Wow thanks Beloz, you've done a much better job of explaining my thoughts than I did. It's true, I was expecting a lot of flack but I really want to see where people's heads were at on this issue. And I do think it's an issue, I just thought that maybe we could come up with a better idea than what the current legislators implement - ie the banning of breeds.
It's breed or size specific for exactly those reasons. I don't enjoy having small yappy dogs bark at me or my dog, and as I mentioned I have had small dogs attack my dog as well to the point of cutting his lip. He didn't retaliate because I've taught him I will step in and he will be protected. Yes it's embarrassing and yes you get some angry looks or even comments, but I owe it to him and with training for your dog and you being willing to step up and reprimand other people's dogs, you can avoid any issues a small dog might try to cause almost always with stern words alone. But I've yelled at Amstaffs, I've threatened them, I've kicked them and I've watched grown men hit them with a rock and they didn't care. It's an entirely different situation to be in. I'm confident that if anyone surveyed the general population you would find the dogs that they're most worried about are the larger ones and there's a reason behind it. Everyone jokes about wanting to be able to play football with the small dogs, well that's not an option with larger dogs.
Also, I'm not disagreeing that there have been incidents where small dogs have caused big problems. I would be happy for a licensing system for all dogs, just different levels based on what you wanted to own because I believe the type of experience and knowledge required to ensure a large powerful breed is a good member of society is greater than what's required to achieve the same with a Papillon for example. I mean from my own experience, I have given Sammy many corrections over his life and still he will on occasion, challenge me. It's his nature and breed, he is a confident, dominant large dog afraid of nothing that would happily step up and take any leadership position offered to him. My sister has 2 papillons. They could be a different species for all the similarity they bear to Sammy, one correction and they never pulled on the lead again. They hide behind me (or Sammy actually) when they get scared or try to be picked up, Sammy positions himself between me (or the little dogs or cat or whatever) and the threat. Bred for completely different purposes and it shows.
I just want there to be a distinction in people's minds when they go to buy a dog. You might walk into a pet shop and see Belgian Malinois in the cage next to King Charles Spaniels and yes they are both dogs but a person shouldn't be choosing one based on who they think is cuter. My sister could never handle a dog like Sammy, he'd walk all over her and like some of his brothers that the breeder had to take back, he might have caused all sorts of problems. But I have never had anyone meet Sammy and find him scary or threatening; he's been given a character reference from my old vet back in Adelaide as being bomb proof because he let us staple a wound on his paw closed without being put under which has proven to be an extremely valuable resource for obtaining rental properties...
I know so many ethical breeders of large dogs that have had to take the dogs back because of aggression issues, dogs that I met as puppies who were so much softer than Sammy even but have just not been handled properly. And plenty in society today would argue that these dogs just shouldn't be kept anymore, that there's no place for them anymore. Well I don't accept that. It is 100% possible to keep these dogs and not have them be a danger to anyone - dobies, rotties, GSD's, pitbulls and their cousins etc but they do need to have the right handlers.
Anyway, I guess I just really wanted to see what other people thought because I really think the solution to this problem would be most effective if it came from the dog community, rather than from politicians who don't know the first thing about dogs and just feel public pressure to do something.