Breed Stereotype

November 2012 by Lisa Gunter

Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team

New research by Lisa Gunter provides insights on how shelters might increase Pit Bull adoptions. Her abstract is below; click here to view the poster.

Previous research has indicated that dog breed stereotypes exist and that the appearance of a human handler alongside a dog can affect perceptions of the dog's temperament. The present study looked at participants' perceptions of a Pit Bull-type dog in comparison to a Labrador Retriever and Border Collie, and whether the addition of a rough adult male, elderly woman or male child influences the dog's perceived characteristics of approachability, aggressiveness, intelligence, friendliness, trainability or adoptability.The results indicated that participants viewed the Pit Bull least favorably in all six characteristics when evaluated with the other breeds, confirming the presence of a negative stereotype.

The appearance of a handler alongside the Pit Bull influenced participants' impressions of the dog on characteristics of aggressiveness, friendliness, approachability and adoptability. When comparing impressions of the Pit Bull alone versus alongside a handler, perceived intelligence improved across all three conditions. Additionally, perceptions of friendliness and adoptability increased while aggressiveness decreased in both the elderly woman and male child conditions, and the perception of friendliness decreased with the presence of the rough male. These findings demonstrate how the appearance of a human handler in photographs can influence our perceptions of Pit Bulls and suggest possibilities for the use of human handlers to positively affect the perceived qualities of Pit Bulls among the general population and particularly those who are considering adoping a dog.

Lisa Gunter

Lisa is a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine - Knowledge Assessed and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed.

Comments

Content you may be interested in

Adopted pets are rescued by love, saved by shelter medicine

February 9, 2017

If you’ve adopted a pet from an animal shelter or rescue group, you know how powerful the bond is that exists between the pet and their human family. You’re also probably aware of the efforts made by shelter and rescue staff and volunteers to make sure you and your pet found each other. What you… Learn More

Advances in pet databases can help your shelter or rescue group get more pets adopted

February 8, 2017

The technological revolution of the last 25 years has had a profound impact on the animal welfare industry. Things we now take for granted, like websites that display our organizations' services and adoptable pets, pet-search databases such as Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com, more robust and easy to use animal sheltering software solutions, and the rise of… Learn More

Best Practice Strategies for Redefining Animal Sheltering

February 2017 by Dr. Sara Pizano

Hear a fresh perspective with regards to the way animals may enter the shelter and key practices that help the most leave alive, all by working smarter, not harder. Learn More