It is no secret that pit bulls are one of the few dog breeds in the world that tend to have a bad reputation. They are often a dog breed that is depicted as vicious, unruly, and downright dangerous around individuals both old and young. However, many are finally realizing that this is far from the truth. These stereotyped canines are more often than not gentle giants, and only come to that aggressive temperament through abuse and neglectful situations that lead to distrust. In fact, because of these terrible rumors and stereotypical judgments, these pups even end up banned from various areas of the world, and are often left behind at animal shelters and animal rescue organizations. Even with all of this scrutiny, we are here to reveal to you the real truth when it comes to this breed of canine.
When it comes to pit bulls, as we eluded to before, there are many different falsities about the breed itself, as well as their characteristics. That is why we are here. In this article, we are going to count down the top twenty things that you didn’t know about pit bulls, and the things that you have gotten totally wrong about the breed in recent years. Whether it be their temperament, their characteristics, or the history of the breed itself, there is a lot to cover. With all of that said, let’s get started with our count down.
Here are 20 facts you didn’t know about pit bulls
They Are Social, People Loving Dogs
We are putting this in our number one spot on the list because there are so many people who think otherwise in the world today. Pit Bulls are not likely to act aggressively to humans, and the only reason why they might be more aggressive would be if they came from an abusive or neglectful situation previously that caused them to have a distrust in humans. They are very gentle and loving creatures, especially towards children, and often have a good temperament and personality that makes them excellent family dogs, aside from popular belief.
Original Reason For Breeding
So, if they are genuinely good to humans the majority of the time, then why do pit bulls get such a bad rap? Well, when we look at the history of the breed itself, we see that the pit bull was actually bred to be a fighting dog. This has, of course, carried out throughout history, and has caused quite a bit of scrutiny toward the dog breed in general. However, not every pit bull is bred for that reason nowadays; Just be wary that your pit bull may have an instinctual tendency to be slightly more aggressive toward other dogs that they come in contact with, whether it be in the neighborhood or at a local dog park. With that said, pit bulls, again, are not aggressive like that toward humans.
Two Different Sub Breeds
When we look at the pit bull breed itself, we see that they actually belong to the Terrier family of dogs, and are often separated into sub breeds beneath that specific category. The most common sub breed that we know of in this circumstance is the American Pit Bull Terrier, which tends to be a bit of a smaller dog weight wise, coming in at around 45-65 pounds when they are full grown. They are definitely smaller than the other sub breed, which is the American Bully. This dog tends to come in at 70 to 100 pounds once they reach maturity, although both of these breeds can differentiate when it comes to their breeding in general. Both of these breeds have very muscular, stout type body shape, making their agility and physicality great in that sense. But don’t let size fool you when it comes to their loving and warm hearts.
They Are Sensitive To Temperature Change
Because pit bulls are often short haired dog breeds, and with light coats that tend to shed immensely, they are more prone as a breed to be susceptible to overheating during the warmer months of the year, and are also more prone to hypothermia during the cooler, winter months of the year as well. That is why it is so important to pay attention to the weather every day, and to make sure that you pooch as the appropriate accommodation to keep them safe and healthy, especially if you are going to be out of the house and away from them for most of the day. Keeping a careful watch on their sensitivity to heat and temperature is something that should be considered with all breeds of dogs, honestly, but it is something that is often overlooked with dog owners all over the world.
The Truth Of Tail Wagging
When the majority of dog owners and lovers see a dog wagging their tail, we automatically assume that the dog is happy to see us, right? Well, when it comes to the pit bull, you need to think on a deeper and more serious level. Often when a dog is wagging their tail, especially a pit bull, it is because they are excited as opposed to being happy. This excitement can often lead to them getting a bit out of hand, which is instinctual for the pit bull breed (as we mentioned before). That being said, when you are walking your pit bull, or you have them outside, and you see them begin to wag their tail, make sure to have them secured, and steer them away from any potential mess that could occur.
Where Their Origins Lie
Yes, the American Pit Bull Terrier did indeed originate in the United States. However, there are other pit bulls that have been known to originate in other European countries, such as Ireland, Scotland, and England back in the 19th century. Often when we see these breeds that originated across the pond, they tend to be a little more short and stout in stature than that of the American Pit Bull Terrier, but their temperaments and characteristics are pretty much the same otherwise. Fun fact, while these pups did originate in these countries, they are now officially banned in England and in Wales, and have been banned from these countries since the early ’90s. Talk about the irony of the situation.
Molosser Dog Category
Aside from breeds, many dogs are often also separated into different categories of dogs which are differentiated by characteristics and temperaments. The Pit Bull belongs to a category known as the Molosser Dog Category, which tends to descend from the Moloss stock of dogs that first originated in Greece back in the day. Other dog breeds that are found in this category include Bullmastiff, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Boxer, Great Dane, American Bulldog, Rottweiler, and many other breeds as well. You can find more information on this category and other categories that exist on the web.
Get A Break Stick
One thing that is really good to have if you are the proud owner of a pit bull is a break stick. If you have never heard of the term before, it is a tool that can be used to break up any fights between your pit and another dog that you encounter when out for a walk in the neighborhood or anywhere else, if such a situation should happen. You will use the break stick when necessary by putting it into your pit’s mouth, typically behind their teeth, and twisting the break stick itself until you pry their mouth open with it. Although it shouldn’t need to be used quite as frequently, it is always good to have one with you just in case.
No Pain, No Gain
There are many myths about Pit Bulls that tend to circulate through our society, especially because they often get such a bad reputation. One of these myths is that Pit Bulls feel no pain. This is obviously a very false statement, in that all dogs and all creatures can feel some amount of pain. However, when it comes to all dog breeds, they are ALL able to ignore some of the pain that they are feeling. This is most noticeable when they are intently focused on something, and as we said before, this ability to block out pain can be found in any type of dog and any dog breed as well.
What Is In A Dog
Often more than not, and especially when adopting a dog from an animal shelter or an animal rescue group, the Pit Bulls that you see are not entirely pure bred pit bulls. There is often some type of mix of different Molosser category dogs that are found within the animal; However, these dogs are often labeled Pit Bulls, which also comes along with the scrutiny and bad rap that they Pit Bull has nowadays. These mistakes in labeling the dog breed also cause much anxiety with anti pit bull groups and other worry warts when it comes to the breed, and makes these innocent breeds get a bad name as well.
They Are Not AKC Recognized
If you are looking for a legitimate Pit Bull breeder for your family, you may have to do a bit of digging to find a reputable breeder. There are no technical Pit Bull breeds that are AKC registered, although there are some breeds, like the American Terrier, that are often referred to as pit bulls. In either case, it is hard to tell a difference between the two, and will also guarantee you a great dog for you and your family to have in the home. However, although they are not AKC recognized, they do fall under two other groups or registries that were formed, including the UKC and the American Dog Breeds Association. These two groups allow for the dog breed to be better recognized, and can help guarantee that you are getting a pure bred pit bull for your family.
Fence Climbing Fame
When you look at a Pit Bull, you will first notice their stocky and muscular build to their bodies. This physique allows for them to have one of the most unique dog skills out there, and that is there ability to climb and jump fences. This isn’t always the best thing if you are the owner of a pit bull, and are wanting to keep them confined to the backyard with a fence. In either case, you will be amazed the first time that you see a Pit Bull climb up the fence with the greatest of ease and speed. You can find many clips of this on YouTube, if you have to see it to believe it.
The Lock Jaw Myth
With the bad rap that American Pit Bulls have received over the years, many rumors have been spread. One of these rumors that seeps into the minds of those who don’t know any better is the Lock Jaw myth. This myth is that Pit Bulls have a unique jaw that is particularly strong, and can lock down on anything or anyone that gets in the way or make it impossible for them to let go. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and it has been proven that Pit Bulls do not have a locking jaw. In fact, there jaw and mouth are no different from any other dog breeds out there.
They Aren’t The Best Guard Dogs
As we mentioned before, pit bulls are very loving creatures when it comes to humans, and are very unlikely to be aggressive towards them. This is why in the majority of cases, pit bulls just do not make great guard dogs for the home. Because this breed of dog is so social, they are more likely to greet a possible intruder than to attack them in that event. If you want your pit bull to become a guard dog for the home, you will want to invest in protection training and other training to help get them to that point.
Used As War Time Propaganda
During the era of World War II, many posters and propaganda that were used to promote patriotism throughout the nation featured the American Pit Bull terrier as their mascot, if you will. The dog was used as a sign of the American courage and spirit that the people should possess and maintain, and was often associated as the American Hero during that time as well. This type of technique was also used with other animals as well, such as the Dachshunds in Germany. Many of the posters that were featured showed pictures of Pit Bulls, claiming them to be the ‘All American Pit Bull’. There were even some pit bulls that took to the war fields themselves, and served the military in a different light.
Pit Bulls Finding Fame
Aside from their rise to fame during the ’30s, ’40s, and thereafter, Pit Bulls have also gotten a slight rise to stardom throughout more recent years as well, regardless of their bad rap. There have been many different pit bulls featured in some very well known films in the industry, including ‘Little Rascals’, and others as well. In fact, there are many famous figures throughout history and in our modern day today that own pit bulls, including Theodore Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Jamie Foxx, Rachel Ray, Dr. Phil, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, and even Alicia Silverstone. Not only do many famous figures have a record for owning and celebrating the lives of these pups, but there are also two different television series that revolve around the well being and rescuing of Pit Bulls in the nation (‘Pit bulls and Parolees’ and ‘Pit Boss’). These are the types of things that help us feel hopeful about Pit Bulls one day getting the reputation they deserve, and finding the homes that will treat them with respect.
Not Always A Vicious Attack
Although it is not always likely, there are cases in which, yes, a Pit Bull will decide to attack. However, it is not always a vicious and boisterous show when a Pit Bull decides to attack (such as growling or snarling), like you will often see in media portrayals. In fact, most Pit Bulls will actually begin their attack when they are rolled into submission, which means when they are laying on their backs, showing off their bellies. This also shows how Pit Bulls have evolved over the years, as they have come to ignore those tendencies that often allow them to get out of conflicts in that manner of speaking. With that said, even if you are just playing with your Pit Bull, be on guard if he starts to get too excited, or even lays on his back in submission to you.
All Colors Of The Rainbow
Be prepared when you are searching for the perfect pit bull pooch for your home, especially if you are looking for a certain look or feature specifically; Pit bulls can come in all different colorations and patterns for your picking pleasure. The majority of these dogs are blue, fawn, red, and brindle colored, but you can find other variations as well depending on the breeder. The only colors that you will not see on a Pit Bull when you are looking are albinism and merle (which is a white coat with staggered spotting around it). Otherwise, you will be able to find your own and one of a kind pit bull with the greatest of ease.
Unfortunately, aside from all of these facts that we have stated to you about Pit Bulls being such good family dogs and having such good temperament, these dogs are actually banned and outlawed in many different cities all across the United States and around the world as well. This can include many apartment facilities and Home Owner’s Associations not allowing the animals that would normally allow pets, namely dogs, and other similar situations. However, this is slowly starting to change, and we at hoping for the best. We have seen this type of scenario happen for many other breeds who have had bad reputations in the past, including German Shepherds and the Rottweiler, to name a couple. Here’s to everyone finally realizing that these dogs are as sweet as pie, and don’t mean to cause any trouble to their families.
Also Known As The ‘Nanny Dog’
After the end of the World War II era, and as the beginning of the 1950’s took flight, many American families began referring to the American Pit Bull as the ‘Nanny Dog’. Many families had this breed of dog in their home because they were such good family dogs in general, and were especially loyal and well mannered with children. Although they didn’t particularly nanny the children per say, they were still great entertainers, and very lovable dogs; They prove this temperament today as well, although it is hard to see with all of the media scrutiny that surrounds the dog breed.
It is amazing to us that many of these facts about the American Pit Bull Terrier can get overlooked simply because there are those in the world that are afraid of something that could potentially happen. As we mentioned time and time again, pit bulls are not likely to attack a person of any size or age, yet the rumors and false media stories continue to circle in our society. It is important that we as dog lovers work to make the pit bull a more family friendly persona, as what many pit bull owners already realize. It will just take some time for the world to change their views on this specific dog breed, as we have seen with other dog breeds like the Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, and so many others over the course of history.
With all of that said, we have officially concluded our list of the top twenty things you more than likely didn’t know about Pit Bulls and their lovable selves. It is high time that we make others see what amazing and gentle giants these pooches are, and save them from those fates that so many face in animal shelters and rescue organizations all over the world. You can find out more information on how to help Pit Bulls all across the globe, or even to help your local animal shelter as well, either online or via your vet clinic/local animal shelter volunteers.