Pit Bull – /ˈpit ˌbo͝ol/ - noun – There is no proper definition for “pit bull” but they are commonly characterized as a type of dog known for having a blocky head and a muscular build. Pit bull is an umbrella term for a type of dog, not a breed of dog, and are often a mix of several different breeds so their appearance can vary greatly.
Myths and Facts
Myth - Pit bulls have locking jaws
Fact - It's impossible for any dog to have a locking jaw
Myth - Pit bulls are mean and vicious
Fact - Pit bull type dogs consistently have a passing rate as good, or higher, than the most popular dog breeds in the American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS) tests
Myth - Pit bulls type dogs will randomly snap and attack someone
Fact - Like other dogs, pit bulls usually communicate and give warning signs when they aren’t comfortable in a situation. It’s our job to listen to them
Myth - You should only adopt pit bull puppies so you know their history
Fact - Nature and nurture both play a role in how a pit bull will behave as an adult
Myth - Pit Bulls that show aggression towards other dogs will go after people next
Fact - Dog-aggression and human-directed aggression are 2 very different behaviors and don’t go hand-in-hand
In the 1800’s Olde English Bulldogs (similar looking to today’s American Bulldogs) were used in the British Isle to bait bulls. These matches were a form of entertainment at the time. However, in 1835 bull baiting was deemed inhumane and thus became illegal. Dog fighting became a popular replacement.
With the popularity of dog fighting rising Olde English Bulldogs were bred with terriers in order to create a smaller, more agile type of dog. The best fighters were deemed as heroes for their courage and fortitude during their battles.
Since the dogs needed to be handled by the people fighting them, it was very important that they were friendly with people and didn’t try to bite them. They achieved this through selective breeding. This led to pit bulls gaining a reputation for being trustworthy with humans.
As people immigrated to the United States, they brought their pit bulls with them. Once in the US they became valued for their help on family farms, rather than their fighting abilities. They assisted in hunts, provided companionship to young children, and earned a place as a valuable part of the developing nation.
The bad reputation pit bulls have has come mostly from misrepresentation in the media. There is a lot of misinformation regarding pit bulls circulating, and we want people to see them the lovable dogs they are.