Monday, April 25, 2011

Find the Pit Bull

After hearing from someone who was frustrated that "grown men with children are still asking, 'but how can you identify a pit bull?'" and wondering if BSL is feasible because pit bulls are shape shifting , I decided to break down the "Find the Pit Bull" test. The fact that the pit bull community has now decided they can identify the headless corpse of a puppy as a pit bull kind of has taken the wind out of my sails, but I persevere anyway.
Click on the title to go to the original. Click on image to make it larger.
Key: 1. Boxer 2. Dogue de Bordeaux 3. Alapaha Blue Bull Dog 4. Great Swiss Mountain Dog 5. Vizsla 6. Rhodesian Ridgeback 7. Dogo Argentino 8. Chocolate Labrador Retriever 9. Bullmastiff 10. Jack Russell Terrier 11. Fila Brasileiro 12. Rottweiler 13. Presa Canario 14. American Bulldog 15. Cane Corso 16. American Pit Bull Terrier 17. Patterdale Terrier 18. Olde English Bulldogge 19. Catahoula 20. Bull Terrier 21. Black Mouth Cur 22. Alano Espanol 23. Boerboel 24. Ca de Bou 25. Thai Ridgeback
The "Find the Pit Bull" test pretends to show us that pit bulls are virtually impossible to distinguish from other breeds. The test is intended to deceive. In short, the creator uses scarce to rare breeds that are related to the pit bull's ancestry, juvenile dogs or dogs that are atypical of the breed and pretends that using one photo is the same as seeing the actual dog. The pit bull they use as an example of a typical pit bull is a puppy, for crying out loud!
The long answer:
To trick the viewer, the creator uses the following techniques:
A. Uses photos that do not show relative size.
B. Uses photos that do not show the whole dog when body type is much different than a bully breed.
C. Uses photos of juvenile dogs that have not developed their breed specific characteristics or size.
D. Uses photos of dog breeds that are rare to non-existant in the United States making it very unlikely that the general public or animal control officers have encountered or ever will encounter these breeds
E. Inclusion of many examples of similar dogs of three breed types that are known to have been used to develop the pit bull - terriers, bulldogs and mastiffs. The last two are also themselves closely related to each other.
F. Uses photos that show an atypical or less common type of a breed.
G. Uses poor photos that don't show distinguishing characteristics of the breed or that create the illusion the breed has pit bull characteristics.
The question is: Can Animal Control Officers distinguish the breeds in the photos if presented with the actual dogs?
BOXER photos:
1. BOXER - A, B, C, E, F The first german registered BOXER was half english white bulldog. However, during the 20th century, breeders have created a decidedly distinct and unique looking dog. The BOXER in the quiz is the less common white color and the dog is a young puppy. In addition, the angle of this photo does not show the characteristic scooped break in the nose bridge.
Conclusion: In real life, an animal control officer would have no problem distinguishing a BOXER from a pit bull.
2. DOGUE DE BORDEAUX - A, B, E This is the french version of the large mastiff dog. Both bulldogs and pit bulls have been bred to mastiffs for size since the 19th century. These french mastiffs have been bred for great size (minimum 110 pounds) and a very distinctive look for most of the 20th century.
Conclusion: Animal control officers would have no problem distinguishing a DOGUE DE BORDEAUX in real life because of their size and differing body and head features.
3. ALAPAHA BLUE BULLDOG - D, E - The ALAPAHA BLUE BULLDOG is a mix of bulldog and pit bull and is described as "a well-developed, exaggerated bulldog with a broad head and natural drop ears."William Chester is described as an "Ol Pit-Bull Man" who bred alapahas that were often man aggressive. Chester's old family silver dollar recipe: catahoula x american pit bull terrier x mountain bulldog. It is absolutely true that it is often impossible to distinguish an ALAPAHA BLUE BULLDOG from an american bulldog or from an american pit bull terrier precisely because these bulldogs are a pit bull mix.
Conclusion: Any city seeking to establish BSL with regards to pit bulls should craft their legislation so that it covers all the variations of the american bulldog because american bulldogs are nothing more than a pit bull mix that have inherited physical, temperamental and behavioral traits of the pit bull.
4. GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG. A, B,D, G As you can see a photo was purposely used that hides the muzzle length of the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. Also note the fixity of the color pattern in the GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG that is both characteristic and distinguishing.
Conclusion:Animal control officers would have no problem distinguishing a GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN DOG in real life because of their size and differing body and head types.
Photos of VIZSLAS:
5. VIZSLA - G - Often described as looking like a red Weimeraner. They look nothing like a pit bull except that they are colored like a "red nose" pit bull. The VIZSLA rescue association has been made aware that some rescues are trying to pass off red nose pit bulls as VIZSLA mixes and they're pissed off about it.
Conclusion: The ridge is a dead giveaway for the dogs that possess it. And even without the ridge, the body type and head shape are very different than a pit bull. Animal Control officers who see this dog in real life will have no problem distinguishing it from a pit bull.
7. DOGO ARGENTINO - A, D, E. This is considered the Argentine version of the mastiff, but it is much more closely related to the pit bull and other fighting dogs than other mastiff breeds are. 19th century bull terriers (the pit fighting dogs of the 19th century) were bred with mastiffs and bulldogs to create the fighting dog of cordoba. That is virtually the same mix of dogs that created the pit bull breeds. From the fighting dog of cordoba breeders created the larger DOGO ARGENTINO as a big game hunting dog by breeding with the great dane, pointer, bull terrier, english bulldog, dogue de bordeaux, boxer, and pyrenean mastiff. However, DOGO ARGENTINOS have also been used as fighting dogs. DOGO ARGENTINOS are in general larger, with heavier legs, and slightly smaller jaw muscles than pit bulls. Here is a man bragging that DOGO ARGENTINOS have a bite second only to the pit bull.
Conclusion: It is indeed difficult to distinguish a DOGO ARGENTINO from a pit bull because these dogs were both bred using the same foundation stock for exactly the same purpose. Tia Torres claims she was asked to provide a white pit bull for an advertising campaign and she used this DOGO ARGENTINO for that job. Any community considering BSL should write their description so that it covers DOGO ARGENTINOS despite the dogo's relative scarcity.
Conclusion: Animal Control when faced with arguably the most common pet dog of the 20th and 21st century will see the water dog's characteristic double coat and otter tail in no time.

9. BULLMASTIFF - A, E These dogs weigh between 110 and 130 pounds.
Conclusion: Animal Control can tell the difference between the BULLMASTIFF and a pit bull in real life.
10. JACK RUSSELL TERRIER - A, E JACK RUSSELL TERRIERS weigh between 14 -18 pounds. The only physical characteristic they share with pit bulls is terrier ears.
Conclusion: No problem for Animal Control to distinguish.
11. FILA BRASILEIRO - A, B, D, E - This is known as the Brazilian Mastiff. These dogs are thankfully still fairly rare in the US. These dogs are so aggressive toward strangers that aggression toward dog show judges will not disqualify the dog and judges are advised not to touch the fila brasilieros while judging them. (Can you say best job ever?) Breeders acknowledge that no FILA BRASILEIRO will be friendly with strangers. Many countries ban this breed.FILA BRASILEIRO have bloodhound in their ancestry which gave them very large drooping ears. They are also extremely large, weighing a minimum of 110 pounds. These are on breed ban lists of many countries because of their their extreme aggression.
Conclusion: If AC ever encountered a FILA BRASILEIRO, they could distinguish it from a pit bull.
12. ROTTWEILER - A,B - The photo chosen deceptively shows a less typical head. ROTTWEILERS typically have rounder faces, more loose skin around the jowls, are generally larger, have a slightly longer coat, and have a color pattern that is fairly fixed.
Conclusion: Animal Control would have no problem distinguishing a pit bull from a ROTTWEILER.
13. PRESA CANARIO - A,D, E - This is the mastiff of the Canary Islands that was , beginning in the 18th century, crossed with English fighting dogs for the purpose of dog fighting. In the 1970s PRESA CANARIOS were near extinction. The breed was revived by fanciers in the 1970s and 1980s. They are suspicious of strangers and known to be aggressive with other dogs. This is the kind of dog that killed Diane Whipple. These dogs are a minimum of 100 pounds.
Conclusion: Although these dogs are generally larger and favor their mastiff ancestry, it is indeed sometimes difficult to distinguish a PRESA CANARIO from a pit bull because PRESA CANARIOS were bred using the same foundation breeds for exactly the same purpose as the pit bull terrier. Any community considering BSL should write their description so that it covers PRESA CANARIOS.
14. AMERICAN BULLDOG - A, E - The modern American bulldog is a reconstituted breed. The old south bulldog was practically extinct by the 1950s and in an effort to bring it back, the original breeders crossed the bulldogs they could find with American pit bull terriers, boxers, and mastiffs. The Bulldog Information Library informs us that the AMERICAN BULLDOG can look like a "large, coarse, leggy white pit bull." In the 70s, some were bred for dogfighting. They are still being crossed with pit bulls from famous fighting bloodlines today. The dog used to play Petey the pit bull in the recent movie remake of Little Rascals (1994) was named Kershner's Screamer and is classified as 100% Johnson type AMERICAN BULLDOG. However, it has both american pit bull terrier and american bulldog fighting lines in its pedigree.
Conclusion: Any community considering BSL should write their description so that it covers American bulldogs because it is a pit bull mix and has inherited the same physical, temperamental and behavioral traits that make pit bulls dangerous.
CANE CORSO photos:
15. CANE CORSO - A, D, E - called the Italian mastiff, Sicillian bulldog or the Sicillain mastiff. They weigh between 80 and 160 pounds. The CANE CORSO was near extinction by the 1970's when fanciers began to redevelop the breed. The CANE CORSO came to the US in the 1980s. According to breeders' clubs they are naturally dominant dogs and will never back down from a challenge and their bite is legendary.
Conclusion: Animal Control can tell the difference between the CANE CORSO and a pit bull in real life because of their classic mastiff head, heavy build and often enormous size.
PIT BULL photos:
16. PIT BULL - A, C - The PIT BULL in the original test is a very young puppy. The next four photos are purebred examples the three breeds considered to be pit bulls. They all were bred from the same foundation stock for the same purpose - pit fighting in England during the first half of the 19th century. The first dog after the puppy is the oldest and smallest breed - the STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER. The next two dogs, the AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER, and the AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER are often virtually indistinguishable, in fact, owners can dual register their dogs as AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIERS with the AKC and as AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIERS with the UKC as the dog in the last photo is.
Conclusion: PIT BULL ownership advocates like to cloud the issue by suggesting it is important to be able to distinguish one PIT BULL breed from another, however it is very clear that all of the three PIT BULL breeds closely resemble each other, are very closely related, and can all be identified as PIT BULLS by Animal Control.
17. PATTERDALE TERRIER - A, D, E - Patterdale terriers weigh between 11-16 pounds. They have been used as pit dogs and here is a link that says that many PATTERDALE TERRIERS bred in the US have "a dash of pit bull terrier in them."
Conclusion: When animal control sees a 16 pound dog, they will be able to tell the PATTERDALE TERRIER from an pit bull.
18. OLDE ENGLISH BULLDOGGE - A, D, E, F - The photo used is not only not typical of OLDE ENGLISH BULLDOGGE, I don't think it is an olde english bulldogge. Unlike the other recreated breeds, this one was very well planned and documented using a line breeding scheme developed by Ohio State University for breeding cattle for a very specific look. "The goal was to recreate a specific breed of bulldogge with the look, health and athleticism of the original bull baiting dogs, but without the extreme tenacity. The foundation crosses consisted of 1/2 english bulldog, 1/6 bullmastiff, 1/6 american pit bull terrier, and 1/6 american bulldog." Unlike other recreated bulldog clubs, this club actively discourages any kind of aggressive work or training. "The club promotes obedience training and competition, agility and coNformation showing, as well as therapy work." They especially encourage ARBA conformation events. In essence, they are interested in preserving a very specific look and breed for bench and field trials.
19. CATAHOULA - F- Also called a catahoula cur, Louisiana catahoula dog, catahoula leopard dog. These dogs are fearless pig and cattle herding dogs that do not have a bully look to them at all. They are common in parts of the south and uncommon in other parts of the country.
Conclusion: Animal control can tell the difference between a CATAHOULA and a pit bull terrier if they ever encounter one.
20. BULL TERRIER- E, G - Bull terriers are very closely related to pit bulls, but they have been bred to have a distinctive straight profile that is deceptively not at all evident in the photo used.
Conclusion: No confusion whatsoever.
21. BLACK MOUTH CUR - D, G - also known as Southern Cur, Yellow Blackmouth Cur, Blackmouth Cur, American Blackmouth Cur, Red Blackmouth Cur, Ladner Blackmouth Cur, Ladner Yellow Blackmouth Cur. You will notice the familiar deceptive angle in the first photo that foreshortens the muzzle and makes it look more like a pit bull. This is another southern herding and big game hunting dog that does not look like a bully breed. They are common in parts of the south and very uncommon in other parts of the country.
Conclusion: Animal control will have no problem distinguishing a BLACK MOUTH CUR from a pit bull if they encounter one.

22. ALANO ESPANOL - D, E, F - This is the Spanish bulldog. The breed was originally used for bull baiting, hunting big game, guarding livestock and handling wild cattle. This ancient breed played an important role in developing several molosser dog breeds such as Dogue de Bordeaux and Presa Canario. These dogs have extremely powerful jaws. I found 3 breeder listings that were all dead links for the US.
Conclusion: Although these dogs have a distinctive look, they could be easily confused with a presa canario and perhaps PIT BULLS. However, it is highly unlikely that animal control would encounter one in the United States.
BOERBOEL photos:
23. BOERBOEL - A, C, D, E, - As you can see, a deceptive photo of a very young puppy was used in the original test. Adult BOERBOEL look nothing like a pit bull. They are the most enormous mastiff type and weigh between 110 to 175 pounds and are also considered more athletic than other mastiffs. Like other large, dangerous breeds, these were nearly extinct until fanciers revived the breed in the 1980's. These are the South African mastiff bred to protect large farms and are extremely territorial and protective. They are known to have been crossed with bullmastiffs at one time. Their ancestry is largely unknown except that it is presumed that successive waves of settlers brought their biggest, fiercest mastiff-type dogs along with them to South Africa from many parts of the world.
Conclusion: The BOERBOEL will be immediately distinguishable from a pit bull by its size, and classic mastiff head
CA DE BOU photos:
24. CA DE BOU D, E, - also called Perro de Presa Majorquin, Mallorquin Bulldog - This bulldog was used for controlling bulls, baiting bulls, and dog fighting. Look at this link to see what one fancier thinks is the correct type of dog. It should not look too much like a bulldog, and looks almost exactly like a pit bull. I could find no breeders or dogs in the US.
Conclusion: This dog is extremely rare and basically non-existant in the United States. However, it looks very similar to a pit bull because it was bred with the same foundation stock and for the same purposes. If I were crafting breed restriction laws, I would include it just because pit bull advocates always threaten if their pit bulls are restricted, they're going to inflict other dangerous breeds on the public.
25. THAI RIDGEBACK - B, F, G, - There are 18 thai ridgebacks in the whole country available for adoption and 5 breeders that I can find.
Conclusion: They look nothing like pit bulls and are extremely rare.
Here is what the test would look like without the purposefully deceptive photos. Can you find the fighting dogs that should be banned?
Key: 1. Boxer 2. Dogue de Bordeaux 3. Alapaha Blue Bull Dog 4. Great Swiss Mountain Dog 5. Vizsla 6. Rhodesian Ridgeback 7. Dogo Argentino 8. Chocolate Labrador Retriever 9. Bullmastiff 10. Jack Russell Terrier 11. Fila Brasileiro 12. Rottweiler 13. Presa Canario 14. American Bulldog 15. Cane Corso 16. American Pit Bull Terrier 17. Patterdale Terrier 18. Olde English Bulldogge 19. Catahoula 20. Bull Terrier 21. Black Mouth Cur 22. Alano Espanol 23. Boerboel 24. Ca de Bou 25. Thai Ridgeback
Even with the less deceptive photos, the there still remain the problems of identifying a dog by one photograph and the improbability of encountering most of these breeds.
The breeds that are most confused with pit bulls are most often breeds that are
1. pit bull mixes
2. share the same foundation breeds and were bred for the same purpose.
3. also dangerous
4. often still crossed with pit bulls to this day

Other breeds that are included are
1. protective mastiff breeds
2. also dangerous
3. often crossed with pit bulls to this day.


Jake said...

This is an excellent article, more informative and with more depth than the collection of stale buzzwords generally thrown around by the pit bull lobbyists. Keep it coming!

* said...

I did a similar article about this a while back. What a lot of people don't know is that many of the breeds listed are extremely rare or pit mixes to begin with as you've mentioned. A little bit of research goes a long way.

SRUV said...

Your post is the definitive rebuttal to the disingenuous "Find the Pit Bull" pages. It makes you wonder: what is it that makes them go to such deceptive, tortured extremes to make a point? Are they trying to convince themselves?

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

i have received two emails praising this blog already. please note that i am not the author of this find the pit bull game.

outstanding job snack sized dog.

digger, i am sorry, i must have missed your blog post last fall. excellent job as well. for a while there you were cranking them out so fast that i could not keep up with them.

digger has several outstanding blogs:

Pit Bull Chatter
Bright Sound Logic
Pit Bull Aggression
Pit Bull Victims
Other Breed Attacks
Pit bull Myths

Anonymous said...

Usually, one can find the pit bull by the police gunfire and lifeflight helicopter taking off...

Small Survivors said...

Thank you!

The more I studied the test, the more deceptive elements I found. I began asking if Animal Control could distinguish the breeds but the more I looked at these dogs, the word "ban" just unconsciously crept in...

lee t - you're right this was a tedious, dirty job.

Sniffer - I think this is the second time we've blogged the same thing! Great minds, eh? Enough voices singing the same tune will hopefully be heard.
Craven is right, you blog faster than I can type a sentence.

Friends Administrator said...

A comment about the catahoulas and animal control.

A few years ago I took a beautiful blue leopard catahoula off the the streets. She had been bred before. I took her to the shelter because I just knew this dog had an owner. I didn't know what she was except the most beautiful dog I have ever seen. I called everyday to see if she had been claimed and when she wasn't, I went to adopt her out.

The person I spoke with everyday about her came out and he said he knew she was a purebred of some type and it bothered him. So he researched and told me she was a catahoula. Not only did this officer know she wasn't a pit, he knew she was something of a breed and took the time to find out what. He could have just as easily chaulked her off to another breed such as a pit/pit type.

Many ACO's and shelter workers are very proud of their ability to distinguish breeds. They see these dogs everyday, it's what they do. Yet, those others, who rarely see so many different kinds of dogs daily, think they can distinguish breeds better. On to the next argument.

Small Survivors said...

Yes, its time to stop letting people have carte blanche claiming animal control officers are all completely incompetent.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

it is time to stop letting pit nutters have carte blanche over the topic of pit bulls.

Anonymous said...


Jeff Liborio Jr gets mauled by Rocky and still doesn't get it...

Let's go through the Dr Randy Lockwood "Are Pit Bulls Different" checklist:

20 times more likely to break containment and attack...(broke out of kennel and attacked neighbor's cur) Check!

6 Times more likely to attack owners...Check!

Twice as likely to attack rescuers...Check!

Here are Jeff's confused and fatal attractionlike comments trying to set the record straight:

Not a fan of this Article at all. Rocky was one of the best dogs I have ever had. I had him for seven years finding him abandon as a small dog at Stop and Shop parking lot. He was brought up as much as he could as a family dog. I wish I could explain his outbursts. I have done everything I could to provide Rocky with a safe comfortable home. I am not even totally sure if Rocky is pure pitbull. Location and breed assumption is the only reason this was written. Good Friends know he was a very obedient dog I treated like part of the family. There was no chains or tuff guy images. I am sorry that this happened and I wish we had all the answers and god willingly I'm doing very good. If I knew his past and where he came from we might understand more. All in all everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I wish I knew what was going inside Rocky's head and other incidents like this because it is not just this one breed that has had past issues. We can soon put this behind us and keep learning and move forward. Thank you for everyone's thoughts and prayers.
Yesterday, 8:46:42 AM–

Disclaimer** I am not making this up!!

Small Survivors said...

Vintage, i LOVE Darwin attacks and this one is might rank as one of the all time best with the comment the owner added. And YOU put such a hilarious spin on these things - just makes my day. You should do a blog! These are so great.

Also another comment by Debbie Bell is HILARIOUS:

"I have black snakes in my garage sometimes, but I don't want cobras. "But they are such pretty snakes... Oh, and live cobras used to be used as toys for small children, we called them the NANNY SNAKES." "


Anonymous said...


July 31,1879; Sammy Ryer, a young lad, the son of a tollgate keeper on the 4th gate of the Bergen Turnpike, was attacked by a Bulldog several days ago. His body was so badly torn and poisoned that mortification set in and the little fellow died in great agony on Thursday of last week.,2139056&dq=sammy-ryer&hl=en

Sammy Ryer, one of 175 American children killed by "Nanny" dogs. I believe there is a slight chance the dogfighters and Pit Breeders may have lied about this....

Disclaimer** I am not making this up!

Anonymous said...

Anyone else find it interesting that the Canary Island Dog of Prey, AMPU-BULL and Cane Corso were nearly extinct and had to be reconstituted? They would have remained extinct it weren't for the blood money.

The American Pit Bulldog was reconstituted by an invidual named Johson who worked in gardens before striking gold....

Small Survivors said...

Vintage, I certainly noticed this while researching this post. There also was an interest in resurrecting large dangerous mastiff breeds that were also going extinct because there was no use for them.

I think you showed the difference - raising large dangerous mastiff breeds as a hobby is expensive. Fighting dogs, on the other hand, have taken off with such fury precisely because there is money in breeding them and fighting them.

It is alarming, however, that the newly AKC recognized Cane Corso ranked 51 in the number of AKC registrations in 2010. More Cane Corsos were registered last year than: scottish terriers, cairn terriers, lhasa apsos, american staffordshire terriers, Staffordhsire bull terriers, Irish setters, English setters, pointers, and skye terriers...

This is a fairly recent idiotic fascination for all kinds of dangerous breeds that unfortunately ALMOST went extinct!

The Technomancer said...

I see this bullshit all the time. Their propaganda and trickery is disgusting and a disgrace to humanity.

Also, note that many (if not ALL) of these pictures are copyrighted. As a photographer, I find it offensive that this nutter (or anybody) is stealing pictures. I'm contemplating sending an email to the owner of the Find the Bullshit page and tell them to take the copyrighted pictures down or I'm telling the rightful owners of the images that this pit nutter is stealing their property. A crime punished by hefty fines.


The Technomancer said...

Well, conveniently, the nutter who runs the site doesn't have any contact information up. I guess I'll just have to report it to the owners of the pictures WITHOUT a warning... Their loss.


Unknown said...

This site is awesome, you can actually tell which is a real pitbull, so many people are confused nowadays they think there dog is a pitbull because the size Nd looks > the American Pitbull Terrier is the real purebred, because no other dog(Bully Breed) can't be a pitbull unless bred with an American pitbull terrier(A Mix)

Unknown said...

This site is awesome, you can actually tell which is the real deal (The American Pitbull Terrier) Alot of people think there dog is a pitbull when they don't actually know their breeds > Good thinking 2 the owner of this site (y)

Unknown said...

This site is awesome, you can actually tell which is a real pitbull, so many people think their dog is a pitbull because the size of their head > The American Pitbull is the real deal (Purebred) Because no other dog can be a pitbull, unless they are bred with the American Pitbull Terrier(Which will make it a mix)

Unknown said...

Sorry, I wrote it wrong the 1st time LOL