Louie's Law


Personality and Behavior Characteristics From Owners That Own Vicious Breeds

I am inserting a very good list of catagories  of people who own high risk breeds.  I am including the author.  I found it pretty much on the money.  Here is a post from FB.

Lesley Karen Luscombe Clarice; as and if and when you immerse yourself deeper into this subject of known dangerous dog breeds and their owners, you’re going to see all manner of ignorance, protectionism and heartless inhumanity.

To cut a long story as short as possible, they fall into roughly 6 main categories:-

1. The ones that know their pet dog is of a dangerous type, but who believe they are beast-masters and the dog is an individual that THEY can keep under control with love, training and socialisation. So long as THEIR dog hasn’t personally done anything wrong, it doesn’t COUNT if it is members of their chosen breed that is doing the most damage to people and pets.
2. The ones who don’t believe in Kill Shelters and who think that ALL life is viable, even the dogs that have mutilated or killed children; they will LIE and they will support fake ‘rehabs’ of these dangerous dogs, and then either push them out wilfully into the community OR they will adopt them themselves, hoarding them or keeping multiple dogs in their homes.
3. The ones that know their pet dog is of a dangerous type, and become ‘handlers’ rather than owners. The dogs are in the best hands with people like this. You don’t get many people like this. If ever.
4. The fur-mommies. The dog is a replacement or additional ‘child’. It’s just a love-bug, a meat-ball and a sweetheart. They’ll hear NO ill against it, even if it hurts someone. Some of them protect their fur-baby even when it has mauled their own human child.
5. The clueless ignoramuses who know nothing about dogs at all, least of all bred-for-purpose genetics.
6. The outlaw people in society; those that have trouble with personal human relationships, feel abandoned, let down, unmothered, angry, hurt, bullied, shy, aggressive, rogue. They choose a dog that matches their inner self, and often show some degree of pleasure in its gnarly behaviour. With women, the dog becomes a replacement ‘partner’ of some sort.

You’ll meet ALL of these types on-line as you get into this subject, but you’ll NEVER encounter anyone from category 3. I suspect you’ve already encountered a category 5 and have lost sweet Gizmo because of it.




Back in 1996 I conducted a study of over 6000 people in which I was able to show that a person’s personality predicted the breed of dog that they would most likely select and would be happy with. The data from that study formed the basis of my book Why We Love the Dogs We Do. That work stimulated the thinking of some psychologists and some decided to look specifically at the personality characteristics of dog owners that chose dog breeds with a high risk for aggression. Such dog breeds are often labeled as “vicious.” Definitions of a vicious dog vary among municipalities. Most animal control ordinances define a dog as “vicious” when the dog, without provocation, has bitten a human being or killed or maimed a domestic animal or if the dog is believed to be of a breed that has a high probability of such aggression. In addition, some breeds, namely Pit Bulls, may qualify as “vicious dogs” simply by reputation, not because a specific dog has behaved in a harmful manner.

Obviously some dogs do bite people and injuries caused by dog bites result in nearly one billion dollars worth of insurance claims annually. For this reason insurance companies have used statistics gather by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics and other sources of research to designate the breeds at highest risk for biting. Based on this data, many insurance companies refuse to issue homeowners insurance to owners of specific breeds of dogs considered ‘‘vicious’’ or high risk of causing injury. The six breeds or types of dogs most commonly identified as high risk for aggression are the Akita, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, Pit Bull (usually includes Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers), Rottweiler, and Wolf-hybrids.

In 2006, Jaclyn Barnes led headed a team of researchers in Cincinnati which looked at the behaviors of owners of high risk for aggression dog breeds. Specifically they collected data from the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in Ohio looking for evidence of criminal convictions.tough guy and dog

A total of 166 owners of high risk dogs were compared with 189 owners of low risk dogs. The high risk dog owners had nearly 10 times more criminal convictions than other dog owners. Breaking the data down by categories of criminal behavior they found that high risk dog owners were 6.8 times more likely to be convicted of an aggressive crime, 2.8 times more likely to have carried out a crime involving children, 2.4 times more likely to have perpetrated domestic violence, and 5.4 times more likely to have an alcohol related conviction when compared to low risk dog owners.

Since criminal behaviors are most often associated with particular personality patterns it was inevitable that some researchers would take the next step and determine if ownership of dog breeds that were considered to be high risk for aggression is associated with particular personality characteristics as well. Sure enough, a psychologist, Laurie Ragatz, led a team of researchers from West Virginia University and they have recently published their study in The Journal of Forensic Sciences.

In the West Virginia study data was collected data from 869 college students who completed an anonymous online questionnaire. It asked them about the type of dog that they owned, their history of criminal behaviors and attitudes towards animal abuse. In addition it took some measures of their personality including any some measures that are often associated with psychopathic tendencies. It’s only a correlational study but the results are thought provoking.

The first thing to note is that this recent research seems to confirm the earlier study by the Cincinnati team. A significant difference in criminal behavior was found based on dog ownership type. Owners of high risk dog breeds were significantly more likely to admit to violent criminal behavior, compared to large dog owners, small dog owners, and people who did not own dogs. The high risk dog breed owner sample also reported that they engaged in more types of criminal behavior compared to all other participant groups of criminal behavior (i.e., violent, property, drug, and status).

The interesting addition to our knowledge that that this study provides has to do with the personality characteristics of the high risk dog owners. In general high risk dog breed owners were significantly more likely to engage in sensation seeking and risky behaviors. As a group they were also more careless, selfish and had stronger manipulative tendencies. They also seemed to engage in more self-defeating behaviors than the low risk dog owners.

One final distressing finding suggests that the high risk for aggression dog breed owners did not appear to be as well bonded to their dogs as the other groups of dog owners. This conclusion comes from the fact that their attitudes were much more accepting of the maltreatment or abuse of animals than was found for owners of low risk for aggression dog breeds.

Obviously this is a just a correlational study, so one cannot conclude that all owners of high risk for aggression dogs show these negative personality characteristics. Take for example Helen Keller, the deaf blind advocate for the handicapped, who also owned an Akita. Walt Disney, Sigmund Freud and actress Uma Thurman all owned Chow Chows, while comedian Mel Brooks owned a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. None of these individuals appears to demonstrate criminal tendencies nor psychopathological personality characteristics. Still it is interesting that a higher percentage of people with certain negative behavioral and personality characteristics do seem to be attracted to owning dog breeds that are of higher risk for aggression

from Psychology Today





After his dog was attacked by a pit bull, Charles Leerhsen sparked outrage by writing the breed was a natural-born killer. He responds to his misinformed critics.
“The dog is a gentleman,” Mark Twain wrote in a letter to William Dean Howells. “I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.” I’m not sure if I’d want to spend eternity drinking from a toilet bowl, or eating the canned mystery meat cunningly marketed as Cowboy Cookout, but I recently got a taste of how un-gentle both men and women can be when you critique their choice of canines. In the two weeks since I wrote an article for The Daily Beast in which I described a vicious (but nonfatal) attack by a pit bull on my Wheaten terrier as I walked her on a nocturnal byway in Brooklyn, noted how much mayhem pit bulls cause on a daily basis, and pointed out that you should question the motives of pit bull owners at your own peril, I have personally felt the force of that breed’s blitzing defense.

By listing similar recent attacks in my earlier piece, I was labeled a racist by people who think that you cannot “slander” an entire breed based on “isolated incidents.”

The piece so far has drawn 400 comments on this site, most of them bitterly opposed to my position, and I received many emails and Facebook messages informing me that I was an idiot, a pussy, a fool, a wimp, a racist (more about that in a moment), a crybaby, a puppet of the left, a typical New Yorker, a Nazi, and an ignorant hack for suggesting that people like them were hypersensitive. A few insulted my dog Frankie (who’s much better now, thank you) who at that point was still limping around post-surgically and looking like the carpeting at the No-Tell Motel, saying she was “not the kind of animal I’d want guarding my property” and was “too stupid to defend herself”—a failing that of course led to the real tragedy here: more bad press for pit bulls. Gee, and I thought people only came to look like the dogs they favored.
• Get Rid of Pit Bulls I revisit this topic with trepidation, since the debate it has already sparked—yes, Frankie and I did have our share of supporters—has, with a few glorious exceptions, not been distinguished on either side by fineness of thought or expression. The people in my camp tend to come off as an unorganized but pop-culturally savvy bunch who for example knew, when the opposition tried to engender sympathy by noting that the dog in the Little Rascals comedies was a pit bull, that the pibald Petey was on record as having chomped a few of the child stars. Meanwhile, when it came to clichés and other low language, the pit-bullies stooped faster than a professional dog walker on Michael Bloomberg’s block, and they backed their claims that pit bulls were no more dangerous than, say, Chihuahuas, with sketchy studies (fabricated by pit bull lobbying groups, according to at least one commenter) and anecdotal evidence. They cited numerous occasions on which pit bulls did not rip out peoples’ Adam’s apples but instead snoozed or licked something or chose benevolently to limit themselves to guttural growls or leash-testing lunges which were easily eliminated once Gunther Gebel-Williams was flown in and given a few months to work his magic.

I think it said something about the minds working on the pit bulls’ behalf that Chihuahuas, that most tiresomely obvious of counterpoint breeds, came up early and often. The very first commenter said that he or she held a grudge against the little guys since being bitten by one at age 6 while on the way to school. A commenter called bobvious claimed that “more people have been bitten by Chihuahuas in my presence than any other breed.” Of course, such bites would not result in death or traumatic injury, as they often do with pit bulls—yet I will concede bobvious’ point if this witness to so much ankle abuse will promise to write a memoir.

Besides dragging in other dog breeds, many commenters who took umbrage at my remarks revealed that guns, automobiles, and alcohol are also capable of causing problems. To those people I say without hesitation that Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the largest city in Bolivia and that unless Jose Reyes stays healthy the Mets are doomed. None of these facts has anything to do with the fitness of pit bulls to live among people and other animals. Such blather does, however, take the focus off the inconvenient truth that pit bulls are always updating their bloody résumés. In the three or four days preceding this followup piece, pit bulls have seriously injured two young girls in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as children in Billings, Montana, Frederick, Maryland and Jersey City; they savagely attacked a couple of adults, too, and killed or hurt other animals.

By listing similar recent attacks in my earlier piece, I was labeled a racist by people who think that you cannot “slander” an entire breed based on “isolated incidents.” But isn’t it racist to think that certain people (blacks, Asians, and Muslims were the groups that had the dubious honor of being defended) are analogous to dog breeds? The number of races in the world is a controversial subject, but however anthropologists divvy up Homo sapiens, no group aggregates traits that make it more or less fit for a certain kind of employment, or more or less fit to be around other living creatures, than any other race. Meanwhile, the various dog breeds owe their very existence to man’s desire to, for example, hunt, herd, travel by sled, have companionship, live without rats, impress the ladies, and watch dog fights. If we couldn’t generalize about dog breeds, there wouldn’t be any. Why is this even an issue? We generalize about the African lion and, based on our shared perceptions of its habits, have banned its ownership in all but a few special circumstances. Cats are legal as pets, lions are not because a lion, by the standards of civilized society, is a cat taken to ridiculously dangerous extremes.

Yet no one gets mad at lions for being the way they are, and no one should be upset with pit bulls for being the kings of the dog jungle. They are not evil, immoral, or, as is often said, “untrustworthy.” Indeed, they can and should be trusted to act like pit bulls. I don’t doubt the sincerity of the people, including the female owner of the pit bull who attacked Frankie, who say “My dog is the sweetest, most loving creature you can imagine.” Her promised check for Frankie’s vet bills may still be in the mail after almost four weeks, but her heart is in the right place; she isn’t hoping for aggressive, anti-social behavior from her beloved animal, and she regrets what happened—though she can’t understand, like so many pit bull owners, how such behavior could come “out of the blue.” The thing is, it doesn’t come out of the blue; it comes out of the DNA, and those who say “it is the owners, not the dogs” who are responsible for “bad” pit bulls are being dangerously naïve. Very few of these dogs are being trained to be killers. The rest of us are at risk precisely because they don’t need to be.






There is a small but growing body of research examining the personality and behavioral characteristics of dog owners and in particular the people who own “high-risk” breeds known for severely injuring human beings (pit bull, Akita, Rottweiler, Chow-Chow, and wolfdog). The similarity between dogs and their owners can be observed every day, but was first studied scientifically in 1997. Researchers at that time showed that owners of “high” aggression Cocker Spaniels were significantly more tense, shy, undisciplined and emotionally less stable than owners of “low” aggression Cocker Spaniels. It was not until 2006, however, that attention was focused on human personality style and antisocial behaviors of the owners of vicious dog breeds. These studies have established that a person’s decision to own a vicious breed of dog suggests underlying antisocial and deviant characteristics.

A study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence showed a link between ownership of high-risk dog breeds and deviant behaviors, crimes against children and domestic violence. Researchers examined the criminal backgrounds of 355 Ohio dog owners who had either a “high-risk” or an unlicensed dog. The high-risk dogs included all pit bulls (whether they had injured a person or not) and other dogs that had actually injured a person. The study found that all of the owners of high-risk dogs had at least one criminal conviction or traffic citation, while only 27% of the other dog owners had one or the other. More significantly, 30% of the owners of high-risk dogs had 5 or more criminal convictions or traffic citations, and those owners had significantly more criminal and traffic citations in every category than those who owned low-risk, licensed dogs. Compared with the owners of low-risk, licensed dogs, those who owned high-risk, cited dogs were more than 9 times as likely to have been convicted for a crime involving children, 3 times as likely to have been convicted for domestic violence, and 14 times as likely to have been convicted of crimes involving alcohol. Jaclyn E. Barnes, Barbara W. Boat, Frank W. Putnam, Harold F. Dates, and Andrew R. Mahlman, Ownership of High-Risk (“Vicious”) Dogs As a Marker for Deviant Behaviors, J. Interpersonal Violence, Volume 21 Number 12, December 2006 1616-1634. Read the abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17065657

Another study concluded that “vicious dog ownership may be a simple marker of broader social deviance.” The study compared nondog owners and owners of vicious, large, and small dogs on engagement in criminal behavior, general personality traits (i.e., impulsive sensation seeking, neuroticism-anxiety, aggression-hostility, activity, and sociability), psychopathy, and attitude towards animal maltreatment. A significant difference in criminal behavior was found based on dog ownership type. Owners of vicious dogs were significantly more likely to admit to violent criminal behavior, compared to large dog owners, small dog owners, and controls. The vicious dog owner sample also engaged in more types (i.e., violent, property, drug, and status) of criminal behavior compared to all other participant groups. Personality traits were examined and vicious dog owners were significantly higher than controls on impulsive sensation seeking. Examining psychopathic traits, owners of high-risk dogs endorsed significantly more characteristics of primary psychopathy (e.g., carelessness, selfishness, and manipulative tendencies) than small dog owners. The study revealed that vicious dog owners reported significantly more criminal behaviors than other dog owners, and were higher in sensation seeking and primary psychopathy. In short, it suggested that vicious dog ownership may be a simple marker of broader social deviance. Laurie Ragatz M.A., William Fremouw Ph.D., Tracy Thomas M.A., Katrina McCoy B.S., Vicious Dogs: The Antisocial Behaviors and Psychological Characteristics of Owners, Journal of Forensic Sciences, Volume 54, Issue 3, pages 699–703, May 2009. Read the abstract: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2009.01001.x/abstract

A third study established that the owners of high-risk breeds of dog displayed more antisocial thinking styles, have an arrest history significantly higher than owners of other dogs, and engage in fighting to a significantly greater degree than other dog owners. They also had higher levels of overall criminal thinking patterns to go with the actual criminal behavior. Another important finding came from this study: vicious breeds did the most biting even though they were treated the same as nonvicious breeds. The owners of vicious dogs did not differ from the owners of other dogs in how the dogs were treated. All of the dogs had the same amount of playful interaction time with their owners, training class participation, and duration of time chained outside. Despite this, however, high-risk breeds were most likely to have bitten someone (11.5%), followed by small dogs (9.3%), and large dogs (3.3%). Allison M. Schenk, B.A.; Laurie L. Ragatz, M.S.; and William J. Fremouw, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., Vicious Dogs Part 2: Criminal Thinking, Callousness, and Personality Styles of Their Owners, J Forensic Sci, January 2012, Vol. 57, No. 1, doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01961.x, available online at: onlinelibrary.wiley.com. Read the abstract at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01961.x/abstract

None of this research proves that the owner of any one, particular pit bull, Akita, Rottweiler, Chow-Chow, or wolfdog is a psychopath, criminal, or anything else. No scientific study of this nature can take the place of a proper, detailed analysis of a person’s psyche and actual behavioral history. The research does establish, however, that any particular owner of a high-risk breed of dog is statistically more likely to have the traits and engage in the behavior described in the studies.

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