For people who love dogs, talking about dog fights can be sickening. Dogfighting is one of the bloody inhumane games (or blood sport) where dogs are pitted against each other to fight either to the death or to submission. The dogs involved are usually bred, trained, and conditioned to engage in the fights. The three main types of dogfighting games include street fights, hobby fights, and professional fights. Here are brief explanations of what they are all about.
1. Street-Fight Dogfighting
For the most part, this type of fight is usually linked with gang activities. One gang can decide to settle a turf invasion score by going for a dogfight. These kinds of fights are occurrences of spontaneity, and many times, they are not organized. When they come up, they are conducted for bragging rights, drugs, or money. They happen in back alleys, street corners, playgrounds in the neighborhood, and other places out of the authorities’ sight.
Dogfighters who live in urban settings usually have some dogs chained up in their basements, garages, backyards, and behind privacy fences. When a raid happens, the beaten-up dogs are usually discovered by animal control or the police when they either dead or altogether unconscious. The spontaneous nature of street-fight dogfighting makes it challenging to respond to quickly.
The methods used to train street-fight dogfighting are rogue – they include physical abuse of the dog, starving, and drugging. These are methods that the next two dogfighting games decry.
2. Hobbyist Dogfighting
The main reasons behind hobbyist dogfighting include entertainment and income. These hobbyists usually organize a couple of dogs and set them up in organized fights. They operate within specific spaces geographically. Many people who engage in hobbyist dogfighting know each other and keep returning to the venues for more and more fights.
3. Professional Dogfighting
These human fighters usually organize and breed particular game dogs. They usually take a lot of pride in the lineage of their dogs. Professionals make a lot of money when they charge stud fees, which are usually paid for breeding the dogs. On top of that, they get the proceeds that come from winnings. A group of professional dogfighters can own up to 50 dogs or more. To advertise puppy and training equipment sales and recent fights, they use trade journals like The Pit Bull Chronicle, Game Dog Times, Your Friend and Mine, and The American Warrior.
Some of these fighters actually take their business to an international level, but the networking is highly secretive. If a professional fighter finds that its dog is not succeeding in the fights, they may dispose of it using various inhumane techniques like strangulation, gunshot, hanging, and electrocution.
In dogfighting, the injuries sustained and inflicted are, for the most part, a little too severe. Sometimes, they even lead to fatalities. The dogs that participate in these blood sports are trained and bred to fight. There is no such thing as a warm upbringing for a fighter dog – they go through mistreatment and abuse as soon as they are born.
Some of the injuries that the dogs sustain include broken bones, bruising, and deep puncture wounds. The things that cause death to the dogs include dehydration, blood loss, exhaustion, shock, or an infection that may come some days or hours after the fight.
Dogfighting Breeding As A Criminalized Activity
In the years that have passed, law enforcement agencies have engaged in raids to uncover and discover dogfighting’s shocking facets. Often, young children are involved in these sports, meaning that they pick and promote the ideas of animal suffering. Also, young people are brought up without sensitive personalities and are enthusiastic about breaking the law and engaging in acts of utter and pure violence.
For the most part, dogfights usually go hand in hand with illegal gambling, which involves staking thousands of dollars. Because the fights are profitable, they are quite commonplace in the streets and organized crime settings.
The other crimes tied to dogfighting are the use of firearms and illegal drugs. Raids at these events have found weapons of all sorts together with stashes of money. Sadly, homicide is also another form of violence connected to dogfighting.
Felony Charges For Participants
In all 50 state laws and federal laws, engaging dogs in fighting is a felony. If you bring in a minor (under legal age) to an animal fight, you are committing a serious crime.
There are a couple of reasons explaining why the crimes are felonies. If you look at the sports, you will realize that the profits yielded are large. The penalties that come with such convictions are a little too weak, and professionals and hobbyists see them as business-running costs.
Anyone engaging dogs in blood sports should not just be slapped on their wrist. First, the practice is cruel to dogs. For any country that loves and adores dogs, the practice should not be tolerated. Many people who organize and participate in dog fights go to great lengths to avoid the long arm of the law. This means that the investigators involved in tracking them down engage in challenging, expensive, and difficult probes to pin the criminals. By making the fights felonies, officials can put in the effort to get case details.
Felony Charges For Spectators
The HSUS – the Human Society of United States – is in full support of dogfighting spectating being made a felony charge. Spectators fuel the fights to keep the dogs fighting. Also, they give motivation to the professionals and hobbyists to keep organizing the events.
Since the blood sport is not publicized, the spectators do not come across the fights by accident – they seek them out. They are very willing to attend and pay for their admission to witness a criminal activity being conducted. While many states have seen that charging spectators with felonies helps know about the fights, there is still a need for more legislation.
What Can Anyone Do To Stop The Dogfights?
Getting involved directly would be a little too risky – all dogfighters are willing to settle scores with informers or people who sell them out to the police. If you suspect that some dogfighting activity is going on in a place near you, you can alert the law enforcers in your area. Further, you can advise them to talk to the HSUS for assistance, practical tools, and advice.
If you are living in a jurisdiction where dogfighting is not taken as a felony (and is a misdemeanor), mobilize many dog lovers and write to the legislators. This may get their attention, and they will – hopefully – work their work around the cruelty which goes by the name dogfighting.
Most Famous (Or Infamous) Dog Breeds Engaged In Fighting
Dogs that engage in dogfights are put on training regimes and strict diets. They do not get the warmth and affection accorded to family pets. If a canine wins a fight, its owner receives some mullah. Most of the dogs used in dogfighting have sturdy bodies and are of medium sizes. On top of that, their jaws are strong, and they have strong bite forces.
In most developed countries, dogfighting is seen as a felony. The level of animal humanity in developed countries is high, explaining why dogfighting is seen as utter cruelty.
However, in Japan and some Russian parts, blood sports are legal. In other regions such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Pakistan, the law is not followed, although blood sports are outlawed. In the UK and the US, dogfighting is spotted occasionally.
A story captured on the National Public Radio (NPR) captures the origins of the blood sport. Ancient Romans would pit dogs against each other to fight to the death in the gladiator style. In history, these fights only stopped when a dog either exited the pit, failed to scratch, or died. If the dog lost the battle but did not die, its owner would severely beat it or eliminated it by other means (mentioned in the previous section).
Fight Animals And Bait Animals
Many pooches were and still are being used in the cruelty of fighting. If you narrow your focus to the dogs that engage in dogfights, you will realize that they all point back to the following breeds: The Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, the Great Dane, the Tibetan Mastiff, and the Danish Mastiff.
If you look at today’s fighter dogs, none of the emboldened ones are on the list of the famous fighting dogs. If you look back, you will realize that the dogs picked for fighting have powerful jaws, powerful builds, and large bodies. Also, they needed to have loud, low barks. Now and as mentioned elsewhere, a fighter dog needs to be sturdy and medium-sized.
When dogfighting is being discussed, the lesser-mentioned thing is about bait animals. These are animals that are used as punching bags. They are first tied up in a room or an open space. Then, the fighting dog is brought in and let loose. A fighting dog that takes down the bait animal is fit to go into the ring.
Some people question where bait animals are gotten, and the answers are shocking. When dogfighting organizers are looking for baits, they create dog adoption scams, pick dogs from shelter saying that they are rehoming them, and stealing stray pets. In the online spaces, many Americans are being scammed into believing that they are selling their puppies to genuine people. If you choose to sell your dog online, you need to be very careful – get all the answers you can from the prospective owner.
Let us focus a little on a popular African country – South Africa. In a province like Western Cape, people still engage dogs in fierce fights. While it may be illegal in those places, the authorities are less concerned with these activities. Many dogfighting promoters, enthusiasts, and spectators get away is the clandestine nature of the activity.
This section will open you to the most famous dogs used in fighting, some of them even going centuries back. Some of them may seem obvious choices, but others will shock you.
Famous Dogfighting Breeds: The Best
1. The American Pit Bull Terrier
This number-one dog might not have surprised you much. If you look at Western societies’ history, you will know that this dog breed does not have a good reputation.
Owners, fighters, and spectators like to engage the American Pit Bull Terrier because of its strength, sturdiness, loyalty, and aggression. The one thing that makes this dog breed perfect for fighting is its relentlessness. Even if it is close to death or utterly injured, it will not back out of the fight.
2. The American Bulldog
This breed makes it to the pit because of its relations with other animals – the American Bulldogs do not entertain any kind of goodwill when it comes across other dogs, no matter the sex. When confronted, the American Bulldogs never back down. Their high prey drive makes organizers and dogfighting enthusiasts pull the dogs into the pit. Outside the US, there are arguably the most popular fighter dogs.
3. The Bull Terrier
Like the American Pit Bull Terrier, this breed’s history points back to a life of fighting. More Bull Terrier dogs than American Pit Bull Terriers were bred for the blood sport in the Roman Empire. At that time, the Bull Terrier was (and is still) known as the canine gladiator. Although they have a particular look, they are better in terms of temperament – they are calmer and more relaxed than the other gladiators you will meet from this point onwards.
4. The Cane Corso
This is another sturdy and robust dog breed that is aggressively looking and one that you should watch out for if you meet it on the street. It is also known as the Italian Mastiff and was used by the Romans as a soldier dog. When you meet a Cane Corso for the first time, its largeness is likely to intimidate you.
The two things that make this dog a fighter dog are prey drive and powerful jaws. Because of their endurance and large size, this is the kind of breed that can dominate other dogs. Apart from being engaged in illegal dogfights, they are used as police and military dogs.
5. The Doberman
Initially, the Doberman was bred as a fighting and hunting dog. Because of its endurance and stamina, this dog is a worthy contender in the pit. As compared to the others on this fighter-dog list, the Doberman is probably the slimmest. However, that should not stop you from thinking that the dog is neither strong nor aggressive.
The slim frame of the Doberman usually packs and brings together lots of power and muscles. The dogs love pleasing their owners, and they show incredible intelligence. Also, training them is an almost-effortless thing. In dog competitions, they scoop many trophies for being smart breeds.
Dobermans are not taken into dogfights these days because they are susceptible to developing health issues because of bad genetics.
6. The Rottweiler
Many people are unfamiliar with the aggression that comes with owning a Rottweiler. The dog is likely to cause a lot of harm if it is untrained in the wrong way. Statistically speaking, Rottweilers are one of the scariest dogs in the canine world. Actually, many bites (on humans) are tied to the Rottweiler more than any other dog breed in the world.
This dog is popular in the world of dogfighting and does not hesitate to challenge an oncoming confrontation. It is commonly used because of its particular calmness, undoubted courage, and unmatched confidence. Like the Pit Bulls, Rottweilers are unlikely to back down and will throw all their bite forces, aggression, and strength into the ring.
7. The American Staffordshire Terrier
This is yet another popular fighting dog that engages in the bloody sport even now. The American Staffordshire Terrier is relentless, fast, agile, and athletic. When they come across other animals, they show a lot of aggression. If you throw the AmStaff – as it is known – in the ring, it will fight to the death.
You shouldn’t just see them as aggressive dogs only. When they are cared for, adequately engaged, and well trained, they can become calm, loyal companions that show exceptional behavior.
8. The Staffordshire Terrier
Unlike the AmStaff, this is the original one from England. Like its American companion, it is a favorite dog in the world of dogfighting. The dogs of this breed are often called Staffies, and they reply to every challenge with a fight. Like all terriers, the Staffordshire has sharp predatory instincts that make it a worthy contender in the sport.
They have a natural drive to fight and bear stocky builds to back that up. Because of their innate intelligence, they are easy to train and take any chances they get to please their owners.
9. The German Shepherd
To this day, many German Shepherd dogs are used in dogfights, and that is why they are on this list. They are easy to train, and they can attack on cue. While they are neither the sturdiest, the ones with a powerful bite force, nor the strongest canines on this list, intellect is what popularizes them.
As a natural attacker, the German shepherd is both aggressive and loyal and can react to a threat fiercely even as a puppy. The only downside to bringing a GSD to a fight is that it may be overwhelmed by the power and force of more giant dog breeds.
10. The Boerboel
This is a popular dog in South Africa that is also called the South African Mastiff. They are impressive fighting dogs because of their strengths and sizes. Initially, the purpose of breeding them was to make them farm dogs and get protection from predators.
Globally, they are among the most potent dog breeds. They have a large build and are muscular with powerful jaws that translate to equally powerful bite forces. This implies that the dog can content on a bloody sport and knock off its opponent.
11. The Tosa Inu
This is a not-so-famous breed, and if you are in the United States, you are unlikely to meet it. Unlike many of the canines on this list, this was bred to fight – that only. This implies that the dogs are skillful, powerful, and extremely powerful.
As you may have picked out from the name, the Tosa Inu is from Japan, and thus, it is mostly found in that region. The unfortunate thing is that it is still involved in the bloody sport.
12. The English Mastiff
At the moment, this dog is not favored in fights – it was used way back. Nonetheless, it is still used – in some countries and regions – to fight other dogs. If you know the English Mastiff, you know that it is the master of power and intimidation because of its size.
They are usually born to be guard dogs, but if properly trained and softly socialized, they can maintain a mellow temperament. This means that the English Mastiff can become a great pet if it gets the right training and warmth.
Dogfighter trainers capitalized on the natural drive and dominance of the dog to make it suitable for fighting.
13. The Dogo Argentino
This is yet another scary and mean-looking dog that excels at fights. It is usually white, muscular, and large; these features make it a viable opponent in the pit.
The Dogo Argentino has a unique ring of skin around its neck, making it difficult for opponent dogs to pull it down. At the same time, the bite force and strength of the dog make it a worthy challenger, and any other dog on this list can fall victim to its dominance.
The Last Words
The dogs listed here are just a few; they are other dog breeds engaged in dogfighting games. If you Google or Bing the question, you will get many videos of dogfighters. You are likely to be opened up to some unimaginable scenes.
In a good number of countries, the business and cruelty of dogfighting survives and thrives. People who see animals are humanlike, the scenes of the brutal, illegal sport are likely to stir anger in them. However, do not be vexed too much because governments are working on dealing with the menace.