1. PIT BULLS DON'T HAVE LOCKING JAWS BUT THEY DO BITE DIFFERENTLY, RIGHT?
No. This is a myth. There is nothing anatomically unique about the jaws of “pit bull” dogs. Back to Top
2. DO PIT BULLS HAVE A HIGHER TOLERANCE FOR PAIN THAN OTHER DOGS?
No. This is a myth. There is nothing unique about the neurological system of a “pit bull” dog. All dogs, regardless of breed label, experience pain. How each dog responds to that pain will vary but the response cannot be predicted by breed. Read more about pain in companion animals. Back to Top
3. ARE PIT BULLS MORE LIKELY TO CAUSE SERIOUS ATTACKS THAN OTHER BREEDS?
No. An American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) exhaustive review of dog bite studies conducted in North America and elsewhere has concluded that separate regulation of “pit bull” dogs is not a basis for dog bite prevention. "Serious bites occur due to a range of factors," conclude these authors. Back to Top
4. IF SO MANY DOGS ARE INVOLVED IN DOG BITES, HOW COME WE ONLY HEAR ABOUT PIT BULLS?
Sensationalized reporting equals big ratings for the media. Publishing and broadcasting stories about dog bites that are perceived to involve “pit bulls” - even if the dogs are not correctly identified – results in ratings. The fact is that with more than 78 million dogs in this country, many of them “pit bull” dogs, dog bites are at historic lows and we’ve never been safer For more information on dogs bites, please visit the National Canine Research Council http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dogbites/medically-attended-dog-bites/
5. IF PIT BULLS ARE SUCH GOOD DOGS, WHY ARE THEY FILLING UP THE SHELTERS?
There are many reasons shelters might see high numbers of dogs that they label “pit bulls”, for example: local breed specific polices may be making it difficult for families to keep their dogs. This is a particularly difficult issue for renters in some areas, where landlords aren’t welcoming to large dogs or certain breeds. However, this is not a reflection on the “pit bull” dogs themselves. “Pit bull” dogs are also filling up many homes as family pets
6. WEREN'T PIT BULLS BRED TO FIGHT DOGS?
The Humble Beginnings
The earliest ancestors of the modern American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT, or more casually, "Pit Bull") can be traced back to the British Isles, circa early 1800s. These were not a pure breed of dog, rather, mixes of bulldogs and terriers, commonly known as "Bull and Terriers". The tenacity and drive of terriers, combined with the athletic build and strength of the bulldog, created the ultimate champion in the world of "bull baiting". Bull baiting was an ancient bloodsport, dating back to the Romans, where a bull was tethered down and allowed to be attacked by dogs - the ultimate goal was the immobilization of the bull. It is also said that bull baiting had a practical value as well; butchers commonly used Bull and Terriers to subdue the bulls before slaughter. And when they weren't being used to take down bulls, Bull and Terriers were used in "rat pits" as well. These were popular "sports" amongst all walks of life - a form of "entertainment" for the upper- and middle-class alike.
It is important to note that these dogs were bred for performance and working ability, rather than towards a physical standard.
When bull-baiting became illegal in 1835, the focus began pitting the dogs against each other.
To look at the APBT through the narrow scope of dog fighting is to miss out on their long and positive history in our country as cherished companions.
Further, when we consider the history of “pit bull” dogs we need to look at the history of dogs in general. If we use “historically bred for” as an indicator of future behavior, for any kind of dog, we are showing an unsophisticated understanding of dog breeding, dog genetics and dog behavior. Breeding, conditioning, and training a dog for a specific purpose, no matter what that task may be, is a complex process.
It gets more confusing when we discuss “historically bred for” in regard to “pit bull” dogs because it misleads us into thinking that this is relevant to a group of dogs as diverse as the dogs called “pit bull” today, that have no agreed upon pedigree or even phenotype. Many dogs that are labeled as “pit bulls” are actually mixed breed dogs of unknown pedigree or other pure bred dogs. We cannot assume to know how a dog will behave based on guesses at their ancestry, nor can we know what specific role or task (if any) that the breeds present in their genetic make-up might have been purposely bred for or if they will present themselves in an individual dog’s behavior.
7. ARE PIT BULLS BRED TO FIGHT DIFFERENTLY?
There is no behavior that is unique to one breed or type of dog. There is no valid scientific evidence that one breed or type of dog is uniquely capable of inflicting serious injury to humans or other animals