Myths Surrounding The Pit Bull Breed

MYTH: Pitbull's are responsible for many attacks on humans. This is false, statistically the majority of dog bites emerge from lapdogs, highest being the poodle! The percentage of all dog attacks on humans which are committed by purebred pit bulls: 0.89 per cent, not even a full percentage point!
MYTH: All Pit Bulls are mean and vicious. It is reported on temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society that Pit Bulls had a passing rate of 82% or better -- compared to only 77% of the general dog population. These temperament tests consist of putting a dog through a series of unexpected situations, some involving strangers. Any signs of unprovoked aggression or panic in these situations result in failure of the test.

The achievement of Pit Bulls in this study disproves that they are inherently aggressive to people. (Please visit

MYTH: all pit bulls are vicious toward people? No they are not, at least not by nature. The APBT has one of the gentlest natures with people of any breed. However, like any dog a pit bull can be trained to guard or defend property or persons but some are even too "soft" as dog trainers say, to be trained in that way. They just like people too much and have an inborn taboo against biting them. Unfortunately, as more and more the breed is bred by "backyard breeders" , the usually reliable and stable temperament expected of the breed has deteriorated into a more people aggressive animal so be sure to view the parents and ask about temperament before you buy a pup.

MYTH: A Pit Bull that shows aggression towards an animal will go for people next. "Many working breeds have antipathy towards other animals - coonhounds go mad at the sight of a raccoon, foxhounds will not hesitate to tear a dog-like fox to shreds, greyhounds live to chase and maul rabbits and even dog-like coyotes. Even the ever-friendly beagle will slaughter a rabbit, given the chance. And yet the greyhound, coon and foxhound and beagle are among the friendliest of breeds towards humans. And it is the same with the pit bulldog. His work through the years has been control of other animals - never humans. A correct pit bull is more often than not submissive toward all humans, and adores children. A pit bull that snarls, lunges or growls at non-threatening humans is NOT typical of the breed."

MYTH: American Pit Bull Terriers have 1600 P.S.I. in jaw pressure Dr. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, "To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. There are, moreover, compelling technical reasons why such data describing biting power in terms of "pounds per square inch" can never be collected in a meaningful way. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to either unfounded rumor or, in some cases, to newspaper articles with no foundation in factual data."

MYTH: American Pit Bull Terriers lock their jaws. Dr. Brisbin: "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

MYTH: Treadmills are only used to get dogs ready to fight. Many responsible owners utilize treadmills to help exercise their dogs. This is useful in places where weather prevents outdoor exercise, or in situations where off-leash exercise in not an option. The treadmill is used by people that show their Pit Bulls, and do sporting activities like weight pull and agility to help keep their dogs in shape. Because Pit Bulls are athletic animals, responsibly using a treadmill can help them be healthier and happier.

MYTH: Pit Bulls brains swell/never stop growing. This rumor started with the Doberman, and has since been said about game-bred dogs in general. The concept of an animal's brain swelling or growing too large and somehow causing the animal to "go crazy" is not based in truth in any way. Their brains grow at the same rate as any other dog, and the only time that a Pit Bull's brain is going to swell is if it receives a serious injury. If an animal's brain were to grow too big for its head, the animal would die.

MYTH: It is unsafe to get a Pit Bull from a rescue or shelter because their past/genetics are unknown. Under the best of circumstances, it is great to know the history of a dog, the history and health of its parents, and what that line of dogs were bred for. If a person is buying a Pit Bull from a breeder, this information should be of top importance. However, in most shelter/rescue cases this information is not available. The Pit Bull at the shelter will often be a wonderful pet. It is important to know the general behavior of the dog. Has it shown any aggression towards humans? Most Pit Bull rescues will not accept or adopt out Pit Bulls with any level of aggression or excessive shyness towards humans. How does this dog do with other dogs? Has it shown any undesirable behavior or habits? It is suggested that a potential adopter of a Pit Bull bring the whole family to meet the dog. Often, shelters and rescues will allow you to take the dog for a home visit to see how they respond to the new surroundings. Most adoptions of a Pit Bull are amazing successes, and the adopter is not only receiving a pet, but they are also saving a life!

MYTH: It is best to get a puppy so that you can make it behave how you want it to. Many people feel if they get a Pit Bull as a puppy they can train it to not be aggressive towards other dogs and increase the likelihood that the dog will have no undesirable behavior qualities. Puppies can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but with a new puppy there is no way of knowing how that dog will act as an adult. One benefit of adopting a young adult or full grown Pit Bull is the ability to avoid the uncomfortable puppy behavior stage. This includes constant destructive chewing, house breaking, excessive and uncontrollable energy, teething and puppy biting, possible whining, howling, and barking for attention at night, and the time and effort it takes to begin teaching general manners and obedience.
Another benefit is that an adopter can know how an adult Pit Bull will do with other dogs, cats, children, car rides, and other certain situations. Bringing a puppy up in the most loving and social environment can only alter its predetermined genetic urges so much. In other words, having a dog since puppyhood does not necessarily mean it will have all of the qualities desired in a pet. It may end up having some traits that are undesirable. An adult Pit Bull, however, will have more of an established personality, and an adopter can know what to expect with the dog.

MYTH: Pit Bulls do not make good family pets(false). Pit bulls make wonderful family pets. They have traditionally been very tolerant with children (although young children should not be left unsupervised with any dog). Early and continued socialization makes them a joy to be around. They are not, however, a dog for every household. They take a higher degree of commitment than most other breeds as some can indeed be animal aggressive. The Pit Bull should never be human aggressive. They also tend to be highly energetic and intelligent dogs which need adequate exercise and proper training. A good group obedience class which involves the whole family is strongly recommended.

MYTH: Pit Bulls can never be kept in a household with cats. Pit bulls (or any other dog for that matter) and cats are not necessarily mortal enemies. If socialized with cats at an early age, they can become quite good friends.

MYTH: Breed specific bans in areas around the country have been successful in reducing the number of dog bite fatalities. It is generally considered that breed specific bans are not effective in reducing fatal attacks or severe dog bites.

MYTH: The only people that own Pit Bulls are criminals, and the only thing the breed is good for is dog fighting." The majority of Pit Bulls are owned by normal dog-loving folk. Pit Bulls are kept as companions; they're used as working dogs involved in search and rescue, therapy, and police service; they compete in obedience, conformation, agility, tracking, and schutzhund; the list goes on and on. The breed is very versitile, due to the fact that the traits that make a good fighting dog also make for a good [insert your activity here] dog. Plus, although pit fighting was the main activity the breed was originally created for and involved in, there were also many other functions the breed was used for during it's developement. This breed is truly a jack-of-all-trades.

MYTH: Pit Bulls Should be Kept Away from Children. Anyone who is a true dog fancier and has any legitimate knowledge of dog breeds knows that Pit Bulls are typically great with kids. Historically Pit Bulls have been a favorite companion of children and tend to be drawn to the excitement and fun of kids. As long as they are socialized and trained properly, Pit Bulls are the perfect dog breed to withstand the rough play typically associated with children.It is common sense to not leave any dog alone with children but Pit Bulls are certainly no worse with children than any other dog breed, they are better in many cases.

MYTH: Pit Bulls Will Always Kill Small AnimalsPretty much every breed of dog will go after cats and other small animals, and Pit Bulls are no different. But there are countless cases of Pit Bulls that show a low prey drive and can live with cats and other small animals without any problems. It all boils down to socialization and each individual dog. No breed is inherently better or worse in this case, it depends on each dog and many other factors.

1 comment:

  1. My pitbull of four years recently got out of the yard and attacked the mailman. What do I do? Nothing seems to contain him, though I haven't tried everything. Help?


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