Letters to the editor Lahontan Valley News: Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Can dogs just simply be dogs?
Humans seem to naturally and habitually attempt to identify dog breed based strictly on sight. This can be difficult because according to Wisdom Health’s website, physical appearance in dogs is largely controlled by a small number of genes, only about 2 percent.
It is also important to understand dominant versus recessive genes. Dogs can inherit a trait through one dominant gene, but need two recessive genes to do the same.
There is a common belief that dogs of certain breed will express the same behaviors. Such generalizations are false and, when it comes to saving lives, can actually be dangerous.
A study done found that dogs with pit bull labels waited over three times as long to be adopted compared to look-alikes that were unlabeled or labeled as other breeds. This label also condemns them in numerous communities, and higher insurance premiums or no insurance.
These findings are at the center of discussions with animal welfare about doing away with breed labels entirely, except in cases where dogs are known to come from pure bloodlines. A number of shelters that are not labeling found that the adopting public isn’t asking why the breed references are missing. They found what people really want to know is which dog is the best fit for their family.
Those who are speaking out against this change in labeling practices often contend that shelters are trying to trick people into adopting more pit bulls. This assumes that without labels, dogs will suddenly behave or look differently. Dogs will continue being the same dogs no matter what you call them. Safety doesn’t come from a visually assigned breed label. Furthermore, studies show that removing all breed labels can have a positive impact on all dogs.