The Pitbull is a dog type or, more accurately, a family of dog types, that often gets a bad reputation. There are many myths and legends surrounding the breed and the vast majority of those are negative. So, let’s dispel some of the top Pitbull myths.
Pitbulls Are a Breed:
This is one of the biggest Pitbull myths. There is actually no breed simply called a Pitbull. There is, however, only one breed with “Pit” in it’s name, The American Pitbull Terrier, or APBT.
However, that doesn’t stop people from confusing APBT dogs with various other breeds and lumping them all into the category of “Pitbull”. A couple of the breeds that are commonly referred to as Pitbulls are the Staffordshire Terrier and the American Bulldog.
When people picture images of mean dogs fighting other animals, including other dogs, or attacking people, they often picture a Pitbull. Generally, that reference is actually about APBT’s. So, let’s look at some more myths surrounding the American Pitbull Terrier.
The Red, White and Blue Myth:
This may sound like a patriotic myth, but it actually refers to the color of the Pitbull. You see, one of the top Pitbull myths is that Pitbulls of different colors are actually different breeds. The truth is, though, that any APBT, regardless of color, is still an APBT. The different colors were just bred into different lines. It’s much like human beings are all the same species, but we all have different skin, hair and eye colors.
The myth within a myth there is that one color of APBT is more desirable than another one. The reality is that, if you plan to show the dog, certain traits are more desirable. If you’re just looking for a pet, though, the color doesn’t matter. You should be much more concerned with the temperament of the dog, not its outward appearance.
The Temperament Myth:
That brings us to the next item on the top Pitbull myths list. All Pitbulls have a horrible personality and will attack anyone or anything at the drop of a hat. That’s completely false. APBT’s are not all born bad at all. Actually, it has a lot to do with how they are raised and how well socialized they are, just as with any other type of dog.
In fact, many APBT’s have been trained for great things. For instance, American Pitbull Terriers have been heroes in various wars for delivering messages on the front lines and protecting soldiers. APBT’s have also been used as therapy dogs and assistance dogs. Perhaps most famously, Helen Keller owned an assistance dog that was an APBT.
The Pain Myth:
One of the worst myths about Pitbulls is that they fight so fiercely because they can’t feel pain. APBT’s definitely can feel pain. They have thoughts and emotions, just like any other dog and just like human beings. That myth was perpetuated by people who wanted to keep making a living from dog fighting.
The Locking Jaw Myth:
Another Pitbull myth is that Pitbulls have jaws that lock when they bite things, so that they can’t actually let go for some set length of time, even if they want to. That’s totally false. Pitbulls can stop biting at any time. Some have such a prey drive that, once they get in a fight, it’s hard for them to stop from a mental standpoint, but they can physically let go.
If you don’t think that’s true, just watch Pitbulls playing with toys. They can drop toys at your feet on cue, just as any other dog can. So, it’s clear that their jaws don’t lock, unless, of course, a specific Pitbull has a medical problem that affects their jaw. That’s another story and should be looked at by the dog’s veterinarian.
Pitbulls Are Great or Horrible Pets Across the Board:
Another one of the top Pitbull myths works in two different ways. Some people claim that Pitbulls make perfect pets for any family. Others claim, though, that all Pitbulls are horrible pets and should be killed and banned. The truth is that neither of those is correct.
Pitbulls have a strong prey drive and a strong instinct to protect their human companions and their property. While they can live with other dogs, small animals and small children, they need to be well trained and well supervised. So, they aren’t good for every family.
On the other hand, though, not all Pitbulls are automatically bad. They can be great companions. They just require a family that has enough time for them and keeps them well-exercised and entertained. The trick to having a great dog is being a good owner. If you take the responsibility to train your dog, they can be a great pet.
The Shelter Myth:
Another of the top Pitbull Myths is that all Pitbulls in shelters should be destroyed because they could be fighting dogs. Many people think all Pitbulls are bad. Others think that only Pitbull puppies are alright because they can be properly trained. The truth is, though, that there are many reasons that an adult Pitbull could wind up in a shelter. Their owner could have died, for example. This is not their fault and they shouldn’t be ignored, punished or, worse yet, killed for it.
So, if you’re looking to adopt a Pitbull, you may actually want to look for a shelter dog. By rescuing one, you can dispel a lot of myths about the breed. Just be sure that the shelter screens you responsibly and can answer all of your questions accurately. Also, of course, be sure that the APBT you select has a good temperament and personality that will fit with your family.