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This writer was reminded yesterday about the perception of certain dog breeds while walking down a neighborhood street. Coming up the last block near home was a lady with two tall perfectly matched in height and weight dogs; upon closer inspection one was a doberman pinscher and the other a black greyhound. My immediate instinct upon seeing the doberman was to move as far away from her as I could on the side of the road, while my other immediate instinct was to run up, ooh and awe, and ask to pet the greyhound, a favorite breed of mine. Rather than doing either I chose the middle response and walked calmly by both, smiled at the lady walking these two perfect specimens of each breed, and acknowledged how incredibly well-behaved and beautiful both dogs were. 

For decades insurance companies have been engaged in such dog breed perception and discrimination when issuing, writing and pricing homeowners and renters insurance where certain dog breeds on premises are known to reside. Many carriers have had “bad dog” lists—lists of particular breeds that if they appeared on an application, the risk would be declined.

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