Tony O'Toole: Past President, Australian Pig Doggers & Hunters Association.
Those with an ill-informed and biased point of view have long perpetuated the urban myth of the vicious pig dog. This booklet has been produced by the Australian Pig Doggers & Hunters Association to help dispel this myth and show the so-called pig dog as a loved and obedient family pet.
Responsible and caring owners, from all walks of life, who see their dogs as part of the family, use the dogs shown in all the pictures in the hunting of pigs. Far from being savage killers they help control a feral pest, that causes devastating damage to our natural environment, by finding and holding the pig so it can be dispatched quickly and humanely.
Dr. Kersti Seksel, a Registered Specialist in Veterinary Behaviour, in her report to the New South Wales Government on issues related to dangerous dog legislation in July 2002, stated that since 1978 there has been only 11 deaths in Australia related to dog attack. Death caused by human and others against humans is far more prevalent. Shark attacks caused 35 fatalities in the past 30 years. In 2002 alone there were 963 homicide related offences and 159,548 assaults in Australia.
Her study also found that Dangerous Dogs made up less than 1% of the registered Australian dog population. Over 40% of dogs in Australia are cross breeds and are not listed in the top 10 breeds of dog involved in attacks.
Pig dogs are never used to kill feral pigs and on there own do not really have the capacity to do so. They are trained and used by the hunter to find the pig in thick country and then either bail or hold the pig by the ear so that the pig can be humanely dispatched. Most pigs caught using this method are in the weight range of 40 - 100 kg, by dogs that weigh between 20 - 55 kg and with the physical make up of the pig it would be virtually impossible for the dog to kill the pig.
Dr. Seksel also states there are three key factors that determine whether a dog will be aggressive toward humans at a particular point in time.
- Genetic Predisposition
- Previous learning experience
- Current environment
All experienced hunters when looking for a pup or dog and when breeding dogs for pig hunting look at these key factors. For their dogs to work as a team and to live with their families they require dogs that are non-human aggressive, healthy, intelligent, obedient and stable.
The vast majority of dogs featured in reports on dog attacks are not used for hunting purposes and such aggressive dogs would not be suitable for hunting as a team with other dogs and humans.
The dogs used in hunting pigs must be capable of working as a team by finding and flushing the pig from thick bush and then holding it by the ear so it can be dispatched by the hunter. A dog that shows no control and attacks and bites the pig during this process is highly undesirable as it causes undue stress on the pig and places the other dogs and handlers at risk of injury until the pig is dispatched.
The Australian Pig Doggers & Hunters Association has been formed to further educate its members and the Australian public on issues relating to hunting with dogs and the responsibilities of dog ownership. Our members must abide by our code of conduct, which covers all aspects of hunting pigs with dogs and dog ownership in general. We promote ethical and humane practices and further education on these issues for our members.
We believe there is no place amongst the general public or hunters for human aggressive dogs. The myth of the vicious pig dog is nothing more than an urban myth perpetuated by individuals and some areas of the media and has no basis in fact or in any study done by qualified professionals.
Note: All photos have been used with the permission of the owners.