The Most Misunderstood Dogs in America

by Crystal Owens
    The American pit bull terrier is the most misunderstood dog in America.

    The American pit bull terrier is the most misunderstood dog in America.

    George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Animal owners love their dogs and no matter what anyone says their breed is the best companion. But some breeds get a bad rap, usually through no fault of their own. These bad reputations can keep lovable dogs from finding good homes and often mean life in a cage or euthanization.

    The American pit bull terrier is by far the most understood dog in America. It has made national headlines in the last decade for its involvement in dogfighting rings, especially with the 2007 arrest of NFL player Michael Vick. However, the dogs are actually loving companions. According to the ASPCA, this breed's temperament varies from tenacious to easygoing. Like humans, they have their own unique personalities and it's up to each owner to mold his dog into a good companion. A common myth about the American pit bull terrier is that it's genetically geared toward fighting other animals. With the right owner, proper training and socialization, the ASPCA says this breed "is one of the most delightful, intelligent and gentle dogs imaginable."

    As he's known for his strong body and big teeth, it's easy for the uneducated to be wary of the rottweiler. Many assume these dogs are natural-born killers, but they're actually even-tempered pets who make great guard dogs for families. The breed was created to be a herding dog and its instinct is to watch and protect. Rottweilers are known to be ideal companions for children, providing a watchful eye over their loved one. Also known for its intelligence, the breed is easily trained to follow commands.

    German shepherds can reach massive sizes, some weighing up to 150 pounds. They're often seen on television alongside a police officer attacking someone on the run, so it's no wonder this breed gets a bad reputation for being overly aggressive. German shepherds are known for their high intelligence and actually make a great family companion. If fact, they're often known to be big babies who love to cuddle. After all, its original role was that of a herding dog, protecting flocks from predators. If raised up as a puppy with a family, this breed is known for its loyalty, often following its "children" wherever they may go.

    Border collies are known for their intelligence and acute herding instinct. Their keen personalities have made them a popular breed in America, but they're easily misunderstood. They can be difficult pets for owners who don't know how to properly train them. Owners must understand border collies need lots of physical and mental stimulation to thrive. Thousands are given up every year because a lack of regular training and exercise caused them to become destructive in a family setting.

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    About the Author

    Crystal Owens is the managing editor at a Northern Virginia newspaper with more than 10 years experience in journalism. She has worked as a reporter in Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia, covering various topics from crime to politics to health care. She studied communications at the University of North Florida.

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