As a pit bull parent, I personally get asked the questions in this post almost daily. I try my best to answer them in a calm manner, using facts, scientific evidence, and well-rehearsed examples to educate those asking the questions. However, as many pit bull parents understand, these incredibly offensive inquisitions can be beyond frustrating, especially when the accuser takes an offensive stance.
Here are 13 common pit bull myths and why they are most definitely, 100%, entirely, and so incredibly false.
1. Pit Bulls Have Locking Jaws
Where in the mother puppin hound did this myth even come from?!
No, pit bulls do not have locking jaws. In fact, there isn’t a single breed of dog in existence that possesses such a mechanism. The myth that pit bulls have locking jaws is an argument that many anti-pit bull advocates use to make their case. However, this only causes them to appear uneducated, to say the least.
2. Pit Bulls Are The Strongest Dogs
There is another argument quickly following the locking jaw myth, that is “pit bulls have the strongest jaws of all dogs.” This is also false.
In a study performed by National Geographic, which tested the bite force of multiple large breeds of dogs, it was determined that pit bulls were within the top five. However, the average pit bull’s jaw strength was less than 43% of the bullmastiff’s and less than 40% of the doberman’s. The pit bull fell behind the doberman, bullmastiff, Rottweiler, and German shepherd.
3. Pit Bulls Are Inherently Aggressive
The “Nature vs. Nurture” argument is one often used when describing pit bulls. Unfortunately, many people believe that pit bulls are born inherently aggressive, due to their dark past with dog fighting. Not only is this false, but it causes a great deal of hardship for pit bulls and pit bull owners.
Though there is some truth to breeds having their own identifying characteristics, the ones often thought to be “inherent” are simply behavioral issues due to lack of training. Pit bulls have the same potential for kindness as a golden retriever, and the same potential for aggression as a chihuahua. Raising a dog with love and proper care is the answer to preventing and combatting aggression issues.
4. Pit Bulls Are Terrible With Children
What many people aren’t aware of is that pit bulls were originally used as “nanny dogs.” Pit bulls were often purchased and trained to care for children while the parents were otherwise occupied. These dogs followed the children everywhere, and there are many pictures, paintings, and stories of pit bulls spending their lives as family dogs.
Even now, pit bulls are considered some of the best family pets. Due to their eagerness to please and love of snuggles, they are easily trained to be incredible family companions.
Many of the Vicktory Dogs seized from the Michael Vick dog fighting operation were placed in homes with children!
5. Pit Bulls Don’t Like Other Dogs
This is another myth that causes a lot of trouble for pit bulls.
Pit bulls do not dislike other dogs. The issue regarding pit bulls and other dogs is the fact that they like to play rough, and socialize in a different manner than some smaller breeds of dogs. Bully breeds in general -ex. American bulldogs, American pit bull terriers, Presa Canarios, and even boxers, etc- play and socialize in a manner that is often misconstrued as aggression. They usually find themselves wrestling, jumping on one another, and seemingly “biting” each other. These types of dogs play with their mouths, and use their size as an advantage, giving unknowing bystanders the impression that they are displaying aggression.
Understanding your dog’s, and other dogs’, body language is an important part of dog ownership!
Pit bulls, like many others, also often fall into the wrong hands, and are trained to be aggressive towards other dogs. This perpetuates the negative stereotype.
6. Pit Bulls Aren’t Safe With Other Animals
On the contrary, pit bulls love other animals! Pit bulls are often kind and caring, making them perfect companions for animals of all shapes and sizes. There are many stories and photos of pit bulls living and thriving in environments with other animals.
Like the pit bulls above who love their adopted duck siblings!
7. Pit Bulls Are Bred For Dog Fighting
This is an unfortunate stereotype that pit bulls have been saddled with over the years. Despite all efforts, there are still bad dog owners in the world, and people who force dogs to endure the most unimaginable horrors, such as dog fighting. Dog fighting is a serious threat to many dog breeds, not just pit bulls. Because of the media coverage of dog fighting, and their “shock factor” headlines, the general public is led to believe that pit bulls only exist for fighting.
Most pit bulls are products of homeless dogs, overbreeding, and negligence. Though this is a sad reality for the breed, many pit bulls lead healthy and loving lives. There are also specialty breeders for American pit bull terriers and other bully breeds – but we firmly believe that adoption is the best option!
8. Pit Bulls Make The Best Guard Dogs
I sincerely apologize to anyone who has purchased a pit bull as a guard dog. You’ve made the wrong choice.
Yes, pit bulls can be trained as guard dogs, but the majority of them are quite awful at it! Despite what many people believe, pit bulls have no ancestry in guarding anything. Pit bulls originated from a mixture of two breeds -the Olde English bulldog, and a terrier- and were originally bred for fighting bulls in the ring. This was a sad form of entertainment.
This means that pit bulls were not bred to protect objects, homes, etc, and have no “inherent ability” to do so. The only reason pit bulls are seemingly good guard dogs is because they look tough. This may cause potential intruders to choose their targets more wisely.
Some of the top rated guard dog breeds are the bullmastiff, doberman, Rottweiler, Komondor, Puli, giant schnauzer, German shepherd, and the Rhodesian ridgeback. Other mentionable breeds are the Presa Canario, Cane Corso, and the chow chow.
9. Pit Bulls Are Likely To Turn On Their Owners
Dogs rarely turn on their owners, and, when they do, the situation was provoked. Dogs, no matter the breed, have a loyalty to at least one of their owners in which they have bonded. The only scenario in which a dog may “turn” on his owner, is in self-defence, or in a situation of extreme neglect and/or abuse.
Pit bulls are not likely to turn on their owner because of their breed. The reason we hear stories of these dogs attacking their owners is because the dogs were provoked or neglected to a point that the dog felt the need to protect himself.
Pit bulls, like all dog breeds, are kind, loyal, and trusting. All dog attacks are a direct result of human interference.
11. Only Bad Owners Have Pit Bulls
Saying that only bad owners have pit bulls is more than degrading to millions of responsible pet parents, who take pride in caring for their beloved companions. Though there are many neglectful and abusive dog owners, pit bulls are not the only ones who suffer. Everyone, and every breed, is affected by bad dog owners, and this is a serious problem that needs to be handled.
From my own personal experience, I have met more responsible pit bull owners than that of any other breed! Many pit bull parents are so concerned with ensuring that their dogs are well-behaved, that they end up with the best dogs possible. Everyone could learn a thing or two about pit bull parents.
10. Once They’ve Gone Bad, They Can’t Be Fixed
There are hundreds of inspiring recovery stories in which a pit bull has successfully rehabilitated and healed from deplorable conditions.
In the case of Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, almost half of the seized dogs were rehabilitated and re-homed. The Best Friends Animal Society rescued 22 of the 54 dogs found on Vick’s property, many of which were successfully rehabilitated, and lived out their lives in loving homes.
Many of these dogs, like Georgia -the pit bull who had all 42 of her teeth pulled at Bad Newz Kennels-, were perfect examples of dogs who endured the most horrific suffering possible, even forced to kill one another, and overcame their experience to become fully functioning family pets.
12. Banning Pit Bulls Reduces Dog Attacks
Not only does banning pit bulls not reduce dog attacks, there seem to be more incidents in areas where the breed is banned. Banning pit bulls is ineffective, incredibly expensive, harmful to everyone involved, and completely unnecessary.
You can read our previous articles for more information!
- 5 Reasons Why Banning Pit Bulls Has Never Worked
- 5 Non Breed Specific Bylaws That Are Actually Effected
- This Is How Much Banning Pit Bulls Costs Tax Payers
- We Spoke With The Montreal SPCA About Banning Pit Bulls
13. The Whole Breed Is A Myth!
Not only are there dozens of myths about pit bulls, but the entire “breed” itself is a myth! Pit bulls are not a breed of dog, but are a mixture of multiple terrier and bully breeds with similar physical characteristics. Dogs with blocky heads, broad chests, and infamous grins are known as pit bull type dogs, or “pit bulls.” This is why breed identification via physical appearance is completely inaccurate.
The breeds often described as pit bulls are the following:
- American Staffordshire terrier
- Staffordshire bull terrier
- American pit bull terrier (where the name originated)
- American bullies
Even Presa Canarios, Cane Corsos, and Dogo Argentinos find themselves lumped in with pit bull type dogs, despite their lack of resemblance.
Often times, the word pit bull is used to grab attention of viewers. This topic is so controversial, that both anti-pit bull advocates and pit bull lovers are likely to pay attention when the term is mentioned. The term is also grossly overused in media to describe almost every dog involved in an attack, whether the dog resembled a pit bull or not. We have seen cases of dogs such as boxers, mastiffs, and even Labrador retrievers and huskies labeled “pit bulls” in the media when reporting attacks. Quite frequently, the dog will be “identified” as a pit bull before the actual breed of the dog is released to the public. The follow up article correcting the breed will be buried within the depths of media, where it is often overlooked.
Most pit bull type dogs are mutts. A common phrase heard from dog owners describing their pups is “pit bull somethings” or “wiggle butts!”
If you were a pit bull myth believer before, we truly hope you learned a thing or two from our article!
If you can think of any more pit bull myths, please share with us in the comment section!