As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, it’s completely unfair to stereotype a dog based on their breed alone. Dogs such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are clouded by their history of being used for violence in dog fighting rings and gangs. I’ve visited many shelters while volunteering with a dog rescue charity, and roughly 70% of dogs who live there are Pit Bull mixes who end up being euthanized. It’s such a shame that these dogs are thrown away and unwanted just because of their unfair reputation that has been the fault of people. It’s time to rule out those misconceptions and get down to what’s true and what’s not!
Misconception: Pit Bulls are human aggressive.
Pit breeds were bred to fight other dogs in a ring. As such the dogs would be trained by their owners not to turn on them whenever a fight needed to be stopped and they had to intervene. When in a fight with another dog, they would be riled up and aggressive, so to be able to switch that off when their human entered the ring gives no reason to believe that the dog is incapable of control. Dogs bred to fight are almost always abused and therefore frighten easily. Whenever a Pit Bull attacks a person, there are always other factors involved, such as protection of food, or being provoked or teased by the human. Any dog under such circumstances may bite!
Misconception: An aggressive Pit Bull is a lost cause.
In recent years there have been multiple cases where Pit Bulls have gone through rehabilitation successfully. In the case of disgraced NFL star Michael Vick, 49 out of 50 of his fighting Pit Bulls were successfully rescued and re-trained to be non-aggressive. They went through extensive testing to be sure that they would be ready to fit back into society.
Misconception: Pit Bulls are the most aggressive breed of dog.
There have been a great number of studies conducted to determine the aggressiveness of different breeds of dogs. In 2008 a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study to determine the aggressiveness of 30 breeds of dog. The results found that Dachshunds and Chihuahuas were the most human aggressive as well as dog aggressive. However due to their size they inflict less damage than other breeds. They found that Pit Bulls were not significantly more aggressive than other types of breeds such as German Shepherds.
Another study by The American Temperament Test Society found that Pit Bulls were not as aggressive as Boxers, Bulldogs, Collies or Great Danes, to name a few.
Misconception: Anyone can own a Pit Bull.
Just like any dog you should do your research before adopting one. Pit Bulls and other bully breeds need a lot of structure, training, exercise, attention, and need to have a pronounced human alpha — that’s you! Unless you’re willing to put the time an effort into your Pit, you should think about adopting another breed.
Misconception: You can’t compromise with a bully breed.
Sadly BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) still exists with very strict and stereotypical policies. A dog of a specific breed may be the most loving, non-aggressive dog you could ever meet, but purely because of their breed they are taken from their family and their home. In my personal opinion there should be legislation that protects the interest of not only the public, but also the dog as well. It is unfair to be prejudice with breeds that have been scientifically proven to be less aggressive than others, but purely because they are able to cause more damage, and because of their history of being used for violence, they are discriminated against. People should utilise a bully breed’s traits to do good for both dog and owner. Their desire to please and abundant energy may be seen as productive or not depending on your viewpoint, but each dog should at least be given a chance to prove themselves.
I hope this article cleared a few things up, and may even make you consider adopting a bully breed into your family!