The American bully breed is relatively recent, although it will remind children of the sixties and seventies of an old acquaintance: it looks similar to Hector (Spike, in the original version), the strong bulldog who gave the bull a hard time. Sylvester the cat in the Looney Tunes cartoons for the Warner Bros. company. The adventures of that dog, eternal savior of the canary Tweety, always end well, but...
But in real life stories don't always have a happy ending. Great Britain has announced that it plans to ban the breeding of another bodybuilder, the American bully XL (the largest of all varieties, weighing 60 kilos), before the end of the year, after several fatal attacks allegedly carried out by specimens of this breed. The latest victim of these events, last week, was Ian Price, 52 years old and father of two children.
Mr. Price was walking in Walsall with his two pets when he was attacked by two other animals already euthanized, although the authorities are still not even clear that they were two XL American Bullies. Its owner is free and the British Prime Minister has asked that the characteristics of this breed be “defined”, with the intention of banning it. The death of Ian Price was the last straw in Britain.
American bullies do not explicitly appear on the list of potentially dangerous dogs in force in Spain, although it is not an exclusive list. According to the College of Veterinarians of Barcelona, the Akita Inu, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bullmastiff, Doberman, Argentine and Bordeaux Dogo, Brazilian Fila, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pit Bull, Presa Canario, Rottweiler and Tosa Inu are formally included.
The problem is that the list includes these dogs and “their crosses.” The American bully in any of its sizes (from smallest to largest there are four or five, depending on the breeders' criteria) has blood from parents that are on the list, such as the American Staffordshire and other bull terriers. Álvaro Bulls, in Madrid, is one of the oldest kennels of this breed, which began its journey 15 years ago.
The owner does not even know how many dogs he may have sold (“hundreds and hundreds: imagine, ten litters per year…”). This professional assures that “the appearance of the breed does not correspond to its character and that is exactly what was wanted: a stuffed animal with the face and body of a gladiator, intimidating, but affectionate. I tell my clients: you're in for a treat. If thieves break into your house, the dog will hide.”
This breeder is dedicated to the smallest of the family, the pocket and micro, which do not reach 30 kilos. His cousins, the XL, weigh twice as much. And this is also a key criterion to establish whether they are potentially dangerous or not, whether or not they appear mentioned with names and surnames. Animals with certain physical characteristics can also be included in this category. And such characteristics seem like the robotic portrait of the bully XL.
A chest circumference of at least 60 centimeters and more than 20 kilos in weight, a voluminous and robust head, a wide, muscular and short neck... Tweety's best hero, Sylvester's worst nightmare, a cartoon dog made of flesh and blood. That's how this breed is. What has happened in Great Britain? What could happen in Spain? “You would leave a tank in the hands of a drunk: neither would I,” explains a breeder who requests anonymity.
The British premier assures that the deadly attacks that his country regrets are not the result of “a handful of poorly trained dogs; We are facing a pattern of behavior that cannot continue. “These animals are a danger to our communities, especially to children.” Some of the fiercest-looking dogs, such as boxers, however, are famous for their extraordinary patience with children.
The professionals consulted insist that the danger itself is not in one race or another, but in education and crossbreeding. An honest breeder will enhance certain physical and behavioral characteristics, to the detriment of others. For this reason, the Animal Welfare Law regulates and monitors dog breeding so much, that it can be heavily sanctioned if it is carried out in an unregulated manner. That's what could have happened in Britain.
The Bully Watch group, very active on the internet, is “the only dog attack tracker by breed in the UK”. The large breeds of American bullies, their spokespersons say, “are responsible for the majority of dog attacks in this country, about 43%.” But they don't even put all the owners in the same bag, "but rather certain breeders who often have tattoos on their faces and stallions with very curious names."
What names? Here are some examples, provided by the spokespersons for this organization: Chainsaw, Thug, Prisoner, Terrorist, Mr. Assassin, Scarface or Shogun Warrior. More than the appearance of the animal (the only thing that those who do not want a companion dog, but rather a weapon, pay attention to) we must pay attention to the character of its parents and the seriousness and honesty of the breeder. Just what didn't happen in Britain.