What Is A Pig Dog?

What Is A Pig Dog?

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Sam Basso
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What is a “pig dog?” A pig dog is a boar hunting dog, doing much the same work that bulldogs were originally created for. Here is a description:

1. Usually A Mixed Bred Dog: These dogs are usually a mix of greyhounds, wolfhounds, mastiffs, bulldogs (there are many bulldog breeds), Boxer, Great Dane, pointer, and/or Catahoula. They are used, and have behavioral traits and genetics, much like earlier versions of other breeds of dog we now know: Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, etc. In fact, the Dogo Argentino is pretty much what a “pig dog” is today, we now just give it a breed name. The original role of the Great Dane was to do this kind of work.

2. Working Hunting Dog: In the old days, these types of dogs have always been mixed bred dogs that have been created to capture wild boars. Different mixes are created for more specialized roles in the hunt. They hunt by scent (ground and air) and/or sight and/or on command. These dogs do very dangerous work, and you’ll often seen them covered in scars. They typically are going to grab the boar about the head and pin it in a specific place for the hunter. They are taught to leave other game alone, such as deer or cattle or kangaroo.

3. They are hunting dogs. They are typically bred to be people-friendly and can be pets in the home. These are hunting dogs with a very strong desire to chase game. There are many wild boar around the world. These boars were let into the wild for the specific purpose of creating game for hunting. Hunters often don’t even have limits on how many they can capture, and in many areas the boars are considered an environmental nuisance, and a danger to farmer’s crops, and the governments want them either controlled or eradicated. The meat of the boar is then used for food, and the heads displayed as trophies.

4. What They Are Not: These are not guard dogs or personal protection dogs. These are also not pit fighting dogs. They are supposed to run in packs for hunting wild boar. In some parts of the world, dogs like this have also been used to hunt for bear and big cats. You don’t want a dog like this to not be good with people, because they have to work around other hunters. You also don’t want a dog like this to be a dog fighter, because that would defeat the purpose of them running in packs to find game. The dogs don’t kill the game, just capture it for the hunter (who usually shoots the captured boar).

I’ve never had the chance to work with a true “pig dog”. The closest I’ve gotten is to obedience train a few Dogo Argentinos. Interesting breed, but not a breed for everyone. The dog really needs a job to do, like hunting for game. It is NOT a protection dog, or a pit fighting dog. Loud and annoying bark. Super strong prey drive, visual especially, for other animals, which makes the obedience training a challenge. There are restrictions on owning pig dogs in some countries, so you’d better do your homework before getting one. I really don’t think these dogs would be any fun as urban pets… they are specialized hunters for a specific type of lifestyle, terrain and game.

As I have mentioned before, I am not against hunting, but I am against “trophy hunting”. I believe that you should eat what you kill, not kill for no other purpose than looking at a stuffed animal on your wall. I believe hunting is a natural behavior, even for humans. Many animals eat other animals. People eat animals… go to McDonald’s sometime. Wild boar were planted in many parts around the world over the centuries as a food source. They are there for the hunting, the captured boar are killed quickly and humanely, and people eat them as food. I’m also not opposed to using dogs for hunting. That’s what they’ve been used for from the beginning of their domestication, and many of these wild boar are in remote areas where this kind of thing is a normal part of life. The work is dangerous, but that doesn’t disqualify it from being an activity that should be done with dogs. A lot of work is dangerous for dogs: guide dogs, hunting, police work, home protection, etc.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.


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