When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. ~ Ingrid Newkirk

The American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Staffordshire Terrier are commonly referred to as Pit Bulls. Each of these breeds along with the English Bull Dog, Boston Terrier and several other bully breeds, all originated from the Bull and Terrier, a fighting dog developed in the 1800’s and brought to the United States by English immigrants to among other tasks, work on their farms.

There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding these breeds, most brought on by their unfortunate popularity with the criminal element of our society. It is a sad fact that the wonderful traits these breeds carry are the very same reason, they are so horribly exploited by street gangs, white supremacists, an inhumane athlete, and a sub culture of gambling and cruelty.

These proud beasts have carried the burden, the pain and the shame for what corrupt people have done, for far too long.

Are Pit Bulls born aggressive?
No, there is no breed of dog born aggressive. Every litter of puppies, any breed, whether pedigreed or mutt, is born with one puppy, that is the most dominant and one puppy, that is the most submissive. All other puppies from the litter, can lean in unlimited degrees from one side to the other. Under the right circumstances, either a submissive puppy or a dominate puppy may become aggressive. Given equal amounts of stress or negative stimulation a dominant puppy may become aggressive more quickly or even more aggressive, than a submissive puppy. Occasionally, every breed will produce an aggressive dog.

Why are so many Pit Bulls aggressive?
So many Pit Bulls being aggressive is a myth. According to the 2008 testing of 218 dog breeds by the American Temperament Testing Society, the passing rate for American Pit Bull Terrier 85%, American Staffordshire Terrier 83.9%, Staffordshire Bull Terriers 88.0%. Last years testing also showed that out of the 218 breeds tested 119 breeds scored lower than 83.9% (the Bully low) and only 69 breeds scored better than the Bully’s 88.0%. Mixed breeds came in at 85.4%. Breeds that scored lower than 83.9% include, Beagle, Border Collie, Dalmatian, Greyhound, Caviler King Charles Spaniel, and Toy Poodles.

If Pit Bulls are not aggressive why are they used so often by dog fighters?
Dog fighters exploit several breeds of strong, medium to large dogs. Many dog fighters choose “Pit Bulls” because they are quick to learn, eager to please and easy to handle. Once a Pit Bull accepts you as their master, they will gladly lay down their life to please you. These breeds have an incredible sense of determination, once they begin a task, they will not give up unless they can not physically continue or you step in to stop them. This holds true whether you force them to fight or ask them to pull a car. Their un-relentless desire to complete a task combined with their unshakable sense of loyalty makes them easy targets for cruelty by cowards and criminals alike.

Don’t Pit Bulls love to fight?
No, all animals including humans, have a natural fight or flight reflex. Pit Bull breeds are generally confident, therefore less likely to run from confrontation. The myth that they love to fight comes from human exploitation and their sense of determination. These dogs may not start a fight but, if one starts, they usually won’t back down.

Aren’t Pit Bulls hard wired to be dog aggressive?
Another myth, although it is true that these breeds of dog were originally bred to be animal aggressive, it does not mean that they will be. Hundreds of Thousands of “Pit Bulls” have passed of old age, after living their lives as loving family pets, in multiple dog households with no trouble what so ever.

Isn’t it true Pit Bulls are only good at fighting?
Absolutely not, Pit Bull breeds excel at anything that interests them. Because of their farm background, a well trained Pit Bull can become an exceptional herding dog. Pit Bull breeds are extremely agile, quick in movement and many can jump 10ft or higher. Their strong, compact, muscular, bodies are capable of great endurance. Pit Bull breeds can compete in an unlimited array of dog sports from flydisc to freestyle dancing. They have also been used as search and rescue dogs, police dogs, even therapy dogs.

Don’t Pit Bulls have locking Jaws?
No breed of dog has a locking jaw, this myth again refers to the tenaciousness of  these breeds of dog. Pit Bull breeds are not the only dogs with a reluctance to let go…try playing tug of war with a Chihuahua. Who, by the way, in an x-ray has exactly the same jaw mechanism as an APBT Amstaff or SBT.

If Pit Bulls are not aggressive, then why did one kill my neighbors little dog?
Dogs have no concept of size but, a deep sense of protocol, often a smaller dog will challenge a larger dog and the results can be tragic. A rude dog is a rude dog  even if it weighs only six pounds Human error is primarily the cause of most small dogs being attacked. Humans do not always prevent their smaller dogs from barking or lunging at larger dogs, dogs often perceive barking, lunging, or pulling ahead of a human on leash as confrontational. All dogs should receive at least a basic level of obedience training, the teaching of all dogs how to properly walk on leash and sit quietly on command would prevent a significant amount of canine injuries each year.

Is it true all Pit Bulls “turn” or “snap” and attack their owners or other humans?
No, if any breed of dog turns or snaps and attacks a human there is something wrong with the dog. Either the dog is in pain or there is an underlying medical problem. Usually if a dog, of any breed, attacks a human, (that they know well), the dog does so out of a lack of respect, in which case there have been previous warning signs that were ignored, such as guarding food or objects. Sadly dog fighters often beat their dogs to “toughen them up” With a Pit Bull breed, no matter how badly they are beaten, the dog will still nuzzle up to it’s abuser, offering total forgiveness.

Why do Pit Bulls attack in packs?
Pack mentality is best explained as the inciting of a riot, any dog, of any breed, combined with one or more other dogs, will feed off of one another’s energy. If one dog enters into a confrontation all dogs present may join in. Dogs in a pack may become more confrontational, than they would otherwise act alone, simply because there is safety or added courage in numbers

Are Pit Bulls safe around children?
Absolutely! In the history of the breed  Pit Bulls were referred to as “Nanny Dogs”  because of their level of patience and tolerance with children. Pit Bull breeds, as with any other dog breed, once socialized with children are perfectly safe, provided there is parental supervision.

It is irresponsible to leave a child alone with any animal?
To any dog a baby’s cry may trigger excitement and/or canine prey drive, the same holds true for small children running and screaming as they play. Children, at times, become unexpectedly fearful triggering a fear response in a dog (of any breed) causing them to bite. Even pre-teens, who are often small in stature, should be careful, any large powerful breed may hurt them, accidentally, during play. The safety of any breed of dog, with children, is determined solely by parental guidance. Adults must teach their children how to behave around dogs and their dogs how to behave around children.

Are Pit Bulls dangerous to other animals?
Any dog can be dangerous to other animals if not socialized properly but, with appropriate training and guidance, Pit Bull breeds are more than capable of living and playing with other, large or small dogs, cats, gerbils, birds…As with children animals should not be left alone unsupervised.

Can I take my Pit Bull to the dog park?
As a responsible Pit Bull owner, NO. There are too many uncontrollable aspects to dog park play. Many owners do not keep up with their dog’s shots or behavior. Many people’s misconceptions of the breed, create a fearful atmosphere, that your dog may be effected by, Pit Bull breeds are intensely sensitive, to human emotions and body language, more so than most breeds. Also, because of negative public opinion, even if your dog is attacked by another dog, the “Pit Bull” will be blamed.

Without going to a dog park, how will I keep my Pit Bull socialized?
Regular play dates or doggie day care is the best way to keep your Pit Bull breed socialized with other dogs. A good way to set up play groups for your dog, is by going to dog parks without them and watching how other “parents” and their dogs behave. Then introduce yourself and set up more private play sessions for your dog.

My Pit Bull runs the fence with the dog next door is that enough exercise?
Allowing your dog to run up and down the fence line with the dog next door is a bad idea. What seems like harmless exercise is actually each dog protecting it’s turf. If one or the other of these dogs crosses over the line while they both are so overly stimulated it could become a fight that ends tragically. Walking your dog on leash is a much safer way to exercise and is an invaluable tool in the dog, owner bonding process.

Do Pit Bulls make good pets?
Yes for naturally assertive people, that recognize how special these dogs truly are. Pit Bull breeds need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, they are such highly intelligent, athletic animals. Training, socialization and guidance are a life long commitment when sharing your home with an APBT, Amstaff, SBT or any other dog.

Should I train my Pit Bull?
Absolutely, responsible Pit Bull owners, owe it to the breed to train their dog, at least to the level of Canine Good Citizen (1st AKC obedience award level) Training to this level, will help owners with the discrimination they will be facing in housing, insurance, and public opinion, due to the decades of misrepresentation these dogs have suffered. Pit Bull breeds are extremely sensitive and quickly become in tune to their masters voice and body language, they learn fast, are extremely capable, highly intelligent and eager to please. As APBT parents we need to train our dogs’ properly and take their reputation out of the hands of criminals once and for all.

If I train my Pit Bull and make sure they stay socialized, can I be sure they won’t get into a fight?
No even if your dog, of any breed, is as social as a politician they may come across a dog they don’t like. Dogs are animals that always have the potential for an altercation if provoked or threatened. Never trust your dog not to fight. Always remember, if a Pit Bull breed is involved in a fight, the Pit Bull will be blamed no matter how the whole thing started.

Learn more about Pit Bulls and how they are misidentified and misunderstood!

Pitbull at the beach

Neptune, Virginia Beach