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It’s Time To Put These 8 Pit Bull Stereotypes To Rest

pitbull5Anyone who has come into contact with Pit Bulls knows that they are amazingly loving, compassionate creatures that make some of the best companions around. Whether it’s through owning them, rescuing them, volunteering with them, or just simply befriending them, most people walk away from Pit Bull encounters wondering why and how these horrible stereotypes about them exist. Well, why do any stereotypes exist? Ignorance, misinformation, and lack of understanding are probably the biggest causes of the perpetuating of these harmful and derogatory misconceptions. Luckily, there are many organizations that are bringing awareness to this phenomenon, and setting the records straight about Pit Bulls once and for all! One of these sources is BuzzFeed, who has gone out of their way to put the following ridiculous rumors to rest:

  1. Pit Bulls Are Inherently Aggressive and/or Dangerous – This is absolutely FALSE and probably the most damaging of all Pit Bull stereotypes. Based on this incorrect “fact,” people are then able to draw other horrible conclusions about Pit Bulls that aren’t true either. People especially like to tout this “fact” about the Pit Bull breed being naturally dangerous due to their lineage, hereditary factors, and other nonsensical claims about their past. *NEWSFLASH*: ANY dog can be aggressive and scary if you train it to be that way. Pit Bulls just happen to have a bad reputation because they are pretty muscular in stature, but if they are *NOT* trained to be guard dogs/fighting dogs/intimidating, then they will be the loving, compassionate creature that they are meant to be! To be honest with you, I have personally heard more stories of Labradors and Golden Retrievers attacking/biting people than Pit Bulls – and Labs/Goldens are supposed to be the ~classic family dog~ that is loved by everyone. The bottom line is that *NO* dog is inherently aggressive, mean, or scary – they become that way due to training (or lack thereof), neglect, and/or abuse. The good news is that they can be rehabilitated and trained despite their trauma and behavioral issues – I have witnessed firsthand DOZENS of “aggressive” Pit Bulls become lovely and well-behaved dogs after just a month or two of training and love!pitbull8
  2. Pit Bulls Have “Locking Jaws” – This is also usually accompanied with the above false statement as “PROOF” that Pit Bulls are scary monsters that are dangers to society. The claim is that Pit Bulls’ jaws are ~designed~ to latch onto its “prey” and “not let go” until the victim is either hurt very badly or dead. Whoever began propagating this misinformation is a mystery, but it is absolutely baseless and not backed by any kind of science or fact. Actually, as BuzzFeed points out, Pit Bull jaws exert way less force than Rottweiler and German Shepherd jaws – not to mention, *NO* dog that exists has jaws that “lock” and aren’t able to be pried open. This is a ridiculous “fact” that needs to just stop being spread already, so if you hear anyone utter this nonsense, please shut it down immediately with some good old-fashioned TRUTH. To quote PetFinder: “Pit Bulls do not have any special physical mechanism or enzyme that allows them to “lock” their jaws. If you compare a Pit Bull skull to a skull of any other dog breed, you can see with the naked eye that both skulls share the same characteristics and general bone structure. However, one personality trait of the Pit Bull breed is determination. Whatever Pit Bulls do, they do it with a great deal of enthusiasm, and it is this trait that can make it seem like they have a locking jaw when they bite down on something and are determined not to release it.”pitbull2

  3. Pit Bulls Are Crazy and Behave Badly – NOPE. Again, this is just misinformation that is spread far and wide by the ill-informed masses. The truth is, that literally *ANY* dog can be “crazy” and “badly behaved” if it is allowed to by its owner; this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. How does a dog become like that? Uhhh, well how does a child become that way? Lack of parenting, of course! The idea that a Pit Bull is somehow inherently less “trainable” than any other dog is annoyingly stupid and untrue – in fact, Pit Bulls regularly test above other dogs in temperament and training tests. Unfortunately, many people who buy Pit Bulls as puppies fail super hard at training them and let them run amok, creating the “crazy, badly behaved” Pit Bull stereotype that uneducated people refer to. I have seen firsthand many Pit Bulls that are a year old or younger in the shelters that have obviously not been given the training, attention, and love that they deserve. Many times, these Pit Bulls are purchased/adopted solely to be a “guard dog” and subsequently left in the backyard or tied up to a post without any kind of companionship or guidance. Without any kind of authority, a Pit Bull will become like a child who isn’t taught any manners or etiquette – unbridled, annoying, and hyper.pitbull17
  4. Pit Bulls Have Always Been Known as “Bad Dogs” – Another statement with absolutely no merit to it whatsoever. The truth is that when Pit Bulls were first widely bred and owned, they were known as “Nanny Dogs” because they were extremely gentle protectors of young children and even babies! Furthermore, at one time they were also known as “America’s Dog” due to their helpfulness and willingness to work side-by-side with humans. A great example of this fact is Sergeant Stubby, who saved countless lives in WWI, making him one of the first canine war heroes. It wasn’t until people began breeding and training them specifically as guard dogs, fighting dogs, and other such threatening dispositions that they even began to have “aggressive” tendencies. The thing is that Pit Bulls just want to please their owner, so obviously if you intend to train them to be a scary, intimidating dog, they will become a scary, intimidating dog in order to fulfill their duty to you. Truth be told, a Pit Bull’s loyalty is enough to protect you in case the situation arises, so if you give them the love, friendship, and attention they desire, they can defend you if need be.pitbull4
  5. Pit Bulls Are Unpredictable and Can “Turn” On Their Owner – *SIGHS* NO, NO, NO, and NO. There is *NO* dog that is unpredictable and acts violent/aggressive out of nowhere and without warning. All dogs have body language that they conveniently express to their owners and anyone else they come in contact with. If you pay attention to their body language, you can tell that they either approve or disapprove of something, are fearful/stressed/confused, and therefore ready to react on these circumstances. Also, there are general rules of thumb as to how to approach a dog, interact with them, and even behave around them in order to *NOT* have a possible incident. Unfortunately, many people aren’t really aware of how to interact with dogs (especially strange dogs they meet for the first time) OR read their body language, so that’s where problems arise.pitbull16
  6. Pit Bulls Are Bred for Fighting – UGH, we’ve already touched on this, but obviously this is FALSE. Pit Bulls have always been bred for their loyalty, work ethic, companionship, and gentleness, among other characteristics. Nanny dogs, war heroes, and other workers/friends make up the majority of Pit Bulls. Only 3% of Pit Bulls have actually been involved in dog fighting, which is an extremely small amount. Not to mention, when these fighting Pit Bulls have been rescued, they have been rehabilitated into the loving pets that they have the potential to be. No matter how much horror and mistreatment a Pit Bull takes, they can be molded back into their natural, loving, disposition.pitbull13
  7. Breed Specific Legislation Makes Neighborhoods Safe – Okay so for starters, “Breed Specific Legislation” is just a fancy way of saying “Dog Discrimination Laws” based on the fact that Pit Bulls have a bad reputation. As I have discussed, Pit Bulls *WRONGFULLY* have these stereotypes against them that have been allowed to multiply and spread over the last few decades to distract from the bigger issue – BAD/IRRESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP. So, the places that enact BSL-based laws are *NOT* safer as a result of them. What about all of the non-Pit Bull breed dogs that are untrained, badly behaved, and “aggressive”? Is it okay for them to be that way just because they are not Pit Bulls? That’s basically what these BSL-related laws and ordinances imply, and they are definitely contributing to the continued ignorance and misinformation being spread about Pit Bulls. The only thing more ridiculous than banning Pit Bulls completely from neighborhoods and communities is that some BSL laws are created that charge Pit Bull owners an arm and a leg to legally be able to keep them. They either have to pay a flat fee each month for their Pit Bull to live with them, and/or pay for insurance SPECIFICALLY to cover any possible Pit Bull attacks that may happen in the future. How absurd and discriminatory is that? Oh yeah, and there’s always the fact that EDUCATION on responsible ownership and COMMUNITY OUTREACH to encourage dog safety is actually creating safer communities – NOT BSL. In the UK, it was found that the number of annual dog attacks stayed the same after they enacted BSL, but decreased dramatically when programs were created to HELP owners become more educated and responsible about dog ownership. Makes sense, doesn’t it?!pitbull10
  8. Nobody Wants a Pit Bull for a Pet – UMMMMMMM, NO. If anyone says this to you, please scoff at them and put them in their place. It may appear that “no one wants a Pit Bull” based on how many Pit Bulls there are in animal shelters, but Pit Bulls are actually one of the top 3 favorite dog breeds in 28 states (based on a survey by Vetstreet). There are many Pit Bulls in animal shelters for the same reason that there are increasingly large numbers of German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies – they get “too big” for their owners. By this I mean that the owner buys the dog as a small puppy, and for some reason is *SHOCKED* when the dog grows to its adult size, which is SURPRISINGLY BIGGER than PUPPY SIZE! Wow, who would have thought that some dogs get bigger than puppy-sized?! These idiots then decide that their dog is “too big” because they didn’t have the forethought or general intelligence required to realize that the dog was going to BE that size all along, and decide to drop them off at the shelter to get a different dog. It is also not a coincidence that these same people are usually the same ones that do absolutely *NO* training in obedience or behavior for their dog, so they also think that their dog is “too crazy” and “badly behaved.” It’s sad how often this happens, and it’s one of the biggest reasons why Pit Bulls fill animal shelters all across the country.pitbull14

Hopefully we all learned something here today – the most important thing being that Pit Bulls are *NOT* different from ANY OTHER DOG in terms of their *SUPPOSED* danger they pose to society, *ALLEGED* threat they create for the safety of our communities, and *RUMORED* hereditary behaviors that make them scary and mean. The fact of the matter is, that *ANY* dog has the ability to be a “bad dog” if it isn’t given the training, love, and attention that it deserves. So the next time you encounter someone that spouts some ignorant “facts” about why Pit Bulls are the worst dog ever, PLEASE put them in their place with some ACTUAL FACTS. Just try to be calm and collected about it, of course.

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{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Sandy Remijas June 22, 2016, 5:50 am

    Very well written. Thanks for spreading the word! We need more of that for this lovely and super smart breed. I loved the info on the BSL laws. You hit the nail on the head! Thanks again!

    • VetDepot June 22, 2016, 1:01 pm

      Thank you so much, Sandy! 🙂 Anything that I can do to further the cause of bringing light to the darkness concerning Pit Bulls is time and effort well spent! <3 If only there was MORE I could do, for instance finally getting my own farm and large property to have a Pit Bull sanctuary/rescue...But that will come in the next few years hopefully! 😀

    • Annette & Jeff Patrone June 22, 2016, 1:05 pm

      We just want to say you took the words right out of our mouth on your comment Sandy. Thank you!!

    • Lorrie March 28, 2017, 7:38 pm

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  • Ray June 22, 2016, 6:47 am

    Thanks for posting this, it is high time the public became properly informed ,including me.

    • VetDepot June 22, 2016, 1:00 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, it was our pleasure! 🙂 It is definitely high time that the public became properly informed! Good thing many websites like Huffington Post, Upworthy, BuzzFeed, etc. are stepping up to the plate and shattering these age-old wives tales about Pit Bulls. One day very soon (hopefully) they will be worshiped for the amazing creatures they are! <3

  • Robin Hood Animal Rescue June 22, 2016, 7:32 am

    Thank you for this article, as you can see, and if you go to our website, you will find that we rescue Pit Bulls all the time. Most of which come off the streets, and are more well behaved than some that have been turned in by their “loving family”.
    We LOVE PIT BULLS!!!!! Unfortunately, the majority of property managers, insurance companies and HOA’s in Arizona don’t feel the same way. This means that the majority of them end up at the pound and subsequently killed WITH PREJUDICE.
    And our Inhumane society here in Phoenix does exactly the same thing!!!
    How sad and tragic for these bold, beautiful and loyal four-legged gifts from God.
    Again, thank you, and we will share this (as we’ve always have) with everyone who visits our website.
    Sincerely,
    Robert Spangler
    Director
    Robin Hood Animal Rescue

    • VetDepot June 22, 2016, 12:59 pm

      Awww, thank you SO much for all you do! <3 It truly is a disheartening struggle to rescue these poor souls from their demise. It's like fighting a losing battle sometimes - every Pit Bull that is rescued is overshadowed by the dozen or so killed that week. I have had to separate myself from the rescue scene a couple times because of the immense sadness and frustration that I have experienced regarding Pit Bulls' euthanasia rates. 🙁 As I said in the article, I have personally facilitated rescues of many Pit Bulls - euth-listed for various levels of "aggression" - and found that they are ALL amazingly loving and beautiful creatures. <3 Even the "crazy" ones that other people find scary or threatening are NOT trying to hurt anyone. When they are given love, trust, and training, they live up to their full potential. It is absolutely HORRIFIC and depressing to witness so many Pits be euthanized on a weekly basis due to the blatant discrimination and prejudice towards them. 🙁 I didn't even go into that in my post because I would have gone on and on for days about that. Ugh. So many rescues that *COULD* have had a happy ending, but didn't due to these horrible shelter policies and lack of understanding, they are thrown under the bus time and time again. Again, thank you for all you do, and all we CAN do is to keep fighting for these wonderful beings and one day soon they will be treated as they should be! 🙂 <3 Hopefully sooner rather than later!

  • Julia Gorden June 22, 2016, 8:37 am

    Great article. People get Great Dane puppies and turn them in when they grow up; They just got too big! What is it about “GREAT” Dane they don’t understand. All my experiences with Pits has been positive. They are loving and playfully goofy. Very smart and sensitive.

    • VetDepot June 22, 2016, 12:46 pm

      Same here! I have never had a negative experience with a Pit Bull. I have however had several negative experiences with German Shepherds – but this doesn’t mean I hold anything against them or love them any less. Heck, I’ve been straight up BITTEN by an Aussie Shepherd as well! I *COULD* say that “All Shepherds are crazy” if I wanted, but obviously discrimination in ANY form is ridiculous. The fact that people buy into the Pit Bull stereotypes is very sad though, I know lots of friends that have Pit Bulls that take theirs for walks, and people literally cross the street, don’t make eye contact, and visibly cringe when they walk by them. Even though their Pit Bull is smiling and adorable and walking nicely on a leash, others feel threatened by them for the sole reason of anti-Pit Bull propaganda that they have heard. It’s so absurd, and luckily the tides are changing! 🙂 Honestly I never was AFRAID of Pit Bulls, but I didn’t fully appreciate all they had to offer until I volunteered at a local shelter and was around a bunch of Pit Bulls firsthand. Even the “crazy” ones with “behavior issues” I absolutely LOVE! They truly have a personality that is very unique compared to other dogs. <3

    • VetDepot June 22, 2016, 1:29 pm

      Thanks Julia! 😀 Yeah, it baffles me as to how people think it’s okay to discard their animal because it “got too big.” Like, by “too big” they actually mean the NORMAL/USUAL ADULT SIZE so it’s pretty absurd that they didn’t realize that it’d be that big…? Ughh, very frustrating indeed! I agree, Pit Bulls have some of the most unique personalities of any dog breed! <3 I don't even own one, but I have had lots of very close Pit Bulls in my life that are truly wonderful! 🙂

      • Bryson March 28, 2017, 10:25 pm

        Bonjour !dur dur de choisir un massage …je les ferais bien tous 🙂 mais j&;rquosaurais peut-être une petite préférence pour le Lomi-lomi !J’aime beaucoup le fait d’allier coutumes et massage !Merci beaucoup et belle journée !

  • kelley June 22, 2016, 9:00 am

    Great article. I would add one more thing though with reasons for some pit bull behavior and that is poor breeding. I, personally, think there are NO bad dogs, only bad breeders, bad owners and bad trainers.

    • VetDepot June 22, 2016, 12:34 pm

      Hey Kelley, thanks for your comment! I do agree, that the breeding (usually done without any regard for health or behavior, only for money) has done quite a bit of damage as well. I unfortunately don’t know that much about this aspect of the breed, so if you’d enlighten me that would be awesome! 🙂 I do know that inbreeding is a problem in general for backyard breeders/puppy mills, but I don’t know the specifics. I 1000000% agree though that there is NO such thing as a bad dog – only the bad human who shaped that dog’s personality.

  • Donna M Maiorano June 22, 2016, 1:43 pm

    Thank you so much for sending me this information on the beautiful pit bulls. i am so glad you got all this myths out of the way. Pit Bulls are the most loving kind animals ever, and just because some inhuman people try to cast different lies about these majestic animals does not mean its true, and you surely proved that. Than you so so much. God Bless <3

    • VetDepot June 22, 2016, 3:45 pm

      You’re very welcome, Donna! 🙂 Thank you for being an enlightened individual/animal lover/dog owner and realizing the wonderful and majestic nature that they possess! 🙂 <3 You and I need to keep fighting on behalf of these lovely creatures! <3

  • Daphne June 22, 2016, 8:49 pm

    Ummm…..did I miss something??? The article you link to for info on the “locking jaw” myth seems to be quite damming to pits. The article seems to be biased against them & the comments that follow have almost nothing positive to say about this type of dog.

    • VetDepot June 23, 2016, 9:33 am

      OMG Daphne, thank you so much for bringing that to my attention! I definitely linked the wrong page! YIKES! That page I had linked was for sure a propaganda page AGAINST Pit Bulls that has no factual basis or anything whatsoever. Good thing you noticed that (I guess other people don’t click on links, thankfully!) so I could fix it immediately! Phew! 😛 You are awesome!

  • Mike June 23, 2016, 12:58 am

    I used to believe along the lines of your story, and as a dog lover, I wanted to give the breed every chance of dis proving the myth as well. Until my ex-neighbor got one as a puppy. The owner was as good an owner as any.
    The animal was never mistreated or abused. But it was just mean. No person could talk with the owner without the threat of the dog wanting to attack.
    Home owners insurance policy’s exclude this breed from home coverage for a reason.

    • VetDepot June 23, 2016, 9:26 am

      Mike, it is not uncommon for ANY dog to be extremely protective of its owner, if it is being allowed to be that way. Just because they were a good owner doesn’t mean that they were a good trainer OR that they corrected negative behaviors. My mother for instance has had quite a few Chihuahuas now that have been extremely protective of her, and even when I have hugged her or come to talk to her, they bark, snarl, growl, and snap. This isn’t anything specific to the Pit Bull breed, and it is a behavior that can be avoided and/or corrected if the owner puts forth the effort. Saying a dog is “mean” is pretty ridiculous, especially since the dog was just protecting the owner. Home owner’s insurance policies exclusion of Pit Bulls is unnecessary discrimination and prejudice that doesn’t result in any safer communities. Maybe if there were more resources available for people to get assistance/training for their dogs without paying hundreds of dollars, more people would be committed to training their dog.

      • Mike June 26, 2016, 11:50 am

        It is not ridiculous to state a singular dog as mean. Especially since you have never met the dog personally. What you are doing is attempting to propose that I am stereotyping all P Bulls. In my lifetime I have come into contact with uncountable numbers of dogs and can say a good 95% of them knew when their master was under threat. You show all those pics of Pits looking happy with bunny’s and whatnot. I can show you pics of tigers and lions doing the same thing.
        Does that mean lions and tigers are cuddly creatures? Your
        “protective” stance is very thin worldwide. I don’t have the time to go into detail here. Suffice to say, I’ll can confidently say that your Mom’s
        Chihuahua barks more frequently than any Lab dog or setter or even a Rotty.
        Am I saying all Chihuahua’s are noisy? No…but most are.

        • VetDepot June 28, 2016, 3:54 pm

          Well, this whole post is intended to show how Pit Bulls are *NOT* inherently mean, vicious, or dangerous as stereotypes lead people to believe. You then comment about how you “used to believe along the lines of the story,” until you met a “mean” Pit Bull. That implies that you now believe that they are all aggressive, even though you met just one mean one. I have met dozens of Pit Bulls at this point in my life, and *NONE* of them have been “mean” even though the bulk of them were due to be euthanized for being “aggressive” or having some kind of behavior issue. Now I’m even more confused by what your original comment was supposed to mean?

    • Janae March 28, 2017, 9:16 pm

      Things ARE more expensive- food inflation is up 20-40%. There were crazy droughts, floods, and freak snowstorms that affected a lot of crops. (And look for anything codier-rnved or corn-fed to go up, too.) So produce really IS more expensive this year.

  • ann September 17, 2016, 11:20 am

    Thank you for your article. You are so very right in it. Our pit is simply the most wonderful, loving family member.

  • Katherine D. Cox January 27, 2017, 9:06 pm

    Rescued my pit bull from a shelter, he had live there the first 18 months of his life.(Last of a litter, he wasn’t adopted like his siblings) Anyways, he’s a great guy, except when it comes to Nail Clipping!! When it comes time for nail clipping—he goes absolutely CRAZY.
    Squirming, crying, tries to bite, runs off, (if he can get free). I’ve tried all sorts of groomers and all the National Chains–no good. I’ve tried my Vet, no good–he had to sedate him!!
    Please any ideas you might have to help me get him to relax and get over whatever his fear is—I would appreciate the help. We are are 4 yrs.now.

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