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A little pitbull goes a long way

“I believe any bad behavior with a dog comes up through the owner.”

In the eye of the beholder - underslung jaw can add value.
In the eye of the beholder - underslung jaw can add value.

American Bully Contest judge James Roman has his own conviction about why pit bulls have a stigma attached to them: it’s their owners’ fault. “The stigma around pit bulls is the owners,” he says. He has just judged a young bully, “Blue Label,” best in show for this “Uniting of the Breeds” contest in Barrio Logan. “I don’t believe that there’s bad dogs,” he continues. “I believe that there’s bad owners and bad people. I mean right now, if you think about it, people have tigers as pets. So you can’t have a pit bull as a pet, but you can have a tiger? I believe any bad behavior with a dog comes up through the owner. A thing we have when we talk about showing dogs is, ‘It comes down the lead.’ So if you’re nervous, the dogs are very sensitive. So if you’ve got the wrong owner and he’s a violent guy, the dog will react. And some people are into that. They want that game in the dog. But then the dog doesn’t stay with him, so he goes with somebody else. If you’ve got ten kids, do you really think you need a pit bull?”

Winners: Marcos, judge James Roman, Mark, daughter Callie.

He goes further with his nurture-over-nature argument: “Unfortunately, people do get pits and then confine them in a small yard because they think that that’s going to get them out of the way. If you look at what’s wrong with the prison system right now, it just ties right into that. It’s not how you rehabilitate people or dogs! Because they come out worse that they went in. Same thing with a pit bull, you put him in a cage because he’s got behavioral issues, you tie him down and you let him out, he’s going to run everywhere and maybe be a little bit angry. If somebody takes my freedom away, I’m not happy about it. So I think the stigma around pitbulls is bad owners.”

For his part, says Roman, “I’ve been around pit bulls and I love them. I do love the loyalty in them, I like the game in them. If I have a pit bull in my yard, that means don’t come in. I want that in them. I don’t want a pit bull that will cower out. I want you to not feel comfortable around me and my dogs. You should ask. Or don’t come at me from behind. That’s the point. If you want a pit bull and you want it to be all playful, it’s the wrong breed.” So yeah, a little bit of nature, but he still comes back to nurture: “Some people want the stigma. ‘I want a pit bull, homeboy,’ and all this crap, and you can’t even control that dog. So then it ends up in the wrong hands, the nephew, the cousin. Before you know, it’s in the pound, and then caged up again! It’s like a young man in trouble with Juvenile. By the time he’s an adult, he’s already in the wrong environment. So his mentality is different. You don’t trust a lot of people. Same thing with the dog, man.” 

So how come he chose a little guy as champion? “I chose Blue Label - that’s his name - the Best of Show because he got the standards for this breed. He was small, he was moving, he was able to keep up with his heat, his temperament was there. He wasn’t getting all radical with the other dogs, and the guy actually showed him pretty well. It all added up: he was best in the show. He gets the plaque, the dog food, the phone, looks like. But most of all now, he has the name. Can’t put a value on that.” At least not until other breeders start lining up at the door. 

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In the eye of the beholder - underslung jaw can add value.
In the eye of the beholder - underslung jaw can add value.

American Bully Contest judge James Roman has his own conviction about why pit bulls have a stigma attached to them: it’s their owners’ fault. “The stigma around pit bulls is the owners,” he says. He has just judged a young bully, “Blue Label,” best in show for this “Uniting of the Breeds” contest in Barrio Logan. “I don’t believe that there’s bad dogs,” he continues. “I believe that there’s bad owners and bad people. I mean right now, if you think about it, people have tigers as pets. So you can’t have a pit bull as a pet, but you can have a tiger? I believe any bad behavior with a dog comes up through the owner. A thing we have when we talk about showing dogs is, ‘It comes down the lead.’ So if you’re nervous, the dogs are very sensitive. So if you’ve got the wrong owner and he’s a violent guy, the dog will react. And some people are into that. They want that game in the dog. But then the dog doesn’t stay with him, so he goes with somebody else. If you’ve got ten kids, do you really think you need a pit bull?”

Winners: Marcos, judge James Roman, Mark, daughter Callie.

He goes further with his nurture-over-nature argument: “Unfortunately, people do get pits and then confine them in a small yard because they think that that’s going to get them out of the way. If you look at what’s wrong with the prison system right now, it just ties right into that. It’s not how you rehabilitate people or dogs! Because they come out worse that they went in. Same thing with a pit bull, you put him in a cage because he’s got behavioral issues, you tie him down and you let him out, he’s going to run everywhere and maybe be a little bit angry. If somebody takes my freedom away, I’m not happy about it. So I think the stigma around pitbulls is bad owners.”

For his part, says Roman, “I’ve been around pit bulls and I love them. I do love the loyalty in them, I like the game in them. If I have a pit bull in my yard, that means don’t come in. I want that in them. I don’t want a pit bull that will cower out. I want you to not feel comfortable around me and my dogs. You should ask. Or don’t come at me from behind. That’s the point. If you want a pit bull and you want it to be all playful, it’s the wrong breed.” So yeah, a little bit of nature, but he still comes back to nurture: “Some people want the stigma. ‘I want a pit bull, homeboy,’ and all this crap, and you can’t even control that dog. So then it ends up in the wrong hands, the nephew, the cousin. Before you know, it’s in the pound, and then caged up again! It’s like a young man in trouble with Juvenile. By the time he’s an adult, he’s already in the wrong environment. So his mentality is different. You don’t trust a lot of people. Same thing with the dog, man.” 

So how come he chose a little guy as champion? “I chose Blue Label - that’s his name - the Best of Show because he got the standards for this breed. He was small, he was moving, he was able to keep up with his heat, his temperament was there. He wasn’t getting all radical with the other dogs, and the guy actually showed him pretty well. It all added up: he was best in the show. He gets the plaque, the dog food, the phone, looks like. But most of all now, he has the name. Can’t put a value on that.” At least not until other breeders start lining up at the door. 

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I'm no expert, but isn't there a big difference between pit bulls and bulldogs?

May 25, 2022

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