Breaking the Pit bull Stigma

Many people are living in fear of any “Pit bull” they may come across.  Let’s be clear, “Pit bull” is not a breed, there is a breed that is called the American Pit bull Terrier, however, most consider “pit bulls” to be anything ranging from a Staffordshire Bull Terrier to a Boxer.  There is a mass confusion among many in the United States about what a pit bull is, and our media hasn’t helped.  Some of the other breeds characterized by the public as “Pit bull” are: American Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, and certain Dane mixes, among others.

The first step in reversing the Pit bull stigma is debunking all of the myths about these fantastic companions.  The following is a list of the most common myths about the pit bull, and the reasons that they are simply not true!

“Pit Bulls have locking jaws.”

The pit bull has the same jaw structure as all other canine breeds, which has been proven again and again by experts.  There are very few studies with a focus on jaw structure comparison of pit bulls and other breeds; however it has been proven among them that there is no difference in jaw structure of these animals.  According to Dr. I. Lerh Brisbin of the University of Georgia there is no “Locking Mechanism” in their structure.

“Pit Bulls don’t feel pain.”

Pit bulls, relative to size, are the same as all other dogs when it comes to their anatomy.  They have the same nervous system as all other canine breeds.  Because of their being bred to fight, pit bulls have a natural instinct to ignore pain, as well as the persistence of the terrier breed that drives them to keep going until they complete their task no matter what.

“Pit Bulls have more bite pressure per square inch than any other breed.”

False again.  Recently, Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic conducted a comparative

test between a Pit Bull, a Rottweiler, and a German Shepherd.  He used a bite force comparison to check the pressure of a bite from a German Shepherd, Rottweiler, and a Pit bull.  The results are as follows:  Pit Bull was 235 lbs PSI, German Shepherd was 238 lbs PSI, Rottweiller was 328 lbs PSI.

“Pit Bulls attack more people than any other breed.”

Bite statistics are difficult to obtain accurately.  Based on the fact that many people consider over 30 different breeds to be pit bulls, it is very likely that most bites reported are not indeed from pit bulls.  Considering these factors, the actual number of attacks attributable to American Pit Bull Terriers is considerably lower than represented.  Also important to understand, is the extreme popularity of the Pit Bull.  By some estimates, they are currently the most popular of all dog breeds.  It is only logical to assume that the breed with the higher number of individual dogs would be represented with a higher number of bites.

 “The brains of Pit Bulls swell and cause them to go crazy”.

Before the pit bull became popular as the “Macho Dog” of choice, there was a Doberman fad.  Even then there was a rumor circulating that the Doberman had the same brain swelling issue.  There was no scientific evidence for this claim in the Doberman, and there is no evidence for the pit bull either.

 “Dogs that are aggressive towards other dogs are aggressive towards people.”

Human aggression in dogs is entirely different than aggression directed at other animals. Historically, humans were always in the pit, handling fighting dogs closely, while the animals were in full fight drive. A dog that bit a human was promptly killed, thus selectively breeding human aggression out of this animal

“Pit Bulls cannot get along with other animals”:

Pit bulls can get along with many other animals, however proper introductions and supervision are required when getting any animals comfortable with living together.

Look for Part II (“The history of Pit Bulls”) & III (“Our Heroes”) of this series in the upcoming months.

For a more in-depth look at this majestic creature, take a moment to view:

National Geographic Wild – Cesar Millan – Love My Pitbull (full episode)

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