Your Questions About Pit Bull Boxer Mix Temperament

Michael asks…

Can my neighbor legally stop me from adopting a specific type of dog?

There are no breed specific laws in my city. I have lived in my neighbor for five years. In that time period I have never had a complaint from a neighbor and in general have gotten along with all the neighbors around me.
I have a 3 year old Doberman Pinscher. I researched for a year, went to numerous dog shows, checked out AKC referrals, made contacts with breeders and eventually found one I deemed reputable and responsible who did all the necessary things a good breeder should do. I am actually still in contact with this breeder who calls a couple of times a year to check on my dog.
Our Doberman has never gotten out of our yard. He is neutered, vaccinated and licensed yearly. He is Canine Good Citizenship certified and I take him into the local children’s hospital once a week. He’s very polite, friendly with people and animals and he rarely barks.
Anyway my husband and I have been discussing the option of getting another dog for several months now and we decided to go the rescue shelter route this time. We wanted to get some type of Boxer, American Pit Bull Terrier/Staffordshire Bull Terrier or a mix of the two. We won’t be getting one for another few months because we’re picky about age, temperament, etc. We are also putting our adoption off due to this situation.
Well about 6 months ago a new neighbor moved in. She was initially nice but soon became cold and distant when she discovered we owned a Doberman. Then somehow (many through another neighbor or a slip of the tongue by one of us) she found out we were searching for another dog, one she deemed unsuitable. Ever since then she has been making us miserable. She’s contacted our neighborhood association about it. She’s complained to all our neighbors. She brings it up every time she sees us. She drops by once or twice a week with “information” about the dangers of owning a boxer, pit bull, etc. She is absolutely flipped her lid about it. So far we’ve been very collected about this whole situation. I don’t want to blow up on her because I’m afraid she may use this as some type of leverage against us.
I’m just curious, if by all standards we’ve been responsible owners and there are no breed specific laws in our city or neighborhood, she can’t try to come after us legally, can she?
I would like to point out that this lady also has her own dog, a Lab. Which excessively barks. This woman has been reprimanded several times in the six months she’s lived in this home. The dog also tried, but failed, to bust out of her home and attack the mailman.
Any type of dog is the Molosser class(which includes over 50 breeds, many of which are popular breeds) gets a bad rep regardless of whether or not it’s deserved. Poor breeding practices coupled with little to no professional training and socialization leads to a nasty dog regardless of the breed. If you consider that with the fact that few people know anything about basic dog behavior/psychology and can’t tell a Rottweiler from a Great Swiss Mountain dog……well you’re just asking for ignorant and undeserved stereotypes. We have owned a wide variety of dogs in the past from reputably bred American Pit Bull Terriers to Golden Retrievers. Boxers, Dobermans and APBT fit our needs and lifestyle. They also have temperaments that compliment each other. We’re not just going into this adoption half cocked. We’re not picking out the first cute dog we see. We have spent months contacting shelters. Doing more research and planning for another dog, what type we’ll get and the care we’ll give it.

Sarah Jones answers:

If your city does not have breed restrictions and neither do you have a landlord or homeowner’s association to report to, then you are free to do as you want. It’s your home, and your dogs are your property. As long as your dogs stay on your property and are not a nuisance to your neighbors, then you are fine. If you take them on walks, just make sure they are on leads no longer than 6 ft. Long (or whatever your city’s laws are about dogs off your property).

Your neighbor might be paranoid because she could have had a bad experience with a dog of that breed in the past. I know that when I was growing up, my neighbor had a GSD who literally tried to attack EVERYONE. His GSD bit my dog, leading to 300 stitches for my little guy, and it bit other dogs because the owner was an elderly man who, quite frankly, was way too weak to control a GSD. So, it could be a situation like this that your neighbor is afraid of. Her nightmare is that one day she will be out picking up her mail and your “ferocious” dog will bust out your front door and maul her.

I think that you should invite your neighbor to meet your canine good citizen Doberman. Allow your dog’s nice temperament to disprove her theories about this breed. Tell her that you are thinking about adopting an equally friendly dog of the pit bull variety. Once you adopt the dog, invite her to meet him as well. Perhaps their friendliness will win her over, or at least make her less paranoid. If she continues to be crazy about it, just ignore her and do as you wish. As long as you are within the law, she can do nothing. In fact, if her Lab is barking up a storm and being a nuisance to you, you can report her dog to the local authorities. If a dog is reported enough, the owner will be fined and the dog may have to be re-homed. Don’t go THAT far, of course, but just remind her that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

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