Property Manager Profiles Dog Breeds, As Lennox in Belfast is Euthanized

Property Manager Profiles Dog Breeds, As Lennox in Belfast is Euthanized
Lennox was killed because of what he supposed to be based on how he looks. How advanced are us humans? Makes me wonder.

Q: We are in the process of moving to a rental home but we’ve run into a major roadblock because of an issue with our dog, a 6-month-old large mixed breed. We were told by the previous owner that he is half Golden Retriever, part German Shepherd, and perhaps some Chow Chow. When I gave this information to the rental company, they said that our dog could not live in the house with us if he "has any chow in him whatsoever."   They now want me to provide a letter from a veterinarian which states that "to the best of (the vet's) opinion," our dog is "predominantly" a Golden Retriever and German Shepherd mix. It would be even better if the vet could say that our dog does not appear to have any Chow, Rottweiler, or Pit Bull.

I asked our veterinarian to provide a letter to this effect, but she will not say that our dog appears to be any particular breed without a DNA test, which would take weeks and hundreds of dollars.

My whole family is upset, and my daughters are on the verge of tears. We were all looking forward to our move, but if this issue cannot be resolved we are going to have to find another property to rent. This situation has become a nightmare. H.B., Cyberspace

A: I know this is going to sound melodramatic, but I actually cried when I received your note. Real tears – no kidding.

Lennox, a mixed breed dog near Belfast, Ireland was confiscated about two years ago because officials said they thought he looks like a Pit Bull. In truth, Lennox wasn’t  a pedigreed Pit Bull. This dog had done nothing wrong, except to live in a place where Pit Bulls (or dogs judged to be Pit Bulls because of what they look like) are banned.

Lennox’s owners just lost their long battle, and their beloved family member was killed on July 11.

A colleague wrote on my Facebook Fan Page, “Well, that’s Ireland for you.”

I wrote back, “That’s Ireland, and several other nations including the U.S. – countless dogs have been killed here in communities with Pit Bull bans because of what dogs are alleged to be.”

Your story isn't too different than the story of Lennox - except that your dog isn't being confiscated.

Indeed, nearly all dog breeds were bred for a purpose – and they are typically hard-wired with to herd, retrieve or guard, or what whatever that purpose generally is. But a dog’s individual temperament is far more shaped by individual genetics and even more so by early socialization.

To broadly ban a dog that is 100 percent Chow (or American Pit Bull Terrier or Rottweiler, or fill in the blank of any breed) makes little sense to nearly all dog experts. However, when a dog is only part Chow – this is plane ridiculous, this  information means nearly nothing to predict a dog’s temperament. That is the fact, a fact which the landlord or property manager can’t possibly dispute with reason.

While it’s true that a Chow with poor individual genetics and deprived of appropriate socialization may demonstrate aggression, it is no different for the other breeds in your dog’s progeny, German Shepherd dogs or even Golden Retrievers.

The genetic test, called Wisdom Panel, can be mailed in – but the results do take some time; I sniffed out a test that’s $59 on Amazon. Speedier is the Wisdom Panel blood test, through a veterinary office – which cost about twice the mail-in test.

I personally know of many, many veterinarians who would be so sympathetic to your plight – and agree to call your dog whatever they come up with.

You didn’t mention where you live, and I realize finding pet friendly housing can be challenging – but if I were you, I’d consider another property.  What if you move in and then the property management decides your dog looks too much like a Chow Chow? Or who knows what?

A lease can’t prevent you from dealing with idiocy. Assuming your dog is friendly, and well behaved – there are many more enlightened property management companies who would be happy to have you, and your entire family.


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  • Ridiculous. A very bad sign about that building. Sounds like a pretty ignorant property manager. I agree - they should seek alternative housing. Don't put the pooch at risk.

  • In reply to terilg:


  • In reply to Steve Dale:

    Posted a reply for this situation with some ideas & resources. May have posted it as a comment to Gina Young, the last post.
    But it has disappeared, any idea of where I can find/retrieve what I wrote?

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    As someone who owns a retired police K-9 Belgian Malinois and formerly had German Shepherds, I certainly sympathize with how hard it can be to find housing when you've got certain breeds or dogs with certain types of training - even more so because we are a military family and move every couple of years.

    I would honestly say that you're probably better off looking for a different rental instead of trying to work things out with this landlord. There are many private landlords who'll be happy to rent to someone who has a well-behaved dog, regardless of the dog's breed. I've found no issues finding landlords willing to allow my dogs once they were shown the amount of training my dogs had. It helps if you can show a CGC (Canine Good Citizen) title, which is AKC's test of basic obedience for pets. Even better if you can train your dog to become a Therapy Dog and can test through one of the national organizations, like TDI. Just proving your dog is well-behaved goes a much longer distance than trying to prove he's one breed or another.

    Also, remember that you don't really know what breeds are in your dog. Just because the previous owners told you what they think is in your puppy doesn't mean it's true, and it's sometimes a good idea not to offer too much information if it's not asked for. Tell prospective landlords that you have a mixed-breed dog. With all those breeds in your dog, he probably doesn't look very much like any of them. And remember that he probably doesn't have any Chow anyway - loads of people assume that a dog must have Chow if there's any black pigment on the dog's tongue, and it's possible that the previous owner was one of those people. Does your pup or your pup's mother have any tongue spots? I'd bet so...

    Lastly, I think your vet is being a jerk who just wants to milk you for more money. DNA tests in dogs are absolutely pointless - for one because most of them have a very limited list of breeds they test for, and for two, because dog DNA is so closely related between breeds you probably won't get any reasonable guesses from it, anyway. I have a friend who sent in several samples, including one from her purebred German Shepherd - as a control, of sorts - and they all came back with ridiculous mixes, including her papered purebred! It's a waste of money.

    Your vet can look at a dog and make an educated guess as good as any of those DNA tests based on the dog's structure, coat, coloring, and behavior. If she's not willing to do that without you throwing her a bunch of money to do DNA testing, I'd be finding a new vet as well.

  • DNA tests are not absolutely pointless....but DNA lesson aside, I do agree - doesn't matter - look for another place. And what a dog looks like doesn't necessarily match up with what a dog really is (one reason why people are so surprised sometimes at the results of DNA testing). In any case, could be your dog is part Chow or not, has nothing to do with anything - or shouldn't.

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    1.if you are a pet owner the first thing you should be asking a property owner or realtor, "What about pets" be specific.
    2. As an owner of a small pit & because they are a mix breed anyway. I have her listed as a boxer mix. If you have a mutt, then say so. Protect your dog.
    3.** Property owners have a right to protect their investment. & other tennants.**
    4.Know the laws in your city or county before moving. If you're buying a home, check your home owners policy before you sign, some have restrictions on pets.
    5.If you adopt or buy animals with negative press then make sure you & the dog set an example for the breed, properly train them.
    6.Know your breed. BEFORE you bring it home. Do some research & make sure it fits you & your familys lifestyle.
    7.If you're thinking about buying/adopting an animal because it sparks controversy...DON"T ! There's enough of that going around & they end up in shelters.
    8 Be respectful of your neighbors. Fence in your yard & PROPERLY leash train your pet.
    9.Spay/Neuter !!!
    10. God love you if your a dog lover.. Not every one is.. respect that.

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    In reply to Gina Young:

    I understood that the writer did know the breed and had told the landlord prior to moving day. It appears to me the landloard should have been more upfront from the start. Im not sure this situation would have been preventable even with the best of preparations.

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    In reply to Kathy Weber:

    I know this because I am the writers mother.

  • In reply to Kathy Weber:

    You're not my mother....who's mother are you?

  • If you are moving into Chicago or to a new neighborhood in Chicago I have several suggestions. You can find a list of buildings that allow dogs as well as weight limits and other criteria for each building if you go to you will see a pull down menu of buildings by neighborhood. Also might want to read this article as we have had some success with landlords by doing an assessment on the dog and some documentation on our opinion as to apartment living suitability.
    Hope this helps.

  • If you are moving into or within Chicago I have several suggestions.
    You can find a list of buildings that allow dogs as well as the weight limits and other restrictions. Of course a landlord can impose their own restrictions. We have had some success in assessing pet dogs and writing up an evaluation for apartment/condo suitability to help the owner feel better about the dog. See:
    Also here is a list of dog friendly buildings by neighborhood:
    And lastly here is a link to search for dog friendly apartments anywhere in Chicago:

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