Pitbull Myths

Here are some MYTHS about PITBULLS:

They have locking jaws! Bullets bounce right off them!

 And other MYTHS about Pit Bulls...

MYTH: All Pit Bulls are mean and vicious.

It is reported on temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament
Test Society that Pit Bulls had a passing rate of 82% or better -- compared to
only 77% of the general dog population.
These temperament tests consist of putting a dog through a series of unexpected
situations, some involving strangers.

Any signs of unprovoked aggression or panic in these situations result in failure of
the test. The achievement of Pit Bulls in this study disproves that they are inherently
aggressive to people. (Please visit ATTS.org)
MYTH: A Pit Bull that shows aggression towards an animal
will go for people next.

"Many working breeds have antipathy towards other animals - coonhounds
 go mad at the sight of a raccoon, foxhounds will not hesitate to tear a dog-like
 fox to shreds, greyhounds live to chase and maul rabbits and even dog-like coyotes.
 Even the ever-friendly beagle will slaughter a rabbit, given the chance.

And yet the greyhound, coon and foxhound and beagle are among the friendliest of
breeds towards humans. And it is the same with the pit bulldog. His work through the
years has been control of other animals - never humans. A correct pit bull is more often
than not submissive toward all humans, and adores children.

A pit bull that snarls, lunges or growls at non-threatening humans is NOT typical of the
 breed." (Written by Diane Jessup)
Pit bulls that do show aggressive behavior towards humans are not typical of the breed
and should be humanely euthanized.
MYTH: If a Pit Bull was never trained to fight, it will be safe with other dogs.

Pit Bulls can live peacefully with other dogs and animals. However, the Pit Bull has historically
 been bred to take down large animals. Early and continual socialization can help a Pit Bull be
more animal friendly. Genetics, however, play an important role in how the dog will respond to
other dogs and animals.

A Pit Bull that will fight another dog if unattended is a normal Pit Bull. Even if a Pit Bull does not
start the fight, it has the potential to seriously injure or kill a dog once in the fight.

The Pit Bull has been bred to not back down and withstand pain until the goal is met. This quality
does not carry true in all Pit Bulls, but it is safe to assume it is a potential in any Pit Bull in order to
avoid unnecessary problems.
Pit Bulls have a late maturity, and a Pit Bull that was dog friendly at 7 months old may suddenly show
 signs of intolerance of unfamiliar dogs around two years old. Spaying and neutering the dog may help
to prevent "turning on" the genetic urge to fight another dog.

All dog fights are preventable, however. Socialize a Pit Bull slowly with new dogs, and never let them
play unattended. Remove items such as toys and food bowls to avoid stress.
Pit Bulls can live happily with other pets; if not left unattended. Even the "best of friends" can fight, and
the outcome may be tragic. This can be true for dogs that have been together for years. Often, after the
first serious fight, relations between the dogs are never the same.
Keeping that first fight from happening is a great way to ensure peaceful relations for the long run. If there
is a multiple-dog household, it is important to separate the dogs when there is no one home.

Many people use crates for short times, put dogs into separate rooms, use kennels, or have outdoor areas
set up for separation that are safe and secure. Pit Bulls can get along wonderfully with animals like cats, rabbits,
 and ferrets, but for safety's sake, never leave them alone together.
MYTH: American Pit Bull Terriers have 1600 P.S.I. in jaw pressure

Dr. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, "To the best of our knowledge, there are no published
scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds
of dogs.

There are, moreover, compelling technical reasons why such data describing biting power in terms
of "pounds per square inch" can never be collected in a meaningful way. All figures describing biting
power in such terms can be traced to either unfounded rumor or, in some cases, to newspaper articles
 with no foundation in factual data."
MYTH: American Pit Bull Terriers lock their jaws.

Dr. Brisbin: "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and
teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional
 morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog.

There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of "locking mechanism" unique to the structure
 of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
MYTH: Treadmills are only used to get dogs ready to fight.

Many responsible owners utilize treadmills to help exercise their dogs. This is useful in places where
weather prevents outdoor exercise, or in situations where off-leash exercise in not an option.

The treadmill is used by people that show their Pit Bulls, and do sporting activities like weight pull and
agility to help keep their dogs in shape. Because Pit Bulls are athletic animals, responsibly using a treadmill
can help them be healthier and happier.
MYTH: Pit Bulls brains swell/never stop growing.

This rumor started with the Doberman, and has since been said about game-bred dogs in general. The
concept of an animal's brain swelling or growing too large and somehow causing the animal to "go crazy" is
not based in truth in any way.

Their brains grow at the same rate as any other dog, and the only time that a Pit Bull's brain is going to swell
is if it receives a serious injury. If an animal's brain were to grow too big for its head, the animal would die.
MYTH: It is unsafe to get a Pit Bull from a rescue or shelter because their past/genetics are unknown.

Under the best of circumstances, it is great to know the history of a dog, the history and health of its parents
, and what that line of dogs were bred for.

If a person is buying a Pit Bull from a breeder, this information should be of top importance. However, in most
shelter/rescue cases this information is not available. The Pit Bull at the shelter will often be a wonderful pet. It is
 important to know the general behavior of the dog.

Has it shown any aggression towards humans? Most Pit Bull rescues will not accept or adopt out Pit Bulls with
any level of aggression or excessive shyness towards humans. How does this dog do with other dogs? Has it
shown any undesirable behavior or habits?

It is suggested that a potential adopter of a Pit Bull bring the whole family to meet the dog. Often, shelters and
rescues will allow you to take the dog for a home visit to see how they respond to the new surroundings. Most
 adoptions of a Pit Bull are amazing successes, and the adopter is not only receiving a pet, but they are
also saving a life!
MYTH: It is best to get a puppy so that you can make it behave how you want it to.

Many people feel if they get a Pit Bull as a puppy they can train it to not be aggressive towards other
dogs and increase the likelihood that the dog will have no undesirable behavior qualities.

Puppies can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but with a new puppy there is no way of knowing how
that dog will act as an adult.

One benefit of adopting a young adult or full grown Pit Bull is the ability to avoid the uncomfortable puppy
behavior stage. This includes constant destructive chewing, house breaking, excessive and uncontrollable
energy, teething and puppy biting, possible whining, howling, and barking for attention at night, and the time
 and effort it takes to begin teaching general manners and obedience.
Another benefit is that an adopter can know how an adult Pit Bull will do with other dogs, cats, children,
car rides, and other certain situations. Bringing a puppy up in the most loving and social environment can
only alter its predetermined genetic urges so much.

In other words, having a dog since puppyhood does not necessarily mean it will have all of the qualities
desired in a pet. It may end up having some traits that are undesirable. An adult Pit Bull, however, will
have more of an established personality, and an adopter can know what to expect with the dog.

                                             Pitbull Articles & Myths

                  Positive press

Owning a pit bull opens up a wide range of sports and activities which you and your dog can play at. Even though the pit bull was bred with baiting and fighting in mind, bulldogs have traditionally been utilitarian working dogs, useful around farms and homes. While a friendly, confident breed, many are natural guardian dogs, keeping loved ones safe without excessive aggression. The bulldog's athletic body, keen intelligence and legendary tenacity make him capable of amazing feats of strength, endurance and grit just not seen in other breeds.

Its important to find a sport or activity which both you and your dog enjoy. Some dogs are naturally better at some activities than others. For instance, some dogs are extremely avid on the springpole while others refuse to mouth it. Some enjoy weight pulling while other dogs dislike it intensely. The challenge is to expose your dog to all the activities available in your area and see which appeals to you both - after all, you are partners!

Pit bulls have been used as service dogs for the physically challenged for over two decades now. They work as hearing assistant dogs, physical assistant dogs, and in a variety of other capacities. They offer stability, strength and a willing nature, all necessary for the serious task of service dog.

Breed specific legislation (BSL) poses huge problems for responsible owners of service dogs of a variety of breeds. Many have faced housing and insurance discrimination.

Multiple pit bulls have excelled at this important and interesting activity. Snowball was a cadaver recovery dog in Arkansas, Puller was a successful SAR dog in Virginia, Dakota, Cheyenne and Tahoe are currently working in California - and there have been others.

SAR is an exacting hobby, and requires lots of money, lots of time, lots of slogging through tough terrain, and more importantly it requires exceptionally dedicated dogs and people. To learn more about the use of pit bulls in search & rescue.

Below is a portion of a news article describing Crawford's thoughts on why bulldogs are so suitable for SAR.

Woman Casts Pit Bulls in a New Light David Read - Tracy Press

Kris Crawford believes that pit bulls have gotten a bad rap. She is an Operations Lieutenant for the Alameda County Sheriff Search and Rescue Squad and has trained her pit bulls to be search and rescue dogs for the unit. Crawford said that the same qualities that breeders want to cultivate in pit bulls for them to be successful in illegal dog fights -- namely courage, strength, dedication, intelligence and agility -- are invaluable in search and rescue work. "They also don't give up," Crawford said. "When you are out all night looking for a lost 5-year old, you want a dog that doesn't quit."

Her devotion to the maligned breed is attracting some attention. The cable channel Animal Planet met her on Wednesday morning at Old River Veterinary clinic here in Tracy, to profile her for a "Pet Story", a show that documents unique relationships between pets and their owners. A former resident of Tracy, Crawford now lives in Castro Valley but still uses Old River for veterinary services.

One of Crawford's pit bull dogs, "Dakota", has been on some high-profile searches. Last year, Dakota assisted police in the search for the body of toddler Luis Sanchez, who police believe was buried on the outskirts of Tracy almost two years ago. Dakota also helped in the search for Laci Peterson, and Crawford and Dakota were also called to Texas to search for the remains of the crew members of the space shuttle Columbia after it burned up on re-entry earlier this year.

"They have an incredible desire to please their owners," Crawford said. "They will do their best at whatever their owners tell or train them to do. Unfortunately, they are the most abused breed in the world right now because a lot of owners use them for illegal purposes such as dog fighting, which is illegal in most states."

"I use only positive means of training," Crawford said. "I've never had to resort to using force when working with this breed, even those that had come from violent pasts." Crawford spends a lot of time helping those who have adopted pit bulls train them to be good canine citizens.

There are a number of people who object to the training of bulldogs in any form of "bitework", and I certainly respect this mindset and even share it when it comes to "guard" training and training which focuses on "defense" drives. I find however, that without exception, these same people have no real knowledge of sanctioned dog sports like ring and schutzhund. Because true bulldogs are friendly and outgoing - lacking the suspicion and overt aggression needed for a true "guard" dog - I myself find the promotion and sale of pit bulls as "guard" or "protection" dogs to be reprehensible. Without doubt it supports the breeding of incorrect and unsound bulldogs. On the other hand, I whole heartedly support the exhibition of properly (and humanely) trained pit bulls in bona fide working dog trials. These trials showcase a dog's courage, control and stability and never fail to showcase the breed in a very positive light. Working off lead (at all times) the dog/handler teams competing in Mondio or French ring trials are confronted with a variety of situations which test the dog's obedience and judgment. Years of training are required to bring a dog to trial day, and the best dogs are trained in "prey" drive instead of "defense" drive, making them safe companions. Sport dogs see the decoy's suit more as a big "reward" for correct behavior than as a human which is to be bitten. Sport dogs should never be trained with pain, or force, as these methods can and do produce dangerous animals. Methods which employ force and pain are never necessary with a game, sound, well bred bulldog.

Over the past three decades I have competed in a wide variety of dog sport. In my opinion ring sport is, without doubt, the most challenging. The amount of control needed and the judgment exhibited by the dog at the higher levels is impressive to say the least. Ring sport was developed in France, and variations on the sport developed in the Low Countries. Like schutzhund, ring was developed as a test for utilitarian dogs of the type used for police work. In ring the dogs work off-lead, without so much as a collar on. The dog works through all phases at one time, agility, obedience and the bite-work, resulting in the dog spending up to 30 minutes on the field, continuously working. The order of the exercises is never the same but selected by draw in random order. Food is left on the field to distract the working dog.

There are aspects of ring sport which put the bulldog at a disadvantage when competing against sheepdogs like shepherds and malinois. The sport requires the dog, at times, to bite and then quickly release and retreat - something no true bulldog is willing to do. Also, biting the leg, which is considered preferable, takes more training for a bulldog who will naturally shun the extremities in favor of the more "courageous" bites to the body. A bulldog is bred to grip the head of its prey - whereas a sheepdog nips the legs. Therefore sheepdog breeds have a natural advantage in this regard. As well, the jumps are extreme, and the longer legged Malinois (for which the sport was developed) also has an advantage coping with the agility phase.

I believe Ring sport will continue to grow in popularity as more and more people discover this challenging and exciting sport. However, the infighting and nasty politics on the local and national level is a very real threat to the growth and health of ring in this country. Ring trainers must drop petty differences and work together to ensure the future of this sport. Another very real detriment to the sport are those few decoys, (so far I have found them only in Western Canada) who are so terrified of pit bulls that they treat them with prejudice. The last serious obstacle keeping ring from taking its place as the premier working dog sport in America is a stubborn desire to cling to French nonsense concerning which breeds can enter, and the restrictions on altered dogs! This is sport guys! Let the BEST DOG WIN! The francophile attitude of many participants is a bit hard to take at times too! (If you are ever over come by the nausea which follows exposure to a hard-core frankophile!


Jon Stewart of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart owns two pit bulls: Shamsky & Monkey. Helen Keller had a pit bull as a family pet.

Ken Howard, award-winning actor from Crossing Jordon, was saved by his pit bull Shadow during a medical crisis. Movie star Alicia Silverstone owns a rescued pit bull named Samson.

Adam Brody gave girlfriend and O.C. co-star Rachel Bilson a pit bull named Penny Lane as a birthday gift.

Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, TV Personality Rachael Ray and Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker Joey Porter all own two pit bulls! Jessica Biel has a pit bull named Tina, and Jessica Alba owns a pit bull puppy.

President Theodore Roosevelt, President

Woodrow Wilson, singer

Kevin Federline, radio personality

Ira Glass, actor

Fred Astaire, General

George Patton, actor

Michael J. Fox, actor

Jan Michael Vincent, actor

Jack Dempsy, famous boxer

Thomas Edison

singer Madonna

movie star Brad Pitt

actress Bernadette Peters

comedian Sinbad

actress Linda Blair

actor Humphrey Bogart

musician Usher

comedian Mel Brooks

actress Ann Bancroft

actor Jan Michael Vincent

singer Pink

actress Eliza Dushku and actress Kelli Williams are just a few other celebrities who own or have owned a pit bull. The Miami Dolphin's star NFL player Joey Porter.

Rapper, and actor "Big Boi" is a registered pitbull breeder. rapper RedMan's pit bull name Daddy stays with Cesar Milan at the dog psychology center while his is out of town. He is one of Cesar's most well balanced and disciplined dogs. Cesar Milan owns many pit bulls and they are well socialized and balanced dogs that live in harmony with many other breeds of dogs. Jesse James from west coast choppers own three beautiful pitbulls.

TV, Film

Tige from Buster Brown shoe advertisements.

The dog in the film Snatch is a pit bull.

Jennifer Lopez used a pit bull in the music video "I'm Glad".

Veronica Mars from the UPN show of the same name owns a pit bull named Backup.

The pit bull was so respected in the early 1900's that the military chose an image of a dignified pit bull to represent the country on WWI propaganda posters.

The pit bull is the only breed to have graced the cover of Life Magazine three times

 & Print Appearances


Petey from The Little Rascals. 

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