Advocate & Educate
Biases against Pit Bulls and misinformation promoted by some in the media and elsewhere have an impact not only on popular opinion, but on legislation that affects the dogs and their families, as well on how they are treated in shelters and communities. Those who know and love Pit Bull type dogs can help the cause by advocating for them to others. That could be as simple as sharing family photos on social media or putting your Pit Bull through Canine Good Citizen training, to getting involved in local advocacy groups to fight for animal welfare legislation and to help be their voice.
The first and best step to becoming an advocate to become more educated. Combatting ignorance with facts and good examples goes a long way in helping the plight of these beautiful souls. Below are some resources to help direct your efforts in becoming a champion of this sometimes maligned group of dogs. Celebrate them. Advocate for them. Be their voice.
Arm yourself with Knowledge
Less than 1% of a dog's genes determine appearance. Lesson: judging by appearance is inaccurate! Animal Farm Foundation is one of the best sources out there for Pit Bull advocacy and education. They provide not only great scientific facts, but great posters and graphics to share to help communicate them (see HERE). Check out their home page HERE.
Just the Facts and Science
Each dog is an individual. Want more science and facts? Check out this article for more information: Breed and Behavior by Janis Bradley, and check out the org she works with: National Canine Research Center, which is a non-profit canine behavior science and policy think tank.
Make a Difference
Our friends at Bad Rap have a ton of great resources, and you can find their recommendations on how you can help advocate for Pit Bulls HERE. Bad Rap took on many of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's horrifically cruel dog fighting ring, and they helped changed laws and perception. You can read more about the Vick dogs HERE. And a great section of the history of Pit Bulls, along with a Victorian photo gallery HERE! They continue to do good work to help these dogs.
Dispel Myths and Untruths
Did you know that Pit Bulls are statistically less likely to show aggression than Golden Retrievers? It's true! There are many myths out there about Pit Bulls that are just dead wrong. A particularly persistent untruth promoted by some is that Pit Bulls are inherently vicious. Science and experience proves this wrong time and again. For more proof, check out the American Temperament Test Society or read an article discussing temperament science HERE.
What is a "Pit Bull" Anyway?
Officially, Pit Bulls are a group of dogs that include: the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog. BUT when visual identification is involved, whether it be by shelters, officials in cities that have Breed Specific Legislation, law enforcement, or the media, any dog with certain physical characteristics, like a blocky head and muscular body, will be automatically deemed a Pit Bull. This is a problem for many reasons, not least of which is that a dog may lose his life if deemed a Pit Bull when discrimination is at play. And DNA tests have proven that visual identification of a dog's breed is highly unreliable. For more information, click HERE. Try the test to see if you can identify a Pit Bull by clicking HERE.