Don’t Judge a Mutt by it’s Appearance

Have you ever had people cross the street to avoid your bully breed?

Have you every had someone come running up to your dog, attempting to pet, hug or more – without asking your permission first?

I’ve had both of these happen, too many times to count.

Let’s start with the Breed discrimination. Something I deal with far too often.

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Chipper is a rescued, bully breed.  His exact breed is unknown.  However, based on appearance and personality traits – I believe he either has a touch of Staffordshire Terrier, Pit bull or Boxer in his DNA.  The rescue he was adopted from, had him labeled as a Rottweiler, so it’s really impossible to know for sure.

Chipper is a gentle, kind hearted, dog-friendly, child-friendly happy go-lucky dog.  He has been since the moment I brought him home.  Chipper has never aggressed another dog – even when he is being bullied.  Chipper does his best to navigate each situation so that it has a positive outcome.  He does have a tendency towards arousal (over-excitement) – which can lead to him pulling on the leash or jumping on someone to gain their attention.  But, at the end of the day, he is harmless and the kindest dog I know!  How did I ever go so lucky, to get the worlds most friendly dog?!

However – the most common reaction I get, when walking Chipper, is people avoiding him.  He can be behaving beautifully, walking at my side, and people will go out of their way to avoid coming to close to the bully breed.  While he doesn’t have as square of a jaw, or as stalky of a body as most bullies – the fact that he is mostly black with a slight bully appearance is enough to deter many people.

Not only this – but his appearance can lead to difficulty in finding housing.  The BSL is such a frustration.  If only they would take the time to meet Chipper – they would immediately be taken aback by his sweet and playful demeanor.

My heart aches for my boy, who wants nothing more than to share kisses and beg for pets (and maybe food) from each person he meets.  But in the end, it is them that is missing out on interacting with my sweet, kind-hearted boy.

Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin…..

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Quinci is an itty bitty 10lb dog. Most likely a Terrier/Chihuahua blend.  I often go back and forth between thinking she has Jack Russell Terrier or Rat Terrier in her.  While the rescue had her labeled as a Min Pin mix!

I adopted Quinci after she was rescued from a, slight, hoarding situation.  It was believed that she may never have even been able to leave the room that she was kept in.  While in foster, with a friend of mine – before I was able to bring her home – I was informed that she would only eat, sleep and potty in the bedroom, never wanting to leave it.

Quinci was 10 months old when she came in to my life.  From the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew I was the human for her.  She crawled in to my lap and stole my heart.  She was terrified of life – everything from unsuspected noises, people passing by to leaves rustling on the ground.  In the next few months of her life, I did all I could to socialize her, grow her confidence and expose her to new and exciting things – all while providing countless amounts of positive reinforcement.  I won’t go in to too much of the behavioral development of dogs – but in short, Quinci missed almost all of her prime socialization time.  These months occurred in the time she was in a hoarding situation.  Unfortunately, much of the damage that was done, was unable to be reversed – meaning Quinci is a fearful dog, this fear comes across in the form of defensive barking and sometimes aggression.

Which leads to the point of the blog.  Don’t judge a mutt by it’s appearance.  Just because Quinci is a small, adorable, happy dog – does NOT mean she is okay with strangers approaching her.  She is not comfortable with strangers approaching, attempting to pet, looking her in the eyes or even attempting to sweet talk her.  Because of her background, she needs the time to gain her confidence and approach on her own time.  It is amazing the amount of people that rush to meet her without first asking permission, especially young children.

Growing up, I never imagined I would have a dog that did not love attention from humans.  It is a challenge. Everyday. But I know that I am providing her with the best possible life.  I have found what works for her, and do my best to set her up for success, whenever possible. I love my girl.



So, in the future, please take in to consideration that every dog is unique and different.  Their breeds do not define them.

  • Take the time to ask each pet parent if you are allowed to pet, before approaching.
  • Teach your children how to appropriately approach a dog
    • Approach slowly
    • Don’t stare the dog in the eyes
    • Don’t approach from above
    • Allow the dog to sniff their hand, before attempting to pet
    • Be gentle and quiet
  • Give each dog and pet parent the benefit of the doubt, before judging
  • Don’t judge a mutt by it’s appearance!


I would love to hear your about your experiences in the comments!

Thanks friends- Katie, Chipper and Quinci

5 thoughts on “Don’t Judge a Mutt by it’s Appearance”

  1. WoW! With Quinci being such a pro hiker I couldn’t have imagined how scared she was of the world. Good job, Katie, your little girl now lives the best life possible.

  2. This is such a great post! I really liked how you have personally experienced both sides of the coin. People not wanting to pet your friendly dog because of how he looks and people WANTING to pet your shy dog because of how she looks. I feel like word is getting around that not every dog wants to be pet by strangers thankfully, as I don’t encounter it as often on the trails and it’s such a relief as my little guy (though not as tiny as cute Quinci) has the same shy temperament that sometimes shows itself as barking aggression. It’s definitely a job to work through it, but I’m glad these pups are with people who love them no matter what and continue to help them work through their fears!

  3. I’ve had to forcefully tell people not to touch my dog. She, like Quin is a cute little jack russell/ chi mix and even when she is spook barking, tucking her tail, and baring her teeth people still want to shove their face in her face.
    I recently flew with her for the first time and she was very nervous and starling at everyone. I had her on my lap in her carrier with her head sticking out so she could look out the window and I was talking to the girl next to me (who asked to pet her) about how snarly she was today and how she had snapped at someone earlier “thanks for asking, do not touch my dog”. The girl put her hand out for my dog to sniff and my dog licked it (people think this is an affection thing but it’s not, it means i’m uncomfortable please please go away) then the girl promptly leaned over to give my dog a kiss and was met with a snap. I’m glad Keiko has an effective way of giving a firm “NO” without breaking skin.
    Moral of the story is even when you read people the book sometimes they can’t get passed how appealing the cover is.

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