At the turn of the 20th century, Pit Bulls were considered the number one family dog to have due to their loyalty and gentleness towards children. In recent years, highly publicized cases of Pit Bull fighting rings have led to many misconceptions about these breeds. Pit Bulls may be the most mysterious dogs in America- loved by their owners, feared by others and sensationalized by the media
10. The Pit Bull is a Specific Breed
The Pit Bull is commonly referred to as a specific breed of dog. In fact, Pit Bulls make up a group of several different breeds of dog. Most notably the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier. All of these breeds share similarities in build, coloring and temperament. In some areas, Breed Selective Legislation has led to non related large breeds being considered a Pit Bull, such as the Cane Corso or Alano Espanol.
9. Pit Bulls Are Aggressive to Humans
Many people believe that Pit Bulls are likely to show human aggression or to “turn” on their owners suddenly and without warning. In fact, Pit Bulls were originally bred to show no aggression towards any humans, especially their owners. Properly trained Pit Bulls are no more likely to be human aggressive than any other breed of dog.
8. Pit Bulls Have Locking Jaws
Pit Bulls are said to have jaws that lock on to whatever they bite down on, making it impossible to remove the dog from the object. Some people also believe a Pit Bull can actually dislocate its jaw to grasp on to an object larger than the dog’s mouth. A study done by the University of Georgia disproves this myth. In fact, the scientists found no unique feature on a Pit Bull that would allow them to lock their jaws.
7. The Pit Bull’s Brain Never Stops Growing
This misconception likely started from the unusually large head seen on many American Staffordshire Terriers. Many people believe that a Pit Bull’s brain starts growing from birth and never stops. As a result the dog will go insane at a certain age or have a truly huge head. In fact, the brick shaped heads found on most Pit Bulls do stop growing when the dog reaches maturity.
6. Pit Bulls Are Commonly Bred for Fighting
Largely publicized cases like Michael Vick’s pit bull fighting ring have led to the belief that the majority of people breed pit bulls to fight them in a ring. Originally, pit bulls were bred for physical tasks such as hunting and occasionally fighting. However, the majority of modern breeders choose to breed pit bulls to be a family’s companion, not a fighter.
5. Pit Bulls Are Not as Intelligent as Other Breeds
Some people believe a Pit Bull lacks the intelligence of other large breeds such as Labradors. Pit bulls are actually quite easy to train. The Pit’s willingness to learn and desire to please their owners makes it easy for them to pick up even the most advanced tricks quickly. Pit Bulls are also great climbers- many can climb trees- and love puzzle toys and hide and go seek type games.
4. Pit Bulls Have a Stronger Bite PSI Than Other Breeds
Many people believe that a Pit Bull has fiercely strong pounds per square inch of bite pressure, up to 10,000 PSI, meaning that Pit Bull could bite harder than any other breed. National Geographic completed a control study of animal bites using several different species. Crocodiles made the top of the list, with a 2,500 PSI, while dogs made the bottom of the list, with an average 320 PSI. The study used three large breeds of dogs, a German Sheppard, a Rottweiler and a Pit Bull. The Pit Bull was found to have the least bite pressure of the three, according to the American Humane Association.
3. Pit Bulls Attack Without Warning
Pit Bulls, like any other type of dog, typically attack vary rarely and always with provocation. All dogs give off warning signs, such as stiffening their bodies, before attacking any other creature. With proper training, good socialization and owner responsibility, a pit bull is just as unlikely to attack another dog or a person as any other breed of dog.
2. Pit Bulls Do Not Feel Pain
Many breeders will tell you that a Pit Bull has a high pain tolerance, or simply does not feel pain. In fact, all breeds of dogs share the same nervous system. This system allows them to feel pain similar to what any human would feel. The misconception that a pit bull does not feel pain comes from the breed’s tendency to under react in physically stressful situations. Pit bulls were originally bred for a high level of “gameness,” meaning they will continue to try completing a task despite physical discomfort. While many people feel a pit bull not stopping to whine or cry out during stressful training or hunting sessions is a sign of a lack of pain, it is actually a sign of the breed’s desire to complete a task and please their owners.
1. Pit Bulls Bite More Than Any Other Breed
Media hype is largely responsible for this misconception. News reports of a single Pit Bull bite often make the numbers of Pit Bull attacks on humans largely inflated. In fact, the United States currently has no system in place that tracts the number of dog bites or attacks by any breed. According to the American Humane Association, the Center for Disease Control did a study on dog attacks in the United States for the years 1979 through 1998. The study proved inconclusive, mostly due to the difficulty of assigning a breed of dog for every attack and the large number of attacks in the home that go unreported.