Are Pit Bulls Dangerous?

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  • Are Pit Bulls Dangerous?

    A pit bull is no more of a dangerous dog than any other dog. In general, a pit bull only becomes dangerous and attacks or bites people when a generic label is placed on a dog that attacks or bites a person. When a dog is aggressive towards other animals, that makes it that much easier to deem a dog as being dangerous. The truth behind the answer solely relies upon the reliability of who determines what a pit bull is considered to be.

    If you read media articles or listen to the news you may hear one thing. If you talk to owners of pit bulls, you may hear another. If you speak to animal shelters or rescue organizations, they may have a totally different story as well.

    Why are there so many conflicting answers to the simple question "are pit bulls dangerous?"

    That answer, however, is fairly basic. Society in general has preconceived a "pit bull" to simply be: any breed of dog of muscular build with an aggressive nature. This incorrect preconception has been generated by media propaganda.

    You may be wondering "How can the media/news be wrong?"

    The media, as evil or good as you may perceive them, has also been mislead in a number of ways by the ignorance of "pit bull" owners and witnesses they have interviewed.

    To understand fully, you must first grasp the history behind the subject. The following a brief breakdown in chronological order of both basic history, how this has transpired and what has intervened:
    1. The actual breed of dog, the American Pit Bull Terrier (labeled then, as short "pit bull") was bred solely for dog fighting for many generations. American Pit Bull Terriers were extremely loyal and family\human oriented dogs but displayed a high level of animal aggression.
    2. As society changed, and deemed the dog fighting sport both illegal and immoral (1976), new owners began crossbreeding the fighting dogs with other breeds for their own "better" purposes, which had no laws against them.
    3. The mixed bred offspring of these dogs maintained similar physical characteristics of the original "pit bull." However, they also carried the genetic makeup of both or all breeds\dogs used in their crossbreeding.
    4. When they were bred to guardian\protection dogs (some of which have similarities in physical appearance), the natural selection process of genetic instinct of the dogs began.
    5. The animal aggression and tenacity of the American Pit Bull Terrier mixed with the courageousness of the "guard dog" began a trend for owners to both admire and solicit.
    6. After several generations of breeding mixed bred dogs with clashing purposes, there were some of these mixed bred dogs that began biting people.
    7. New owners of these mixed bred "pit bulls" continued to breed and crossbreed these dogs for countless business purposes and monetary gains such as "rare" color, huge heads, short and stocky, large and oppressive looks and even as "attack dogs," etc.
    8. Since these dogs looked similar to an American Pit Bull Terrier at the time, the "new breed," the so-called "pit bull" became even more popular.
    9. Media and society alike began generalizing a "pit bull" as a breed dog of muscular build with a high degree of aggressiveness due to the graphic nature of the incidents which occurred during the above period.
    10. Breed bans generalizing "pit bull" breeds were introduced and discussed throughout the the world and passed in certain areas (Breed Specific Legislation).
    11. Owners who knew what was actually occurring stepped in and started attempting to educate society on why these legislations were unconstitutional and without due basis.
    12. Rescue and animal organizations also stepped in to work with and educate new owners of how to deal with these "pit bulls" and push the need for spaying\neutering of dogs.
    There are good and bad dogs in every breed, there is never a breed of dog that is absolutely perfect.

    You also have breeds such as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs, American Bullies, etc. that are also considered to be pit bulls. The majority of all of them do not attack or bite people. It is only the generalized label "pit bull" that gives the dogs such a bad reputation when it comes to being dangerous, attacking or biting.

    Today most pit bulls, of any breed, are still extremely family\human friendly and docile mostly due to the American Pit Bull Terrier's long history of interacting with people. Even though the generic "pit bull" is the norm... pure bred American Pit Bull Terriers still exist today and continue to thrive.
    "It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it."
    -- General Douglas MacArthur

  • #2
    Hi everyone

    I am a mother of three, my husband and children persuaded me into getting a pit bull as a pet, because i was fearful, mind you my kids are under the age of 7. I need some assurance I am still not comfortable seeing all the news or hearing from friends that they can be dangerous. The dog is a very beautiful one and he is only 9 weeks old. I like the dog so far but i am afraid when it is older what could happen.

    What you all think about pitbulls and children?


    • #3
      Hi Rebecca,

      Pit bulls are generally great with kids. However, a child should always be supervised around a dog of any breed. Pit bulls are not inherently "dangerous" at all, but that is not to say something couldn't happen if the child is left unsupervised with a dog of any breed.

      Many dogs and children alike can sometimes get overly playful. The dog may jump up on the kid and knock them down or into something else. The dog could also possibly scratch them with their nails as a result of that as well.

      Some dogs (again, of any breed) may also be food aggressive if not trained properly. If the child is unsupervised around a food aggressive dog the child has a higher chance of getting bitten. Food aggression isn't always over food but can extend to nearly anything the dog is playing with.

      Many different scenarios could result in a child getting hurt by leaving them unsupervised with a dog of any breed. As long as your dog is properly trained and your child is supervised around them, your children should be fine being around the dog.
      "It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it."
      -- General Douglas MacArthur


      • #4
        Hey thank you for your advice. I find it a great responsibility to have the supervise my Kids around the dog. But will try to do some traingin


        • #5
          I had three children and found I had to supervise them about everything until they are old enough to know right from wrong. The pup will need supervision and training also. That goes for all dogs as Shon stated above.
          If you don’t try, you’ll never know if you could.


          • #6
            I've been a mix breed pitbull owner for the past 3 years or so now and very recently acquired the blue eyed angle in the next photo....She's 13 weeks old and i named her Zoey...
            In my experience they are not aggressive at all...but i do keep strangers out of the yard so my dogs doesn't get accustomed to letting everyone we don't know in...
            They are very well mannered with people we know and do accept other puppies into the family...
            But we made a mistake once of letting go of our Collie cross and letting her back in a year later into the did not go well at all the 2nd time....we had to give her up for adoption in the end...
            Never allow an adult dog from outside into the family...they will tear that stranger adult dog apart...I'm talking by experience...
            Otherwise...very good dogs ..

            Sent from my LG-K520 using Tapatalk


            • #7
              Originally posted by johnoosthuizen View Post
              Never allow an adult dog from outside into the family...they will tear that stranger adult dog apart.
              Even with American Pit Bull Terriers, that isn't necessarily always the case. I'll add more to this tomorrow.
              "It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it."
              -- General Douglas MacArthur


              • #8
                No necessary. It all depends on how they are trained and raised.


                • #9
                  It is reported on temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society that pit bulls had a passing rate of 82% or better — compared to only 77% of the general dog population. These temperament tests consist of putting a dog through a series of unexpected situations, some involving strangers. Any signs of unprovoked aggression or panic in these situations result in failure of the test. The achievement of pit bulls in this study disproves that they are inherently aggressive to people.

                  Animal aggression and human aggression are not linked in the canine brain, in contrast to how it is with humans. Science informs us that someone who is abusive to animals is also prone to be abusive to humans. A dog that is hostile to one animal may or may not be hostile to another animal; the aggression does not extend to other species; rather, each animal is unique to itself. For canines of the pit bull breed, aggression toward people is quite abnormal. They are neither intrinsically or innately hostile to people. Numerous factors, including the environment and development during crucial stages, but most importantly, human behavior shaping, contribute to aggression. Although they have been taught to attack other dogs or bulls for centuries, they have never all been bred to be human-aggressive, which is very different from animal aggression in dogs. Additionally, breeding any two dogs, whether pit bull terriers or other breeds, that exhibit genuine animal or human aggression is now frowned upon in the responsible breeding community.

                  Pit bulls get along well with other animals and canine companions. The pit bull, meanwhile, was historically bred to kill big creatures. A pit bull can become more tolerant of other animals with early and ongoing socialization. However, a dog’s reaction to other dogs and animals is greatly influenced by genetics. Pit bull breeds of dogs have a high pain threshold and a strong work ethic. Even though each dog is an individual with a distinct set of traits and qualities, understanding why they were specifically bred can help us recognize patterns in their behavior. Any dog can experience enough discomfort for their fight/flight/freeze system to activate. Given their breeding, pit bulls may frequently (but most definitely not always) have their fight system active. Dog fights can be avoided with careful socialization, supporting the requirements of puppies as they develop, good nourishment, and responsible ownership. All dog fights may be avoided. Slowly introduce any dog, pit bull or otherwise, to new dogs.As is the case for any dog, a pit bull that was dog friendly at 7 months of age may suddenly show signs of intolerance of unfamiliar dogs around two years old given that is around the time of the last inset of maturity.


                  • #10
                    Welcome to the forum Amy and thanks for joining in!


                    • #11
                      Hey All I had to chime in there really is NO such thing as a "pitbull"
                      The so called “Pitbull” is they really aren’t a breed.

                      There REALLY is No Such Thing as a Pitbull.

                      They get a very bad rap same as Rottweilers about attacking people well…. Ya know so do Chihuahuas and actually I have seen more vicious Chihuahuas than Pits.

                      It has become a stereotype that all Pitbulls will turn on you. Countries, states, cities banning them when they really are the most loving, cuddley and VERY Loyal dogs.
                      See the Real definition of a Pitbull below.

                      Picture a pit bull in your head, and most likely you see a muscular, short-haired dog with a broad head, deep chest, and a medium-to-large size. But it might surprise you to learn that there is actually no such thing as a “pit bull.” In fact, a pit bull isn’t a specific breed—there are several types of pit bulls. Pit bull is an umbrella term that’s used for several breeds often referred to as “bully breeds.” This is no reflection on their temperments, however. Bully breeds are generally playful and affectionate dogs when raised properly.

                      Pit bull-type dogs often face unfair discrimination. These dogs were bred for their muscular build and consequently have been used in inhumane dogfighting sports. This has given them an inaccurate reputation as being overly aggressive dogs. In fact, pit bull-type dogs are usually incredibly loving, loyal, and gentle with their family members. They also tend to be playful and eager to please.

                      Here are the five breeds that are most commonly referred to as types of pit bull dogs.

                      1. American Bully The American bully is a relatively new breed that was first developed in the ’80s and ’90s. Recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2013 but not yet by the American Kennel Club, the breed came from the American pit bull terrier and other bulldog-type breeds. In comparison to the American pit bull terrier, bullies are much broader, more compact, and have a wider head. Bullies from responsible breeders have been specifically developed for their gentle and affectionate temperament. But bullies are still strong and athletic, so they need plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy, as well as regular socialization time with people and other dogs.Breed Overview

                      HEIGHT: 13 to 20 inches

                      WEIGHT: 65 to 85 pounds

                      PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Compact, strong, thickset, and muscular; short and smooth coat; comes in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns.

                      2. American Pit Bull Terrier The American pit bull terrier is another breed recognized by the United Kennel Club but not the American Kennel Club. Its ancestors were 19th-century terriers and bulldogs that came from the United Kingdom, and the breed took shape in North America in the late 19th century. Sadly this breed has been commonly used for dogfighting. Although modern American pit bull terriers can have a high prey drive and don’t always get along with other dogs, they’re known for forming strong bonds with their families. And as with most pit bull types, they tend to be loyal and affectionate. Be sure you have enough time to devote to play, socializing, and exercise if you are considering adopting an American pit bull terrier.Breed Overview

                      HEIGHT: 17 to 20 inches

                      WEIGHT: 30 to 65 pounds

                      PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Muscular build; short coat; colors include black, white, brindle, fawn, blue, red, brown, tan, and gray

                      3. American Staffordshire Terrier

                      The American Staffordshire terrier also has roots in the terriers and bulldogs of 19th century England. Its development in late 19th century North America resulted in a dog that was larger than its English relatives. The breed wasn’t used as commonly for fighting as some of the other pit bull types, which resulted in more mellow dogs. But Am Staffs still can have a high prey drive and don’t always get along with other dogs. However, they’re known for being loyal, playful, and good natured with their families. They do well in households that have plenty of time for canine interaction, play, and exercise.Breed Overview

                      HEIGHT: 17 to 19 inches

                      WEIGHT: 50 to 80 pounds

                      PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Short coat; variety of colors including black, brown, blue, fawn, red, and liver; brindle pattern and/or white markings are also seen

                      4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

                      Despite the Staffordshire bull terrier’s development in the 19th century for dogfighting, the breed today is more closely associated with being unfailingly loyal and affectionate with its family. These dogs often love nothing more than snuggling with their owners, and they tend to be patient and gentle with children. They are a breed that is best suited to a household where they will have company for most of the day, as they can be prone to separation anxiety. Moreover, they tend to be people-focused and don’t always get along well with other dogs. Still, they make a fine pet for an active household that has time to devote to their need for attention and exercise.Breed Overview

                      HEIGHT: 14 to 16 inches

                      WEIGHT: 24 to 38 pounds

                      PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Muscular build; colors include black, blue, brindle, fawn, white, and more.

                      5. American Bulldog
                      The American bulldog is a descendant of English bulldogs, which were developed in the 17th century for bull baiting—a blood sport that involved dogs fighting bulls. In North America, bulldogs became working dogs on farms and all-around friendly companions. They tend to be extremely affectionate with their families, often wanting to sit in laps despite their large size. They also often love kids. But they can be very protective of their families, so training and socialization starting in puppyhood are a must to ensure they will be friendly to people outside of your household.
                      Breed Overview

                      HEIGHT: 20 to 28 inches

                      WEIGHT: 60 to 120 pounds

                      PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Stocky build; deep chest; short muzzle; typically white with patches of brindle, red, black, or shades of brown or gray
                      What dog breeds make a pit bull?

                      There is no specific breed called a pit bull; pit bulls are either American bullys, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American bulldogs, or a mix of these breeds.

                      Originally, these breeds were created by mixing terriers and and bulldogs, but they are now recognized as distinct breeds.