Pit Bulls: True or False?

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the “bully breeds” (usually collectively referred to as Pit Bulls) these days because of some highly publicized incidents in recent years. Unfortunately, these negative stories and rare incidents can tarnish the reputations of an overall friendly, stable, loyal, and amazing breed of dog. There are many myths surrounding Pit Bulls and other related breeds so I want to clear some of them up for you.

I know I have already written about some of these pit bull myths before but I think it is a very important topic, so I wanted to talk about a few more false assumptions as well as some truths about this wonderful breed.

Here are 10 things you may not know about Pit Bulls that are either true or false…

1) Pit Bulls Often Serve as Therapy and Service Dogs.

This is true.

Pit Bulls have long served as therapy dogs for people in need. In fact, Helen Keller had a Pit Bull for her canine helper. Organizations such as the Chako Rescue Association have Pit Bull therapy dogs all across the country.

2) American Pit Bull Terriers Can Lock Their Jaws.

This is false.

Expert scientific studies prove that the jaws of Pit Bulls are no different than any other breed of dog. There is no evidence that any kind of locking mechanism exists in the American Pit Bull Terrier or any other related dog breed.

3) Pit Bulls Brains Swell and Never Stop Growing Until they Go Crazy.

This is false.

This is a myth that began a long time ago with the Doberman Pinscher and has now grown to include many game-bred dog breeds. The assumption of a dog’s brain continuing to grow or swell until they become violent is a complete myth.

4) Many Well-Known Celebrities Own Pit Bulls.

This is true.

Here are just some of the known celebrities who own or have owned at least one pit bull…

Madonna, Brad Pitt, Humphrey Bogart, Pink, Jessica Biel, Jon Stewart, Ken Howard, Alicia Silverstone, Adam Brody, Jamie Foxx, Rachael Ray, Joey Porter, Jessica Alba, President Theodore Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson, Kevin Federline, Ira Glass, Fred Astaire, General George Patton, Michael J. Fox, Jan Michael Vincent, Jack Dempsy, Thomas Edison, Bernadette Peters, Sinbad, Linda Blair, Usher, Mel Brooks, Ann Bancroft, Jan Michael Vincent, Eliza Dushku, Kelli Williams, and Rachel Bilson.

5) Pit Bulls are Mean and Violent.

This is false.

According to the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), Pit Bulls pass their test with flying colors. In fact, the Pit Bull scores a little over 85% which is better than many dog breeds that people consider to be friendly or nice.

To put that score into perspective, it is better than the Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, Golden Retriever, Pointer, Pomeranian, Poodle, Shih Tzu, Vizsla, and most other dog breeds actually. The average score of the general dog breed population is only around 77% so the Pit Bull scores much better than the average.

The ATTS test focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog’s instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat. The success of Pit Bulls in this series of tests proves they are not naturally mean or violent.

6) America’s First War Dog Was a Pit Bull.

This is true.

The first official war dog in the United States was a Pit Bull named Stubby. He served in World War I and was honored with medals and even got to visit the White House. He then went on to inspire the United States Military K-9 Corp.

7) You Shouldn’t Adopt a Pit Bull from a Shelter.

This is false.

When looking to adopt a dog, you definitely should not exclude the Pit Bull. Reputable shelters and animal rescues will not adopt out any dog that shows signs of aggression. It’s always a good idea to bring your entire family to the shelter when considering adopting a dog of any breed. Talk to the rescue organization about your concerns and ask questions before adopting any dog. Most Pit Bull adoptions are very successful. An adoptable Pit Bull will make a wonderful pet and companion for you and your family.

8) Pit Bulls Have Made Many TV, Movie and Print Appearances.

This is true.

The faithful dog on the TV show “The Little Rascals” was a Pit Bull named Petey. He spent countless hours with children day after day on the set of the show. It has been said that he was one of the most intelligent dogs in Hollywood. Pit Bulls have also been in many other television shows, movies, and music videos over the years.

Also, the Pit Bull was so respected in the early 1900’s that the military chose an image of a dignified pit bull to represent the country on WWI propaganda posters.

The pit bull is also the only dog breed to have graced the cover of Life Magazine three different times.

9) Treadmills are Only Used to Train Pit Bulls for Dog Fighting.

This is false.

Many responsible dog owners, especially those in cities, use treadmills to help exercise their dogs, regardless of breed. Pit Bulls are naturally athletic dogs and responsible use of a pet treadmill is a great option for having a happy and healthy dog.

10) Banning Pit Bulls Will Cure the World of Dog Biting Incidents.

This is false.

The United Kingdom banned pit bulls in the 1990’s and afterward a study showed that the number of dog bite cases remained the same even though the number of pit bulls in the country had steeply declined.

11) A Pit Bull named Weela saved 30 people, several dogs, horses and a cat during a flood in Southern California.

This is true.

After a dam broke on the Tijuana River stranding several dogs and a cat on an island, Weela crossed the river to take food to them for an entire month until they could be rescued. She also led a rescue team to a bunch of stranded horses and ran back and forth barking to warn a group of 30 people of the deep water they were attempting to cross. For her bravery, Weela was award the Ken-L-Ration Dog Hero of the Year in 1993.

12) Here are a few more facts about some various Pit Bulls that you might want to know:

* A pit bull named Dakota is a search and rescue dog that searched for the remains of the astronauts who lost their lives in explosion of the space shuttle Columbia.

* A pit bull named Popsicle, who police found in a freezer during a drug raid, is now famous for sniffing out drugs for the DEA.

* A rescued pit bull in South Los Angeles was County Fire Station 14’s mascot for years.

So, as you can see, pit bulls are not the evil beasts they have been portrayed as being in recent years. If you ask any dog expert or knowledgeable dog breeder they will tell you that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a wonderful dog breed that does not deserve the bad reputation it has been given.

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Categories: Dog Breeds, Dog Information

2 Responses to “Pit Bulls: True or False?”

  1. Steven Says:

    I absolutely love pit bulls! I’ve owned a lot of different dogs in my life, with two of them being pits (one right now), and they are definitely two of the best for sure. In fact, I doubt I will ever get another breed of dog again other than American Pit Bull Terriers… that’s how great I think they are. Thanks for helping to get the truth out about these amazing dogs. Awesome post!

  2. Meeks Says:

    I, too, have a pit-bull who could be the most sensitive animal I have ever owned. Soon, a new dog breed will come along for the media to blast, as they have done rotties, dobies and others in prior years. It’s unfortunate that media sensationalism breeds much inaccurate information and people listen to the crap.

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