Separating pit bull facts from fiction


By Diane Smith

One of the saddest things you experience when you walk into any animal shelter is how many pit bulls there are just languishing in cages and crates, hoping someone will see what deserving and loyal pets they can be. With the explosion of pit bull breeders and the lack of knowledge of the breed, this is where thousands of them end up. This breed of dog tops the list of the most euthanized pet.

The fact is, millions of pit bulls are living peacefully in homes throughout this country.

Did you know that in the early part of the 20th century, the American pit bull terrier was the No. 1 breed chosen for the family pet? Many of us base our opinions on what we see in the media. We often hear stories of gangs, poverty, dog fighting and aggression,  all associated with pit bulls. Often we hear the breed should be banned.

Here are some facts and myths to dispel, so you can make your own informed decision on this breed of dog. They have gotten such a “bad rap” due to a number of circumstances, many of which are out of the dog’s control.

“Pit bulls are unpredictable and more likely to bite than other dogs.” FICTION. Pit bulls are loyal, smart, trainable and willing to please. Unfortunately, these are the same traits that make the breed so attractive to criminals as well as dog fighters. But pit bulls are no more vicious than golden retrievers, beagles or other popular dogs.

In a recent study of 122 dog breeds by the American Temperament Testing Society, pit bulls achieved a passing rate of 83.9 percent. That’s good or better than beagles (78.2 percent) and golden retrievers (83.2 percent). Test your dog:

Go to and there will be results for many breeds. This test consists of stressful and confrontational situations. It tests to see if the dog shows any signs of panic or aggression. A dog is a dog is a dog! There are no bad dogs or bad breeds, just bad owners. It is not always out of malice but more often ignorance.

“Pit bulls have locking jaws.” FICTION. Pit bulls can’t lock their jaws. Their jaws are constructed like any other dogs. In fact, if you take the X-ray of a chihuahua and compare it to a pit bull, it will look the same except for the size.



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