Victoria is amending dangerous dogs legislation this year. The news of this prompted a Mt Isa pig hunter to go to the media to argue against the call for ” pigging dogs” to be banned from residential areas. He claimed that they were ” professional” working dogs, and that his own dogs were well-trained family pets. Read about his campaign here.
This really turns my stomach. I hate cruelty to animals, and I especially find hunting for “sport” repulsive. The Mt Isa dog owner claimed that his dogs just held the pig and allowed him to “dispatch” it quickly and humanely. Even if this is true, I suspect it would be rarely the case amongst pig hunters. More commonly a pack of dogs would bring the pig down and kill the animal in a very distressing way.
The issue about keeping pig dogs out of suburban areas would be based on the assumption that these dogs are dangerous to people. Let me say that I am biased in my view on this, because in over 20 years as a professional dog trainer, there has only ever been one dog that put me in fear of my life, and that was a dog bred to be a pig dog. Generally, a pig dog is a cross of two first crosses. The original breeds are a selection of large dogs used in some capacity for hunting. For example, the dog might be a mix of an English Mastiff X Wolfhound, crossed with a Great Dane X Rhodesian Ridgeback, or something along those lines.
All of these breeds are large and powerful, but have the reputation of being sedate and amenable with people. This is the result of centuries of selective breeding. The problem with mixing genes in this way is that you don’t know which aspect of the each of the four dogs’ make-up is going to be thrown into the pot. Let me put it in a somewhat tongue in cheek way. If you cross an English Mastiff with another breed, how do you know whether you are getting the genes that predispose the dog to lie by the fireside in His Lordship’s manor house, or the genes which allow the dog to fire up once a week and bring down a wild boar? The result in unpredictable. You may get strength and prey drive in abundance, times four, without being balanced by the genes which predispose the dog to be sedate and gentle and with people.
Hence the possibility of danger to people, if the dog’s predatory instinct is aroused. This could happen if a child falls over and screams, or, in my case, because I started to walk a bit faster, and this movement switched the dog into predatory gear.