Debunking The Myths about Pit Bull Attacks

pit bull

Pit bulls are a highly popular breed, but a lot of misinformation about them exists. They are among the most misunderstood and maligned dogs on the face of the earth. It is not fair that pit bulls do not get positive publicity often. The reason for this is that many people are ignorant about the breed. This breed has also suffered from the stigma of general misinformation and erroneous media coverage, which have led to city-wide bans, pets getting torn away from their families, and the passing away of innocent dogs. According to, one in four animals that are handed away to shelters is pit bulls. On average, their euthanasia rate hovers at about 93% across the board. Something should be done to save the breed from its undeserved poor reputation. Fortunately, people in recent times have started teaching people about the common pit bull myths. If provided with the opportunity, pit bulls can be loving companions, and in certain communities, they have become heroes that save individuals and their guardians from harm. The name pit bull is actually an umbrella term that refers to a group of distinct breeds sharing similar characteristics and traits. These breeds include:

  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • Bull terrier
  • American pit bull terrier
  • American Staffordshire terrier

Below, we debunk the myths about pit bull attacks.

1. Pit Bulls attack individuals more than other breeds

Pit bulls have been linked with more attacks than other dog breeds. This is not to say that some dog breeds have been mistaken for pit bulls. However, this dog breed should not get a poor reputation. Many of them were poorly trained or socialized. Again, temperament tests have displayed that pit bulls perform better than other dog breeds. While really tough and potentially dangerous pit bulls exist because of lack of training, many of them are just misunderstood dogs and can make the best friend you can ever ask for.

2. Pit bulls turn on people

Typically, pit bulls are a reliable breed for many people to own. Like their temperament tests show, these dogs are family-friendly and love to be around people. In a study that evaluated the factors linked with dog bite fatalities, almost eighty-five percent of the dogs that attacked people were not tethered in spite of the dog breed. The factors linked with a higher percent of dog bites included neglect, tethering the dogs outside for lengthy periods, and lack of positive interactions with individuals.

3. Pit bulls are naturally aggressive

Like other dog breeds, pit bulls are not naturally aggressive. They usually become that way because of a lack of training, affection, and socialization. It is possible to test the temparament of these dogs through various challenges, and one of the main organizations that perform the test is the American Temperament Test Society. The test places the dogs through different situations like exposing them to strangers. Pit bulls tend to have a pass rate of eighty-two percent or more. The average score of the general population is only 77 percent.

4. The jaws of pit bulls lock themselves

There is a prevailing myth that this dog breed has locking jaws. Many claim that it is essential to have a bar handy if you own a pit bull, so that you can use it to open the locked jaws if necessary. According to, there is a specific tool designed to pry open the jaws of pit bulls after they clamp down on an animal, object, or human being. However, it may not be that necessary to have such tools. The conformation and shape of a bit bull’s jaw are the same as that of other dogs. Pit bulls might have more highly developed muscles in their jaws, and they might be larger than those of golden retrievers. Yet, their jaws do not lock.

5. The bite strength of a pit bull is like that of a crocodile

Many anecdotal stories about a pit bull’s biting strength exist, but there is not much evidence that supports the biting force of dogs. One of the main reasons for this is that it is challenging to simulate the conditions under which dogs can exhibit maximal force as they bite like during a dog’s attack. Differences also exist like differences in the size of dogs, their jaws, how familiar they are with the individual or animal they are biting, and their past training history. Dogs with bite training generally bite harder compared to other dogs. However, experts estimate that a pit bull’s bite measures about 300 pounds per square inch. The dog that has the strongest bite force (700 pounds per square inch) is a Kangal. The bite force of a crocodile measures about 3,700 pounds per square inch.

6. The brains of pit bulls swell and make them go crazy

For a certain reason, some large dog breeds like pit bulls and Doberman pinschers have the reputation that their brains swell, and this triggers them to go crazy. Such dogs then attack people. Unless a rare medical condition causes the brain of your pet to swell, the brain does not get any larger.

7. Pit bulls that display aggression to dogs will get aggressive to humans

A link does not exist in the canine mind between aggression towards humans and dogs. In many cases, unless the dogs have not been properly socialized, they are great with humans. People breed them as large dogs that can take down other dogs. Therefore, it is essential to socialize it properly with other dogs or people. When it comes to small pets, it is essential to expose your pitbull well to them, as little animals, can trigger the predatory drive of your dog, particularly if they run.

8. Pit bulls that were aggressive to humans were culled

Historically, it is believed that dogfighters eliminated human-aggressive pit bulls from the gene pool. Dog handlers referred to them as man biters, and they culled them to avoid sustaining vicious bites. However, pedigrees and dogmen themselves display a different story. Many champions (CH), register of merit (ROM), and grand champion (GR CH) fighting dogs carry the title of man-eater or man-biter. The pit bulls were championship-breeding stock, and their famed owners did not consider culling the dogs.

9. Fatal attack statistics about these dog breeds are un-true

People who advocate for the breeding of the pit bull breed argue that the twenty-year fatal dog attack study beginning from 1979 to 1998 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September 2000 is inaccurate since it relied partly on newspaper articles. According to, Pitt bull advocates state that the fatalities linked with pit bulls are reported in the media more extensively. Thus, the study’s authors may have double-counted or miscounted the number of pit bull fatalities. If there were discrepancies in the report, it is likely that the fatal pit bull attacks were underreported rather than being over-reported.

10. Pit pulls are unpredictable

Even though pro-pit bull claims state that pit bulls are predictable, the breed often attacks without warning or provocation. Humane groups often document that pit bulls are bred selectively to hide warning signals before an attack so that they could excel in dogfighting. For example, a pit bull may not bare its teeth, growl, or provide a direct stare before attacking. Unlike other dog breeds, pit bulls also disrespect typical symptoms of appeasement and submission. According to Randall Lockwood, who is a researcher, pit bulls are also liars. He said that he discovered this fact as he investigated 3 pit bulls that mauled a boy in Georgia. When he went to evaluate the dog’s behavior, the dog came to the front of the fence, gave him a tail wag, and play bow, a little greeting, and socialization. However, when he went a little closer, the dog lunged for his face.

11. Pit bulls do not get along with other dogs

In the opinion of animals 24/7, 50,000 dogs every year, including about 34,250 pit bulls attack other animals. Of the 82,000 animals that are victimized every year, 59,000 die, and 23,000 survive the injuries. Among the dead are 15,500 dogs and pit bulls attack 95 percent of them. Six thousand hooved animals die and 93 percent of them are attacked by pit bulls. However, like with most problems, this is based on the specific personality and background of a pet. Pit bulls are not automatically hostile to other pets or dogs. Even pit bulls raised in abusive and harsh environments can become docile companions. They can enjoy happy lives shared with other pets and humans. However, pit bulls have specific tendencies that can minimize the activities they can take part safely in. They include high activity, ease of overestimation, and high prey drive. Pet daycares and other places with many dogs can overstimulate pit bulls and get them worked up, but this can also happen to boxers and other breeds that also have a low threshold for stimulation.

12. Pit bulls are great guard dogs

Even though pit bulls can make great guard dogs, they are not necessarily great guard dogs naturally. It is necessary to train them to be great guard dogs. In most cases, your house guarding pit bull is likely to lick an intruder instead of biting it. Many pit bulls and pit bull mixes are family-oriented and love humans. Unless you train your pit bull to be defensive, if it is well socialized, it is not necessarily going to guard your house. It might be extra protective of your family, but this is not something you can count on always. If you want a great guard dog without placing time into training one, this may not be the right dog breed for you.

13. Adopting a pit bull is the same as adopting any other dog breed

Even though pit bulls that are behaviorally sound make great family companions, the reality is that you need to consider a few things to adopt a pit bull. Showing aggression to other dogs can be a problem with pit bulls, and in spite of your socialization efforts, they can become dog-aggressive when they reach maturity, at about 2 years old. This can affect your ability to keep other pets in your home and ensure that your dog does not get the opportunity to injure the other pets. Pit bulls face prejudice from many individuals who are not knowledgeable about them. Therefore, if you want to adopt one, you should consider the concerns of your neighbors and friends, and educate them about pit bulls. Discrimination and prejudice can extend beyond individuals, and in some cases, it can include local legislation that bans pit bulls from the community. Make sure you check local laws before you adapt and move with your pitbull. It can also be more challenging to obtain homeowner’s insurance when living with a pit bull, but some insurance firms do not discriminate based on a dog’s breed. The reality is that like with every dog breed, some pit bulls are great while others are unsuitable because of poor handling, breeding or socialization. It is essential for rescue groups and shelters to carry out behavioral assessments of all the dogs who enter their programs. Make sure that this has happened to the pit bull you want to adopt. An error in judgment with even small dogs can have serious repercussions, but a similar error with a large, strong breed like a pit bull can be deadly. If you are familiar with your local laws and are ready to adopt a pit bull, it is advisable to adopt one from a rescue group or shelter that carefully evaluates the pets.

14. Pit bulls are not predictable around children

It is essential to teach children how to interact well with dogs of any breed. If a dog has not interacted with your children, leaving it with them unsupervised is not advisable. According to, pit bulls have a long history as favorite family pets and children’s companions. They are incredibly dutiful when well socialized and trained. They are the ideal breed to tolerate children’s play and they love the joyful exuberance of children.

15. People are safer when pit bulls are banned

Restricting the ownership of pit bulls, and other kinds of pets are referred to as breed-specific legislation, and a majority of homeowner’s associations and businesses often enforce them. Unfortunately, this leads to the deaths of thousands of dogs annually. In-depth studies from reputed sources, including the American Bar Association have examined the laws and concluded that they do not make communities safer. The Center for Disease Control has also come out against breed-specific legislation and denounced it publicly as ineffectual.

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