Shelter Dog".

    If that's not brilliant marketing, I don't know what is.

  19. I sent an email with results from a Maltese shelter (thought it might be an interesting comparison). I was surprised: there were NO chihuahuas or chihuahua mixes. The only small dogs were a toy poodle and a pug.

  20. Bangor Humane Society, ME
    totally supported by private funds, not municipal

    11 dogs today
    2 Rottie mix
    2 Malamute/Shiba
    1 Malamute/Huski
    1 Terrier/Pitt
    1 Golden
    1 Beagle mix
    1 St. Bernard mix
    1 Boxer mix
    1 Shih Tsu

  21. I did this survey with another local sanctuary, and got these results:

    Write down the name of your shelter: Noah's Ark

    Write down the total amount of adoptable dogs:
    Approximatley 100

    Write down the total amount of adoptable pit bulls and pit mixes.

    Write down the total amount of adoptable chihuahuas and chihuahua mixes.

    Write down the total amount of the breed and breed mixes you choose to profile today.

    Maltese tal-Kacca (not a breed; a term that describes any hound dog used by hunters during bird shooting season. Medium sized dog, floppy ears, generally brown and white, usually good natured)

    Pointer/Mix 3
    Lab mix 6
    Fox Terrier: 2

    No toy breeds. Still a little surprised by that.

  22. MalteseLizzieMagee - Which Noah's Ark Shelter did you look at?

  23. i did south san diego county CA shelter.

    total: 159
    pit/mix 36 - 23%
    chi/mix 46 - 29%
    poodle 14 - 9%

  24. Hancock County ASPCA, Trenton, ME

    6 dogs available today
    1 Rottie mix
    1 German Shepherd mix
    1 Hound mix
    1 Newf/Border Collie mix
    1 Terrier mix
    1 Husky/lab mix

    We in downeast Maine are overrun with stray cats this time of year, not so much with dogs.

  25. Multnomah County shelter; Portland Or metro area

    4 American Shelter Dog
    9 Pit Bull: (2 F, 7 M)
    1 Rottweiler
    7 (1 each Small dogs: Havanese/Pekinese/Pom/Papillion/ShiTzu/RatTerrier/Shiba Inu)
    1 Cocker Spaniel
    2 Llasa Apso
    2 Chihuahua
    1 Alaskan Klee Kai

    27 dogs, 1/3 are Pit bulls
    0 golden retrievers

  26. Nevada Humane Society (Reno area)
    78 Dogs

    21 Chihuahua/Chi Mix
    18 Pit/Pit Mix
    8 Lab/Lab Mix
    10 Terrier Mix (Jack, Fox, etc)

  27. I was waiting for someone to say that there is no such thing as a "surprise" attack...

    It may have been a surprise to you, but it wouldn't have been a surprise to an aware dog person.

    This whole topic is such a shame. I remember reading somewhere about how each couple of decades the bully breed of choice changes - GSDs, then Dobies, Rotties, and Pits. Sigh.

    The ONLY dog I've ever been bitten by, in over 30 years of visiting hundreds of farms for my work was a JRT. I'm an animal person alllll the way, but if I coulda' caught the little $%#@^ in time, I'd have kicked him to the moon! At least he had the grace to look sorry about it later....

  28. Re: Lady Farrier, "no such thing as a 'surprise' attack.

    I call BullS***. This is the same line of crap that is perpetrated in horses, as "There's no such thing as a horse accident".

    The fact of the matter is that we trust our comfort and safety to an entity with it's very own mind, instincts and decision-making processed.

    Dog can and do act completely out of character, and may take their own action against a situation that people cannot or do not perceive.

    The only way to avoid "surprises"
    is to train your dog to Olympic standards while keeping said dog on lock-down worthy of the hardest criminal.

    I think all most people can aspire to is to make an effort to be responsible dog owner, make an effort to train a good canine citizen, and avoid situations where the risk potential outweighs the benefits.

    Any dog trainer who says "there are no such things as surprise attacks" either hasn't been bit YET, or goes out of their way to justify being bitten - "Oh, I clearly ignored her signals, tee hee".

  29. 37 dogs
    13 pits
    4 Chihuahuas
    7 labs (though one looked just like a pit - think the pound was trying to slip him through to a good home)

  30. Sorry, Name of the Shelter:
    Ingham County Animal Control (that's Lansing, Michigan)
    Profile Breed: Labs

  31. I think most dog owners are oblivious to the signs of stress in their dogs. Yawning, lip licking, stress panting, turning the head or body away, whale eye. Most often at least one of these is present in the random house dog bite incidents. That is different from the aggressive charging dog. I'm guessing if you polled 100 random dog owners that they wouldn't have a clue about those signs. A horse accident caused by a random spook is far different that the ones that you can see the horse building to kick, buck etc. there was usually warning signs for that.

    Mugs, I never thought that you were inferring that pits were evil at all. I fully agree that dogs should be trained and owners educated at well. I can't count the times I've been walking my well mannered, dog friendly pit on the trail, on a standard leash and am glared at by some moron with a yippy dog on a flexileash who is leaping and barking at us
    I will try to find the interview from the home owner about the media but it was a while back that I read it.

  32. Orange County Shelter
    The City Drive
    City of Orange, California

    Yorkie Mix 1
    Tibetan Terrier Mix 1
    Silky Terrier Mix 1
    Husky/Shepherd Mix 1
    Shih Tzu mix 1
    Rat Terrier mix 1
    Pug mix 1
    Miniature Poodle mix 4
    Miniature Poodle 1
    Pitbull Mix 4
    Pitbull Terrier 4
    Pekinese Mix 1
    Parsons Russell Terrier mix 2
    Norfolk Terrier mix 1
    Min Pin 1
    German Shepherd 2
    Fox / Wire terrier mix 1
    Dachshund mix 3
    Cocker mix 1
    Chinese Crested mix 1
    Chihuahua mix 32 (!! holy mother)
    Cavalier Spaniel Mix 1
    Canaan dog mix 1
    Cairn Terrier mix 8 (?!)
    Boxer mix 1
    Belgian Malinois mix 1
    Beagle mix 1
    Australian cattle dog 1

  33. @ponyfan

    It's OK to not agree. I don't really believe much in horse accidents, either. I certainly believe in things beyond our control (random gun shots, etc., that may startle the sanest mount), but if one doesn't want to have a horse accident, one should completely avoid horses.

    Sometimes even the most experienced person misses the signs, but excepting the afore mentioned brain tumor, they're always there. Some horses and dogs are very subtle, some very overt. I've been fortunate in my career to have avoided serious injury for the most part, but a lot of it is seeing the signs. I can just feel it coming. Not to mention that I take pains to prevent the horse or myself from ever being in a situation where "accidents" will occur.

    I would never put myself out in a herd of cattle because I don't speak cow. I wouldn't be able to see the signs.

    Yet people get dogs all the time and really don't know anything about dog language - eye contact or lack, posturing, etc. We don't even THINK about it because we're so used to dogs that don't kill us. Then everyone's surprised when a dog does try to kill one of us, but chances are, an aware dog person would have seen it coming minutes to months before it happened.

    Some folks can't see it and never will, but most of the time, at least one old salt is shaking his head, saying "Huh, I saw that coming..."

    I'm not trying to be a jerk, and I'm far from uncaring, but pretty much EVERY accident is preventable. Perhaps you don't wish to avoid horses and you're willing to take the risk, but then you take. the. risk. No one kidnapped you and made you ride a horse or buy a dog. Or have a kid. Or drive a car... Or, or, or. So that's what I mean by "I don't believe in accidents".

  34. I'm in the UK so slightly different but thought I'd post for interest's sake. Pit Bulls are a banned breed over here thus shall use Staffies as an example as they are in more or less the same situation with rescues being full of young, high energy dogs that have become too much for their owners to handle and there's a lot of the same stigma attached to them.

    Dogs Trust (have used the UK wide figures as feel there's not enough dogs in my local centre to paint a true picture)

    742 dogs
    Staffordshire Bull Terriers and their crosses 120 (16%)
    Chihuahuas 0
    Golden Retrievers 0
    Lab types 126 (17%)
    Terriers 110 (15%)
    Lurchers 58
    Husky 12
    GSD 58
    Border Collie 31

    There are obviously a lot of other breeds with the odd couple of dogs (and random crossbreeds) but those seem to be the most popular.

  35. I thought we were supposed to send the results in an e-mail...

  36. It breaks my heart to read about the number of dogs in shelters across the country... no matter what breed they are.

  37. Well this was interesting, surprising and sad.

    My local shelter, Lapeer County, has four dogs, 2 labs, a hound and a beagle. So I looked at Genesee County Humane Society which is a little more urban, they have 38 dogs.

    11 pit bulls or mixes
    9 labs
    6 chihuahuas
    4 beagles
    3 terriers
    5 misc

    Andrea, there are a lot of bad Golden breeders. When you find a good one, they still have good dogs.

  38. Yes Mary, please....I was hoping to keep the comments open for discussion, but as you know, I speak Mandarin...

  39. Coming out of the woodworks to post this, this is fascinating.

    Location is San Luis Obispo County, CA. We don't seem to have an actual local shelter, more of a network, but here are the dogs listed:

    65 total dogs
    3 border collies
    23 chihuahuas/mixes
    15 pit bulls/mixes
    plus 3 staffordshire terriers
    the rest represent a wide variety of one-and-two-offs

    That would make about 35% chihuahua, 28% pit/staffie, 5% border collie.

  40. Humane Society of Cowlitz County
    Longview Wa

    Only 15 dogs listed on their website- I know they usually have many more than that at the shelter.

    15 total dogs
    6 Pit/Pit mixes
    2 Chihuahua/mixes
    1 "Shepherd"- it actually appears to be a Rott cross.

  41. PAWS animal shelter in Lynnwood WA (a euth-as-a-last-resort only shelter, with a very good record of placement and a strong advocate for responsible pit ownership):

    38 dogs
    7 chihuahuas (I also counted "pug/min pin" as a chi)
    5 pits and pit crosses
    No Goldens today, and no shelties either (whew).

    PAWS counts about 20% of their dogs as pits (over a year).

    Something to know: (I know this from foster-homing shelter dogs for several years) a pit might languish unadopted in a shelter for weeks or months, but I can find a good home for an ugly elderly incontinent chihuahua in about 3 hours. They don't stay in shelters very long, and they don't eat much so they aren't much of a burden for shelters to keep...and if a chi bites somebody, they can slap it off like a mosquito.

  42. Longmont Humane Society- most of their dogs are pits.

    I like the position you are taking on this issue. I will admit that I was on the "pitties have no issues" side about two months ago. Then I had one left in my yard- inside my FENCED yard. I have never actually owned a pit before.

    I learned that what you are saying is very true. She was amazingly sweet and loving towards humans and submissive to my dogs at first. She never varied in her affection towards humans (she bonded very quickly to me in particular), but she and one of my dogs started to not agree with each other. My dog started it the first time and kicked the pit's butt. The second time Athena (pit) attacked Murph (my dog) for no apparent reason. They were playing and then they weren't.

    We kept them separated after that and I rehomed her with a person who had no other dogs and had owned pits in the past.

    You are absolutely right about what a dog is bred to do. A lab will retrieve, a border collie will herd, and a husky will pull.

  43. Small town: 4 dogs, 2 pits and 2 Chi's

  44. Prince Albert Sask. Spca,
    20 dogs
    (19 if the lab's adoption goes through)though he looks suspiciously bully to be a lab..... He's a mix.
    4 pitbull/staffi/mastiff types

    No goldens or chihauhas mostly large mixes and a handful of small hairy mixes.

    I was really surprised to see that many pit bull types in there. They aren't as common up here because they don't have enough hair to deal with our nasty winters.... Might just be random luck for todays poll. most of the time this Spca is full of rotti shepard collie or lab mixes with a handful of husky cross failed sled dogs.... Hmmm go figure.

  45. Sorry Mugwump, should have specified: all sanctuaries I mention are in Malta. Probably should have emailed you the results of the Noah's Ark sanctuary - my mistake.

  46. oldredhorse, and ladyfarrier,
    I definitely am on board with the idea that most owners do not know how to appropriately read their dog, but at the same time, these are dogs, not hand grenades, for every dog that ends up injuring someone, there are thousands of dogs who never hurt a fly despite clueless, oblivious, and not always even well-meaning owners.

    "Sometimes even the most experienced person misses the signs," BUT "There are no surprise attacks" ????????

    As you said, no one holds a gun to anyone's head and forces them to own a dog. The fact that the dog might surprise you someday is a risk you take.

  47. @ponyfan - hee hee :) What I meant was, it might be a surprise to me, but it wouldn't surprise someone who is more observant than me. I could tell many stories about horse owners aMAZed by the crazy thing their horse TOTally surprised them with. Bu I knew the end of the story before they were halfway through telling it simply because, due to my experience and knowledge of horses, I know horses better than they do. And I will probably be surprised again in my lifetime by something a horse does (I'm counting on it!!), but the more experienced person witnessing the even will tell me that they saw it coming and wonder why I was such an idiot :D