A number of myths surround pit bulls and contribute to the negative stereotype associated with these dogs. However, many of these myths are unfair and
do not accurately represent pit bulls.
First off, many people do not understand that pit bulls are not a breed of dog. In fact, many dog breeds "can" fall under the blanket "pit bull" category.
•American Pit Bull Terrier
•American Staffordshire Terrier
•Cordoba Fighting Dog
•Dogue de Bordeaux
•Perro de Presa Canario
•Staffordshire Bull Terrier
In some cases, pit bulls myths stem from the way in which people see how some pit bull owners and/or illegitimate breeders treat these dogs. Because
pit bulls are typically large, muscular and intimidating in appearance, pit bull puppies are regularly bought by people who want a mean, scary dog or by
thug-types who want to impress their friends with an aggressive dog. When these irresponsible owners watch the dog age and do not get aggressive
behaviors naturally, they begin abusing and neglecting their dog until it becomes aggressive and violent.
However, this is not to say that pit bulls are mean, aggressive or scary at all. While any dog can become aggressive and mean if it is mistreated, with the
proper training, pit bulls can be as loving and loyal and gentle as most other types of dogs.
Pit Bull Jaw Myths
One of the most popular pit bull myths is that these types of dogs have "locking jaws," meaning that their jaws cannot be pried apart once they bite down.
In some cases, this myth even goes so far as to say that a pit bull's jaw cannot even be pulled apart if the dog is killed. In truth, a pit bull's jaw structure is
no different from the jaw structure of any other dog breed. No such locking mechanism exists. Another myth or urban legend about pit bull's jaws is the
actual measurable pressure. In fact, pit bulls have no greater biting pressure than most other breeds and are, in fact, surpassed by Rottweilers and
Another pit bull-related myth is that these dogs do not feel pain. This is also untrue. A pit bull's nervous system is the same as that of any other dog.
However, because pit bull's are terriers and by right "driven", they often will continue whatever task is at hand despite pain or discomfort.
Pit Bull Skull Myth
One myth that has jumped from dog breed to breed involves the size of a pit bull's skull. This myth states that a pit bull's brain can swell to a size that
cannot be accommodated by the skull, causing pit bulls to go insane. This myth, which has also been attributed to Dobermans, is completely unfounded
Pit Bull Behavior Myths
Along with myths surrounding the physical aspects of pit bulls, there are also a number of pit bull myths associated with the behavior of these dogs. First
and foremost, many people believe that pit bulls are inherently aggressive and more likely to attack their owners and other people. This is simply not the
case. Pit bulls, like any other dogs, do not exhibit aggressive behavior without reason or provocation. If a dog reacts aggressively, it is usually the result of:
•lack of socialization or training
•misreading the dog's behavior.
Keep in mind that most dogs will exhibit warning signs, such as a quick movement or a growl, before resorting to using teeth. Pit bulls, like all other types of
dogs, do not suddenly snap without reason.
Pit Bull Facts
Here are a few facts about pit bulls, some of which may surprise you:
•The original molossoid dogs were used for herding live stock, as fierce hunters, and companion/ protection animals in the early British Isles.
•Despite what some people believe, pit bulls actually make great pets for families. In tests done by the American Temperament Test Society, pit bulls were
generally less aggressive when faced with confrontational situations that produced negative reactions out of many other stereotypically "friendly" dog
breeds, such as beagles and poodles.
•Early in the 20th century, pit bulls were actually the No. 1 family dog.
•Dog fighters use pit bull breeds because they are strong, agile and have a desire to please their owners. Unfortunately, pit bulls abuse in this
circumstance contributes to the negative myths surrounding them.
•While many pit bulls are trained to be "animal aggressive," this does not mean ALL pit bulls are animal aggressive or that they are also "human
aggressive." These behaviors are completely separate and can be rehabilitated and adjusted through proper socialization and training.
Well worth the 4 minute investment to
watch, Dr. Ian Dunbar speaks about
the myths, facts, and warning signs of
dog bites and simple to understand
methods of setting a dog up for
success in being social, friendly, and
|The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) is a national
not-for-profit organization (registered in the state of Missouri) for the
promotion of uniform temperament evaluation of purebred and
spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
Read more and see test results here.
|Those who support myths,
mis-information, and keeping
the general public in fear vs.
supplying them with factual