8 Myths About Pitbulls

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About Pit Bulls

Pitbulls are widely recognized as vicious, aggressive, fighting dogs that are unsafe to be around. Is there any truth to the stigmas? Are Pitbulls blood-thirsty animals or are the rumors just that, rumors. Below are eight common myths about Pitbulls and the truth behind them. It is critical for people to understand the truth about Pitbulls so that they can help put a stop to the constant stigma that is attached to them.

1. Pitbulls Have “Lock Jaw”

This is one of the most well-known myths said about the Pitbull breed. The truth is that Pitbulls do not contain a “special jaw type” or any kind of unique physical trait in their jaw structure nor do they produce a particular enzyme in their saliva that (involuntarily) causes them to lock their jaws on a person, object or other animals.

If you were to hold a Pitbull’s skull next to any other dog’s skull, you would see that most of the physical characteristics are the same. Some physical features may differ slightly depending on the size of the skulls and the breed of the second dog’s skull. However, none of the differences in the skull formation will indicate a “lock jaw” mechanism.

So, how did this myth come to be if it is not based on fact? Well, Pitbulls have a personality trait that many dog breeds have. Loyalty and determination. Pitbulls are incredible companions and will stand by their owners through thick and thin. Even the most neglected and abused Pitbulls remain loyal to their owners.

The “lock jaw” myth was created when people noticed a Pitbulls holding on tight to an object, person, or animal. Their determination and loyalty are what drive the Pitbull to hang on for extended periods of time. They do so voluntarily and could easily release their grip if told to do so by their owner. Unfortunately, there are cases of Pitbulls being so determined to keep their grip that they do not release when their owners command them to. This is often due to the Pitbull interpreting the situation as particularly dangerous. In these cases, the Pitbull’s instinct to protect their owners or themselves takes over and likely for a good reason.

2. Pitbulls Are Naturally Vicious

This particular myth is unfair to canines as a species, not just the Pitbull breed. Each dog, regardless of size or breed, should be evaluated as an individual. To simply state that Pitbulls are vicious animals is similar to someone saying that all poor people are lazy. These stigmas are created based on a select few that fit the criteria.  Dogs, as a species, are most often a product of their environment and their upbringing.

If a dog, any dog, is trained, socialized, active in the lives of their families, and are loved then they will behave according to their training, social observations, as well as return the love. If a dog, any dog, is trained to attack a person, object or animal on command or if he is taught that a particular situation is to be determined as a “trigger” for an attack then he will behave in this manner.

While it is true that every dog has his own personality and temperament, the majority of how a dog acts is a direct reflection on how he is trained or treated at home. In fact, it is often stated that there are no bad dogs, just bad people. Pitbull experts widely discuss this concept, and many compare their wrongful stereotyping to that of religious, racial, or gender profiling of humans.

3. Pitbulls Are Prone To Unprovoked Aggression

Dogs as a species are not known to be naturally aggressive towards people. This particularly true for Pitbulls as they are actually one of the most people loving, loyal and friendly dog breeds in the world. Their loyalty and love for their humans are so embedded in their gene pool that it can sometimes be determined as a fault.

Pitbulls as a breed tend to love their owners so much that they will obey the command to harm others even though it contradicts their instincts. Their instincts are to love all people, including strangers. Their acceptance of strangers could also be determined as a fault as it often means that the dog is not a good guard dog. However, Pitbulls are able to distinguish an actual threat from a false one and would defend their human if there were a clear threat to them.

Dog aggression is a completely separate trait from people aggression. Some Pitbulls may be less accepting of other dogs in the home or in the neighborhood. This is not a particular breed trait; it is a canine trait. There are simply some dogs that prefer to be the only dog in the home and dogs are naturally territorial of their homes.

However, being territorial does not mean that the Pitbull will pick a fight with another dog. It just means that he will feel the need to protect it should another dog pose a threat. Pitbulls are a muscular, powerful, and intimidating dog breed that are appealing to people that are interested in dog fighting. It is because of these people that Pitbulls are believed to be naturally aggressive dogs.

Pitbulls, as a breed, will also not typically pick a fight with other animals unless they feel that the animal is posing a threat. They may bark at or chase a squirrel or a stray cat as most canines do. But, they are not likely to attack them unless instructed to do so by their owners.

4. Pitbulls Are An Adoption Risk

This myth may not be as widely known to the public as some of the other myths discussed here.

First of all, we need to look at what is meant by “adoption risk.” Some people believe that adopting a Pitbull from a dog rescue facility or an animal shelter is risky due to the fact that many of these dogs do not have a clear history. Therefore, people are steered to believe that it is safer to adopt a Pitbull from a reputable breeder where they can meet the breeders, see the environment and even meet the parents.

The truth of this matter is that each dog (regardless of breed) should be carefully evaluated as an individual and not held to a stereotype of their breed. In some cases, dogs are affected by their upbringing, genetics, and past history in a negative way, and therefore they may have a negative outlook on people as a result. However, the greater majority of the dogs that are taken into shelters or rescue facilities remain loyal and loving to humans regardless of how they were treated in the past.

The core of every dog is to be loyal and loving. Adopting a Pitbull from an animal shelter or rescue facility is not necessarily a risk because most of them evaluate the dogs when they are brought in. Then, they separate the adoptable dogs from the dogs that will have difficulties being adopted out. The adoptable dogs are then listed as such, and the non-adoptable dogs are either placed in a behavioral therapy program to reform them, or they are put down.

On the other hand, adopting a dog from a reputable breeder is always a good option! If you are able to meet the breeders, the puppies, and the parents as well as assess their living situation, then you may find a pup that not only has a clear history but one that should give you peace of mind. It takes an extraordinary individual to adopt a dog that may have a painful past and be willing to love him in spite of it.

5. Pitbull Puppies Are Better To Adopt Than Adult Pitbulls

You may be interested as to how this could be considered a myth. How are puppies not the better choice? Well, the answer is simple. Puppies do not stay puppies. They grow up, and when they do, they are no longer that adorable ball of playful energy that you once brought home. They grow up to be rather large, muscular and seemingly intimidating adult dogs. However, their size is not the only thing that changes when the puppy matures. They also grow into their personalities.

You find out whether your dog is dominant or if he is submissive in regards to people. You find out if he has a tendency to accept other dogs into his territory or if he will protect it at all costs. Puppies (in general) are loving, playful, and accepting of everyone and everything. These traits could change as he grows up and he could become timid, uncertain, or even aggressive towards certain individuals or animals as an adult.

The potential for this is significantly reduced if your puppy is raised alongside those individuals and animals and if he is properly trained and socialized. Training and socialization should begin at a very early age. If it does, your puppy will likely mature into a well-mannered adult dog. On the other hand, some puppies are stubborn and will refuse to obey these attempts.

Adopting an adult, Pitbull is a much more predictable option because he is already matured into who he is going to become. The element of surprise is potentially eliminated. However, it is worth mentioning that adult dogs can come with issues as well.

They may not be able to recover from their past if it was particularly abusive and therefore he may suffer from anxiety or have trust issues. In these cases, therapy is often a tremendous help. Adult dogs typically do better when they are adopted into a home that does not already have children or animals (unless the dog has been evaluated as children-friendly or animal-friendly) because they may feel overwhelmed by them or become aggressive towards them.

Most of the time, adopting a Pitbull puppy or choosing to adopt an adult Pitbull is a matter of preference and knowing what your lifestyle can handle. If you want to give an adult dog a second chance at a forever home and you like the idea of knowing what kind of dog you are bringing home, then an adult dog could be the right choice for you.

If you have the time and energy to raise a puppy and attempt to help him become the adult dog, you envision then adopting a puppy could be the right choice. In the end, only you can know for sure.

6. Pitbulls Will Eventually Turn On Their Owners

This particular myth is downright ridiculous and must have been created by someone that didn’t understand the canine species at all. Therefore, it is simple to explain why this is a myth as well as what the truth is. Pitbulls (and all dogs) are genetically programmed to be loving and loyal. It is these qualities in dogs that are the main reason behind canine adoptions! Dogs are recognized as “man’s best friend” for a reason, and it is that when you adopt a dog, you are bringing home a furry friend that you will have for the rest of his life.

In some severe cases, a dog may become aggressive with his owner. These dogs do not suddenly decide that they dislike their owner and therefore they are going to attack them. No, their aggression towards their owners is often the result of improper handling, abuse, neglect, or a failure to notice the warning signs. Faulty genetics in the dog are sometimes also to blame if their genetics have caused the dog to develop a disorder which appears as impulsive aggression.

7. A Pitbull Mix Is Less Aggressive Than A Purebred Pitbull

The amount of aggression displayed by a particular dog typically has very little to do with their breed. Every dog will display a level of tolerance towards humans and other animals. Some dogs will be more tolerant than other but; it is not due to their breed. The factors that are typically responsible for low tolerance or aggression include environmental contributions, upbringing (amount of training, home care, and socialization), as well as genetics. Dogs of any breed (even mix breeds) are the product of these factors.

8. Pitbulls Are Unsafe To Be Around Children

Pitbulls were once known as the “nanny” of all dog breeds. This is because they are loving, playful, loyal, and protective to their very cores. In fact, many years ago, were not stereotyped as aggressive fighting dogs like they are today. Back then, they were viewed as the perfect companion for children and families.

A well trained and socialized Pitbull will without a doubt be safe to have around children. They love to play, and their muscular bodies give them the tough exterior that a dog requires when trying to keep up with rambunctious children. However, it is critical to mention that no dog (of any breed) should be left alone with young children. Young children have not learned the concept of boundaries yet, and they may not interpret pulling the dog’s tail or climbing on the dog may make him feel anxious.

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