Blue Nose, Red Nose: Does It Matter?

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It's increasingly common these days to see advertisements for "Blue Nosed Pit Bulls," often accompanied by copy promoting the "special" or "rare" or "valuable" status of these dogs. Somewhat less often, you will also see "special," "rare," or "valuable" claims made for "Red Nosed Pit Bulls."

Sometimes, you will hear people discuss blue or red nosed pit bulls as if they were an entirely different breed, one distinct from other pit bulls, with unique characteristics.

Does any truth lie behind such assertions of rarity, uniqueness, and greater worth for red or blue nosed pit bulls? Have red and blue nosed pit bulls indeed been bred in such a way that they are different from other pit bulls? Or are these claims just so much bull?

Who's Got the Value?

All pit bulls have value as thinking, feeling, loving creatures. This value exists independently of whether any humans recognize it or not. But clearly, that isn't what these ads trumpeting "valuable" dogs are talking about. Let's look at what the ads might really mean.

There are at least four ways of defining a dog's value to humans. Most pit bull lovers are primarily concerned with the value their canine friend provides in terms of love and affection. Shelter dogs don't cost much in adoption fees, but they are certainly just as valuable to their human companions as a pure bred show and working champion who cost a couple of thousand dollars. Certainly, the color of a dog or its nose plays no role in this valuation.

Then there is the value a dog might have for a specific purpose as a working animal. If you are searching for a cattle dog extraordinaire, a guide dog for the blind, a therapy dog, a tracking dog, or a bomb sniffer, you would seek out certain traits, and these traits would make the dog more valuable to you. But whatever some unscrupulous breeders might argue, there is absolutely zero correlation between any of these traits and a specific color.

You might also seek out particular traits for breeding. If it is your goal to breed red or blue pit bulls, then you would seek out a red or blue nosed dog. But this is no different than seeking out a white, black, mottled, sorrel, or brindle dog because you like those colors.

Finally, we arrive at the definition of "valuable" the ads really mean. Are these dogs worth more money because of their color? In purely monetary terms, they are worth what people are willing to pay for them. If enough people are willing to pay more for a specific color, then yes, they are worth more for the people selling them, which gives the dog a higher sticker price, so to speak. But you should never acquire a pit bull because you want it as a prestige ornament. And breeding for profit? You'll be hard-pressed to cover expenses unless you're running a puppy mill, and if you're running a puppy mill, you should be prosecuted.

What about Rarity?

The rare and unusual appeals to you. You want a dog unlike the dogs everyone else has. So, blue nosed and red nosed pit bulls may be worth more to you because they are rare, right? In response, I ask you to consider how many ads you have seen for these "rare" dogs." If they were that rare, there wouldn't be so many ads. Blue nosed pit bulls may have been rare once, but not anymore. And reddish colored pit bulls abound.

Are Blue Nosed and Red Nosed Pit Bulls Really Different Breeds?

No. Just no. They are all pit bulls. The only intrinsic difference between blue nosed pit bulls, red nosed pit bulls, and other colored pit bulls is that they are different colors. One can line breed purely for color, but all of these dogs are still pit bulls. In addition, line breeding as a practice is of dubious value and may actually be harmful to the health of the line in question.

What Kind of Pit Bull is Ideal for You?

The answer to this question is entirely up to you. If you think blue nosed pit bulls are the most beautiful dogs in existence, go visit some blue nose breeders. If you like red pit bulls, by all means consider getting one, always provided, of course, you have what it takes to be a proper pit bull guardian. Temperament and health should be much more important criteria than color, but with any pit bull adoption or purchase, the odds are favorable that you will be adding a wonderful addition to your family.

Keep in mind, however, that many people breeding for a specific color may be overlooking other important traits, including health and temperament. Many hunters claim nearly all Irish Setters have been ruined for their original purpose because they have been bred purely for looks.  Explosions in demand for Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels saw a marked increase in the number of overly aggressive or fearful goldens and cockers.

Practically all types of dogs who see a dramatic rise in popularity also see a dramatic rise in health problems due to unscrupulous breeders trying to produce dogs as fast as possible to take advantage of demand.

As of this writing, all of these issues are a potential concern with blue nose pit bulls in particular. It frequently seems like the majority of blue nose advertisements are from unethical breeders. There is, of course, nothing wrong with liking a particular color, and there are many outstanding, ethical breeders of both blue and red nosed pit bulls.

But make sure you do your homework before purchasing. You might also want to consider adopting, as rescue dogs will have been pre-screened for temperament, and you can be sure your adoption is not helping anyone make a profit from poor breeding practices.

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4 comments

Comments

MSmith's picture
MSmith
Tue, 09/14/2010 - 12:27pm

YES!

Chelsea and Jon's picture
Chelsea and Jon
Tue, 09/14/2010 - 12:43pm

Way to tell the truth! I have been bombarded with the "rare" red-nose pit bull statement since J was a puppy. Its ridiculous! Js not even a red-nosed pit bull. So thank you for clearing another myth up and giving out MORE great info. Awesome article.

snuzzle's picture
snuzzle
Mon, 12/20/2010 - 6:34pm

Whenever people tell me they have a red-nose or a blue-nose, I tell them I have a blonde mother. Few of them get my point :)

Pit Crew's picture
Pit Crew
Fri, 03/11/2011 - 3:37am

Lol...I have a hard time convincing my purebred blue nose is a pit and not a black lab so I'm just happy if they recognize a pit. For me the best part of the article was that all pits are great no matter the color, etc, etc.  

" If it ain't Pit, it ain't sh*t."