Most people love dogs, and city residents are no exception. But when I walk through my Brooklyn neighborhood and see people walking their dogs, I really only see one kind of mutt: Pit bulls.
Pit bulls are currently the tough canine of choice, but this was not always the case. In the 1960s and 70s, we had a thing for German Shepards, In the 80s Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers dominated the scene. But from the 90s until now, the Pit Bull is far-and-away the most popular hood pet.
The Pit is a controversial breed that has a reputation for being aggressive, dangerous and unpredictable. Not to mention that seeing them can conjure up images of gang mascots guarding drug dens and mauled children.
A Time magazine piece The Problem with Pit Bulls says Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but theyre responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982, according to research compiled by Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, an animal-news organization that focuses on humane work and animal-cruelty prevention.
Luckily, this is not the only breed of dog on the planet earth. Here are five breeds with loads of street swag that can be great alternatives to the PR challenged pit bull.
1. English Bulldog – Originally bred to herd cattle, this cousin of the pit bull is like the family member with the good credit score. Everybody loves them. These jowly pups have enjoyed a rehabilitated reputation. Once seen as a tough surly animal, this popular team mascot now is viewed as a dignified and cuddly family member.
2. Great Dane – The gentle giants of the canine world, Great Danes can grow up to about 200 pounds and almost three feet tall at the shoulder. If they stand on their hind legs, they are taller than most human beings. Despite being very easy going companions, they are known to be very alert home protectors. Make sure you have a home with plenty of room and sizable pet food budget!
3. Boxer – Known for their loyalty, Boxers are intelligent and alert. Their playful attitude combined with a strong and sturdy physique make this breed a perennial favorite.
4. Weimaraner (pronounced vahy-muh-rah-ner)– This is one of those dogs that may not immediately pop into your head when you think about popular breeds, but everybody loves them when they see them! These classy animals are distinguished by their pale gray coats and graceful gait. They are known for being great with kids and highly trainable.
5. Pug – Although they may be a very sharp departure from the intimidating Pitbull, these pint-sized powerhouses pack a lot of dog in a little package. Dog lovers of all stripes fall in love with their trademark round head, big eyes, and sturdy compact bodies. They make versatile pets and adapt to a wide variety of settings. They are perfect for people living is small apartments!
If none of these breeds pique your interest, visit the American Kennel Club website and explore the multitude of breeds to choose from. The struggle for dog diversity in the hood continues!