Saturday, November 24, 2012

Casting Stones

There is a saying, "Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones".  It's a nice way of calling a person a "hypocrite".  As some of you may know, I myself own risky breeds of dogs, namely a Chow mix and a Malinois mix, one rescued from the shelter the other a stray that adopted me. My sweet Chow/Lab mix was killed on Memorial Day, 2011, when a neighbor's American Bull Dog mix bulldozed through a wrought iron gate to savagely attack him.  This was not my first encounter with pit bulls, nor has it been my last, but this has been the incident which has  been seared into my brain that something must be done about these dogs.  Since sharing this story, my eyes have been opened that the pit bull advocates are a much more savage beast to contend with, than their dogs.

Oh, If I only  had a dollar for every time I have been called a hypocrite, how many times pit bull advocates have told me of their own anecdotal accounts of when they or somebody they knew had their tear duct ripped out by a Chow!  This, after touting the "blame the deed, not the breed" meme. Hypocrites.  Some of them will all out mention a hatred for Chows.  Hypocrites.  Indeed, I have read all of the media reports about Chows who attacked and even killed, and I don't look for scapegoats, I find it opens my eyes instead.  They are euthanized at higher rates at shelters than pit bulls, and believe it or not,  they are one of the most common mixes out there.  I  would never utter that lie, "it's all how you raise 'em". I have a healthy respect for this breed, one of the 12 most ancient.  They have been bred for over a thousand years to be guard dogs...they do not have to be trained to do this,  and they take their work seriously.  As for the "your breed will be next"....I support adding other riskier breeds to some BSL policy (I generally don't support bans)  including Chows.  The way the pit bull advocacy goes about it, suggesting that ALL dogs  should have the same policy, they reveal that they are much like that woman who presented a Baby to King Solomon, willing to  have it cut it into two equal pieces for the cause of fairness. They show they don't like dogs, only their gripping dogs,  when saying they advocate for better policy for ALL dogs.  The same policy for a Poodle, Lab or Spaniel and a Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Chow or Akita is NOT fair.  Oh, and when you see the lack of concern they have when somebody elses dog is attacked, there is rarely  any empathy for that dog and their owner.  Hypocrites.

I say the insurance industry would do some fine calculations of risk: not all cars are created equal and neither are dogs. OK, fine, let us make everyone pay liability insurance for all dogs based on risk....Chihuahua owners pay 5 dollars a year, 10 for Labs, 50 for German Shepherds, 100 dollars for Chows, and 1,000 for pit bulls.  Fair is Fair.

However, there is a vast difference between the advocacy for Chows and pit bulls. The Chow advocacy doesn't sugar coat, doesn't promote them as "Nanny Dogs", and advises that Chows are not "typical" dogs.

They are cat-like in their attitudes: aloof, reserved with affection, independent, dignified and stubborn. Although their soft fur is ripe for hugging, they don't always enjoy being fussed over by children or strangers. From this description, I think you can see that the Chow Chow is not a breed for everyone. Its temperament is often misunderstood and many people mistakenly believe that Chows are vicious dogs. This breed is naturally suspicious of strangers and very territorial. In all honesty, some Chows do have temperament problems. The breed went through two periods of dramatic public popularity, once in the 1930's and again during the 1980's. In a rush to cash in on this popularity and sell puppies quickly for a profit, unscrupulous or inexperienced breeders and pet owners often used Chows with unsuitable temperaments for breeding.

I've heard and read the advice, that Chows  do not make a good choice for families with children, usually they are on  lists of the top ten most dangerous dogs, sometimes even replacing the pit bull and Rottweiller as the No.ONE most dangerous dog breed.  Here's one, where they are listed as the absolute worst breed for families with children, ahead of the Rottweiler and the Nanny Dog, and that oft mentioned Chihuahua.   Some good points, but this person hardly writes like a scholar. 

I found to be an excellent source of advice, and wish he would give the same stern warnings to pit bull owners.  For some reason, the very large collection of letters and advice he had for pit bulls can not be found.  However, this is great advice: these dogs don't belong in a dog park, don't let them meet strange dogs, put them in a crate when you have company.

Some other advice I have read about Chows:

They are not for everybody. They are not the pick for a first time dog owner.  They are not the choice to make if you don't have the heart to correct in the manner which will reach them.  They tend to be one person dogs.  They do not make a good choice for families with children.  They do not make a good choice for families with children.  They do not make a good choice for families with children.

They were primarily bred for the dual purpose of Guarding the Palace, and looking majestically dignified like a lion while doing so. I have to say, this is exactly what wins my heart, they are the best guarding the garden dogs, they don't dig, bark unless there's a good reason, and they are clean and polite, and they are BEAUTIFUL. They do this naturally, they do not have to be trained to be this way. 

They were used by the Chinese as a multi-purpose dog, used for war, draft, herding, fur, and even providing a protein source in lean times, and considered its flesh to be a delicacy.  They were also used in dog fighting, but the accounts of these fights show a radically different nature, as in the dogs would fight until they were tired, walking home with their masters afterwards.  No accounts of injured dogs being put on a tram with the children, no accounts of them being killed in brutal ways for loosing, the loosing dog being served up in a Sweet and Sour Sauce.  In any case, the Chinese are now importing pit bulls for the dog fighting, and I have not found ONE photo, or account, of a Chow being used currently  in dog fighting. 

 I know of other Chows that were no match for a pit bull, including the dogs of two neighbors, one who died and one who survived with a thousand dollar vet bill.  Par for the course, the renting neighbor whose pit bull attacked her while she crossed the street, narrowly avoiding a car crash,  moved away after being presented the bill.

I know my dog easily lost. He rolled on his back and submitted and that American Bulldog kept attacking him on the neck, wagging his tail the whole time. When his owner came to get him, covered in the blood of my dog, he wagged his tail the whole time. My dog died three weeks later.  His tail lost its curl and never wagged again.

And for you who would day say hypocrite, I appeal to you, we are in the same boat, except for the fact, statistically, your dog is a FAR greater risk than the breed I happen to keep. Despite the factors and scapegoats advocates may bring up in argument, the fact is, pit bulls lead the way in death and maimings.   I don't know of any city or country where Chows are flat out banned, although I hear they are banned on Military Bases.  Good idea, these dogs would not do well in that environment, where they would likely suffer being rehomed, being one people dogs. 

Perhaps landlords have decided that they do not want to accept the liability of risk for a Chow.  Good idea, they have the right to determine what kinds of risks as a property owner they will accept.  The way pit bull advocates push this issue, you will find more and more landlords won't so much as permit a cat or a Maltese.... and they still won't let you paint the walls fuschia and may fine you for putting up too many holes in the wall, and won't let you have a water bed on the second floor. It's their right.

When you are ready to open your eyes and see the truth, you will see that the cause for public safety and the plight of these riskier breeds will only benefit  when we ensure they have some policy that will keep them out of incapable hands and mindsets.  We do no favors for our dogs when we can't empathize with what they are.  Let's regulate them. 


  1. Thank you for this. Besides all the truths you speak about the Chow here, there's another one: they haven't sought chances to attack by chewing through doors, jumping through glass windows and off second floor balconies, doing home invasions into other people's home, repeatedly returning to someone else's yard after a first attack had failed to kill, nor any of the many things pit bull type dogs have done and do so as to kill something, anything. The Chow story is truly nothing like the pit bull story. Not you and the Chow club, but the pit bull freaks are *hypocrites* because they pretend otherwise.

    Thanks again.

  2. don't forget that a single chow has never been responsible for putting FIVE cops in the hospital, never slaughtered a herd of sheep and never continued an attack on a dog after a dozen people beat or stabbed it with a pitch fork, or used a blow torch on it.

  3. They are also able to be contained within a wrought iron fence. I'm pretty sure that they would not continue to attack with a hose shoved down it's throat, you know, they hate to get wet. I've never seen photos of them hanging on spring poles, jumping 6' fences, or needing to use rape stands for breeding. Word of caution: They WILL kill an average vacuum cleaner. I myself use a shop vacuum, it can suck up nails and Chow Chow fluff.

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  5. Beautiful post with true respect and admiration for what chows are and what they are not. And spoken like a true lover of chows, or any challenging breed, who wants the best for their preferred breed, their owners and the community.

  6. It is great that you are not buying into the "your breed is next" scare tatics. I have a relative that hates pitbulls but he actually believes the your breed is next BULL and thinks if he supports pitbull regulations his German Shepards will be banned. Some people BELIEVE their stupid lies.