Sunday, January 23, 2011


An report in The Star yesterday (22 Jan 2011) regarding a Rottweiler striking terror in the neighbourhood has prompted AWAM to repost the following article.


With Custard, a Rottweiler

Up until 2 years ago, I always assumed that breeds such as the Rottweiler and Bull Terriers etc were vicious, aggressive and highly unpredictable dogs. My misconception was based on the fact that I had never met a well behaved, sweet natured rottweiler or bull terrier.

However, a few months after I joined the Mayhew Animal Home in 2008, I was given the task to care for Custard, a young and fairly large Rottweiler. When Custard stands up on her hind legs, she's taller than me, so it was only natural that I was petrified!!!

But to my surprise what greeted me behind the kennel door, was a bouncy and playful Custard! She loved nothing more than getting her tummy tickled and would lick you to death if you let her. It was the first time I have ever encountered a Rottweiler that was not ready to eat me... I soon learnt that Rotties really are sweet and lovable dogs...

And this was confirmed, soon after Custard was rehomed, by another Rottweiler which I had the privilege to care for while I was at The Mayhew - Buster.

During my time at The Mayhew, I learnt that dogs such as the Rottweiler and Staffordshire Bull Terriers have earned the bad reputation of being killer dogs due to the "training" or lack of it from their owners.

These breeds are naturally protective of their territory and families, therefore it is vital that they are socialised at an early age, given enough training (positive reinforcement), and leadership by their owners to prevent untoward incidents.
With Kyra (Bull Mastiff) and Buster (Rottweiler)

According to the Dog Bite Claims UK website, the top ten most aggressive breed:
  1. Dachshunds
  2. Chihuahua
  3. Jack Russell
  4. Australian Cattle Dog
  5. Cocker Spaniel
  6. Beagle
  7. Border Collie
  8. Pit Bull Terrier
  9. Great Dane
  10. English Springer Spaniel
The Dachshund, otherwise known as the Sausage dog, was originally bred to hunt badgers. They came out as the most aggressive breed with 1 in 5 reported to have bitten or tried to bite a stranger and 1 in 12 snapping at their owners.

The top ten least aggressive dogs:
  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  3. Poodle
  4. Greyhound
  5. Whippet
  6. Brittany Spaniel
  7. Siberian Husky
  8. Golden Retriever
  9. Havanese
  10. Portuguese water dog
These dogs also rated low for “watchdog” behaviour and “territorial defence” behaviour so they tend to make lovable family pets.

Some dogs that have a bad image and are considered aggressive are the Boxer, Bulldogs, Pit Bull Terriers, Great Danes, Mastiffs, German Shepherds and Rottweilers. According to this study this is how they ranked:
  • Great Dane: 9. This breed is actually very patient, gentle and affectionate. Although its size can be an issue with small children, it gets on well with children.
  • Rottweilers: 15. This dog is very loyal and can be fiercely protective which may cause it to be aggressive. However, it is a hard working, powerful, devoted dog that gets on well with children if they are brought up with them.
  • Boxer: 16. These dogs are actually good with children. They make good watchdogs. As they have a protective nature; they may be aggressive if they feel their owner is being threatened.
  • German Shepherds (Alsatians): 17. An alert, loyal, courageous and intelligent breed. These dogs are good with children and they are very protective making them effective watchdogs.
  • Mastiffs: 21. These dogs are very dignified, loyal creatures with a pleasant nature, resembling gentle giants. Their size means they can be a problem with small children, but they get on well with children.
Other dogs that are known to be aggressive include:
  • Chow Chow: this is a “one person dog”. It forms a very strong bond with one person (usually the owner) and is ferocious around strangers who it considers a threat to its owner. It is a good guard dog, but it can bite without warning and they are tenacious fighters.
  • Papillon: These dogs are fiercely loyal of their owners and can be very possessive, they don’t like strangers either.
  • Old English Sheepdogs: Again these dogs are very protective of their owners. They are strong-willed and independent and they will nip either other animals or children.
  • Lhasa Apso: These dogs can be cranky and unpredictable; they are strong-willed and independent. They were originally bred as guard dogs.
  • Giant Schnauzers: They are very dominant and will challenge adults and strangers.
  • Pekingese: These dogs do not like strangers and can be very aggressive towards them
  • Miniature Pinschers: These are little dogs but they can be very aggressive to compensate for this.
However, every dog is different and won’t always fit its breed stereotype: just because its breed is generally considered to be gentle or sweet natured doesn’t guarantee that your dog will be the same.

Any dog can be aggressive and bite so you must make sure that you put aside the time to train it and socialize it properly so that it is more comfortable in unfamiliar circumstances and with strangers.

Before you get a dog it is worthwhile researching breeds to make sure that you choose one that is suitable for your lifestyle, i.e. it is good with children if you have any in the family, or not getting a fragile dog if you are a large family.

However good a dog is said to be with children and however well behaved it you should never leave children unsupervised with a dog; often they can provoke it without meaning to and little children can be defenceless against a dog.

So please next time you see a Rottie in the street, don't automatically assume it's a "devil dog".

If, god forbid, there are any more stories on a Rottie attacking somone, have a think as to WHY it happened. It could be because these dogs have irresponsible owners who have not socialised, trained or shown correct leadership and affection to their dogs.

If handled correctly from the minute you bring them home Rottweilers make FANTASTIC pets, but in the wrong hands they may only do what they feel they must in order to protect themselves...


Extract from The Star, 22 Jan 2011

A TYPICAL evening walk with their miniature dog on New Year’s Day turned into a nightmare for a couple when their pet was mauled by a Rottweiler.

Damansara Jaya resident Heng Aik Chong said he and his wife were at a T-junction when the owner of the house pulled up in their car and opened their automatic gate

“Before we knew it, two dogs rushed out of the house and a Rottweiler bit our dog Buddy, an eight-year-old Schnauzer,” said Heng, 45.

He said the Rottweiler would not let go of their dog, lifting it off the ground.

Heng and his wife were shouting and crying for help but the dog owners did not even come down from their car.

“It was a few minutes later a woman came out from the car and tried to pull the Rottweiler away but it held on to our dog.

“My wife was hysterical and we didn’t know what to do so we started hitting it with a stick but Rottweiler still would not let go,” he said.

He added that eventually, a youth in his early 20s came out of the house and pulled the dog away.

“We took the dog to the vet but it eventually died. My wife was distraught and she still cannot bring herself to walk around that area,” he said.

After the incident, Heng found out that Buddy was not the first dog that was killed by the Rottweiler.

Datin Ewe Swee Cheng, 57, who lives a few doors away from the family which owns the dog, said a similar incident happened in June last year.

“I have a golden retriever and I occasionally take care of my sister’s poodle. Our maid would take the dogs out for walks in the evening and on that day, my maid ran back to my house screaming for help.

“She said my sister’s poodle had been attacked by the Rottweiler and was still biting onto it. I ran over there and just like Heng’s case, a young man came out to pull the dog back into the house,” said Ewe.

She sent the 13-year-old poodle to the vet but it died the day after from the trauma.

Heng said the owners had not approached them since the incident and not even a word of apology was offered.

“Owners of dogs with this kind of vicious nature should be responsible for their pets and not let them run out from the house unleashed. So far, it has only attacked smaller dogs but there are also many children and old folks going for walks in the neighbourhood so we are concerned,” he said.

Heng said he had complained to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) but had not heard from them so far.

MBPJ councillor Tiew Way Keng said they were aware of the issue and officers had been sent to check on the dogs.

“If the owners do not have a licence, we can take the dog away. If it is licensed, we can take action against the owners and issue a compound of up to RM2,000,” she said.

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