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2024 Nationwide Study on Dog Breed vs. Owner Reputation

Public Paw-ception: Nationwide Dog Breed Study

As a California law firm specializing in dog bite injury claims, Bisnar Chase conducted a nationwide study to determine if people least trust the dog breed or the owner. Which states decided which dog they least trusted, but is it because of the breed or the owner?

Findings: Public Paw-ception – Pitbull Owners Are the Least Trusted Among All Dog Breeds, Reveals Survey.

Each week seems to bring a fresh batch of headlines featuring dog attacks, stirring up 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 counterargument 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 nationwide, presenting a humane alternative to breed-specific bans.

Bisnar Chase undertook a comprehensive study to examine this contentious issue. We aimed to gauge whether public skepticism is directed more towards the so-called ‘dangerous’ breeds or the owners who may fail to provide proper training. 

We surveyed 3,000 people, asking them to reflect on their personal encounters and identify the dog breed owners they found least trustworthy.

Public Perception Rankings: The Breeds and Their Owners

#1 Pit Bulls: Pit bull owners are the least trusted, according to media portrayals and contentious headlines. However, pit bull advocates argue that pit bulls can be among the most loyal and affectionate breeds when raised in a loving and well-trained environment. Many pit bulls are overbred, abused, and mistreated, and many don’t enjoy the life of an expensive purebred canine and are used for fighting.

#2 Wolf-Hybrids: The second least trusted dog owners are those with 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 about whether their wild instincts can be entirely domesticated.

#3 Rottweilers: Landing in third place, rottweiler owners 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.

#4 German Shepherds: German shepherds are fourth on the list, 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.

#5 Doberman Pinschers: In the fifth 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.

#6 Siberian Huskies: Taking the sixth spot, Siberian Husky owners face trust issues from the public, mainly due to the breed’s independent nature and resemblance to wolves. Owners must actively work to channel the breed’s energy and intelligence positively.

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

#8 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.

#9 Boxers: At ninth, boxer owners are often perceived as having their hands full managing their pets’ high energy and playful antics. 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.

Large Dog Breeds and Public Safety

As a personal injury law firm handling various large-breed dog attack cases, we have witnessed firsthand the complex issues surrounding large dog breeds and public safety. If given proper training and care, most dogs are not inherently a threat to public safety. The real issue arises when owners neglect their fundamental responsibility to train and socialize their pets. Owners can be held strictly liable if their dog bites someone, even if the dog has never bitten before. This means owners could face civil penalties and criminal charges in severe negligence cases.

Additionally, many state laws state that owners are responsible for any losses incurred by anyone whose dog bit them while lawfully in a public or private space. Dog owners must understand the gravity of these laws and the genuine consequences of an attack, which can include extensive fines, destruction of the animal, restitution, and even jail time. Responsible ownership is the cornerstone of preventing unnecessary harm and upholding the legal standards set forth by our community.