Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are you or Aren't you a pit bull?

In some towns, you don't want your pit bull to look like a pit bull for fear that the law will take him away from you. So you might convince yourself that he's a boxer mix. You know who you are (and we don't blame you one bit). In other places, you might convince yourself that your lab-mix is really a pit bull, because he's much too cool to be a lab - and who wants a lab when you can have a pit bull? (Yeah, we know who you are too)

In Oakland, we want our dogs to look like pit bulls. I'm trying to decide if this dog is pit bully enough to qualify for the seal of pit bull approval. In other words, could someone who adopted this dog brag about having a pit bull, or would they be forever defending their right to own a rottie-mix?

This one is tough. He's the perfect example why breed ID is a big joke....

...American Bulldogs can look like pit bulls can look like boxer mixes can look like chessies can look like mixed-breed anybody's-guess dogs.

I liked this orphaned boy so much that I tried to convince myself that he's a misrepresented tri pit bull so he could come home with me.

We live, sleep, eat and breathe pit bulls and we still scratch our heads over half the dogs we meet - like this one. He could be a full breed tri-color pit bull ... or 50/50 rottie/pit mix ... or he might not have one speck of pit bull in him at all. Who's to say?

I was doing a pretty good job of it until an animal control officer at the shelter guffawed and said, "What are you doing with that dog?"

Um...well...He could be a pit bull you know! Maybe.



At the end of the day, all we have to fall back on is personality. Is it a solid dog with a penchant for staring you deep in the eye and declaring you the one and only most important human being on the planet?

Well then, that would make him a pit bull. Maybe.

Please tell me what you think. Yay pit bull? or No way Jose?



EDIT: Thankfully, this boy was adopted from the shelter so we never had to come up with a label for him - although we might've done his DNA just for yuks. Here's a blog post about another tri-color dog that did come through our program. With tri-s being a new sought after coat color - Read: FAD - dogs that look just like this are turning up fairly regularly in shelters now. Unfortunately nothing seems to change: No matter the look, fad coat colors still tend to attract buyers who lose interest as soon as something different comes into fashion. And so it goes... Tri-fad Boy

Can't decide? You're not alone. This poster from the National Canine Research Council might explain why people (including the media and shelters, too) have never been able to identify dog breeds based on their appearance. POSTER

74 comments:

Jackelyn said...

Hmmm, there's something in that smile. A pit smile is a beautiful thing and he has it!

Anonymous said...

Is he a love-slut, as you would say Donna? Does he do zoomies or does he have zoomie-potential? Can you assess his 'clown' attributes or potential to be a 'clown'? In terms of looks, he does look like rott-pit mix, but who cares? If you like him and think he has potential, take 'em home!

Dina

Anonymous said...

My hubby and I discussed this ...Those ears (I love those ears LOL) and the leg structure make us think that yes, he has some "Pit Bull" in there. Beautiful boy....

Caveat said...

It's hard to tell his size or see his body shape or his coat type, but he could have some APBT of the backyard variety in there. He wouldn't win any prizes but that's true of most of us, including yours truly.

On the other hand, he could be a Dogue de Bordeaux crossed with a Rott, JRT or Beagle type.

Since there's no such thing as a 'pit bull' per se, it's up to you to call him what you like.

He's a mutt. Looks like a good one, too.

Here in Ontaristan where persecution and second-class status are the order of the day, I'd probably call him a Rott/Boxer cross or if he's small, a Beagle/Boston or Beagle/Frenchie mix.

Anonymous said...

That smile looks all pit bull to me! Either way he's a looker. Good luck with him!

Donna said...

Somehow I knew Dina would tell me to take him home. ;-)

But will adopters have the same reaction? And what about the sweet guy that looks pert-near full breed in the kennel next door?

I added a third photo so the judges could see his ear set. And will try to snap body shot for Caveat.

Playing god gets to be a group decision this week.

Anonymous said...

He could be an Olde English Bulldogge. I have one and she looks just like the one you have there. The tri color in this breed is rare but is possible because any color is acceptable. This dog looks just like mine at home. Donna, you thought my girl looked like a tri color pit bull too when I showed you pictures at camp. Check out this breed (they are making a comeback) and tell me what you think....

kcdogblog said...

Whatever he is he's a looker. I love him -- looks like he has some of the best attributes of both breeds.

I'd bet he's a 50/50 mix...although the last dog I did that with before we sent off the DNA samples turned out to contain neither breed I had guessed...

angela said...

I'm no expert but he looks like a pit bull to me. He's got that sweet bully smile going on, that's for sure. I love tri color pit bulls!

Shihtzu Staff said...

The first thing I thought when I saw him was that he had the pittie smile. I vote for some pittie in him.

Caveat said...

I love the way you have highlighted how tough it is to decide whether or not a dog is a 'pit bull'. Now, imagine you're a guy in animal control and have to make the call. The people here seem pretty experienced.

It's impossible. If the dog isn't chipped or tattooed, he's technically not a purebred dog.

If he's a mutt, there really is no objective way to determine his ancestry - it's all about looks alone.

What an awful situation we find ourselves in these days, where a dog's physical appearance can condemn him to death and his behaviour (or his owner's)isn't even on the table.

Now that I see he is relatively small and racy, I'm changing my opinion. He could have some APBT in there.

He looks like a very nice dog, of that I'm certain!

Paw Print said...

He really does have the pittie smile so I vote for some pit.

If I was looking to adopt a pit bull I would definitely consider him!!!!!

I think he is very hansom!

Leesa said...

I personally see pit bull in him...a lot. :) He has that beautiful pit bull smile.

It's a hard call though - and I don't envy your position at all in having to choose or decide.

In the end - his temperament, if he's a love slut - should win out more than anything.

Mac`s Gang said...

First picture-RottieX
2nd picture-He`s got that "Pittie" grin
3rd picture-Rottie/Heinz57
It depends on whether some AC is targeting him for death!

It`s sad that it even matters.

Fun to guess when the dog in question is not facing death or is this one facing death?

Have you read about the Rambo saga in Ontario?
This one IS facing death in Ontario!
http://jmac53.bravejournal.com/entry/26392

What is he?
Is he "substantially similar" to Ontario`s 3 banned breeds?
Should he be killed even if he is?

jenny said...

...with a big bully grin like that? No question in my mind! What a cutie, I hope you take him!

Donna said...

Much agreed, Caveat.

How I wish we could see photo records of the dogs being (mis)identified as pit bulls in Ontario and Denver.

Until people see the faces of the dogs that are being culled for their looks, the world will assume that animal control knows how to ID.

Anonymous said...

Well, as a lifelong pitbull-cross owner, I vote for pit-enough. With that grin??? How can we ask.

And yes. How absolutely absurd that people judge on looks rather than temperament. Everyone would have a fit if PEOPLE were judged that way, by law. What nonsense!

He's a keeper, that's for sure.

Jean in Seaside, Ca

Anonymous said...

That second photo and the ear set totally gives the pitty away! If I passed that dog on the street I would absolutely think he was a pit - just lookie at that huge smile! :)

Jessica in Los Angeles

kari in alaska said...

That smile is all pittie. I love him. Absolutely adorable.

Anonymous said...

unless behavior decrees otherwise, it's a pit bull, maybe a mix. Pit bull behavior is WAY different from Rottie behavior, so that will be the telling factor.

A very nice tri color pit bull. Which are actually rare, unlike "blue" (eyes rolling), which is why most people will assume it's a Rott. Though there are other tri breeds as well -- Australian shepherd mix, anyone???

Hanna said...

If he were any other color, like all black, all tan, I would definately say pit.... So I vote Pitty Bull.

Luisa said...

Gah, I love him. If his temperament is the best, then he looks pit bull enough, if you ask me. How much does he weigh, I wonder... He reminds me of a pit/heeler mix I saw one time: great little dog.

Anonymous said...

He looks like a perfect blend of Pittie/Rottie to me. And definitely pittie enough for BR. Plus, he's so distinctive looking that he'll attract fans no matter what -- as long as he has that pittie love slut temperament, of course!

Anonymous said...

Hey this pup looks like a North SOuthern Florida Pitbull. Please take a look at Tatonka Kennels at www.ampit.com and look at some of the hall of fame dogs. I have seen this breeders dogs at many FLorida weight pull competitions and they seem to have great temperment and they LOVE TO WORK!! Diane Jessup from WORKINGPITBULL.COM has obtained a few to try out at LAWDOG.com. So my vote is 99.9 proabably a pitbull. Crystal in FLorida

jophillips said...

I definitely see more pit bull than anything else. He is too small to be a Rottweiler mix as the dominate breed. He may have some Rottweiler, but pit bull definitely outweighs Rottweiler. The coloring could be Beagle, or just a non standard tricolor pit bull. I worked and volunteered in animal control for several years, and there are more people there who couldn't see a pit bull or mix if they tried. Some have real breed identification skills, but most don't. I certainly wouldn't rely on an ACO as the determining factor, and I was an ACO and worked with many who absolutely no breed identification skills. If the temperament falls in the qualifying range I would consider him for your program.

pitbullwub said...

My immediate feeling is that he is a Pit and I do say that with confidence. Hey Pits come in all shapes and sizes including colors as well. I really don't think he has Rottweiler in him just by going by his coloring, I mean wouldn't he be a little bit bigger if he did? I like the Pits that come in interesting colors that you don't see a lot. It really makes picture taking of cool dogs so much more fun!

Anonymous said...

My vote goes a long with every body else, I say PIT mix. I was thing Pit rot mix but I think the other s are right if he was a rot mix he'd be bigger, however i do own a lab rot mix that's 70 pounds. i say it's anybody's guess. I think if the temperament passes than take him. I think he's outstandingly beautiful, but I've never seen a pit that I don't think is beautiful! don't question yourself, go with your heart, you picked him for a reason and I say go with it!
have a great day!

Mary said...

He screamed "Pit Bull mix" to me, upon first glance. Would have to see a stacked, front, and rear shots, though to make a better judgement.

AdoptedAPBTs said...

With those beautiful almond shaped eyes, and that ear set he must have some pitty in him.
If he does the full body wiggle and has a bulldog heart he's bully dog enough for us.
And what will adopters think?
He's not your first tri-color. And for what it's worth I would take him home in a heartbeat.

Midwestern Bully Love :)

Anonymous said...

I've met at least five deliberate and definite 50/50 ABPT and Rottweiler mixes, where each parent was, at least according to the owners, purebred Rottweiler or purebred pit bull. (In one case, purebred BLUENOSE PIT, thankyouverymuch!)

He doesn't look like any of these dogs, though if you had body/profile shots that would be helpful (more photos please! He's adorable). All of them had a little bit longer coats, and much more Rottie-sjaped bodies. All of them were much larger than it looks like this dog is. All of them looked like Rottweiler-pit bull mixes. All but one had tan coats with black noses. The other one was dark 'n smutty, with slight tan points.

He might be a mix, but I don't think he's a Rottweiler mix. Imagine him black, or blue, or brindle. Lots of breeds can have tan points, and mixing a dog with tan points like a Rottweiler or Doberman or Aussie with a dog of a different color doesn't mean the colors will blend like paint. Although a lot of people who meet my dog ask me if he's half red Doberman. (Yes, that's why he's so tall, svelte, and leggy with a delicate small head. Oh, wait.)

Donna said...

The comments have been fascinating. I agree that y'all need to see full body shots and will work on that tomorrow; maybe a little movie so you can view his gait and personality too. Thanks so much.

Portuguese Guy said...

From the second photo im guessing it's a pitbull mix. The smile and the eyes leaves no doubts for me.

Anonymous said...

What a handsome young man! I definetly agree he has that Pittie smile. I hope you consider him for a spot in your great program. It is so nice to see such positive comments from other fellow Pittie lovers. Keep up the great work, and good luck to this handsome young guy!

Bunny said...

no mistaking that pitty grin!!

amber said...

I see a pit smile.

Rachel said...

Pitt Rottie mix but when he puts his funny ears down, he's all Pit headed boy. Gorgeous sweetheart!

-Rachel, OAS Dog Volunteer

pooparella said...

I did a little experiment [with a program remotely like Photoshop,] and "dyed" this little guy a smutty brown with his white
splash-y chest, and he looked an awful lot like a pit bull or pit mix to me! It would be easier to tell with more information, as has been mentioned, but try this experiment yourself and I think you'll have your answer. I presume that since you've done so much contemplation thus far, he's got a "pitty personality?" He's friggin' adorable, whatever he is!

mere-bystander said...

I see enough pit-bull-like features. In fact, the only thing that really tells me otherwise is the coloring...(which makes no real sense, but... whatever!)

I'd say definitely some pit in him!

(It's the smile, really...)

jyackley01 said...

What a gorgeous dog! How about a Rottabull or a Pitweiler?

Anonymous said...

Pittie all the way!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a tri-color pittie to me. And he's GORGEOUS!

1britlisa said...

He is a gorgeous boy and I have a girl who looks very similar. I to am confused as to what she is...sometimes I say she's a Pit and sometimes I say a Pit/Rot mix. She was a wandering girl off the streets of Detroit, and now she has been a couch potato in the burbs for the last 8 years! Who knows what they really are, as long as they are loved!

Anonymous said...

definitely looks like a tri-color to me. and as someone else said, he's got that one of a kind pit bull "smile". beautiful dog. we have pits and they are the dog of all dogs! they are so much fun and so loving! we recieve alot of negative response when we are out with our pits. sad to me that people can't "step out of the box" of stereotyping! but the love, loyalty, and companionship we get from our dogs by far outweighs the negativity of some people! best of luck to you and your new-found friend!

Kris said...

He looks like a little bit of Rottie and a little bit of pit bull to me.

That huge, wide, open-mouthed grin is one of the signals that just says "pit bull" to me. I'm not sure I've ever seen a non-bully breed that could make a face like that. It's the kind of mouth you could stick your whole hand in (then pull it out covered in slobber) and the dog would just grin at you the whole time.

There are some subtleties in the shape of the head particularly that make me think he's probably part Rott too, but he could just as easily be purebred APBT or some bully mix or some jumble of several very different breeds.

He's cute no matter what he is, though. :)

Emi said...

He is soooo a pit with those ears and body shape...he's beautiful! I want to take him home to my other pits. Your lucky to have such a fine looking pit.

Rhino's Mom said...

I'd say he looks like a mix between Booker and Rhino: Tri-colored American Bull/Pitt. He sure is a cutie.

Lucy said...

That smile--he's definitely got some pit in him! Unmistakable. Whatever he is, though, he's 100% gorgeous! I want to take him home myself...

Anonymous said...

pit bull for sure - smutty tricolor.

Anonymous said...

Look at that pittie smile. :) I vote for pit mix.

lori said...

i say there is no doubt he's a pit! like everyone else said the smile clinches it

christina said...

I really think his Rottie, American Bulldog mix. With mostly Rottie, because i have a full blood Rottie who looks just like him Except the ears, and my rottie's father is all rottie weighs about 95 lbs and looks just like him.
i guess i'd have to ask how much he weighs, and how he acts to be sure, I don't own i pit Yet, my mother won't let me have one in it house, so i settled for a rottie, but when i move the first thing i'm gonna do is go to the shelter
and start looking.
Good luck finding out.

christina said...

PIT-BOXER MIX! says my best friend.

christina said...

PIT-BOXER MIX! says my best friend.

animal lover said...

i have a pit bull and a Chihuahua, and they love one another..shes mean to my pit but all said and done she does go to bed in his arms. that dog there looks alot like a pit but heres the thing..theres so many different kind and mixes. i say call him whatever makes you and him happy. i love my pit bull! BAN STUPID PEOPLE NOT DOGS!!!

Anonymous said...

I can say with 100% certainty that he has pit-bull in him, his face I think would be a little thinner than it is if he was full pit-bull. My best guess is that he is a Rott/Pit-bull mix, but I am just going by color and build. I work at an animal shelter and I can say that the pit-bulls that we get here some of the sweetest dog we have! I almost adopted a Rott/Pit-Bull mix this week from the shelter but someone got to her before I could! I also have a lab/pit-bull mix that is around 5 years old and he is the best dog I have ever owned, he is nice to everybody he meets and great with other dogs.

Anonymous said...

I will tell you he is beautiful and I have a rottie and a tri pitbull and he sures looks like my tri pitbull. He is gorgeous. But you never know that is so true. If I seen him I would sure love to take him home he is a sure keeper. :)

Garth said...

Most likely, pits come from the smaller (now) cradley heath dogs of england (staffs), some of them have been tri-colour.

Anonymous said...

Yes he has pit in him and he is a very handsome guy! I have two female pits of my own and they are such wonderful dogs!

Cindy said...

I have one that looks almost identical to yours. The vet said he was probably half rottie and half pit, and he does look it. Rusty is almost a year now, he wandered into our yard about 4 months ago and just never left. He is such a lover and attention getter...how can you not love a dog that shows you so much love back! Good luck with your dog!
(see my video of Rusty on Utube)

sugah7 said...

I think most peopel label him a mix because they are not use to seeing tri-colored pit bulls... one of my favorite things about pit bulls is they come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. This looks like a full pit bull.. that doesn't he is. There is no way of knowing. I have a full blooded tri-colored pit bull that looks similar.

Anonymous said...

there is pit in there for sure... but will say he's a "Rox-bull"

callum said...

This dog looks very much like my dog, he has the same shape head same coat and the white marking on his chest, but my dog was this size at about 1 year old he has a lot bigger body now though he ways in at 7st now but its not fat, can anybody tell me what breed my dog could be, mail me back at lewis_arsenal28@hotmail.co.uk if you know ta

Anonymous said...

Thats a tri-color pitty.

Mine gets mistaken for a rotty-mix all the time, ebony black with brindle muzzle and brindle paws, with a tiny bit of white.

Hehehehe you gotta love a pretty pitty smile :)

Stacey said...

I have a full blooded american pitt bull terrier with papers that looks exactly like this and lately all my friends have me doubting whether or not her papers are real but seeing your dog really has put my mind at ease I am sure yours is definatley a pitt!!!!!

Aaron said...

Looks pit bull to me. Gorgeous, regardless of his label. I believe that mine is a pit/boxer mix (he's tall and heavy for a full pit, short and muscular for a boxer). People always ask what kind of dog he is, I've gotten into the habit of answering "a really good one". (b/c really, they know he's a pit...)

Anonymous said...

My dog has the exact same markings nose split ears eyes n everything that dog has no pit in him hes american bulldog n boxer mix i can almost guarantee it

Anonymous said...

Id have to say full tricolor pure bred, for numerous reasons, one his gowls are tight to his jaw line unlike mix breed pits, american bulls or rotweilers. second he has typical front facing rose ears dominant in purebred pits, third his leg and paw structure very muscular slendar front legs with tright paws no splay, also two common differences between pits and rotties, third, most pitweilers have a red, red brindle, or solid black and tan coat, the white patch is disticnt in purebred tricolors pits.

Lauren said...

I bred my pit and my rottie and the result looks just like this!!! Hes gorgeous!!

Lucky13 said...

To me all I see (besides just a straight up BEAUTIFUL dog) is a Rottie colored Pittie :)

Mike Sweeney said...

Come on that's Standard Poodle all the way!!

Who cares!! What a good looking pup!!

Anonymous said...

He looks like a beautiful Pitbull mixed with some Rottie.

Anonymous said...

I am a proud owner of a blue tri color pure bred APBT (shown in ukc conformation) and I believe he is mostly pit bull. The base color is questionable, I don't think I've ever seen a seal tri (which he appears to look like in his photos) but I agree, the smile is 100% pittie.

Im so excited he was adopted, he looks like he would be an amazing pet!

secondchild said...

I have a black/brown on white brindle..I think she might have a little bit of Catahoula in her...my vet, the angel that he is, just puts "Terrier" on her records. He makes it a point to NEVER put pit bull on any dog records as a matter of practice..and he willingly does behavior assessments if asked, at no charge. Bless his heart..those little things make a huge difference..but people still have their issues.
She has never been classified officially as a pit bull and it has saved me a lot of liability headaches..
Her smile gives her away, clearly though she is Amstaff in some measure.
I don't really care. I love her and she will live her entire life in our family, regardless of her bad habits..as any chosen dog should.

Dana Doyle said...

I too have a tri color pit or rotti/pit mix i dont care what she is i got her because the craigslist ad said pit bull mix :) and the girl didnt even have much info on her background due to her being found in a box on the side of The road :( i just want To know what she is for my own knowledge she doesnt have any rotti features other than the color ... i dont care what anyone has to say or what looks i Get shes an amazing companion and best friend to My little family ... <3