Domesticated dogs have been described as a “genetic cocktail” due to the variety and diversity of breeds. Every breed was developed by humans to serve specific helper roles such as hunting or herding. Dogs are bred for physical traits as well as for consistent temperaments. Some breeds are naturally more independent or aloof while others are friendlier. You’ll want to choose a breed known for being affectionate with people if you’re looking for a companion or service dog.
Dogs desired for companionship and partnership with humans were bred to reduce the natural instincts of predation, dominance and aggression which are heritable traits. According to Michael D. Breed in his article What is the Basis for Aggression in Dogs?:
Certain breeds have been selected for enhanced dominance and aggression. Pit bulls and Rottweilers currently receive the most public attention in this regard, and pit bulls have been banned in many locations because they are perceived as being dangerous. While advocates of these breeds claim that maltreatment is a more likely underlying cause of the kind of aggression leading to biting incidents (some of which involve human fatalities), in fact we know that personality is fairly unresponsive to environment.
Working from Stanley Coren’s dog intelligence study, Hellmuth Wachtel categorized dog breeds into these groups of heritable trainability:
Any companion or service dog must have a high level of bite inhibition. Puppies should be tested for aggression and dominance, as well for other personality traits, because you cannot change your dog’s genetic blueprint. What you get from your dog’s breeder is what you will have to work with. That’s why it’s so important to research and locate a breeder able to show success in breeding dogs suitable for service work or companionship.
Geneticists emphasize what we see as one heritable behavior actually results from a complex interaction of multiple genes. For this reason it is important that working dogs must be bred for their purpose at every generation otherwise the combination of genes required to produce the desired behavior may become separated, and subsequently lost.
Never underestimate puppy aggression; it is a good indicator of what to expect from the dog as an adult. Since pit bulls and Rottweilers are the most likely to kill people, they are not suitable choices.
Body language signs of an aggressive puppy:
CASE STUDY: The Russian Fox Study
A fifty year study by a Russian scientist hypothesized that breeding “for tameness and against aggression would result in hormonal and neurochemical changes, since behavior was ultimately rooted in biology. It could be that the genetic differences that led to the morphological changes that biologists noticed in domesticated dogs (particularly, they noticed differences in fur coloration, and increased skull size relative to body size) were related to the genetic changes that underlied the behavioral temperament that they selected for (tameness and low aggression). He believed that he could investigate some of the questions about domestication by attempting to domesticate wild foxes. Belyaev and his colleagues took wild silver foxes (a variant of the red fox) and bred them, with a strong selection for inherent tameness.”
“And so it was that selecting for a single behavioral characteristic – tameness (or, put another way, selecting against fear and aggression) – resulted in changes not only in behavior, but also in correlated and unselected physical and physiological changes.”
“In the middle of the 19th century, there was a family of pit dogs in Ireland that were known as the ‘Old Family’. At that time, all the strains were closely inbred. Being a small genetic pool of that type, it was likely to have a slide toward the recessive traits, because the dominants, once discarded, were never recaptured. Since red is recessive to all colors but white, the ‘Old Family’ eventually became the ‘Old Family Reds’. When the dogs began coming to America, they were beginning to show the red nose.
Many strains have been crossed with the Old Family Reds at some time in their existence. Consequently, nearly any strain will occasionally throw a red-nosed pup.
To many dog owners, these red-nosed individuals are Old Family Red Noses even though the great preponderance of their blood is that of other strains. Sometimes such individuals will fail to measure up and thereby reflect undeserved discredit on the red-nosed strain. Originally renowned for its gameness, some of the most reputable breeders in all Pit Bull history such as Lightner, McClintock, Menefee and Wallace have contributed to the preservation and development of the strain.”
Below are some videos showing very young puppies displaying their inherited behavior.
MORE ARTICLES ON THE FASCINATING TOPIC OF CANINE GENETICS
As noted by Dr. Stanley Coren, based on numerous reputable studies on the topic, people who own “high risk” or dangerous dog breeds, notably the pit bull, are more likely to commit violent crimes than owners of non-risky breeds, like nanny dog breeds.
Just recently two such examples have emerged:
John McAfee – The founder of McAfee anti-virus software was arrested for unlicensed drug manufacturing and possession of an unlicensed weapon at his home in Belize in April 2012.
Within months of being released, he was then sought out as a “person of interest” in connection to the November 2012 murder of his neighbor, American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull.
McAfee fled to Guatemala where he requested political asylum and was denied. While in custody he faked a heart attack to buy time for his attorney to file an appeal that ultimately blocked his deportation back to Belize where he is wanted for questioning in the Faull murder. He is now in Portland, Oregon.
McAfee’s neighbors in Belize had reported his vicious pit bull dogs to authorities, and after some of his dogs died, presumably due to poisoning, he blamed his now deceased neighbor Gregory Faull. A day after the two neighbors exchanged words about the pit bulls, Faull was found shot to death.
Dean Barrow, the prime minister of Belize has referred to McAfee as “extremely paranoid, even bonkers”.
In his own words, McAfee himself does not use McAfee anti-virus software stating, “It’s too annoying”. Nanny Dog recommends that PC users download the 100% free Microsoft Security Essentials program from Microsoft instead of contributing to criminal McAfee’s millions.
Read more at http://cravendesires.blogspot.com/search?q=mcafee
Oscar Pistorius – South African double-amputee Olympic running star “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius was arrested for the Valentine’s Day 2013 shooting murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Neighbors reported they heard shouting before the gunshots. Pistorius does not deny shooting his girlfriend but claims he mistakenly thought it was an intruder using his bathroom.
Previously, in 2009, Pistorius had been charged with assault by South African police for slamming a door on a woman at his home.
Pistorius has been described as a reckless risk taker, citing a boat accident in 2009 which put him into hospital intensive care unit. Confirmed in a People magazine article, US journalist Michael Sokolove recalls that Pistorius had “a frenetic aspect about him” and enjoyed “driving fast fealessly, riding his dirt bike, driving his speedboat” and that he was involved in several “exotic” business ventures including race horses and white tigers.
It is noteworthy that Dr. Coren’s article on the personality characteristics of dangerous dog owners concludes that as a group they are more careless and more likely to engage in self-defeating behaviors than low risk dog owners.
And now Oscar’s brother, Carl Pistorius, is being charged with culpable homicide charge for a 2008 road rage death of a female motorcyclist.
Former football player turned actor turned violent criminal O.J. Simpson owned another fighting dog breed, an Akita.
In his excellent article, author Dr. Stanley Coren, sums up findings from numerous studies about the personality type of people who choose to own aggressive and potentially dangerous dogs.
The findings confirmed that owners of “high risk” or dangerous dog breeds are:
- significantly more likely to commit violent criminal behavior, compared to other large dog owners, small dog owners, and people who did not own dogs at all
- more careless, selfish and have strong manipulative tendencies
- engaged in more self-defeating behaviors than the low risk dog owners
- much more accepting of the maltreatment or abuse of animals than was found for owners of low risk dog breeds
Read the full article here:
As evidence, here is a current story involving an owner of high risk dogs:
This man had his unleashed pit bulls in an Atlanta park. The dogs aggressively approached two women (one pregnant) and their children, and the owner then told the kids to go away somewhere else because his pit bulls were there first. The women politely asked him to leash his dogs and take them away, and he flew into a rage. One woman began recording his verbal assault with her cell phone which he slapped out of her hands.