What do you picture when you hear the term "pit bull"? In today's culture, it seems those words have come to represent an aggressive, bad-tempered dog, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The dog breeds that can be considered "pit bulls" (as there is no single "pit bull" breed) represent some of the hardest working, most loyal animals in the dog world. Here are some common misconceptions about pit bulls and the real story about these dogs.
Myth: Pit Bulls Have Locking Jaws That Give Them Stronger Bites
Truth: The mouth and jaw structure of a pit bull is no different than that of other dog breeds, and a pit bull's jaw cannot "lock." In fact, in a study that compared the biting pressure produced by a German Shepherd, a Rottweiler and an American Pit Bull Terrier, the bully breed actually produced the least amount of bite pressure.
Myth: Pit Bulls Can't Get Along with Other Animals
Truth: Yes, some pit bull breeds were traditionally raised to view other animals as prey. The same holds true for other breeds, including some hounds and terriers. When trained and socialized properly in a loving home, almost any pit bull breed can live harmoniously with other animals, from other dogs to cats, rabbits, and even baby chicks.
Myth: Pit Bulls Don't Like Children
Truth: All dogs--no matter what their breed--have personalities and characteristics that make them unique. As almost any dog owner will tell you, the vast majority of dogs love children of all ages. And pit bull breeds are no different. Responsible owners of any type of dog, pit bull or not, should always supervise interactions with their dogs and any children. In turn, children should be taught to treat all types of dogs with respect and affection.
Myth: All Pit Bulls Are Fighting Dogs
Truth: While it is certainly true that some individuals have bred pit bulls to be fighting dogs, these breeds have a number of other traits that make them excellent pets. The many pit bull breeds regularly shine at obedience trials, dog shows, agility, tracking, herding, and even search and rescue work. Above all, the pit bull excels at being an affectionate member of the family.
Myth: Pit Bulls Are Mean and Vicious
Truth: A dog from one of the pit bull breeds is no meaner than any other breed of dog. In fact, according to the American Temperament Test Society (atts.org), pit bull breeds consistently score as well or better than the majority of the 240 breeds tested by the organization. In fact, most pit bull breeds undergo the test more frequently than any other breeds--and continue to score well. When raised in loving homes by conscientious owners, the dogs that make up the category of pit bull breeds make affectionate, loyal pets.
What's a Pit Bull?
Some of the breeds commonly considered to be "pit bulls" include:
- American Bulldog
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Boston Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- English Bulldog
- French Bulldog
- Miniature Bull Terrier
- Olde English Bulldogge
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Standard Bull Terrier
Do you have a pit bull breed dog, a "pibble," in your family? Tell us about your special pup!