Pit Bull Facts and Why We Love This Breed

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Pit BullFor decades dog lovers have read headline after headline positioning one breed or another as “dangerous.” Most recently the newest “fall dog” is the pit bull. This article and accompanying infographic will take a look at pit bull facts and just how accurate the label of “dangerous dog” fits the pit bull breed as a whole and look at the real facts behind bully breeds.

Pit Bull Facts Infographic

Pit Bull Infographic

What Is the Difference Between a Pit Bull and a Bully Breed?

The term “bully breed” is used to refer to a large group of various breeds of dog that hail from the same root breed. Dogs that belong to a bully breed are all derived from one particular type of dog known as the Molosser. The Molosser is an Ancient Greek breed that was characterized by a short muzzle, large bones, a large frame and pendant shaped ears. Originally Molossers were bred with a range of other dogs that resulted in varied breed characteristics found today in the various bully-type breeds. These dogs were bred as guardians of both property and livestock. These types of owners would use their dogs in sports like bull-baiting which many believe is how the term “bully breed” came about. Unfortunately, not all owners of these dogs utilize them for their original purpose and recognize their potential as fighting dogs.

What Breeds Are Bully Breeds?

The pit bull is just one breed that is categorized under the bully breed label. All the following breeds actually make up the bully breed category:

  • Alapaha blue blood bulldog
  • Ambullneo mastiff
  • American bulldog
  • American mastiff
  • American pit bull terrier
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • Anatolian mastiff
  • Australian bulldog
  • Bantam bulldogge
  • Banter Bulldogge
  • Belgian mastiff
  • Boston terrier
  • Boxer
  • Buldogue campeiro
  • Bull terrier
  • Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Ca de bou
  • Cane corso
  • Catahoula bulldog
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Dogue de Bordeux
  • Dorset olde tyme bulldogge
  • English bulldog
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • French bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Mastiff
  • Miniature bull terrier
  • Neopolitan mastiff
  • Olde Boston bulldogge
  • Olde English bulldog
  • Pug
  • Pyrenean mastiff
  • Renascence bulldogge
  • Rottweiler
  • Spanish mastiff
  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • Standard bull terrier
  • Tibetan mastiff
  • Valley bulldog
  • Victorian bulldogge

As you can see from this extensive list, the American pit bull terrier is just one of many breeds. In fact, more than a handful of the breeds on this list surprise even the most anti-bully breed proponents.

Mischaracterization of the Pit Bull

Looking over the list of bully breeds above many of these breeds are unknown to general dog lovers which is perhaps one reason why so many dogs are mischaracterized as pit bulls. While these breeds all share a common ancestry and have similar features such as the flatter shorter snout, being able to distinguish between different bully breeds is important. Without being able to separate one bully breed from another, it is easy for pit bulls to be pinned as the “breed that bit that boy.” That is not to say that bully breeds, in general, are bad dogs, they just happen to be most frequently selected by bad owners. Did you know that currently only five percent of all of the dogs found across the United States are pit bulls? Overall there are approximately 78.2 million dogs throughout the United States, 3.91 million of those dogs are pit bulls. However, 40 percent of dogs in animal shelters are characterized as bully breeds, and 20 percent of those are called pit bulls.

Misquoted Facts

The mischaracterization of all bull breeds as pit bulls is not the only area where pit bulls get the short end of the stick. Unfortunately as public opinion of this breed declines and the banning of bully breeds builds momentum, many more facts are turned around.

Myth: Pits Bite Harder Than Other Dogs

Who hasn’t heard about the incredible amount of force exerted by the jaws of a pit bull? The amazing 1600 pounds per square inch that the pit bull is said to exert through their bite is actually just like many other breeds – around 235 pounds per square inch. Which dog has the highest pounds per square inch bite force? The Rottweiler which measures in at 328 pounds per square inch of bite force. Even with this figure in mind though, does this mean that the Rottweiler is a dangerous breed? Not necessarily: It means that if a Rottweiler were to bite someone or something, it could be capable of exerting 328 pounds per square inch of bite force. It does not mean that this dog will bite or that it will use that much force with a bite. What this data could mean also is that if a dog does exert that much bite force, the resulting bite could be much more severe than a bite from a less powerful dog. And that means that bites from this type of dog are more likely to be reported than bites from smaller, less powerful dogs leading to a news reporting bias.

Pit Bulls Sure Are Cute

No question these Pit puppies are adorable!

Are Pit Bulls Good Dogs?

Asking the question whether pit bulls are good dogs is the same as asking whether disadvantaged children are good children. A dog’s temperament depends on a variety of factors including breeding and upbringing (much like children.) What we do know from statistical analysis is that 86.8 percent of American pit bull terriers have passed their temperament testing according to the American Temperament Test Society, Inc. This is a higher number of American pit bulls to pass their testing than collies, beagles and even golden retrievers. Of 122 different canine types tested by the society, pit bulls ranked fourth for passing temperament testing. Pit bulls, like any other dogs, have the opportunity to be great dogs.

Are Fatal Pit Bull Attacks Common?

When you turn on the news, it seems like the only dog attacks that ever make headlines are attacks by pit bulls and attacks that result in death or serious injury. Few people take the time to learn the facts behind this type of dog; they simply take what they are fed by media news outlets. So just how common are fatal pit bull attacks? According to research, an individual is 200 times more likely to die from taking over the counter aspirin than from a fatal pit bull attack. An individual is 60 times more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than they are to be killed by a pit bull attack. Additionally, a person is 16 times more likely to die by drowning in a five-gallon bucket of water than they are to die as the result of a fatal pit bull attack. Yet, how often do you hear of people dying from taking aspirin or from drowning in a bucket of water on the news? Many pit bull and bully breed haters are colored by this media reporting bias.

What Does This Media-Driven Bias Mean for Pit Bulls?

With such a bias against pit bulls and select bully breeds in general, how is the pit bull affected? Perhaps the biggest indicator of this is by taking a look at research from animal shelters around the nation. Approximately 60 percent of all dogs that are taken to shelters are euthanized every year. As we have already mentioned, of all of the dogs in animal shelters currently around 40 percent are classified as bully breeds, and 20 percent are classified as pit bulls. Only 48 percent of the nation’s shelters place these pit bulls up for adoption, another 30 percent of shelters put these dogs up for adoption under special circumstances. Most disappointing, however, is the fact that 22 percent of the nation’s shelters euthanize dogs that are categorized as pit bulls regardless of the individual dog’s disposition. This practice of breed discrimination is wrong not only because perfectly healthy and happy dogs are being put to death because of their appearance, but also because they aren’t being given a chance due to ignorance and bias.

What Can Be Done to Help Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds?

If more people were familiar with the array of dog breeds within the bully breed category, perhaps they would be less inclined to judge one particular bully type as a “bad dog” — whoever heard of someone banning Boston terriers from an apartment complex because they were a bully breed? Judging a dog’s temperament by its appearance is like judging a person’s personality by the color of their skin, something one would hope humankind had learned from in its history.

Advocate for Pit Bulls and Spread The Word

One of the best things that can be done to advocate for pit bulls and bully breeds is to spread the word about just how expansive the bully breed category is. Share with your friends about how the Boston terrier and Pug come from the same origin as the Neopolitan mastiff and the pit bull terrier. Encourage people not only to educate themselves about the difference between individual breeds but also about the sheer ridiculousness of judging an entire classification of dog based on a select few incidences that receive sensationalized media coverage. Ask people to stop and think when was the last time they heard of a mixed breed dog bite fatality?

It Is Not Okay to Minimize Pit Bull Bite Incidences

With all of these statistics under your belt, it is important not to minimize pit bull bite incidences, but it is crucial to also draw attention to the fact that there are a some mitigating circumstances in these bite statistics. The truth is that people do get bitten by pit bulls, just as they get bitten by huskies and German shepherds. It is possible however to become a proponent for pit bull terriers while also respecting incidences of pit bull bites. Encourage individuals with reservations about pit bulls to understand that not all dogs within a certain classification are bred to fight, that upbringing and good breeding can result in a wide range of dispositions. Many people have experiences that have colored their opinion of one dog breed or another, but as a proponent for fair treatment of the pit bull it is important to make others aware of the fact that not all pit bulls are like “the one that bit that boy.”

Dog Liability Insurance May Save You Money and Your Dog’s Life

If you do want to better understand how you can protect yourself and your Pit from potentially risky situations, we recommend that you contact a dog liability insurance expert to gain some perspective on your options. 

InsureMyCanine logoIf you are interested in protecting yourself with dog liability insurance, visit our partner at InsureMyCanine.com to learn more and get a free quote.

What do you love about pit bulls?

Source: Wikipedia: Pit Bull

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new pet health insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.
Sara is a writer for Canine Journal. She adores dogs and recently adopted a rescue pup named Beamer. Whole she may be adjusting to life with another being to care for, she needed no time to adjust to all the extra love.

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Julie
Just because you would like the American Temperament Test Standard to be a temperament test for a balanced pet, it is not. It was developed by Alfons Ertelt in 1977 as a screening test for potential Schutzhund candidates – ie dogs that do bite work like police dogs. He was not an animal behaviorist, he was a schutzhund fan. He wanted a quick way to screen dogs to see if they were bold and aggressive enough to do police work. As much as you wish otherwise, it is not in any way an indicator of a safe pet. The test itself only takes 15 minutes and as a screening test, was designed only to weed out the most unlikely candidates for attack dog training. A dog that panics when it hears a gunshot will fail this test. A dog that balks when asked to walk on wire fencing will fail this test. No part of this test looks at how the dog reacts in a home or with children or with other animals. These are things that are immediately obvious to anyone who takes even a cursory glance at the test. Why would you be attempting to prove pit bulls make great pets based on this test?
Volunteer
Please look up ASPCA Safer test worksheet. This is the testing that the several shelters I am involved in use for temperament testing. This test is rather involved and requires two people to complete the test and requires much more than 15 minutes. While I do agree the Safer test is no guarantee of temperament and the test is also subjective to whomever is doing the assessment, it is much more involved than you suggest.
Dog
I feel like people are missing the point here. I thought a central point is that pits are over represented in fatality statistics because of the broad range of dogs that get lumped in as ‘pit bulls’, which isn’t even a single breed. These determinations are never made based on actual genetics- it is always based on the dogs appearance
Dog
I think this article is a real good contribution to this conversation. Just look at the list of credible organizations that do not single out pits or support breed specific legislation and tell me that you know better than their informed opinions. Anecdotal evidence is not good evidence
Jack
And even with all this. Pit bull breeds are under4% of the dogs in the US, and killed 88% of the people killed by dogs in 2017. I have seen them excused from a show ring (basically forever) for trying to grab a judge. That was NOT a poorly trained or miss handled dog. So for me the pit bull is not unlike any other wild semi domesticated killing animal. I can not trust them. And yes i live daily with a dog in my home. NOT (AND NEVER) a pit bull. I will not allow them on my farm.
Your choice, and risk if you play with them!
And by the way, rots, dobies, and danes are not allowed on my place either. Personally i think dogs are too easy to purchase! Should be a screening process for every dog every breed.
Stupefied
First of all where did you read they in fact were responsible for 88% of dog related human fatalities??? Oh and I’d REALLY love even one example of what exactly a “wild,semi domestic killing machine” is because unless you tried to turn a honey badger into a pet… ever word in that sentence contradicts the previous!! I doubt anyone would be able to get a wild killing machine any where near semi-domesticated… plus I seriously missed “killing machine” when Noah was accounting for all the animals on the ark!! Oh yeah. Pit bulls have always been a domestic animal since WE BREED THEM FROM OTHER BREEDS OF DOGS. But I digress…
Any dog has the ability to bite.for that matter so does any 1 year old human!!! Like the author said, circumstances play a great roll. If a seasoned show dog bit at a judge, where is the rest of the info? Like what was the judge doing? Was it seasoned? Was it verified the dog didn’t spend its entire trip puking in the car like my treeing Walker would. Everyone has a right to their opinion based on their personal experiences. I may have a biased negative view of chows based on mine. That being said, anyone who has attained an age of at least 20 who insist these dogs are generally more prone to aggression, without a doubt must view the chihuahua in the same category…. I dont think there is anyone who would disagree in their own life experience that those little ankle biters are 10 times more likely to bite and in much more unprovoked situations. At 40 I dont think I’ve ever meet even one that didn’t growl, snarl and have to be “put up” anytime company comes to visit. As for me… I’ll take my chances with a pit bull over those little rats with hair anyday!! I also happen to agree with the author that stereotyping 26 different breeds of dogs because one of the 26 bit or went after a judge and made headlines when 2000 were bit by those little ankle biters but went unmentioned is ignorance at its worst..a responsible potential owner weighes the positive and negative based on what they plan to use the dog for but more importantly do their due diligence to verify they are not out of a bloodline breed specifically for aggressive qualities, and if they find that is the case but buy the dog anyway because he has confirmation sure to win in the ring and make his owner a lot of money despite the risk! Hes ignorant!!! At least with a papered pit you can ascertain any genetic pre disposition up front… unlike the aformention ankle biter who if breathing has a predisposition!! For the record I’m a cat girl. I’ve had one dog I got for my son because he was afraid of big dogs…and she fell under that list being a boxer. A boxer who didn’t bark, chew, get on the furniture or drag you behind on the leash but would completely tolerate a 2 year old pulling her around by the collar. Sometimes even the ears. However one word from me and she would ready herself to sacrifice her own life for her human family. Long and short.. I think you have made an excellent decision not to own any dog that could, if they wanted to take you down. Based on that I assume one will also not see a horse or cow on your farm either? You’d probably be more comfortable with a small lap dog who barks and attacks his own farts in order to feel secure. Best of luck in your indevours and I shall pray you find just the right fit to feel safe and secure regardless of my feelings about your reasoning. No one should live with a pet they do not trust. You have your reasons. I just chose to share mine since you decided an article pointing out the unfair reputation and facts to support it was the appropriate place to do it. Btw… I’m sure they have hater bully blogs that will welcome you logic with open arms. Mean time I’ll be on the look out for this creature created only to be a killing machine.
Tim
4% you pulled that number out of your a**, now, try your head.
Mike
A basic google search shows that your 88% claim is utter fabrication. You’d do better at proving a point if you didn’t lie twice in your first two sentences.

Source

Scroll down to the list of reported fatalities for that year. Now let’s do some math for this liar.

Pitbull (Which is unfairly about 6 dog breeds lumped in to one): 11
German Shepherd: 5
Labrador Retriever: 4
Husky: 2
Great Dane: 2
Akita: 1

So of the 25 reported confirmed fatalities in the US for 2017, less than half were from a classification that aggregates 6 separate breeds in to one parent category. If we actually compared it to per capita, you would realize that GSDs and Labrador Retrievers were the more lethal dog that year.

Stop ling.

Matt
What’s most interesting about the stats in this article are all the ones that are suspiciously missing. Here’s an article that has some of those, literally critical, statistics.

Also check out The Fifth Estate (CBC) documentary on Pit Bulls, which “pits” the competing stats (no competition really) of advocates and opposers. Skip to 18:00, if you don’t have time to watch all of it.

David
This is obviously a pro Pit Bull article. To all you responsible owners of this breed , why don’t you push for mandatory training and screening of owners. A Pit Bull is more dangerous than a gun. Yet, it is statistically the favorite dog of criminals. I believe it is a special responsibility to own one of these dogs. I have been attached by a Pit Bull and had to go to hospital, a completely frightening event. The owner turns out was a felon. He got a ticket for his Pit Bull responsibility. You are all ridiculous in you blanket statements that Pit Bulls are unfairly picked on. You all need to take responsibility for these dogs if you don’t want them to be outlawed.
David W
So the pit bull “attached “you what did he attach you to? The ignorance of most of your statements. As far as the ownership of pits being mainly criminals just where did this statistic come up from and did you know it’s a felony to j-walk on us 19 in florida funny being a felon for walking across a road and I suppose that background checks stopped all the school shootings. The ignorance of almost all your statements is outstanding but like anything else even ignorant people are entitled to their opinions
John
I am a pit bull advocate but I do agree that owners need to be screened, even more so than the dogs themselves. It’s bad owners that have given rise to the vilification of this breed. The owners of smaller vicious breeds, like chihuahuas, don’t get called out for their ineptitude because their dogs can’t do the same level of damage but it’s the same principle. People are the problem yet the only solution that gets implemented is banning the dog themselves. It’s unfortunate. I do feel for anyone that has been the victim of any terrible incidents. Weak, negligent or abusive owners create the problem.
Mike
What an asinine statement. Any dog is more dangerous than a gun. Gun’s have a safety device that would prevent them from being used by accident.

But I’m sure you don’t actually want to compare gun fatalities to dog fatalities, let alone pit bull (6 breeds in one category) fatalities. That would cause your assumption to fall apart like a piece of wet toilet paper.

Dog owners should be screened in general, I agree. I’m sure you’re already thinking of how to acquire the budget for this and the necessary legislation to enforce it since you are so confident this is the best solution going forward. Not saying it’s not, just that your point is so wholesomely based in a fantasy world that it has no chance of ever coming to fruition.

I’m sorry you were attacked by a dog. It appears that your experience is heavily biasing any ability that you may have had to look at this issue objectively, though.

Selina
We adopted Lilo, a beautiful black and white cocker spanie,l in 2003 when she was 8 months old. We were told then that her previous people had abused her and were forced to give her up. Even though we loved her a lot, for a long time she was very suspicious and defensive. She had bitten my husband several times when he approached her when she was sleeping. We had to be very careful whenever strangers approached her; such that often they thought we just did not want them to pet her — an adorable cocker spaniel.

Lilo died in March, 2016 from kidney failure. In October, 2017 we adopted Gogo (10 weeks old) from a rescue organization and was told he was a labrador and springer spaniel mix. When he was about 5 months old we took him to be neutered and the vet told us he believed Gogo to be a pit bull mix. We were kind of shocked and worried. The rescue place told us that we can return him if we want to. But then Gogo has always been such a sweet, loving puppy, we decided to keep him. Now he is almost 10 months old and still the same sweet, loving dog. We have trained him to stay within our property line and not venture into the street. He is friendly towards everyone and every dog who walks by our house, but most people walking their dog seem to be very cautious whenever they pass by our house!

Gogo still thinks he is a puppy and often put his head my my lap. I often look into his gentle eyes and ask him “how can you ever be mean!?”

It’s not the dog, it’s how the dog was brought up and treated. Cocker Spaniel Lilo was defensive because she had been abused in her puppy days.

Pitty Gogo has never demonstrated anything but sweetness and will never be a danger to anyone!

Lydia
My pit bull, Rosie, follows me around, trying to give me kisses all day. She takes care of my 1 year old daughter Isabella, and snuggles with our cat. Yet when my mother-in-law comes to visit, she refuses to be in the same room as her! This doggy-racism has to stop!
Ban the breed
This entire article is designed to minimize pit bull attack incidents. The math is clear every year that the pit bulls are the number one killers. the fact that this website leaves that information out shows it’s willing to censor inconvenient facts.
Dog
Did ya read the article? The whole point was that attacks are commonly attributed to ‘pit bulls’ when that isn’t even a breed it’s an umbrella term that can take include up to 30 different breeds, from a Boston terrier to a napoleons mastiff. The numbers are skewed because they include such a broad range of dogs. Even the accepted category of pit bull contains four distinct breeds in itself. There was literally a section labeled ‘don’t minimize pit bull bites’
Stupified
Thank you jesus!! Someone else who actually read the whole thing!!
Silv
In 1997, there were 40 fatal pit bull attacks in the US. If you assume an average life span of 13 years, that puts the total fatal pit bull attacks over a given dog’s lifetime at 520. So, 520 out of 4 million pit bulls fatally attack someone over their lifetime. That comes out to 0.00013, or 0.013%. About one hundredth of a percent of pit bulls will ever kill anyone during their lifetime, while 99.987% never will. You want to ban a breed for something that 99.987% of dogs will never do during their lifetime?

Out of those 40 attacks per year, some can certainly be attributed to bad owners who made the dogs mean on purpose. Because of pit bulls’ fearsome reputation, they’re selected by people who want a dog for all the wrong reasons. Any animal can be turned mean by poor treatment, and if people are going to do this deliberately to any dog, it’s almost guaranteed to be a pit bull. This inflates the statistics and makes it seem like your family pet might attack you at any time. Unprovoked attacks for unknown reasons have happened, but they happen with other breeds too, and when you exclude the owners who wanted their dogs to be mean, a pit bull is just an ordinary dog. It’s a strong dog, so when it does attack, it is more likely to cause serious injury or death, but that’s true of any larger breed.

As others have mentioned, any dog that has a passing resemblance to a pit bull will be reported as a pit bull if it attacks someone, even though the dog may not be a pit at all.

Human beings are five times more likely to kill someone in the US in any given year (5 per 100,000) than pit bulls (1 per 100,000). If pit bulls are dangerous killers that should be banned, what do we do with ourselves? Any random person you meet on the street is 5 times more likely to kill you than any random pit bull you meet.

Jakieeeeee
I was just wondering about pit bulls so I looked them up on my free time!
Ayla
My sister has a very nice pit bull!
ur boi (Nick)
Pit bulls lit
Natalie
I’m writing an essay of why pit bulls are miss understood and i realized all these statistics are wrong. Either they don’t add up to 100% or they add up to more than 100%.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Natalie, some of the stats aren’t supposed to add up to 100%. Which ones are you having questions on specifically, so I can try to explain further? We think it’s awesome you’re writing this essay!
ken
Back here on planet earth. Two facts. First, there are two emotional sides on this thread. Want the most unemotional person’s opinion? Ask an insurance actuarial. They only know numbers. Second, there are three types of physical dog contact. A strike bite, an attack, and a mualing. A chihuahua, a police dog, and a pit bull. Show me a chihuahua who continues an attack to his or your death. Trained guard dogs stop when resistance stops, and instinctively hold, not tear. Maulings are where child death occurs. Killing the object, instinctively, to the point of sacrifice of their own life in that goal. They all go into the same bucket…dog bites. The issue is, not all dogs bite with the same purpose or intensity. And the difference in bite is all in the breed.
missy
completely agree. And while all dogs are capable of biting or attacking, I would love to see a scientific study be done on the brains of certain breeds (almost like we do with serial killers) to learn what makes them tick. I truly believe there’s something in the “hardwiring” of different breeds. It may not ever present itself in some dogs but is always there.
Stupified
Its obvious.. just like in 1950 a Persian cat had a regular nose. Its called selective breeding. Those aforementioned criminals breed dogs that tend to possess traits higher on the aggression scale. This also explains the love em or hate em attitude. For those dogs that have never been in a selective breeding line for the purposes of fighting people tend to value as wonderful pets.
Teresa Smithson
Just for the record, pugs are not a bully breed. They were developed in China as lapdogs, not fighters. In ancient times, Pugs were companions for ruling families in China. They arrived in Europe in the 16th-17th century.
Lydia
And pit bulls weren’t bred for abuse, or a victim of humans. It’s not so much what their for, but where they come from. A pug DOES share the same ancestry as a pit.
we be plebs
me be a dog luver an i jus tink dat dis is dum
Adam C
I’ve been going through some type of moral dilemma. I fought long and hard trying to keep myself from putting a comment on here, especially after reading a ton of comments from what seem to be very ignorant people. My one and only comment on here is, first off thank you to Sarah Logan Wilson for writing this article if you are the author and especially if you are the one who did all the research, I’m sure that most people on here talking bad about it have done none of their own other than watch tv! Second, all domesticated animals are born with different types of personalities and temperaments, however none of them are born with any type of anger, or hatred, or evil in their souls. The only ones that are “evil vicious dogs” are the ones that are raised to be that way period! The only dogs that supposedly do a “random” attack are ones that have in someway been provoked or (in minor instances) have been over breed by incest (also from a human hand). So almost every instance that someone or some other animal is bitten is due to some type of human intervention at some point in the dogs life. Now about myself I have been a certified dog trainer for just over 25 years. I train security dogs for one of the largest security companies in the western hemisphere and, I also run a smaller facility that helps in police and civilian dog training. I can’t even count the number of dogs that I’ve trained or the number of different breeds that I’ve worked with. I’ve even helped to train a few packs of wild wolves for a couple local zoos in Indiana and Illinois. I would never call myself “the authority on dogs” but, I do happened to know a thing or two. I will say that no breed of dog will ever know that it is supposed to be an aggressive breed only the people around it think that. No dog breed has exact specific behavior traits. The only dogs that I’ve dealt with that have had behavior issues are the ones being trained for a police department or security and they don’t have any aggressiveness and they become rejected from the programs and, are adopted out for family pets. The dogs that we personally have to train to be less aggressive are usually small or toy breeds due to the fact that their owners don’t correct bad behavior and treat them like human children causing over dominance in the dogs. Watch a couple episodes of the dog whisperer and it may help people understand that we really have to train people how to interact with the dogs for a family pet as opposed to training the dog to behave. I hope that I have helped some people on here, I realize that alot of people are stubborn and won’t pay attention to anyone telling them that THEY are wrong and others only listen to biased media that create bad news stories to sell but, hopefully someone gets better understanding of the issue!
Kydd2k
Very well said, good sir!
Lydia
Absolutely beautiful. BAN AGGRESSIVE HUMANS, NOT PITS.
Stupified
Thank you!! Finally Another one with common sense.
Lynbrook
I’ve read all of the comments and IMO many are a bit right and a bit wrong. I’ve shared my life with various pitties and pittie mixes over 32 years (yes, I’m older than dirt). More often than not I’ve had two, usually males. All were adoptees, and in one case, a stray. All had issues to contend with at first. Most issues were resolved. Those that weren’t were diligently managed.

My daughter was born into a home with an 80 lb. Pittie and a 90 lb. Pittie/GSD mix. She was NEVER alone in a room with either of them. She was taught to respect our dogs, treat them with kindness (no, it’s not safe or funny when children poke eyes and pull tails). Most important I love and respect my dogs for what they are…dogs…not people. We are different species, we perceive things differentky, we respond to input differently. The point is that it is my responsibility to teach my dogs to coexist with my family, and to protect my dog and others when my dog is in a public environment. My dogs are NEVER off leash in public. Is it because pitties are universal killing machines? No, it’s simply because I don’t like every person I meet so why would I assume my dogs will like every dog they meet? Or that every dog will like mine for that matter?

My dogs are large and strong, like many other breeds, but because of their breed I know that “who started it” is irrelevant, it is unequivocally my dog who is at fault should there be an altercation. Is that fair, no, but it’s a fact and I interact with the world the way it actually is, not the way I wish it was.

I’m awake at 4:30 AM and am committed to running with my pups every day, rain or shine. A tired pup is a good pup. I hate running, they love it, so we do it. The upside, I eat like a 6′ 4″ man and am a 110 lb. woman. I’d happily gain 10-15 lbs. to sleep in a couple of times a week. It’ll never happen because this is what I signed on for when I chose a high energy, athletic breed.

Which brings me to another point…I’m 110 lb. woman who currently has a 93 lb. Pittie and a 70 lb. Pittie/American Bulldog mix. Occasionally they get on each other’s nerves. A short command in a sharp tone with hands on my hips stops both in their tracks. Why? Because I’m alpha in this pack, an alpha that loves to spoil her pups, but absolutely alpha. Alpha is an energy and has nothing to do with size. Both pups are sleeping on the couch at the moment. Both are fed well, mentally stimulated, clean, provided with proper vetinary care, exercised daily, and most importantly loved and protected. It’s expensive. It’s exhausting. It’s a lifestyle, and one that I chose. I wouldn’t change a thing.

So after 30+ years of sharing my life with pitties, here’s what I know; each is an individual with silly quirks. Some of those quirks are behaviors they must learn are unacceptable sooner rather than later. They have big personalities. There is NEVER a reason to use physical abuse as a training method. It’s counterintuitive to expect your dog to positively respond to you as a leader if they are fearful (IMO, the same is true for children). Eye contact and body language are critical so be self aware of what you project. Know the needs of the breed you choose and don’t expect a healthy, we’ll adjusted, behaved pet if you don’t meet those needs. Learn a bit about canine psychology. Prolonged eye contact between your toddler could be curiosity on the part of your baby, but can be perceived as a challenge by your dog (if you ride the NYC subway, you’ll inherently understand that). Pitties are under constant scrutiny so invest your time into proper training. Like it or not the entire breed can be judged by the actions of your pup. Pitties are not for everyone. Labs or GSDS or shitzhus or poodles or any given breed is not for everyone. Don’t try to convince the world that because your pittie is the love of your life, everyone should have one. Some people just aren’t up to the task and they don’t have to be. You just enjoy your pup. Recognize there (unfortunately) is a stigma attached to the breed. Hopefully some day that will change. Until then protect your pup from becoming one of the demonizing statistics by being a responsible owner. Enjoy the time you have with your pittie, your life is short…their’s is shorter, so cherish every one of those big smiles, goofy antics, and sloppy kisses.

anonymous
Thank you, I think you hit the nail on the head. Just wished all dog owners/non-dog owners realized this.
Lydia
This is just- perfect. Your baby will have a wonderful life being raised with such great dogs. Do you have a website with more like this? Please make one; it’d be great for me and my pit. Personally I think a pit is right for everyone (because they’re perfect!) ,but everyone has their own opinions and tastes.
pink
Irresponsible dog ownership sucks. That goes for any large dog of any breed, and yes, small dogs too. ALL dogs need owners who understand that training, attention, exercise and common sense are all part of the parcel of owning any breed of dog.

Pit bulls are made up of so many mixes and variables, it’s hard to pin down exactly what they are. Someone with an American Bulldog purebred will argue to the letter and perhaps rightfully so that their dog is NOT a pitbull. However, according to media frenzy and BSL any dog with a wide enough mouth is considered a pitbull and there have been many cases of large labs being labelled as one as well.

Do I think they are cuddly little imps who every family should own? No. Just as a chihuahua is not a dog for me, a pitbull is not a good fit for every home. I would never irresponsibly leave a large dog alone with a small child, nor would I blindly trust a stranger’s dog not to be reactive, nor would I keep a dog that I could not control or had any history of aggressive biting or attacking behaviour. NO dog who shows these characteristics should be tolerated, irrespective of breed.

My husband’s neighbour had a pitbull back when they were still called bear dogs back in the mid 1970’s. Brandy definitely had a screw loose. By the time they had to put her down her aggressive tendencies had devolved to the point she barked and tried to attack the sun. Her daughter, Tara, was a very friendly spaniel mix who was great with people but unfortunately gained her mother’s hatred of all other furry creatures and did attack another dog once. She had sixteen long years of being tied up in the yard, unable to go anywhere, had atrocious leash manners and was ‘soothed’ when she growled and barked at leaves and squirrels which made her animal aggression worse. It left her a very isolated dog and thus not one I would say was especially happy.

My husband and I definitely learned from his neighbour’s mistakes in training his dog, and when we were given a two year old collie/blue heeler cross we were very clear in how we were going to train her. She was very stubborn on leash and it took a while and a lot of effort, but eventually she stopped pulling my arm off and did get into step. She got basic manners and was very well socialized thanks to the extra effort we put in to do so. She did great with other dogs though she didn’t socialize with them and was very wary of large dogs, preferring to remove herself from dogs with aggressive tendencies than fight them. Little dogs she would let abuse her until they drew blood, which was awful on the other owner’s parts, quite frankly.

The blue heeler in her suggested she was to become a terrible family dog, aggressive tendencies, awful with children, hard to train, etc. She was none of those things and it was very easy to train her heel nipping out of her very early on. Many things she taught herself, such as whispering at the back door to go out to pee if it was really early in the morning. We took her everywhere with our family and she was a joy to have around. Many people were frightened of her at first because she was a black dog with GSD looks, but even the most skittish eventually were won over. We had 17 years of perfection with her.

We now have dropped in our lap (literally) a five year old bulldog/bloodhound/pointer mix that was once very well trained but sadly had a second owner who pretty much undid a lot of the good the first owner taught her. With perseverence and consistency, she is regaining a lot of that good training back. She is not aggressive or nippy, though the second owner did allow her to nip during play, so we are discouraging that and she is catching on quickly. She has significant bite inhibition, so that’s a big one in her favour.

The reason for this tl:dr post is this: DOGS ARE HARD WORK. If you aren’t willing to put in the huge amount of time, effort and dedication it takes to make a good dog remain a good dog, for God’s sake, get a cat or better yet a goldfish! Dogs are NOT for everyone! Just because your favourite actor or actress has one, or your fave TV show has one, or your neighbour, or whatever reason–A DOG IS WORK, NOT A HANDBAG!

It’s crazy to have to make that distinction, but some people really don’t get it.

And if you’re one of those pieces of human sewage that gets a dog to make it ‘mean’, well, Hell won’t even have you, your soul is that diseased.

Lydia
THE FIRST SENTENCE WAS FLAWLESS. ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS.
Flocki
Pit bulls are just great IF THEY DON’T HAPPEN TO KILL YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE. One of my best friends had a family pit bull for years. One day while watering the lawn his dog attacked and killed him. Even then his son didn’t want to put him down. I think pit bull owners are NUTS when there are so many other breeds available.

On a personal note, I had my husky on a dog beach. He was attacked by a pair of pit bulls the IDIOT owner had running loose. No dog beach needs a pack of vicious dogs. The vet cost me $5000 and my dog was never the same. The COWARDLY owner ran off before I could get his information. He was a “tough” guy in a Raiders uniform until it was time to own up.

Adam E.
It sounds like you and your friends aren’t even responsible enough to use the Internet let alone own any type of animal. You are a sad depressed and very ignorant TROLL that can’t even get a dog to like you that’s why you have no friends. Your dog is never the same cuz he hates you! You keep bringing it to a hot beach and not watching him obviously and on top of that it’s a husky for Gods sake. He has to be so hot and thirsty. I feel so bad for your dog he deserves a much more intelligent owner than you. If my dog was ever attacked and hurt by 2 dogs the owner and or dogs would NEVER be able to just run off because I am aware of what my dog is doing at all times and I watch him especially in a public place such as a dog beach. Please let someone adopt your dog because you should not be trusted with anything that breathes. Go back to trolling people on Warcraft or something you sick sorry lonely loser
ash
be kindl enough to share the link of the news article of your friend who was killed by his dog.
Aidan
You’re doing exactly what the article says, scaremongering and SHOUTING You talk about pit bull owners being nuts, and there you are, owner of a dog belonging to a breed which is often very difficult to train, and which can be very stubborn and destructive when bored and hates being the only one. Chew on this link before you jump on the pit bulls are evil bandwagon.
Lydia
No dog just turns on his family, ESPECIALLY not a pit bull. Your friend’s dog was probably scared, agitated, hurt, or frustrated. Take other things into consideration: how did the friend treat the dog? How did the family treat the dog? We’re there any threats in the neighborhood? Is the dog solitary? Think about the actual dog and how he/she might have felt before spreading nasty rumors and lying about it.
Vivienne
Seriously, the reasons for human beings to defend raptures is beyond me.
Ben
3.91 million pitbulls in the US. Subtract number of attacks. How many pitbulls does that leave that never hurt anyone til the day they died. If u care to really look you will find horror stories with every breed. We should really probably get rid of dogs all together, wouldn’t u say?
Ben
Also I simply don’t believe your story. I’ve heard the “suddenly turned for no reason” stories. When I look into them, if it’s possible, always something left out of the story. I personally have owned handled, known and known of hundreds of pit bulls. Never heard of one simply attacking a family member, or anyone else, for absolutely no reason or with no warning or previously suspect behavior. Just haven’t been able to verify a single one of those stories, ever.
Bri Jones
I really enjoyed reading this pit bull article! There is so much juicy stuff that a lot of people may not know. Its surprising how many breeds out there are bully breeds, at first I only thought there were a few. Such as bull dogs, boxers, and mastiffs. Who knew there was a huge list! I also really liked you guys covered some common pit bull myths. It’s pretty annoying to hear someone go on and on about how pit bulls have locking jaws. I also really enjoyed the youtube video sooooo many cure pit bulls omg! Thank you for compiling this great article I really enjoyed reading it. Also thank you for being a pit bull advocate, if we stick together we can one day end BSL.
dylan
this website is good
Hannah
Why is there always a dumb comparison between pit bites and something like taking aspirin? You conscientiously take a pill, you don’t ask a dog to bite you. Can’t we do better? There’s no other domesticated animal that harms humans how dogs do, and the fact is pits are catastrophic biters. Make a better, credible comparison.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Hannah, we’re not saying taking aspirin is the same as getting bit by a pitbull. We’re saying that people are more likely to overdose on aspirin and die than die from a pit bite. Which means there are fewer deaths by pitbulls than there are to other household drugs most of us have in our medicine cabinets. Sorry you think the comparison is dumb, we find it helpful to relate it to something most of us have in our homes.
kc star
regardless, the question is not answered in that part of the article. As Hannah said, the writer should do better.
Alex
That’s a dumb comparison, because the only relevant statistics are ones comparing Pitt Bull attacks/bites to other breeds. Simply saying that you’re more likely to die in all these obscure ways in no way shows if Pitt bulls are safe compared to other dogs. I came to this page looking for actual statistics backing up Pitt bulls as being more safe or as safe as other dogs. All I got was “you’re more likely to die from aspirin” or “Pitt bulls aren’t always identified correctly” those don’t answer the real fears people have. Doing some additional research I found Pitt bulls accounted for 70 percent of all canine related deaths in 2016. How do you justify that? Also, you made a big point to show how they don’t have the most powerful bite by PSI (which might put to bed a myth but again tells us nothing about how safe they are) and then even said in your article just because a breed has that powerful of a bite doesn’t mean they use it. If a Pitt goes for a little kids throat I’d say the PSI doesn’t mean quite so much. Show a little objectivity instead of pandering to a very obvious agenda, with a weak argument.
Crystal
Pit bulls account for nearly 50%. The next breed (Rotweiler) is like 9%. A mutt of both breeds accounts for 6%. All other dogs pale in comparison to deaths. I think there is just reason to stop pit bulls from being bred on purpose or from being in the city limits. The comparison of buckets probably comes from babies falling in buckets. Not relevant, except that there are far more buckets than pit bulls in America. 7 million pit bulls. If we assume every household has one bucket, then there’s 126 million buckets. Not a good comparison. And just about everyone has aspirin, too. Not everyone has a pit bull. It’s not even in the top 10 breeds of dogs by popularity, but it is number one in recordable bites and deaths. Therefore, there is higher incidence of Pit Bulls attacking people than there is of other dogs. This is fact. I’m surprised people’s feelings about the matter seem to pull people away from fact.
Tim
Fake stats. Did you make tose up all by your lonesome?
Blue
Horses, cattle, pigs, rabid cats have all killed people. As have other pets like snakes. “There’s no other domesticated animal that harms humans how dogs do.” I think you dont get out enough…
Ben
The correct comparison between asking a dog to bite u and taking aspirin would be if one took the aspirin with the intention of dyeing from taking. Your comment is ludicrous and the comparisons in the article are perfectly legitimate.
Tyler
We should just ban aspirin, falling coconuts, and five gallon buckets then
ken
Tyler, you really need to Google where that asprin study statistics comes from. The arguement is much funnier than your comment. It is based on a study that includes such things as asprin being a possible contribution to deaths of persons over 75 who where stroke victims.
Lydia
Coconuts, the #1 cause of death in the U.S.
Jesse Roth
I’ve owned a pit bull for over 10 years from a juvenile to an adult and I’ve never had a problem. I now have 3 kids and own one. She is the most loyal, loving, and protective. She gets anxiety anytime one of us leaves the the house. She sleeps with my youngest and growls at me when i check on him before I leave for work until she knows who I am. She worries about anything that happens to one of my kids from coughing to yelling so she checks on them 24/7. Pit bull are the “Babysitter Breed”. If you have an energetic and loving family, I highly recommend a pit bull specifically the American Staffordshire Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier breed. They thrive in large families as the lone dog but will get along with other dogs.
Lulu
Your personal experience with your good (so far) pit bull does not cancel out my personal experience of being brutally attacked and nearly killed by a pit bull while I was traveling the public sidewalk in my power wheelchair. There are too many pit bulls and too many of them are in the hands of irresponsible, careless dog owners. I don’t understand why you pit bull fanciers think you have to PUSH them into every corner of the universe, like wall to wall carpeting.
ash
i was attacked by a boxer once and i almost lost my thumb and my son was attacked by a jack russel and had to spend a fortune on reconstruction surgery, now should i run a campaign against these breeds. i dont see a media bandwagon reporting cases like mine with intensity like they do with Pitbulls, should i be angry no, why ,because they are too many boxers and jackrussels who thrive with families and have been their companions for 100s of years. I dont have to put my dog in such a spotlight because there are too many cucks with daddy issues who has no basic understanding of handling such a dog.
Lydia
Lulu, I agree that there are too many irresponsible dog owners. But we’re you really brutally attacked? My guess is that you were agitating the dog or the dog was starved/abused/neglected/tortured. Typically , it is not the dog’s fault, but the human’s, either the victim or owner.
Vivienne
Excuse me, once a human being gets seriously injured by an attacking amimal, it´s the human´s fault?? Are you serious? Sorry, but most dog attacks don´t happen in the wilderness, but in environments made by humans for humans to live a safe life – not for dogs. It´s ridiculous to declare the victims of dog attacks to be “guilty”.
Stupified
You feel the way you do because of your experience and she feels how she does because of hers..that’s kinda been the consensus… so why is it so hard to imagine that all pit bulls are not the same. Just like all people are not.. we are products of our environment even if we have a genetic predisposition and only some of them do. Regardless like with people whether we act like lazy untitled a**holes who cant factor any thing others than what we think it is..or we are polite, have some manners and handle our own shit is determined by how we where brought up. Just like ever kid doesnt get the benefit of a good family neither do they! And I don’t see how anybody advocating by sharing their positive experience is trying to to force them on the world. Nobody is gonna shove a pit up your but a scream, NOW LOVE IT!!
I hope someone can see the bigger picture here. This is not much different than racism… holding the whole responsible for the actions for some. As people we expect individual consideration and not be lumped into some stereotype because of some bad experiences from others. If that was the case the world would die off cause every woman has been screwed over by some guy and every guy buy some girl.. none of us want to be treated or have to pay for what someone else did. And it’s not even there fault!! Man caused this problem not the dogs. Just like man has caused his own problem. Nobody would expect you to like the breed after that..I just wish somebody would have run down his owner and mauled the shot out of them!!! You gotta wonder what type of sick twisted person gets off to watching “man’s best friend” fight each other to the death!! They even kill puppies and throw in to give them the taste of blood. Then dont feed em for a while and will throw like the litter runts. About 6 weeks old in there with them to get them used to killing. Its sick!!! I wont even tell you what these same twisted fool do to roosters to ensure a fight to the death.