HuffPost has created not only a holiday, but a holiWEEK of celebration dedicated to the most feared, controversial, outlawed, and loved dog – the pit bull. Here are some myths, facts, photos, and videos of these perpetually smiling snuggle beasts!
The Myths (courtesy of the SPCA Serving Erie County):
The pit bull terrier is the breed most likely to bite.
NO! According to the American Temperament Test Society, in 2012, 86.8% of American Pit Bull Terriers passed society tests that measure stability, aggressiveness, friendliness, and protectiveness. 85.2% of golden retrievers and 80.1% of collies passed these tests.
Pit bull terriers bite or attack more than any other breed of dog.
NO! Despite all the studies on dog bites, the American Veterinary Medical Association has found that no single breed is more dangerous than another. Rather, studies show the most popular breeds at any given time tend to top the list because there are more of those dogs in the general population.
Pit bull terriers have locking jaws.
NO! According to Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Ph.D., senior research scientist at the University of Georgia and an expert in training, handling, behavior, and the anatomy of bull dog breeds, “The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles, and teeth of [American Pit Bull Terriers] show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any [other] breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of ‘locking mechanism’ unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.”
Source: American Dog Breeders Association
Pit bull terriers have more bite pressure than any other breed.
NO! According to Dr. Brisbin (referenced above), “To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to unfounded rumor.”
Now that the myths have been dispelled, we can move on to the fun facts – they are unsubstantiated by experts, but pibble parents can attest to these truths:
- Pit bulls are born sweethearts, but early socialization and training is key if they are to have any manners.
- They weren’t bred to fight each other, but they are terriers, which means they like to dig and hunt for rodents and other small creatures.
- They are smarter than people give them credit for. Puppies can be finished paper training by 4-5 months.
- Pit bulls help ease depression and anxiety.
- They are loyal, and will do anything to be loved and given attention.
- Every pit bull is different when it comes to water. Some could happily live in a lake chasing ducks, while others refuse to go outside and get their tootsies wet if it’s sprinkling.
- Pit bulls have some of the most expressive faces of all dogs. You will always know what your dog is thinking, because it will be written on his face.
- Some have limitless energy, and others are couch potatoes, but generally they’re just happy to be doing whatever you’re doing.
- They make terrific exercise buddies. They love to jog, and they’ll help you strengthen your arms, legs, and core with hours of fetch and tug-of-war.
- Pit bulls break stereotypes every day. Many people who have only seen horrific news articles are afraid of pit bulls, believing they are all ticking time bombs. People who get to know pit bulls usually find that the ones raised in homes with love and training are very friendly and gentle.
- Pit bulls are lap beasts.
- Two of their favorite activities are snuggling and smooching.
- Many pit bulls are bladder camels, and prefer to stay cozy in bed rather than go outside at 6 am, even if they haven’t gone out since 6 pm the night before.
- There is no need for a garbage disposal if you have a pit bull.
- When healthy table scraps are part of their diet, they are less likely to scrounge for garbage can goodies they feel they have been deprived of.
- Good-natured, family pit bulls make terrible guard dogs, because they are always happy to make a new friend.
- They can sleep right through a break-in, but will hide from thunder.
- Pit bulls are always entertaining, and many are terrific party guests.
I’m undoubtedly biased. I grew up with all kinds of big shepherds and mutts, and my family’s first pit bull was a very dog-aggressive stray. She was a rotten little monster who terrified our Great Dane and German shepherd, and constantly fought with them over food, or for even looking at her funny. Nothing we did seemed to help, and this was before the days of Googling how to train a dog properly. But we think there may have just been too much wrong with her to fix. However, having her led us to Muscles, who evoked my family’s deep love for pit bulls. I’m one of the converted, so naturally, I feel it is my duty to convert all others to the “bark” side!
To find a pit bull rescue group or shelter near you, click here. Just remember, even if you can’t adopt or foster, you can always donate to rescue group so they can continue saving these dogs.