The Truth About Pit Bulls

Recently, a woman in Connecticut was mauled by two pit bulls and she ultimately lost her struggle to survive. It is not uncommon to hear such a story where this type of dog is concern.

A self-taught canine behaviorist, I have been studying the pit bull controversy for many a year.

The pit bull is the name for a “type” of dog. Breeds such as the American pit bull terrier, the American staffordshire terrier the American bully and the staffordshire bull terrier are all included. With similar characteristics, pit bulls are generally broad in stature, powerful in bite ratio and sporting a large square head. It is difficult for experts to label these as “non-pit bulls.”

Originally bred as fighting dogs, pit bulls were used to hold the heads of larger animals, including bulls. Eventually the use of dogs in blood sports was banned in many countries, but unlawful pit bull fighting still occurs in many a back alley. This type of canine is used today as catch dogs to hunt and drive livestock, to gather semi-wild hogs and cattle, and as family companions.

Bred by combining the tenacity of the terrier and the power of the bull dog, pit bulls have also shown their prowess as bear-baiters.

[Note: It would be remiss to not add that often drug houses are guarded by pit bulls as they may be owned for protection in crime ridden areas for their ability to intimidate.]

Genetically speaking, the pit bull may have some aggressive tendencies in their blood line as may rottweilers, doberman pinchers and a variety of shepard breeds. If one attains a puppy, it can be difficult to know the genetic predispositions in a given dog.

All breeds can and do attack as they are the domestication of select breeding of the wolf.

With all the pit bull controversy, it is interesting to note that one is most likely to be bitten by one of these breeds; dachshund, chihuahua, and the jack russell terrier.

Hear in lies the dichotomy… “IF” one is bitten by the more likely biters, it can be fairly straight forward to see that they are of small stature and can be fought off. With the exemption of the jack russell terrier, the bite of the doberman as an example, is less likely to cause the damage that the immensely powerful pit bull can inflict.

Many say that any pit bull raised in a non-aggressive environment by gentle and knowledgeable owners will not attack. All breeds can and do attack as they are the domestication of select breeding of the wolf. Of course, the process of domestication has led to wonderful canine companions for the most part; hence, “man’s best friend.”

I would never state that one should or shouldn’t own a pit bull. My cat has bitten me as has a yellow labrador. Animals are unpredictable. Just look at the human animal and the violence we have created in our world.