A survey was designed to explore the effect of type classification on perception and expectation of a dog’s behavior. The survey focused on two forms of presentation: the effect of visual image versus breed name in the identification of a breed as a dangerous dog type, and the effect of breed group classification on expectation of a dog’s level of aggressiveness. The findings have serious implications for Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Respondents were over 5 times more likely to misascribe by image alone the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a dangerous breed as defined under the United Kingdom’s Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Furthermore, the classification of Terrier attracted high scores in relation to type-specific aggressiveness. These findings highlight the need for more research on personal perception of supposedly dangerous dog breeds to better understand and explain this phenomena, leading to better protection of the public and better welfare outcomes for dogs.
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