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February 12, 2013

Can't Judge a Bull by the Cover: Test Your Breed IQ

When it comes to "pit bulls," looks can be deceiving

All Animals magazine, March/April 2013

One of the more bizarre problems with policies that target “pit bulls” is that the breed doesn’t technically exist.

There’s no agreed-upon legal definition of a pit bull, nor is a dog called a pit bull recognized by any kennel club, says Stacey Coleman, executive director of Animal Farm Foundation.

People often casually apply the term to three breeds and their mixes: American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, and Staffordshire bull terrier. Other dogs frequently lumped into the “pit bull” category include bulldogs, boxers, presa canarios, cane corsos, mastiffs, and various mixes of all of these.

The advent of DNA testing to identify the various breeds that make up a particular dog’s genes has helped demonstrate the difficulty of accurate visual identification. Genes are mysterious in the way they combine to create an animal’s features; sometimes a dog who appears to be a pit bull may turn out to be a Labra-poodle-terri-hund. Check out some examples of what testing has revealed about the pooches shown here—it’s proof that when it comes to “pit bulls,” you can’t believe your eyes.

Click to enlarge:

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