Dog fighting takes places when two dogs are pitched against each other, usually for entertainment or sport.
Although legislation was passed in 18351 to ban animal baiting and fighting, enforcement agencies have reported a 400% increase2 in dog fighting cases in recent years across the UK.
There has also been a frightening increase in the use of status or weapon dogs to attack other people or animals. This is referred to as chain fighting or chain rolling and often takes place in public places such as inner city parks.
The other side of dogs being used to fight is their use against other animals, in particular wildlife such as foxes and badgers, although any animal can be used. This is referred to as fighting dogs.
The use of dogs for fighting has strong links to the activity of hunting with hounds, where terrier dogs are used to locate foxes underground, either leading to the fox being flushed out to the waiting pack of hounds or most likely leading to an underground battle between the terrier and the fox. This activity is known as terrier work with those responsible for the terriers being known as terrier men, a traditional role within the hunt structure.
1 Great Britain (1966) The statutes at large. London. Page 344: Cruelty to Animals Act 1835. http://tinyurl.com/9wmjxlw
2 Bassey, A (2009) Inside the World of Dog Fighting. BBC News http://tinyurl.com/mmbqy3