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23 May 2007

Unbridled joy. How I love doggies!
posted by tr33hggr 23 May | 08:38
They're all adorable, and Jolee is the adorablest of all.
posted by BoringPostcards 23 May | 09:06
Pit Bulls are illegal in the UK, but we have Staffordshire Bull Terriers, which are similar, and they have the smiley faces too.
posted by essexjan 23 May | 09:15
I love pitbulls! And staffys. So good with kids. I used to play with a couple when I was younger, and they are so gentle and sweet.
posted by gaspode 23 May | 09:31
Yeah, and two or three times a year they maul someone here in Dallas-Fort Worth. Yeah, I realize that it's the owner's fault for training them like that, but they really seem to take to that training well.

Last year, about a mile from my house, a blind woman was waiting with her guide dog in her front yard for someone to pick her up when a neighbor's pit bull attacked, critically injuring the woman and killing her guide dog.

When I look at those smiley faces, I just can't divorce that breed from the attacks.
posted by Doohickie 23 May | 09:42
Our new neighbors have one that our other neighbor is sooo worried about. Yet her psycho chow mix wants to rip apart anyone and everyone- snarling, snapping and lunging on the end of her leash.
posted by auntbunny 23 May | 09:55
At least a chow can't crush your skull.
posted by arse_hat 23 May | 10:01
I love pitbulls, and I think they're illegal here now too. Personally, I think it's a stupid law that punishes those who actually love the breed and not the idiots who train the dogs to be vicious, those people will just got get a rotty or doberman instead.

How can you not love that smiley face!
posted by LunaticFringe 23 May | 10:13
what I should have posted: Omiewise, thanks for linking to those happy faces. I got to meet a sweetheart last week who looks a lot like the first one.
posted by auntbunny 23 May | 10:19
I worked with a girl who rescued a pit bull from the pound as a pup, and he grew up to be the sweetest, friendliest, giant-headed goofball of a dog I've ever known. It's all in the way you raise 'em.
posted by Atom Eyes 23 May | 10:28
I have a pitbull friend too who I adore, raised from a puppy by kind, loving people and he's the sweetest dog ever. That said, he's also totally cool around other dogs - unless they take his stick. Unfortunately, he feels that all sticks are his. This is a slight problem in the park. Dog breeds have certain affinities and abilities bred into them. Just like my collie mix wants to herd small children, sheep and anything else into a circle and my springer spaniel wants to immerse himself into any and all bodies of water, pits are not noted for their ability to get along with other dogs. Some can get past that. Some cannot.

I have way mixed feelings about pits in general as you in particular, Omie, living in Baltimore, will no doubt understand. There's a lot of dogfighting there and it really can be scary if you have other dogs or small kids. My charming neighbor in Highlandtown bragged to me about how his dogs were going to kill my cat: "Heh heh, I train 'em by killin' cats!" But the individual dogs, raised right, are mostly great.
posted by mygothlaundry 23 May | 10:47
All the pitbulls I've met have been charming and sweet. That picture set made me grin.
posted by wimpdork 23 May | 10:48
Awesome. The cutest dog I know-- even slightly edging out my own-- is a pit bull/shar pei mix with the coolest wrinkly face and expressive eyes in the world. When I first heard about his breed mix, I was freaked out, thinking he'd have to be some kind of killer dog. But he's a peach, both to dogs and to people.

Here's a poorly-lit picture of him looking very earnest, along with my hound sniffing the ground.
posted by cobra! 23 May | 11:12
Cobra! he does look very earnest. Our shepherd mix will look anywhere but the camera.
i can haz birfday cheezburger!
posted by auntbunny 23 May | 11:50
omigod, I'd somehow totally missed the haz cheezburger angle with Frej's birthday present. Man, I dropped the photoshop ball there.
posted by cobra! 23 May | 11:56
You guys know Crosbie, right? I don't take many pictures of him so can't contribute a smiley one, but I assure you he has a delightful grin.

He's fine with other dogs and cats. I did have to keep him away from mudpuppie's chickens, though.
posted by tangerine 23 May | 12:30
he's gorgeous, tangerine. and who doesn't want to chase chickens?
posted by auntbunny 23 May | 12:42
Hmm. I sometimes forget that smiling pitbulls can seem contentious. I understand the fear and the concern about random pitbulls, and for that reason, although I love them, I would probably not own one. The condemnation of the breed, though, doesn't really hold much water for me. I have some sympathy for it, but it seems historically limited and biologically suspect.

The plain fact is that dogs are dogs. Some have certain propensities, others have other propensities, but they have a broad set of traits that are common to the species and not to the breed. The variation within a given breed is always going to exceed the variation within breeds, as is the case with most dimensional trait. Of course in dogs with different morphology these traits mean very different things: the most vicious dog I know is a Chihuahua that barks and lunges and tries to attack every person it sees, but, in the nature of things, an attack by that little shit isn't going to hurt too much. (Although the only time I've been bitten was by a little ankle biter like that.)

More to the point, the meaning of given breeds changes over time. It was less than a century ago that pit bulls were considered to be ideal dogs for children because to the extent that they have high prey drives, they tend to be directed at other animals, and not at people. Recall that the dog in The Little Rascals was a pit bull. But anyone who's lived for more than a couple of decades knows that in the 70s German Shepherds were the feared breed, while in the early 80s it was Dobermans and Rottweilers. No one cares about Dobermans any more. Fashion changes.

I'm certainly not arguing that all pit bulls are angelic ambassadors of canine love, and I understand why some people are intimidated by pits they see on the street, and why they justly and reasonably condemn owners that train their dogs to attack. But the hysterical opposite view, that the enjoyment of pictures of obviously happy dogs should be tempered with moralistic reminders of the rapacity of the breed, rings equally false.

The irony is that that slide show was put together by one of the people who runs Bad Rap.

posted by omiewise 23 May | 14:15
An interesting thing about meeting Crosbie was walking through campus and watching other people's reactions to him. Some people waltzed right up to him and loved on him without hesitation, others walked in a very wide circle away from him.

People really do have preconcieved notions about the breed. It's like anything else -- there are good dogs and bad dogs. Our little terrier mutt would attack the UPS man -- he had a problem with men in brown, but was totally sweet to everyone else the rest of the time.
posted by mudpuppie 23 May | 14:30
I love dogs, and grew up with English mastiffs, and I still tend to avoid other people's pit bulls (I mean, strangers'; I love Crosbie), even though they're about the cutest dogs ever. I just feel that, as omie points out, the fashion right now if you want an "attack dog" is to get a pit bull, and so I'm just wary of approaching random pit bulls on the street without having some idea of how the owner has trained it. I try to be reasonably cautious with all dogs -- I'm not going to just stick my face or fingers into a strange dog's face -- and to listen to and respect the dog's body language, and I've never been bitten by any dog, but I just worry that the possibility of a bad dog owner owning a pit bull these days is too high.

Of course, I also tend to avoid chihuahuas and other generally high-strung little dogs, for some of the same reasons. And I have a really hard time reading teeny dogs -- most of them just look constantly frightened and jumpy.

But all of that is beside the point of the link, which is: OMG cute puppies!!!!
posted by occhiblu 23 May | 17:31
Our rescued pound puppy is half pit/half shepard. While she is a great dog around us, and our cats, she has strange traits. She hates things that roll: Bikes, skateboards, roller blades, cars; and she will lunge after them. She will chase strangers' feet, especially if small kids run, so we don't invite friends with small kids over, unless we lock up the dog. And while I can't prove it, I really think she's racist. All we know of her previous life is that she and her littermates and mother were all badly abused and subsequently confiscated. While she isn't truly friendly with any stranger, she goes berserk when a certain Latino boy comes by to ask my son to play ball. He's a nice kid, so there must be some other reason she can't stand him.

That said, I did not set out to have a pit as a pet. And while I love her, she is not my favorite dog. I don't think it's just the breed and how they're trained; I also think that since they're the new "tough guy" breed that too many people are randomly breeding them, and not breeding them well. Inbreeding, bad bloodlines, all can add up to a dangerous combination.
posted by redvixen 23 May | 17:54
My sister has a pitbull and the fact that I won't let my daughter play with it is a source of friction. The thing is, she got it free off Craig's List from a woman who claimed to be a reputable breeder, but who fell off the face of the earth shortly after they took the dog. I'm just not comfortable with that. But she insists that I'm just ignorant about the breed and unduly prejudiced. I'm glad he's a good dog and I'm glad that she loves him, but all dogs are good dogs until the first time something goes wrong. With another breed, that could mean getting a nasty bite. With a pitbull, that could mean my kid's throat getting ripped out. I just don't see any reason to take that chance.
posted by jrossi4r 24 May | 14:25
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