The common misconceptions about our furry friends

Audrey Allen, Staff Writer

As you walk down the streets of downtown Milford, you notice a woman walking her dog. Is your first instinct to run? Are you questioning your safety? Do you believe her dog should be taken away? 

Ordinarily, the answer to those questions results in no. Would they change if I had told you that dog was a pit bull? A rottweiler?

Over time, a huge misconception developed on which dog breeds are considered dangerous. With my own experience working at Sniffer Station, a doggy daycare and boarding center, I am here to show you why these breeds should not be shunned. 

I have compiled a list of five of the most commonly known breeds that are considered to be dangerous from and ranking from “least dangerous” to “most dangerous.”

  1. American Bulldog
Holly Ammon (left) and Ashlee Noodel (right) cuddling up with their favorite bulldogs. (Photos courtesy of Sniffer Station)

Originally, the American bulldog was used to be a utility dog for working on a farm. Throughout history, bulldogs were used for chasing down stray cattle and other miscellaneous farm tasks. These chubby pups are seen as self-confident and loyal, both traits that are perfect for eager families. I have worked with so many different types of dogs and I can safely say that most of the bulldogs I have met have been nothing but cuddly, sweet, and slobbery bundles of fur. On the opposing end, when these dogs are not trained properly and are not socialized frequently, then they can have certain temperament issues such as aggression toward owners, strangers, and other animals, which are what could be considered dangerous.  

  1. Doberman

The Doberman, also known as the doberman pinscher, originated in Apolda, in Thuringia, Germany, around 1890. Dobermans have excelled in police and military duty, along with special skills as therapy

Holly Ammon (left) and Audrey Allen (right) getting smooches from some of Sniffer Station’s sweet dobermanns. (Photos courtesy of Sniffer Station)

and service dogs. With this in mind, these dogs are very protective of those they love. Dobermans can become hostile if they are not properly socialized as a puppy. It is imperative that these dogs have obedience training, are frequently socialized, and fed accordingly. If not, then these dogs can create problems with other dogs and strangers. Dobermans are usually portrayed in the media as dangerous dogs in classics such as “Up”, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”, and “Beethoven.” This automatically instills the idea in younger audiences that these dogs are pretty terrifying. Understandably, most believe this idea is true (when raised on this idea displayed in the media). Every doberman I have encountered has been gentle yet energetic. I believe that the history of the breed can help create a loyal, loving dog for families that is capable of protecting their loved ones when needed.  


  1. German Shepherd

 The next furry friend we have is the classic German shepherd. Normally, these dogs are seen as a form of protection, similar to the doberman, with jobs in police and military force. German shepherds are a very protective breed, that trait highlighted when training to be guard dogs. With this nature, shepherds are very strong– their bite alone can break a bone. German shepherds are also widely displayed in the media as police dogs. Now, this media display may not be as extreme as the doberman, but these dogs

Paige Ducharme (left) with one of her favorite German shepherds, Matthias. (Photos courtesy of Sniffer Station)

are still considered aggressive and in some cases are even banned in neighborhoods. Shepherds are born with incredible senses that aid in solving crimes and other legal activities within the police force. These dogs are versatile to the point where they can be trained to protect a force or provide love and cuddles to a big family. From my experience working with so many different types of shepherds, I can safely say that they are either the most mellow and loving, or the most playful and energetic bunch. It all depends on how these dogs are trained; that most likely determine if temperament issues become present.


  1. Rottweiler 


Audrey Allen (left) and Kati Parks (right) face to face with the cutest little “rotties” you’ve ever seen! (Photos courtesy of Sniffer Station)

At first glance, these pups are unarguably adorable. Rottweilers, nicknamed “rotties”, are chubby, cushy, and cuddly companions that are perfect playmates for families in need. These are big babies that require lots of exercises and regular play. However, finding the best rottie for you can be a challenge. It is important to research the breeder you could be buying from as well as enrolling your pup in training classes. Rotties that have not been trained properly can have problems with aggression, which is what most people focus on when they hear “rottweiler.” Some owners seek rottweilers because of their potential aggression in hopes of using their pet for stronger protection. Shockingly, rottweilers are approximately ten times more likely to kill or mangle someone than the average dog. Now, that statistic may scare you, but it is important to remember that with the proper training and exercise, this can be avoided. Nearly every rottie I have worked with just thinks they are puppies, even at 7 years old. I think the positives of having a big ol’ rottie in your life are so buried by this misconception that these chubby cuddle machines are actually killing machines (which I believe is not true at all). 



  1. Pit Bull 
Audrey Allen with her favorite pit bull, River. (Photo courtesy of Sniffer Station)

 I bet it is no surprise a pit bull is considered the most “dangerous” dog on this list… most dogs I have included in this list are ones that most consider dangerous, but by far the most notorious is the pit bull. I can’t argue that pit bulls have always been angels, though. Pit bulls are infamous for being aggressive because they are responsible for more serious and fatal injuries of humans than any breed. Pit bulls are descendants of the English bull-baiting dog, which was bred to fight other animals for the purpose of entertainment. While pit bulls can have an aggressive nature, this can be helped with proper training and frequent socialization. My heart weakens each time I hear people shy away from pit bulls in conversation because of a misconception society has implemented. To add, I would like to introduce my favorite pit bull, River (pictured on the left). River was one of the first

Ethan Young’s pitbull sitting very nicely. (Photo courtesy of Ethan Young)

dogs I met when I started working at Sniffer Station. At first, honestly, I was skeptical. All I knew was that she was a pit bull. Within seconds of interacting with her, it was clear she was one of the most well-trained, loving, and beautiful dogs I have ever met. From my first day with River to now, 7 months later, she has only gotten more perfect. She plays with all the pups, big and small, and struts with confidence wherever she goes. River is just one of the pit bulls that I know to defy that standard set by critics. She has forever changed my view on what we consider to be dangerous when talking about dog breeds. Ultimately, she is the reason I wanted to write this article. It makes me sad that this breed is so shunned, especially at first glance. This is a classic case of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” I can’t say all pit bulls behave like River, but I know with the proper training and socialization, you might get a pup just as wonderful.


As the list goes on, there is a clear, common thread with all of these breeds. If these dogs are trained properly and frequently socialized, this entire misconception can be proven almost entirely untrue. Breed does not determine how dangerous a dog will be, it’s how you train your dog. I cannot say that this will completely prevent bad behavior in dogs, but that is the first step in raising a good canine for you and your loved ones. Dogs can provide such a certain rush of euphoria and joy into our lives that simply cannot be replaced. Not to say our clever canines can’t be little rascals sometimes… But that can add a little mischief (and a little fun) into your life. 

I’ll ask again: you notice a woman walking her dog. Is your first instinct to run? Do you believe her dog should be taken away? I’m guessing your answer may have changed. Next time you see a dog walking down the street, no matter what breed, the simplest question, “May I pet your dog?” will give you all the answers you need. Think about this the next time you are judging a dog by breed, just as you would with a human being on appearance. Makes you think, huh?

Left: Audrey Allen hugging one of Sniffer Station’s dachshunds, Annie.
Center: Young Hailie and Brad Mitchell hugging their cuddly rottweiler in the heart of the holidays.
Right: Kati Parks with one of Sniffer Station’s biggest pups, Diesel.
(Photos courtesy of Sniffer Station)