Pit Bull Myths: Researchers Debunk Misconceptions About the Dog Breed

Pit bulls are some of the most popular pet dogs in the United States and other countries, mainly because of their loyalty and temperament. However, this ‘unofficial’ dog breed has received not only adoration among pit bull-loving owners but also criticism from individuals and groups who deem the animals as aggressive relative to other dog breeds. This notion stems from multiple reports of pit bull attacks on other pets and humans, including children.

In addition to perceptions of their aggression, there are existing myths surrounding pit bulls that pertain to the physical and behavioral aspects of the canine in question. With this, experts debunk some of these misconceptions against pit bulls and their underlying origins. Some of these myths are based on the pit bull’s track record of violent behavior, along with rottweilers, since the early and mid-1900s.

Pit Bull Myths

Pit Bull Myths: Researchers Debunk Misconceptions About the Dog Breed
(Photo : Photo by Christopher Ayme on Unsplash)

The term “pit bull” refers to a dog (Canis familiaris) that descended from bull- and terrier- type of dogs, which were domesticated to be used for fighting. Currently, pit bull is an umbrella term that pertains to three specific dog breeds such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Staffordshire Terrier. According to the Human Society of Tampa Bay in August 2023, pit bulls is the leading breed in the US, with approximately 18 million individuals nationwide.

Despite their popularity among pet owners and dog enthusiasts, there are still misinformation circulating about pit bulls both online and in print sources. Yet, one thing is clear, pit bulls often make headlines about them attacking a child or being shot by police, according to WebMD. In this context, below are some of the prevailing pit bull myths:

  •  They have locking jaws
  •  They have high pain tolerance
  •  They are unpredictable

When it comes to pit bull jaws, WebMD says there is nothing unique about them in an anatomical perspective, therefore, they cannot lock. On the other hand, pit bulls are not pain-resistant based on evidence they even avoid cold temperatures and rain. Lastly, their unpredictability is nothing but a myth since other dog breeds tend to snap at any moment due to various factors.

Also Read: ‘Pit Bulls’ Often Misidentified At Shelters, Study Finds

Aggressive Dog Behavior

In recent years, scientists through their studies have found that aggressive behavior among domestic dogs is based not on their breed but rather on their experiences and upbringing. Ranging from sociable golden retrievers to aggressive chihuahuas, evidence shows that there is no universal and absolute trait for the breed. On the other hand, some research attributes dog aggression on an individual level, instead of collectively.

In a 2022 study published in the journal Animal Cognition, Oregon State University researchers found that pet parenting style influences dog behavior, especially when it comes to the home environment and social upbringing of man’s best friend. Still, this does not guarantee that a dog’s aggressive tendencies will be removed permanently.


Related Article: ‘I Heard at Least Ten Gunshots’: Police Fatally Shoots Pit Bulls Chomping on a Man

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