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RE: [RC] [RC] [RC] putting dog down - Susan E. Garlinghouse, D.V.M.

Now that I'm working in a small animal hospital, most GSDs are still nice
dogs, but there ARE a lot more that are timid, poorly socialized and/or are
fear-biters than what my colleagues remember in past years.  After awhile,
you learn which breeds to be wary of as possible biters when examining them.
We have to be very careful (ie, muzzle before handling) maybe 20% of the
GSDs that come into the practice, which puts them into the Top Ten of
potential land sharks, but not into the Top Five.  We actually probably have
more hard-to-handle labs in the practice than we do bad GSDs, but it's hard
to convince a lab owner that his dog needs to shape up.  Top Five of the
Land Shark list still firmly belongs to mostly little dogs---ask any vet,
chihuahuas are the big numero uno for being nasty and biting without
provocation, followed by miniature pinschers, poodles, shih tzus, lhasa
apsos and all the other assorted little lap dog types.  Chow crosses can be
pretty short-tempered, as well, and corgis seem to exit their mother's womb

I've put down several dogs at owner request for being dangerous biters, and
3 of them were shepherd crosses of some variety; one pit bull that had been
badly abused/fought by a previous owner may-he-burn-in-hell; and one chow
cross that was fine around people but would snap and damn near kill other
dogs in the household. There's also a dalmatian in the practice that's
headed that way if he doesn't shape up soon, plus a Great Dane that thinks
he's Beowulf. 

My experience has been that owners of big dogs generally recognize or can be
made to recognize a bad potential liability issue, and do something about it
one way or another.  Owners of little dogs pretty exclusively refuse to
recognize that little teeth can still cause a lot of damage, and usually
think it's of no consequence or just so cute when little Muffy tries to take
the vet's face off.  If facing up to responsibility is lacking in any
particular breed, my opinion is it's chihuahua owners ten to one over any of
the big dog breeds.


Susan Garlinghouse, DVM


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RE: [RC] [RC] [RC] putting dog down, Kristen A Fisher