Why Pit Bulls Are Often Misunderstood

All dog breeds are developed for a specific purpose and have specific behavioral and physical characteristics. Pit Bulls today are the descendants of dogs that were bred for bull-baiting.

american terrier

The pit bull is the world’s most understood dog breed. The dogs were originally bred in England, Ireland, and Scotland in the 19th-century. The dogs were trained to hunt and restrain livestock. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1898. The dog’s training involved aggression toward other animals but not humans. Today, pit bulls have been mixed with other types of dogs to create mixed breeds such as the cute and lovable corgi pitbull mix.

The attention Pit Bulls get in the media has been relatively negative. When dogfighting, which was illegal in many countries, became popular, the dogs were mistreated by irresponsible handlers to bring out their aggression and encourage them to fight.

Legislation against the breed is enforced in some form in at least 21 states. BSL is divided into two categories:

  • States that prohibit all breed-specific legislation
  • States that prohibit BSL in dangerous dog laws

There’s a lot of variation in the laws depending on the state in which you live. For example, laws in some municipalities state that dangerous dogs can’t be regulated specifically due to breed. It’s essential to understand the laws regarding pit bulls for the area in which you live.

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Myth: They Are Born to Fight?

Contrary to popular opinion, pit bulls weren’t born to fight. Some were bred for fighting. However, many pitties were bred to be working dogs and companion animals. A lot of pit bulls work as watchdogs or guard dogs.

Myth: They Are Not Good with Children

Pit bulls have mistakenly been characterized as dangerous, aggressive, and even a public health hazard. The truth is that any dog could turn on someone if it’s mistreated. Pit bulls are very powerful, large dogs. Children shouldn’t be left unsupervised with any dog, even small breed dogs. The fact is that a pit bull that is adequately socialized and trained as a puppy makes a beautiful, family dog and an excellent companion for children.

Myth: They Are Unpredictable

One of the most persistent myths about pit bulls is that they have a bad temperament and are unpredictable. However, in breed temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society on pit bulls and 129 other breeds, pitties scored in the top 23 percent for their excellent temperament. The pit bulls scored higher than 100 of the different breeds that were tested.

Dogs that are unpredictable don’t rank high for their excellent temperament. Not only do pit bulls make excellent family pets, but many of them are also successfully trained to work as therapy dogs, K-9 dogs, and service dogs. pit bulls undergo intensive training to prepare them to live with families and help people deal with traumatic events. In one of the most publicized cases in the country, 22 dogs traumatized from fighting were rescued by a sanctuary and rehabilitated. They learned to trust people again and went on to live with families or become therapy dogs.

Myth: Do Pit Bulls Have Lock Jaw?

A lot of myths about pit bulls have been debunked but persist with many people. One myth is that pitties have a locking jaw, which isn’t true. In a study conducted on dog-bite victims, there was no difference in the type of medical treatment administered to victims of large-breed bites and those of smaller dogs.

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Myth: Pit Bulls Are The Most Dangerous Breed

An independent, non-profit research group publishes statistics and general information about pit bulls. Pit bulls are no more dangerous than any other breed of dog. According to scientific research on pit bulls these are the facts:

  • Breed doesn’t determine the severity of bites or aggression risk
  • Breed-Specific Legislation is not effective
  • Most pit bulls are mixed-breed dogs

The CDC compiled statistics on dog bite cases for 20 years and determined that pit bulls aren’t any more dangerous than any other breed. The study further concluded that 25 breeds were identified in dog-bite related fatalities. In a more recent study, the CDC determined that dog-bite related incidents aren’t a breed-specific problem.

Scientific studies have shown that 60 percent of the dogs were identified as pit bulls when this wasn’t the case in many cases. When a dog has less than 50 percent of pit bull ancestry DNA, it is, in fact, a mixed-breed dog.

Not all pit bulls are bad. Like any other dog breed, they require training, love, and companionship. Pitties can be strong-willed, and it takes a sensible owner who can control the dog to prevent any dog attacks. Love and compassion are the keys to gaining a dog’s trust. Proper training through repetition teaches any dog what the owner expects of them. For additional information on pit bull mixes and other breeds, visit our friends at BarkFriend.com.

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