Canine Genetics and Behavior
By Glen Bui, American Canine Foundation
To state that a breed of dog is aggressive is scientifically impossible. Statistics do not support such a finding. Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and within all breeds there can be dangerous dogs because of owner issues such as training the dog to attack, lack of training and socialization.
There is no such thing as the “Mean Gene” in dogs as well as in people. However mutant genes have been discovered. Alteration of a single DNA base in the gene encoding an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) has been found to render the enzyme nonfunctional. This enzyme normally catalyzes reactions that metabolize the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. What this does is cause slight mental impairment which interferes with the ability to cope with certain situations resulting in aggression. There is no proof and there never has been that the American Pit Bull Terrier possesses mutant genes. There is a one in ten thousand chance of a mutant gene appearing in a population.
Aggressiveness has many definitions and its stimulus of the environment that causes behavior. Dogs defend territory, they exhibit dominance and if allowed can become protective of their family. All this behavior can be controlled by the owner and aggression is mainly an act of behavior. To make claim that the American Pit Bull Terrier can cause more severe injury than other breeds is ludicrous. Over 30 breeds of dogs are responsible for over 500 fatal attacks in the last 30 years, every victim was severely injured.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is clearly a useful member of society, the breed was World War One Hero, its rated as having one of the best overall temperaments in the United States (A.T.T.S.). The breed is used for dog show competitions, therapy, service work, search and rescue, police work and companionship. Man has domesticated dogs to the point they serve as companions, workers, and even objects of beauty. Dogs will protect man, see for him, hunt for him and play. One breed is not more inherently good or evil, vicious, harmful or helpful. It is man who is responsible for the dogs behavior, not the breed of dog. Those passing breed bans fail to understand that a mis-trained Pit Bull can be replaced with another breed. People determine whether dogs will be useful members of a community or a nuisance. It is the people who allow their dogs to become dangerous and legislators must control and punish the people.