SCORES & OUTDOORS – Dogs: breed or trainer?

Wolf hybrid dog: Public enemy No. 1?

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Although I don’t usually write about domestic pets, here is something that came across my desk last week that I must share with my readers, especially where it deals with a very sensitive subject when it comes to the family canine.

Each week seems to bring a fresh headline featuring a dog attack, stirring public debate and concern. This trend has led authorities in recent years to implement breed-specific legislation, with measures that often include bans or severe restrictions on certain breeds, notably pit bulls, rottweilers, dobermans, and other large breeds. These laws have sparked a counter-argument among large breed enthusiasts who contend that it’s not the dogs that are inherently dangerous, but rather the training and treatment they receive from their owners. In response to this debate, movements advocating for responsible dog ownership have gained momentum across the country, presenting a humane alternative to breed-specific bans.

Personal injury law firm Bisnar Chase undertook a comprehensive study to examine this contentious issue. Their goal was to gauge whether public skepticism is directed more towards the so-called ‘dangerous’ breeds or the owners who may fail to provide proper training. They surveyed 3,000 people, asking them to reflect on their personal encounters and identify the dog breed owners in Maine they find least trustworthy.

Public Perception Rankings: The Breeds and Their Owners

#1 Wolf-Hybrids: In first place are owners of wolf-hybrids. Known for their close genetic ties to wild wolves, these canine owners face skepticism due to the unpredictable nature often associated with these animals. The debate continues on whether their wild instincts can be entirely domesticated.

#2 Pit Bulls: Next up are Pit Bull owners who are perceived as the second least trustworthy in Maine, a stigma fueled by media portrayals and controversial headlines. However, advocates argue that pit bulls can be among the most loyal and affectionate breeds when raised in a loving environment.

#3 Rottweilers: The third least trusted dog owners are those who own rottweilers. Owners of this German breed are often met with skepticism. Despite the breed’s capacity for loyalty and guardianship, the imposing nature of rottweilers can be intimidating if not paired with rigorous and consistent training.

Following these two breeds, I have to interject personal experience. My granddaughter has had both a pitbull and rottweiler. Both dogs, although loyal and highly protective, are two of the most gentle dogs I have ever encountered. The pitbull is no longer with us, but the “rottie”, at five years old, will lick you to death when greeting you. He will actually get up on his hind legs, put his front paws on your shoulders, and give you a “hug” before smothering you with affection.

#4 German Shepherds: German Shepherds are fourth on the list among Mainers, which may surprise some given their esteemed role in police and service work. Nevertheless, the breed’s strong protective instincts can be misinterpreted as aggression, highlighting the need for thorough training and socialization.

Again, personal experience tells me it’s the training. Although this was a state police canine, when not at work, he was as gentle as a family pet could be.

#5 Bullmastiffs: Known for their strength and protective nature, Bullmastiffs can be gentle giants under the guidance of a firm, caring owner.

#6 Alaskan Malamutes: Similar to Siberian huskies in their thick fur and robust build, Alaskan Malamute owners are challenged to meet their high exercise needs, often a point of contention for those unfamiliar with the breed.

#7 Siberian Huskies: Taking the seventh spot, Siberian Husky owners often face trust issues from the public, largely due to the breed’s independent nature and resemblance to wolves. Owners must actively work to channel the breed’s energy and intelligence in positive ways.

#8 Doberman Pinschers: In the eighth position, Doberman Pinschers and their owners are often viewed warily. Historically bred for protection, these dogs can exhibit a powerful presence that demands an owner who is committed to their disciplined training.

#9 Boxers: At ninth, boxer owners are often perceived as having their hands full managing the high energy and playful antics of their pets. While boxers are generally friendly, their boisterous behavior requires dedicated training to manage effectively in public spaces.

#10 Akitas: Akitas carry a noble stature and a reserved temperament, and while they can be fiercely loyal, they require an owner who understands the nuances of the breed to prevent aggressive tendencies.

I have had my share of large dogs in my life, and I have to attest, and go along with the position, it’s not the breed but the upbringing. When getting a dog, know the breed, and do your homework as to their nature and best training regiment.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

What was the lowest scoring Super Bowl?

New England Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53, following the 2018 season.


Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!

If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?

The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.

To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *