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High-risk dog bites its conspecific relatively often

High-risk dogs are relatively often involved in biting incidents with other dogs and people, according to a study by Utrecht University. High-risk dogs are Bull or Stafford type dogs and their crosses. They are more likely to cause serious harm to other dogs. They are also often involved in biting incidents involving people.

This is apparent from an analysis of more than 400 police registrations from 2016 and 2017. While the high-risk dogs relatively often cause damage to other dogs and people, sheepdogs relatively often appear in other animals such as cats and sheep that have been bitten to death.

“At the moment, people often say haphazardly that more information is needed. However, a distinction according to the type of bite incident is necessary to make this information effective," said a spokesperson for the Royal Dog Protection Agency, who commissioned the investigation. “Holders need to be more aware of the genetic basis of their dog. Sheepdogs are relatively more likely to chase other animals such as sheep. High-risk dogs more often show violent conspecific aggression.” This congener-oriented aggression can possibly be explained by the fact that high-risk dogs were originally used for dog fights. The report also shows that dog fights still take place in the Netherlands today. Although dog fighting is prohibited, there are various types of dog fighters. They do not only appear to be involved in the fighting, but are also regularly associated with crime, such as drug crime.

It is precisely the owners of high-risk dogs that appear younger on average, the report shows. Of particular concern is the involvement of boys between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five in dogfights, mentioned in the report. Young people often choose a high-risk dog as a status-enhancing 'instrument'. Without realizing what that dog is asking, also to keep him safe in society.

"A mandatory course before starting a dog and more education for young people is really needed," says the spokesperson for the Royal Dog Protection. “We want to reach young people before they buy a dog or develop an image that a dog is an instrument, instead of an animal with feeling and a life of its own. We are therefore developing an educational package for and with young people," said the spokesperson for the Dog Protection. Prevention, according to the organization, comes in addition to an early approach if bottlenecks arise. An example of an early approach is the establishment of a low-threshold municipal reporting point in Rotterdam. Here a citizen reports if there is concern about dog ownership. "Education and early intervention prevents damaging biting incidents from our society and gives the dog its trusted role as added value for society," according to the Dog Protection Agency.