The American Pit Bull: Nature Vs Nurture

2176 words - 9 pages

When the American Pit Bull is discussed, the subject of nature versus nurture is often the primary topic. Over the last ten to twenty years, thoughts have changed greatly in respect to dog fighting. Throughout history, several different types of dogs have been used for dogfighting. Ancient Romans had displays of dog fights, as well as gladiators, in their great arenas long before the bully breed ever came into existence (Hsu & Sun, 2010). Thankfully, society has evolved, and so has the ideas behind the fight of dogs. Fighting is no longer thought of as just a game or entertainment by the majority of humans. The descendants of those various animals once used so barbarically, have now evolved to be therapy dogs, service dogs, and beloved family pets (Preis, 2014).
Regardless of the history of the pit bull breed, and the lack of knowledge in the field of animal genetics, many people still agree with breed specific legislation (BSL), more commonly in the form of pit bull breed bans. However, there are those who still believe genetics play a small role in the aggressive nature of the Pit Bull. These individuals contend that because breeders once bred and used these dogs for fighting, that the whole breed still poses a significant danger to the public and, therefore are not suitable as pets in today’s society (Preis, 2014).
On the other hand, there are people like myself, who do actually have experience with these animals, who contend that it is the animal’s environment which includes everything from socialization, training, and the love from their owners, which is what makes an animal good or bad. In addition to this argument, even though some of these poor creatures were originally bred to be killers, responsible owners like myself have bred these big baby’s not to fight; thus making this breed an excellent working dog as well as a perfect companion. The temperament and disposition of the pit bull terrier develops like any breed and depends on the ability and knowledge of their owners. Thankfully, scientist are making many advances, in the study of genetics. Recent studies show genetics are not nearly as significant in the development of breed traits as once thought. Those studies support the theory that outside factors influence learned behaviors as much as, if not more than, genetics (Duffy, Hsu, & Serpell, 2008).
In his book, Nature v. Nurture, Matt Ridley expounds upon this theory, “Genes themselves are implacable little determinists, genes are very far from being fixed in their actions. Instead, they are devices for extracting information from the environment. Genes are the mechanisms of experience” (Ridley, 2003).
The belief that one’s genes predispose a certain disposition is losing its standing among those in science. More experts now believe genetics and the environment play significant roles in disposition and demeanor of the American Pit Bull. More particularly, with the subject at hand, you the owner, are the deciding factor in...

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