Below we have compiled some awesome facts and incredible myths about our “bully” friends. Unfortunately there is an overabundance of pit bull type dogs in America’s shelters in large part due to the widespread myths and misundertanding surrounding these dogs.
Myth #1: “Pit Bull” is a breed
Fact: Pit Bull is NOT a breed. It’s a generic term often used to describe all dogs with similar traits and characteristics known to the public as “pit bulls”. When we use the term “pit bull” here it should be understood to encompass American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Take this test and see how well you are able to pick the “pitbull”: http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.html
Myth #2: Pit Bulls are mean and vicious
Fact: No more vicious than Golden Retrievers, Beagles or other popular dogs! According to a recent study of 122 dog breeds by the American Temperment Testing Society (ATTS) pit bulls achieved a passing rate of 83.9%. That’s as good or better than Beagles (78.2%) and Golden Retreivers (83.2%). http://www.atts.org/stats1.html
Myth #3: Pit Bulls have “locking jaws”
Fact: Studies show that the jaw of the pit bull is in proportion to its size and is 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.
Myth #4: Pit Bulls turn on their owners
Dogs, as a species, do not perform behaviors “just because”. There are always reasons for behavior, and when aggression becomes a problem the reasons can be such things as improper handling, lack of socialization or training, a misreading of dog behavior by the owner, or, rarely, disease. Aggression, when it presents in pet dogs, follows specific patterns. First occur warning signs, then more warning signs, and finally, when those signs are continually ignored or misinterpreted, the dog resorts to using its teeth. When an
owner is startled by a sudden, aggressive outburst, it is because they have been unaware of problems that were brewing. This is true of all dogs, not just Pit Bulls. Pit Bulls, indeed no dogs, “turn” on their owners.
Myth #5: The only thing Pit Bulls are good for is fighting
Unfortunately, a large amount of attention has been brought to the fact that the Pit Bull was originally created for fighting other dogs in the pit. Since the breed was selectively bred for and excelled at this task, there is a common assumption that fighting must be all for which the breed is good. The truth of the matter is that the Pit Bull is one of the most versatile of canines, capable of excelling at just about any task his owner asks him to complete. They are routinely used for: obedience trialing, conformation showing, weight pull, Schutzhund (a German sport which requires dogs to perform in obedience, tracking and protection phases of a competition), agility, and have even been known to participate in herding trials, search and rescue work, and a variety of other tasks including police and armed services work. But fanciers will argue that the task this breed performs best of all is that of beloved companion. http://network.bestfriends.org/9261/news.aspx
Out-U-Go! is fortunate to have many loving Pit Bulls in our pack. As a matter of fact, I am the proud parent of a Pit Bull named Berkeley Moon who became a certified therapy dog in 2008. Berkeley currently visits Naperville area schools to assist students with their reading.
For more information please take a look at the following sources and organizations, and hug-a-bull today!