The Truth About Pit Bulls

The Truth About Pit Bulls

Of all  dogs, Pit Bulls in particular seem to be a very polarizing topic. Whether you love them or hate them, most people seem to have an opinion on the breed. We wanted to explore those opinions, find out where they come from and if the bad rep Pit Bulls have gotten is justified or not and why.


Starting with the history: 


Traced back to the early 1800’s in the United Kingdom, Pit Bulls were originally bred from Old English Bulldogs for a cruel blood sport known as “bull baiting”. However, in 1835 the British Parliament enacted the Cruelty to Animals Act, putting a spotlight on the underground sport of dog fighting to the public.


Dog fighting required more agility and speed on the part of the dog, so Bulldogs were crossed with Terriers “Bull and Terriers”, more commonly known as the first Pit Bull Terrier.


Despite their tenacity and determination in battle, commoners actually bred pit bull terriers with some of the same qualities and traits that we still love about them to this day. Through selective breeding and culling, bite inhibition or "soft mouth" towards humans was greatly encouraged.


When immigrants from the British Isles came to the United States, shortly before the Civil War, they brought Pit Bulls along with them. It was during this time that the Pit Bull Terrier breed was named the “American” Pit Bull Terrier. Though these dogs had been specifically bred for fighting, in early America, these frontier dogs took on an all-purpose role. They were responsible for herding cattle, herding sheep, guarding livestock and families from thieves and wild animals, helping on the hunts and as hog catchers. Their loyal and loving demeanour with humans, especially children, earned them a prominent place not only as a working dog, but as a companion.


The USA admired this breed for qualities that it likened in itself: friendly, brave, hardworking and worthy of respect, thus earning them the title of the “All American Dog”. During WWI and WWII, Pit Bulls were used as the nation’s mascot. Their image of bravery and loyalty was displayed throughout advertisements during war time.


As dog fighting began to re-emerge in the 1980’s, animal advocates put an increased focus on the cruel, barbaric and illegal blood sport. The inadvertent and unfortunate side effect, was that some people began to seek out Pit Bulls for illicit purposes. The breed who was once bred to treat every stranger like a long-lost friend was now being used as guard and protection dogs forced to fight in underground fighting rings.


With demand high, they were bred without concern for temperament or socialization but for the purpose of making a profit, rather than providing a responsible home. Soon Pit Bulls were associated with poverty, “urban thugs” and crime. They were viewed as money-making commodities instead of family members and companions.


It’s around this time, with a push from the media, that Pit Bulls started to get their bad rep and fell out of favour as the versatile, loving and loyal, “All American Dog”.


So why do dogs such as Pit Bulls get such bad reps and is it justified?


Generally breeds tend to fall in and out of favour, In the post–Civil War era, bloodhounds were the dogs who struck fear in Americans’ hearts. Around World War II, the most feared dogs were German shepherds, Rottweilers and Dobermans, as these breeds were favoured by the German army, and were often used as guard dogs.


Two factors that are consistent though, are how the dog is used by people and how the media portrays the dog. Pit Bulls were America’s darling dogs for many years due to their loving and loyal nature. However, in the 1980s, after pit bull terrier–type dogs became popular with irresponsible dog owners, the dogs fell prey to sensationalized stories in the media.


The old saying “They are no bad dogs, just bad owners” rings true here. Public perception of Pit Bulls has changed a lot with the passing of time, mostly based on what role we’ve given them. It’s less about the breed and more about our influence. That being said..


Let’s look further into the facts and myths surrounding Pit Bulls.


The term “pit bull” refers to a type of dog, rather than one breed. When people refer to “pit bulls” it could mean any of the following breeds or combination of breeds:
  • American bulldog
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • American pit bull terrier
  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • English bull terrier
A common myth is Pit bull terriers are more aggressive than other dogs.
However, The American Temperament Test Society, which provides a uniform national program of temperament testing for dogs, has found that pit-bull-terrier-like dogs passed the test at a higher rate than many other dog breeds, such as golden retrievers and border collies. Some people think these dogs are somehow physiologically and genetically different from other dogs, but they aren’t.


Like any other breed, Pit Bulls can develop behaviour problems if mishandled, abused, poorly bred, unsocialized, etc. that could result in inappropriate aggression. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), it’s not a dog’s breed that determines the risk or severity of a dog bite, but rather the dog’s behaviour, size, and the vulnerability of the person bitten.


Another myth suggests Pit bull terriers have locking jaws that make their bites more dangerous. However, pit bull terriers are physiologically no different from any other dog out there. There are no locking jaws. The myth likely comes from the fact that Pit Bulls are very resourceful and driven.  “Determination” is one of their most notable traits. Whatever they set out to do, they will put their heart and soul into it.


Another very important characteristic of Pit Bull dogs, is their amazing love of people.  These dogs are indeed remarkably affectionate, and crave human attention. They are very affectionate and love a good belly rub and a cuddle.  In fact, most Pit Bulls think they are lap dogs!


Pit Bulls have great physical and mental characteristics that make them excellent partners for responsible, active, and caring owners.  On the other hand, these same outstanding qualities can make them a little difficult to handle for people who don’t have a lot of experience with dog ownership or for those who don’t understand the breed very well.


In Conclusion... 


Owning an animal is a great responsibility and there are many aspects to consider. A Pit Bull type dog could be a wonderful new member to your family but would recommend doing your research before getting any animal. Keep in mind, getting a pet from a shelter ensures the animal has been screened, vetted and will be matched to your needs and lifestyle!


"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole" -Roger Caras

  • Joe guevarra says...

    I owned belgian dogs,german shep,shihtzu for my wife.i dreamed of having a pit.Now i have adopted one ,now shes the most loving and laptop babies we owned.

    On Jul 05, 2020

  • Pat says...

    Pirbulls are not the cropped ears and studded colours. Unless you have owned a pitbull you will never know a more loving, intelligent and protective companion. They are the most misunderstood breed.

    On Jul 03, 2020

  • Barbara Wallitsch says...

    It is very sad that these beautiful dogs have these myths about them. It’s not just “opinion” any more it’s FACT… Too many people have confirmed, that this is one if THE BEST dogs ever. We have had our Dudley now for 9 years. We have another dog who he loves, when he goes on walks or the dog park he loves to meet with other dogs and their people. We have cats…who he also loves, he greets them every morning with a kiss and a wagging tail. My daughter grew up with him and he adores her. People need to open their minds! It’s been way too long for these pitties to still have this reputation! Open your hearts and adopt one…or foster one (trust me, you will keep him!!)

    On Jun 29, 2020

  • Michael P Gibson says...

    I just wanted to say thank you for this article. I have spent a lot of time around these dogs and have experienced all the love creatures can bring. I have also experienced what can happen when you act irresponsibly as an owner. If you truly love your dog then you honestly need to take the time to creating a proper space in which the dog can thrive, develop confidence, and get plenty of exercise. This allows them to bring the best sides of the bread and they truly are just big lovers… My wife and recently got a rescue and have been engaged in those types of practices and have scene that the result is a much calmer wonderful dog. It takes time but stick with it. Thank you again.

    On Jun 26, 2020

  • F Meckler says...

    I loved this article. Thank you for writing it. Those that want to speak out against this breed need to educate themselves. If they have never had the pleasure to interact or own one of these dogs then they are missing out and need to just keep their opinions to themselves. I am currently the owner of two very beautiful male pitties (father and son). They are the pride and joy in my husband n my life. They are as someone put it just big goof balls. They are protective, loving, playful (high energy), but very intelligent dogs. In fact they both think that they are lap dogs. They greet everyone like they are there to play with them. I’ve been told that my two boys have changed the minds of several people who thought bad of the breed…… I’ll never own another breed of dog again.

    On Jun 16, 2020

  • Gerda Byrd says...

    I have a precious beautiful little pitti and I love that dog with all my heart.
    And it is my opinion miss Patterson that you need to keep your mouth shot.all of the above is truth, not opinion. Go get you a rat as a pet. Preferably a sewer rat. Put a harness on him, he will bite……

    On Jun 11, 2020

  • Jamie holdahl says...

    I am in the process of getting a sweet pitbull. Iam looking at the shelters first then if I can’t find one I will look for a puppy . People who believe they are Bad should rethink that. It’s true only bad dogs are the image of the person who owns them. They have a pure heart and a sweet nature about them. They become a child of yours once you love them.

    On Jun 09, 2020

  • Jayne says...

    I has always heard bad things about pit bulls and so I was dead set against ever having one. But surprisingly I ended up with one . I absolutely LOVE this dog ! It is one, if not the BEST companionship I’ve ever had with an animal and , beats hands down most human relationships I’ve had. He is so humble , loyal , well behaved , smart , affectionate , gentle , and breathtakingly beautiful . God has blessed me with this dog. And none of the things I had heard about them were true as a matter of fact just the opposite. Which just proves how the media can influence and poison people’s opinions and ruin anyone’s reputation . So don’t believe everything you hear. Find out for yourself . The saying " there’s no bad animals only bad owners " is 100 % true. Any animal can turn on you if it’s abused and mistreated . The same thing for people. I have always thought people should have to take a test to see if they are fit to raise an animal or a child because unfortunately many people shouldn’t have either .

    On Jun 08, 2020

  • Lee colefield says...

    6 yrs ago this month a customer walked into my auto repair shop with a 5 week old red nose i told him i cant have a dog no one home to leave him with he said he was going for coffee and i have never seen him since i took him home and the rest is history the smartest mos loving dog i have ever had loyal protective loves my wife and everyone especially kids if she goes even now at 75 i would get another

    On Jun 08, 2020

  • ML Jones says...

    I owned 4 Pit Bulls and loved everyone of them.They are good family dogs very loving.I have a 7month old red nose now.

    On Mar 24, 2020

  • ML Jones says...

    I owned 4 Pit Bulls and loved everyone of them.They are good family dogs very loving.I have a 7month old red nose now.

    On Mar 24, 2020

  • Margaret Broverman says...

    I was not familiar with potties until my son got a puppy. Oh my god what a wonderful dog. High energy !yes. Add y’all very much so fast definitely but the most loving affectionate cuddly sensitive bright intelligent dog like any animal if it’s free too badly it will react badly humans included. This breed gets a bad rap from now reminded uneducated public this needs to change many dogs have attacked people statistically other breeds more than pit bulls but we only hear about the media when it’s a pitbull

    On Mar 09, 2020

  • Mark Thomas says...

    Great article. Love these dogs so loyal and protective. Angels

    On Jan 26, 2020

  • Monica D says...

    Great article. I never thought I would be a Mommie to such a beautiful dog, but so very happy I am. They are so loyal, loving, protective, affectionate and not to mention big goof balls.
    How anyone can fathom using this dog for anything than a pet has nothing but pure evil in their veins.
    I will adopt another one when my Ruby goes to Rainbow Bridge (maybe two!) but in the meantime, I will endure being relegated to 9 inches of the king sized bed and bruises on my legs from her swinging her favorite toys around.
    Love comes in many forms, and for my family, it is a 55lb blue Pitty rescues from the streets of Philadelphia.

    On Jan 15, 2020

  • M Patterson says...

    You have chosen to name your article “The Truth About Pitbulls” The fact is that this article merely reflects your respective opinion about Pitbulls. You may even have an expert opinion about Pitbulls and it is, none the less, simply your opinion.

    On Jan 12, 2020

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