Sadly too often we hear so many misconceptions about the “Pit Bull” breed. This misinformation can be dangerous leading to Breed Specific Legislation that outlaws these dogs; Media hype and public hysteria; and on the home front can cause even friends and family members to shun owners of these dogs. All too often as well, since there are many different opinions and “facts” put out there by individuals and organizations, these dogs can easily be put into the wrong hands or just plain inexperienced adopters. Whether it be a good or bad intention, it is important to understand the history and debunk the myths of the “Pit Bull” breed.
Pit Bulls have locking jaws No! Pit Bulls are just another type or breed of dog, they have the same jaw structure of any other canine. There is no special locking mechanism, if there was-Pit Bulls would have to be reclassified as another species entirely!
Pit Bulls have the strongest bite pressure of any breed Nope! There is absolutely no scientific evidence that Pit Bulls have a stronger bite than their other large breed counterparts. “On average, dogs bite with 320 lbs of pressure per square inch. The bite pressure of a German Shepherd, an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Rottweiler were tested. The American Pit Bull Terrier had the least amount of bite pressure of the three dogs tested” Dr. Brady Barr, National Geographic Check out more research here
Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous Pit Bulls generally speaking are one of the most stable breeds of dogs. A hallmark of the breed’s temperament is according to the UKC is: “APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children…The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.”
Pit Bull dogs consistently score higher than other breeds through Temperament Testing. Recently, the “American Pit Bull Terrier” scored in the 86.8%, while the Golden Retriever scored 85.2% and Yorkshire Terrier scored 82.4% Check out the full list of results here
The most important consideration to make is that every dogs should be judged as an individual, not as a whole breed. Check out Breeds and Behavior by Janis Bradley
Pit Bulls turn on their owners without warning No dog ever, attacks without warning. Dogs have a system of body language and precursors to aggression that include growls, barks or nips. This is how our dogs let us know how they’re feeling and warn us of any potential aggressive display. If a dog suddenly “snaps”, it can be any breed or mix of dog and can indicate a serious neurological condition. “No single, neutered household pet pit bull has ever killed anyone.” Karen Delise, LVT, Independent Scholar, and Author.
Pit Bulls with scars or cropped ears, were used as “bait” or “fighting” dogs Please consider the real meaning and implications behind this statement. It is often used to garner sympathy or suggest an animal has gone through a special, horrific past in order to promote them for adoption, and pull on the public’s heartstrings. This can backfire, and lead people to assume the worst, leaving the dog waiting for a home due to others fears or placing a dog in a home for the wrong reasons-guilt. If you do not have the factual history of a dog being involved in such an activity-don’t assume it! “A pit bull can have scars for lots of different reasons so it’s best to avoid assuming the worst. They’re bold, active creatures and can find themselves in many misadventures if not properly cared for. A scarred dog may have been a stray on the streets and scrapped with other strays over food or territory without any prompting from an irresponsible owner. He may have started those fights, or tried like hec to avoid them, or anything in between. He may be an active dog that ran through brambles on a hike with his owner, tumbled with a cat or other dogs in his home, nosed in too close to a wild urban animal such as a raccoon, or cut himself while trying to dig out of a poorly secured yard. He may also have developed a skin condition known as mange, which causes patches of missing fur. Badly cropped ears typically reflect an uneducated dog owner’s attempt to mimic the professional crops that are popular with UKC and AKC show dogs.” From badrap.org
It’s all in how they’re raised While this is a nice sentiment that is often overheard from many people who love and advocate for this breed, it can also be dangerous. A dog’s personality is made up of both the genetic temperament and environment of the dog. Many dogs have come from horrible abuse and even dog-fighting situations and have become wonderful family companions. On the other hand, there are many dogs who have been raised with the utmost love and care, but have those genetics at play that can come out as aggression. Case in point: the Vick Dogs; also another great article from stubbydog.org “It’s not just how they were raised”
BAD RAP (Bay Area Dog lovers Responsible About Pit Bulls)