It is no secret that the pit bull is one of the most talked-about dog breeds. Many people seem to have thoughts and beliefs about them, whether they are positive or negative. They have become quite controversial -- to the point where they are even banned in some parts of the United States and around the world. However, with the spread of education and advocacy, minds may be changed for the better about this unique and wonderful breed. Here are five facts that you should know about pit bulls.
1. “Pit bull” is an umbrella term and not a specific breed
The name “pit bull” refers to a type of dog, namely ones with short coats, muscular builds, and large, square heads. In fact, Pit Bulls are not recognized by the American Kennel Club. When people refer to Pit Bulls, it could mean any of the following breeds, or a combination of them:
2. The discrimination of Pit Bull-type dogs began in the 1980s
Most people don’t assume it was that recent. Popularity of dog breeds typically change throughout history, as well as perceived danger of some of them. In the 1980s, pit bulls became popular amongst irresponsible dog owners. The dogs fell victim to media bias and panic policy making began. The media plays a vital role in labeling (oftentimes incorrectly) dog breeds involved in bites or attacks, which in turn instills fear in the public. These instances are detrimental to the image of all dogs of that breed, even if the vast majority of them are sweet and loving.
3. Pit bulls are not “more aggressive” than other breeds
Aggression is not specific to any one breed of dog, nor is it a breed characteristic or personality trait. The American Temperament Test Society, a program which provides uniform temperament testing for dogs, discovered that pit bull-like dogs passed the test at a higher rate than many other dog breeds. There are many factors that can cause a dog to display aggression. Unfortunately, it is typically related to abuse or neglect, tethering for long periods of time, and lack of positive interaction with people and other animals. If a pit bull does so happen to be aggressive, it is more than likely the fault of a human.
4. There are so many pit-bull-like dogs in shelters due to overbreeding, neglecting to spay and neuter, and BSL laws
Due to their popularity, it is not uncommon for pit bulls to be overbred. Some people also neglect to spay and neuter their dogs, which then results in unwanted litters of puppies. These situations, along with breed-discriminatory legislation, are a few reasons why there is such a high number of pit bulls in shelters. Another heartbreaking, but unfortunately true, fact is that pit bulls are oftentimes the first on the list to be euthanized in kill shelters.
5. Pit bulls are a loyal and people-oriented breed that thrive as part of a family
In our opinion, you will not meet a breed of dog more loyal to its humans than a pit bull. They are extremely eager to please and they love attention, approval, and praise. They also are great with children and there is no shortage of videos on the internet to prove that. But of course, all children should be taught how to interact with dogs in a gentle way and should be supervised, no matter the breed.
Any breed of dog deserves to be loved and respected, and the pit bull is no exception. These misunderstood dogs have so much to offer and are sadly not given the chance to do so, sometimes. They may have a tough exterior, but are complete softies with hearts of gold. Stay tuned for more blog posts from The Love Pit about how you can advocate for them and help us save the pit bull!
Author Elle Veranth is a writer and pit bull lover. She is a proud dog mom to a four-year-old rescue pit bull named Morris and is very passionate about pit bull advocacy. She loves to write about anything that spreads the word of TLP's mission -- with an iced coffee in hand, of course.