The 20 Worst Myths About Pit Bulls

Let’s be really honest; In the world of cute and cuddly pets, especially when it comes to dogs, pit bulls just get a bad and rough reputation. It stems from the negative reviews and opinions of individuals who misunderstand the genuinely loving and friendly dogs, those who have never owned one or have never even been near one and who fear what might happen when they see one.

So, why is there such a misunderstanding when it come to pit bulls, and where does it all originate? These are the questions that we are going to be answering for you today in this article. In fact, we are going to look further in depth at the twenty worst and most misunderstood myths about pit bulls that are circulating in our society, and set the record straight for all those individuals out there who believe them.

With that said, let’s take a look into these pit bull myths that we hear day in and day out, and find out the truth for ourselves.

White Pit Bull

1. They Are Aggressive And Vicious

This is more than likely the number one myth that you will hear about pit bulls in the world today. That they are vicious, mean, aggressive, and will attack anyone or anything at the blink of an eye. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Pit bulls are known to be super loyal, friendly, and are some of the best dogs to have with children in the home.

They are just like any other sociable dog that you will see in many family homes, especially in the country; They just want to play and be loved by their families, and the way they are treated is generally how they will behave, as we will later learn as the list continues.

2. Easy To Recognize

Unlike what many people believe, it can be quite difficult to accurately identify and even recognize a dog that is a purebred pit bull. It is also even more difficult to identify whether a dog has a mix of the pit bull breed in them, for obvious reasons. This is because many dog breeds in the world today have builds that include large heads and short haired coats.

This is why many breeders and other individuals often refer to pit bulls as “mutts”, as it is sometimes not known what exactly makes up their being.

Pit Bull Merle

3. Pit Bulls Have More Powerful Bodies Than Other Dogs

Some people believe that pit bull terriers have more powerful jaws that are able to lock in place than other breeds that gives them a higher biting power and forcefulness when compared to other dogs. This is not true in the least.

Pit bulls do not have locking jaws or any other special “abilities” that make them more powerful than any other breed of dog in the world today. Furthermore, there have been several different tests conducted to compare the biting pressures of pit bulls with other breeds, such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers. In this test, Pit bulls were seen to have the least biting pressure out of all the breeds tested, allowing for this myth to be officially busted.

4. Bad Temperament

It is no surprise, when seeing other myths that we are discussing in this article, that pit bull terriers often get the reputation that they have a bad temperament when it comes to their behavior as well.

However, when being tested for their temperament against other breeds of dogs, the pit bull actually was seen to score above average in having good temperament, even beating the temperament of the golden retriever in the process.

Now, we could go on and on, but it is up to you to decide if you want to believe the straight up facts or not. Let’s get real, pit bulls honestly are good dogs.

Pit Bull

5. Young Individuals Or Families With Young People Shouldn’t Have Pit Bulls

As we are eluding to with some of these other myths, it is clear to see that pit bull terriers can be amazing family dogs, especially for families with young children in the home.

It is important, however, that before introducing kids or young people to any type or breed of dog, including pit bulls, that we teach our younger generation how to interact and treat dogs in the first place. When the dog feels loved and respected by our demeanor, they will be more friendly overall. It is an education for everyone, and should not solely rely on the dog itself.

6. They Don’t Feel Pain

We don’t know exactly where this came from, but this is one of those strange myths that seems a little far fetched. Of course, pit bull terriers do, in fact, feel pain.

Every dog feels pain, as every dog has nervous systems. We think that this myth might have stemmed from the idea that they are aggressive, thus they don’t feel anything. Don’t let this fool you; All dogs have hearts, and all dogs want to feel love just as any other dog does.

7. It Is Not Its Own Breed

Contrary to popular belief, pit bulls are not their own, defined breed of dog. Instead, pit bulls are a type of dog, belonging to the Terrier family. In fact, there are three different types of pit bull terrier within the breed, and this includes the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

This is the same circumstance with the Retriever breed, which can include Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers. It is a common misunderstanding, and it further proves why you can’t judge a book by its cover, regardless of the circumstance.

8. Dog Bites Are Fatal

When talking about pit bull terrier myths, we have to discuss the topic of them attacking and/or biting an individual. In all honesty, being attacked by a dog, let alone a pit bull, is extremely rare, and are not likely to be fatal by any means.

Statistically, when you look at dog attacks on humans, you will see that about 90 percent of dog bites are considered to be only minor injuries. Furthermore, when a human does get attacked by a dog, such as a pit bull, only 2 percent of those that are attacked are actually hospitalized with dangerous or severe injuries.

That being said, there really is no reason to fear the idea of being attacked by a dog, much less a pit bull.

9. Pit Bulls Are Not Good Family Dogs, And That’s Why You See Them In Shelters So Often

As we have mentioned already within this list, pit bull terriers are excellent family dogs, especially in homes that have young children in the mix. If you are seeing an increase in pit bulls in animal shelters and other shelters of that nature, it is because of overbreeding.

Pit bulls are quite a popular type of dog, especially in the United States. Because of this popularity, many dog breeders are overbreeding pit bulls or are not spaying or neutering their own pit bulls, which leads to unwanted puppies.

This is the reason that so many pit bulls end up in shelters, not because of their so called “aggressive nature”. Trust us, they are sweethearts through and through.

10. Getting A Pit Bull Puppy Is The Best Option For Your Family

Many individuals, and families for that matter, assume that by getting a brand new puppy from a breeder or a shelter, you will be able to train the dog to have good behavior and ease any aggression as they age.

First of all, pit bulls are not aggressive. Second, just because you train a puppy from it’s early stages in life doesn’t mean that you will know how the dog will act as they begin to age and grow up.

If you are invested in having a pit bull as your new family pet, keep your minds open, and look into adopting a young adult or even a grown pit bull. By doing this, you will be able to better determine how their behavior will be in the long run rather than taking a risk with a small puppy, only to bring it to a shelter later.

11. They’re The Only Banned Breed Of Dog

There have been many different breeds of dogs at one time or another that have been deemed bad, or have had a bad reputation. Although, yes, pit bulls are in fact banned in some states based on Breed Specification Legislation, they aren’t not the only types of dogs that are, and it is not effective in law in every state.

These laws are typically based on the look of the dog rather than their behavior that they may or may not possess. This has obviously caused some controversy for many people and lovers of these banned dogs all across the world. However, some states, and even countries, are beginning to lift these laws, allowing all dogs to be equal.

12. Pit Bull Attacks

This is kind of a true myth and a false myth. Yes, there have been pit bull attacks, and in all honesty, there have been more fatalities with from pit bull attacks than from any other breed of dog.

However, when it comes to dog attacks, the probability of being attacked by a pit bull, and that attack being fatal, is lower than being attacked by other breeds of dogs.

Again, it all depends on how you are treating and approaching the dog in the first place, no matter what type or breed of dog it may be. We are not in any way trying to make pit bulls seem aggressive in any light, but it’s important to learn the truth in regard to these types of attacks.

13. Breed Legislation Is Increasing

As we mentioned before in the list, there are still some states in the nation, and even other countries abroad, that abide to Breed Specification Legislation, which determines particular dogs that are allowed in specific states or not based on the look of the dog rather than the behavior that the dog exhibits.

This, however, is not on the incline in the country or world by any means. Furthermore, many countries around the world are lifting their bans as well, allowing all dogs to be treated equally throughout the world. It may do good to research your state and/or country to figure out what laws may or may not apply to you.

14. They Didn’t Earn Their Bad Rep All On Their Own

We have to realize that it isn’t the dog that creates this “bad behavior” that we think we see, regardless of the breed that we are discussing. If a dog is behaving badly or in a frightening way, it is more than likely because of how they’ve been treated and/or abused by their owners and in their home.

This bad reputation scenario has spread through the majority of the breeds of dogs from one time or another — at one point, Bloodhounds, than German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and now, unfortunately, the Pit Bull Terriers.

15. They’re Terrifying

This is probably another one of the biggest myths out in society today regarding pit bulls. There is absolutely no data at any point in history that shows that pit bulls are dangerous or terrifying in any circumstance.

This stereotype came about when this type of dog was bred specifically for fighting, and it has been hard for them to debunk ever since. Pit bulls are some of the friendliest dogs that you will meet, and are very loyal to their families.

Once again, it is very much dependent on how they are treated, and whether they are abused or not at any point during their lifetime.

16. Their Brains Swell And Never Stop Growing

This is a strange myth to say the least, and it is also a fallacy. Apparently, this rumor actually began with game bred dogs such as the Doberman. Basically, the story is that their brains continue to swell to the point of getting too large for their skull cavity, causing them to go crazy and act out erratically.

However, there is no truth to this story, and the brain of a pit bull grows at the same rate as any other dog breed in the world. Furthermore, the only scenario that would cause a pit bull’s brain to swell to dangerous levels would be something along the lines of a serious injury.

17. Adopting A Pit Bull From A Shelter Can Be Unsafe

Although it is always best to know the background information of any dog that you are planning to adopt from an animal shelter, there is no danger in adopting a pit bull from any agency or shelter.

Just because a pit bull is in the shelter in the first place doesn’t mean that they were abused, or neglected, or are vicious in any sense of the word. As we have said time and again in this article, pit bulls are super family friendly, and will show loyalty to their companions as well.

It can, however, be good to see all the different ages of pit bulls that are available in the specific animal shelter that you are looking at, as they might have different behavioral aspects as well.

18. Biting Incidents Are Solely The Dogs Fault

If you believed that this statement was true, you are needing a rude awakening. Of course, this is a myth, and the dogs are not by any means solely responsible in a dog biting scenario. If a dog has bitten you or someone you know, it was more than likely because the dog felt threatened, or scared.

For that matter, the dogs that you should be most fearful for are the ones who are abused, neglected, or being treated improperly. It is the owner’s responsibility to make the dog feel loved, and that’s where the fault should and will lie.

19. Aggression Toward Animals Means Aggression Toward People

This may seem like an obvious comparison, and we’re sure many of you have thought the same thing. However, this is a myth. Many dogs for that matter, especially those that are considered the most family friendly dogs in our society today, will be aggressive towards animals, even species such as squirrels, raccoons, et cetera.

Just because a pit bull snarls at a squirrel or chases a raccoon doesn’t mean that you are going to be getting bit any time soon. In fact, it has been stated time and again that a pit bull that snarls or shows its teeth to any individual is an unusual behavior for that type of dog.

20. They Aren’t American Dogs

This is entirely false. In fact, at one point in the early twentieth century, dogs that were represented in art and entertainment as the classic family canine often looked like the pit bull terriers that we see today in our society.

Back during that time, pit bulls were known and recognized for their loyalty to their families and companions, and for their bravery as well. Some pit bulls even served as heroes for their country, serving in war and helping in those regards.

As we can see from this list, pit bulls generally just get a hard time from many different individuals in society. Unfortunately, although the majority of these myths being debunked prove that pit bulls are gentle and loving creatures, we are seeing a different perspective based on some terrible things.

Yes, at one point, pit bulls were mainly being bred for fighting, or rather to be used for illegal dog fighting. While this is something that we are trying to stop, it is difficult to help these poor, innocent dogs from being neglected and abused.

This treatment is what causes some pit bulls to have erratic behavior, but it is important that we realize it does not and should not apply to every single pit bull that exists today.


There are many things that we can do to help stop the behavior and treatment that is being had to some of these pit bulls in the country and the world today. The first thing we must do is stop fearing the stereotype that we have been hearing about for so many months and years now.

As we stated earlier, this reputation of bad behavior and dangerousness among a breed of dog has gone through many different breeds over the course of a century. Eventually, and hopefully, a time will come when this passes for the pit bull terriers, and they no longer become the fear of so many people all over.

If you would like to look up more information on the pit bull, or would like to see the statistics for yourself to believe, you can find plenty of information both online and from your local animal shelters in your area as well. It is time that we begin to love these dogs for who they are, and not based on what we are hearing society whisper into our ears.

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