The Truth About Montreal's Breed Discrimination

Montreal City Officials passed a Pit Bull Ban ("Breed Specific Legislation" or "BSL") on September 27, 2016 which essentially is a death sentence for thousands of dogs. In this case, the legislation targets Pit Bull breeds and Pit Bull mixes.  It is important to note that the term "Pit Bull" may refer to a variety of bully type breeds. Great Britain enacted similar legislation years ago in an attempt to curtail aggression and bites. Unfortunately, this attempt was unsuccessful and the Brits found that bite reports actually went up. A similar event will be revealed in Montreal too, but not before thousands of Pit Bulls are euthanized and families are left heartbroken.

A scientific study conducted in 2008 found that Pit Bulls are NOT the most likely breed to bite a human (stranger or family member). In fact, the Pit Bull was not even in the top three. But Montreal, and cities like it aren't banning the breeds that have shown to be most susceptible to biting humans.  Furthermore, another study from the Cambridge University Press showed that because of all the factors surrounding a dog and its propensity to aggression (or biting), it is meaningless to make a prediction of aggression based on the breed. As a professional dog trainer I can concur with that statement.

There are way too many variables involved in dog behavior including genetics, age, reproductive viability (spay/neuter status), health, and past training methods. There are yet even more studies that have shown that breed discrimination has no justification whatsoever. 

How is it possible then, that legislators passed the BSL despite mountains of evidence pointing against it?  The media in both the US and UK is a problem because they overwhelmingly publish dog attack stories about vicious bites where Pit Bulls are involved. Other breeds simply don't grab the headlines. Furthermore, we rarely ever hear about a Pit Bull doing 'desirable' behavior.  But I assure you that there are many heartwarming stories about Pit Bulls and heroic behavior!

All of this negative exposure creates a climate of unjustified negative views towards Pit Bulls. The studies have continually shown that just breed alone is not a determining factor for behavior.  Let's hope that the legislators in Canada, and the rest of the western world educate themselves before it's too late. 


Breed differences in canine aggression. Duffy, Deborah L. et al. Applied Animal Behaviour Science , Volume 114 , Issue 3 , 441 - 460

Serpell, James. The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behaviour, and Interactions with People. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995. Print.

Is breed-specific legislation justified? Study of the results of the temperament test of Lower Saxony; Schalke, Esther et al. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research , Volume 3 , Issue 3 , 97 - 103