As you walk your Pitbull down the neighborhood block, a mother quickly snatches her child away, disappearing into her house as if in fear of some mythical beast. You read another article just the other day by yet another Pitbull bashing website, offering up a terrible story of untold violence and savagery. Of course you’ve heard those infamous tales of illegal dog fighting, and how people say Pitbulls make great fighting dogs.
Sad Tales of Pitbull Myths
The American Pitbull Terrier is perhaps the single most hated and misunderstood dog breed alive today, out of around 400 recognized breeds that walk the earth. Not only in many areas of the world is it illegal to own one, certain American districts have passed legislation mandating all breeds even resembling a Pitbull be destroyed. Most apartment complexes won’t even consider renting to a tenant with a Pitbull.
Thanks to a combination of illegal dog fighting and terrible press from the media, who likes to take the 1 in 100,000 case of dog attacks and make it seem like the norm, these wonderful dogs have a terrible reputation.
The outrageously popular Sports Illustrated actually published an article back in the 80’s called ‘The Pitbull Friend and Killer’, which contributed to a lot of the fear surrounding the dogs. Ironically, they have since denounced this article, publishing another stating how amazing the dogs are.
The Truth behind the Pitbull
Sadly, very few people have bothered to research the breed’s past, and actual breeding origins. Let us state some facts to set the record straight.
Fact: Though the Pitbull was originally bred to participate in fighting spectator sports after the violent European sport of Bull Baiting was outlawed, these first bloodlines were bred very carefully to specifically promote their friendliness and loyalty toward human handlers. Handlers wanted to be able to enter a ring and attend to their dogs without any fear of being injured themselves. Very few other breeds would simply cease all aggression, no matter the violence, when a person was present.
Fact: The Pitbull was first bred to participate in the popular European sport of ‘Ratting’, not dog fighting like so many people believe.
Fact: Upon arriving in America along with immigration during the early 1900’s, the Pitbull was immensely popular- the breed to have. Farmers used them to help with work and parents commonly trusted them to watch and protect children, soon earning them the nickname ‘Nanny Dogs’ nationwide.
Fact: Pitbulls were originally bred from a coupling of Bulldogs and other terriers, producing a more agile dog than the English Bulldog of the day. Since English Bulldogs were bred to tolerate immense pain, able to shrug blows from their beastly opponents, the Pitbull is easily able to tolerate any poking and prodding a child has to offer, happy for the attention.
Fact: The American Kennel Club, one of the most reputable and experienced dog organizations on earth, rate their version of the Pitbull- the American Staffordshire Terrier- at 99% with children and families. It is very rare for a breed to receive such high ratings.
Fact: The ‘American Bully’, recognized by the United Kennel Club, was bred from a combination of Pitbull type dogs to produce the ‘Ideal Family Companion’. The UKC specifically states this fact in their breed description page. The American Bully’s original purpose had absolutely nothing to do with dog fighting.
Fact: Many dogs people consider ‘Pitbulls’ today aren’t Pitbulls at all, but a mixture of several breeds that simply look like the average person’s idea of what a Pitbull should look like.
Conclusion: The Truth
Despite all you may have heard, the American Pitbull Terrier is in fact one of the friendliest, most loyal dog breeds on the planet today. The AKC even advises against using them as guard dogs due to their friendly nature and likelihood to play with strangers.
There have been cases of dog attacks, it’s true. But these cases are by no means limited to Pitbulls; nearly any breed you can think of has shown aggression at one time. In the end, an aggressive, violent dog is reacting to its environment in the only way it knows how, almost always either because it feels threatened or because a human owner taught it violence.
These cases are also extremely rare, to the point of one in tens or hundreds of thousands, not nearly the common occurrence the news media would have you believe.