When most people talk about pit bulls, they are usually talking about five different breeds- The American Pit Bull Terrier, The American Staffordshire Terrier, The Bull Terrier, The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and The American Bull Dog. There’s a common misconception that these breeds are inherently dangerous, but science and statistics just don’t back that up.
There is a common myth that the pit bull has a locking jaw, but there is nothing different about a pit bull’s jaw. Because of the prevalent myths about pit bulls, there is a belief that they are either human or dog aggressive, but pit bulls have a higher than average pass rate for dog show tests. Pit bulls need more exercise than other breeds, so keep that in mind when you are making a decision about whether to adopt one.
What is behind this undeserved reputation? For starters, the Journal of Forensic Science found that owners of any “aggressive breed” tended to have a higher instance of criminal behaviors than owners of other dog breeds. These owners tend not to properly train and socialize their dogs, which can lead to aggressive behavior. Irresponsible breeders and owners can try to bring out fighting tendencies or guard dog aggression for nefarious purposes.
Long before these dogs were given a bad rap by bad owners and breeders, they were considered to be especially non-aggressive toward people. In fact, they were often referred to as “nanny dogs” and left to babysit a family’s children while the parents were working in the fields. Petey the pit bull was a popular sidekick of “The Little Rascals” and “Our Gang” on television.
These breeds were developed for protection, hunting, and fighting, but their gentle nature toward their families has always been there. They have long been considered to be gentle, loyal, and protective of their humans in spite of the jobs they were bred to do. Learn more about the history and science behind pit bulls from this infographic.