Pit Bulls: Fact and Fiction

January 2, 2007

What is a pit bull?
Pit bulls are actually not one breed of dog but 3: the American pit bull terrier (ABPT), the American Staffordshire terrier (AMSTAFF) and the Staffordshire bull terrier (STAFFIE).

There is no such thing as a “bad breed”.
The pit bull breed gets a bad rap, but more often than not, they are the VICTIMS of irresponsible and abusive ownership. Pit bulls are extremely intelligent dogs and take their cues from the humans who raise them. Only humans are capable of knowing the difference between “right and wrong” and all dogs are bred, raised, and trained to behave the way they do.

Pit bulls are actually bred to be affectionate towards people.
Pit bulls have been bred for hundreds of years for strength, agility, high pain tolerance and absence of aggression toward humans. Because they were traditionally fighting dogs and most were also family pets, the dogs required extensive handling. So even though they were bred to be aggressive towards other dogs, aggression toward humans has never been tolerated.

Bull breeds score better on temperament tests than the general dog population.
In December 2004, the American Temperament Test Society showed the American pit bull terrier scored an overall temperament rating of 83.9%, compared to the 77% score of the general dog population.

Most “pit bulls” are not really pit bulls!
Pit bulls are probably the most misunderstood dog in the United States. Often, an aggressive dog that has a big head and short hair is mistakenly identified as a pit bull and unfortunately this makes for good headline news, even if it is false. Do you think you can identify a pit bull? Take this quiz and see how you do.

Pit bulls love and adore humans.
Most pit bulls in this country are family dogs and love to spend time with people more than anything else. Often, even those that have been severely abused can’t wait to be petted and loved, even by the person who is abusing them. Of course, there will always be exceptions to normal temperament and behavior in any dog, and the same is true of the people who own them.

Pit bulls are bred to fight.
This is very important to understand. Pit bulls love humans, but they need to have very responsible owners who will be vigilant all the time and will not allow them to fight with other dogs, ever. Pit bull owners must be extremely receptive to canine body language and know that the responsibility of their dog with any other dog ultimately depends on them.

Animal cruelty ends through humane education.
The humane education process must start with children so that they will grow up understanding how to treat dogs and other living creatures.[cut]

Credit: North Shore Animal League America

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