There is perhaps no dog breed that elicits quite as strong emotions in people as pit bulls. Unfortunately, the negative perception of pit bulls seems to know no bounds with words such as gangster, dealer, and thug being associated with the breed.
Needless to say, a lack of understanding and information is the basis of the negativity surrounding pit bulls. That said, the real facts and proven statistics on pit bulls prove that they are quite the awesome breed.
A little history on pit bulls
Pitbull history dates back to England where they took part in a sport known as bull baiting. After this, the breed became synonymous in dog fights which later found its way to America.
Dogfighting has played a huge role in the pit bull’s bad reputation. However, while some pit bulls found themselves in dog fights, others integrated into normal society.
It wasn’t always so bad
In the early 1900s, pit bulls were among America’s favorite dog breeds. What’s more, the US army also used the breed and one famous one helped capture a German spy. Movies depicted pit bulls as intelligent, and loyal dogs and even president Theodore Roosevelt had pit bull-type dogs.
Pit bulls and racism
The negativity surrounding pit bulls has a lot to do with racism and stereotypes. In fact, some cities and states have even banned pit bulls.
In the 1960s, black and brown neighborhoods used pit bulls as guard dogs. Also, in these neighborhoods, pit bulls were also used for dog fights. And, these were regions that were economically depressed which in turn started to taint the image of the breed as a vicious fighting and a dangerous dog.
The media also portrayed a tainted image of pit bulls, one that was full of violence, aggression, and danger. Therefore, it sparked a lot of public fear which eventually turned to hatred.
All this came across as barbarity in the eyes of upper-class white people and they were quick to associate the breed with crime, drugs, and violence. Also, racism further fueled the hatred of pit bulls as they were associated with crime and violence found in black and brown communities and neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, the breed’s reputation never really recovered from that.
But what do the stats say?
Looking at the stats, however, it is surprising how rare reports on pit bull attacks are. Since it is almost impossible to single out a particular breed for dog attacks, the Center for Disease and Control no longer tracks the number of dog attacks based on the breed. They, therefore, acknowledged that the flaws in the collection of data are simply too many to single out a specific breed.
The truth of the matter is that aggression in dogs is mostly a part of its upbringing and the negligence of the owners. Simply put, abusing a dog of any breed will almost always bring out its defensive nature brought by the need for the dog wanting to protect itself.
There are, however, positive videos of pit bulls on YouTube being loving and caring pets. In fact, they show no signs of aggression and are pleasant to be around as you can see here.
Is the hatred of pit bulls different from racism and white supremacy?
White supremacy is the belief that whites are a superior race and should, therefore, be dominant over all other races. Such ideologies are based on racism and are unfounded, to say the least.
A lack of understanding of dog behavior causes the misconception that pit bulls are born vicious. Therefore, understanding that the dog’s behavior and whether or not it is sociable has a lot to do with its upbringing eliminates any room for segregating a specific breed.
Now there are pitbull activists with the main aim of eradicating the breed. In fact, it is not hard to spot a pit bull hater who openly claims in social media that they have no problem poisoning a neighbor’s dog and acting like they didn’t do anything.
Busting Pitbull myths
Many Americans at some point considered the Pitbull an icon and referred to the breed as America’s dog. Also, they were known by some cool names such as the nanny dog, a title they got thanks to their loyalty and devotion to their owners.
Let’s bust these myths, shall we!
Myth: Pit bulls have a fighting instinct
Many people believe that pit bulls are born to fight and will always attack other dogs. However, it is the irresponsible dog owners that train them how to fight.
It is, therefore, the dog owner that is to blame rather than the dog himself.
Myth: pit bulls and locking jaws
There is a myth that pit bulls have a locking jaw. There is no such thing as a locking jaw in any breed and what’s more, is that there is nothing out of the ordinary about the structure and anatomy of a pit bull jaw.
Myth: pit bulls are born aggressive and violent
Surpassingly even while pit bulls are the most popular dog breed in dog fights, they score very well in temperament tests with a passing rate of 82.6 percent according to the American Temperament Society. They even outperform breeds that many people consider as gentle such as border collies.
The fact is that the dogs are often, subjected to irresponsible ownership, neglect, and abuse which then causes them to become aggressive and violent.
People found a way to isolate and exploit certain pit bull behaviors and characteristics. For example, their strong appearance made them look vicious and the training for dog fights made them aggressive.
However, when well socialized and given the chance, they can be loving members of the family. There are plenty of cases of life-saving pit bulls.
Pit bulls are the most common breed in dog shelters due to the negative perception. It is, therefore, up to us responsible dog owners to raise our pit bulls and any other dog breed responsibly and to educate the public that pit bulls are in fact among the most loyal and intelligent dog breeds out there.