Love or hate them - The American Pitbull Terrier is one of America's most popular dog breeds.
And people like them for many different reasons. Some see them as guard dogs, protecting their properties and driving off unwanted intruders. Others love pit bulls as they have a lot of energy and make great jogging buddies, swearing by the good-heartedness of these medium-sized dogs.
So, if so many people love the breed, why does it seem like an equal number of people hate them? I suppose it comes down to the individual person - and dog.
A Look At Their History
Pit bulls have quite an interesting (and controversial) history. They were initially bred for bullfighting by cross-breeding bulldogs and terriers. The result was an agile, strong, and aggressive dog with the physical and mental capability to take on a large animal, like a bull.
These dogs were brought to the United States by migrants in the late 19th century, where they were used for various working roles. They would, for instance, be used as farm dogs, helping their owners protect and herd cattle.
But before long, their muscular upper bodies and ferocious personalities caught the eye of some dark characters who started using them for dog fighting.
Their athletic build made them great fighting dogs, and a lot of money exchanged hands under the veil of dog fighting. Fortunately, this sport has been banned, so most pit bulls will never be involved in this blood sport.
Common Misconceptions About Pitbulls
A half-truth is often more dangerous than a whole lie. And when it comes to pit bulls, many half-truths hurt their reputation in the dog world.
Here are a few myths that might sway people to hate pit bulls before they even get to know the breed for themselves:
When some people picture a pit bull, they see a violent, out-of-control dog tied to a tree with a long chain attached to its collar. They see a dog filled with hatred for anything that moves completely out of control.
The media has painted this picture through popular movies where a villain is needed. And it’s easy to pick on the pit bull. They have large jaw muscles and a big head attached to a muscular upper body.
Some people think that Pit bulls are bloodthirsty and get excited by the idea of attacking people or other dogs.
While it’s true that some pitbulls may become excited when unfamiliar people or dogs are in the area, they aren’t bloodthirsty.
In fact, the natural drive to protect their own property or home that many pit bulls have is shared by many other breeds with a sense of duty towards their owners. Again, Pitbulls are often villainized, taking the attention away from dogs with a similar disposition.
They Are All Aggressive
Pit Bulls were bred to fight and are thus really good at it. But not all Pit bulls are fighting dogs. They don’t all have cropped ears and a spikey collar around their necks.
A lot of a dog's willingness to fight depends on their upbringing. If they’re exposed to the love and attention they need and deserve from a young age, they will do everything but become aggressive towards humans or other animals.
The Role That Breed-Specific Legislation Plays
Breed-specific legislation in America plays a controversial role in regulating the ownership of pitbulls.
These laws are often implemented in response to concerns about aggressive dogs and their potential involvement in dog fights. Under such legislation, pitbull owners face unique challenges.
A pitbull owner may be required to meet stricter regulations and requirements than owners of most other breeds. Animal control authorities often have the authority to seize and euthanize pit bulls that are deemed dangerous or in violation of breed-specific legislation.
While the intention is to reduce the risk of dog attacks, the effectiveness and fairness of these laws remain a subject of debate, with proponents arguing for public safety and opponents emphasizing responsible ownership as a better solution.
The American Pitbull Terrier - Not Just Another Aggressive Dog
We have listed just a few reasons why people might see pit bulls as bad dogs and hate them. But here are a few reasons why just as many people love them:
They Respond Well To Training
Pit bulls are very intelligent. They respond well to training sessions and can learn to obey basic commands as early as eight weeks. As they grow older, they thrive on learning new commands, and they are oh-so-eager to please their trainers.
This training helps them to become obedient, showing aggression only when needed. If you have a pit bull, get them a beautifully designed sturdy collar for training sessions.
A tactical dog collar that is double stitched will give you complete control, knowing that you have your dog secure during any obedience or defense training.
These collars are wider than a standard collar, which is important when working with strong breeds that can pull really hard when they’re excited.
They Can Be Very Gentle
As mentioned earlier, Pitbulls deserve love and attention like any other dog.
And they will reciprocate with doggy kisses and hugs for days. If exposed to a loving family, these dogs will be very gentle towards their human and animal pack members.
But as with many other dog breeds - a word of caution around feeding time. Ensure your pity is completely controlled and calm before you feed them. You don’t want them to associate high energy with food, as this could cause them to accidentally nip and quite literally bite the hand that feeds them.
They Make Great Family Pets
Pitbulls make awesome family pets.
They can be great with kids, especially if raised side by side. They love to play in the backyard and are always game for tug of war, an afternoon swim session, or even a run around the neighborhood.
If this interests you, you should invest in an anti-pulling harness. They’re comfortable for the dog to wear, easy to put on, and, best of all, easy to clean.
Many Pit bull owners will take their dogs with them on family vacations, crate training them from a young age to make the journey easier for everyone. What makes them so good with families is that they are very loyal. They grow attached to their owners and may even display symptoms of separation anxiety.
Make Informed Decisions
Far from the reality of happy family pets, pit bulls are often portrayed as dangerous dogs that will bite children at any opportunity.
So before you let others decide for you, why not go to one of your local shelters and spend an afternoon with one of these magnificent animals?
Pit bulls often react to human aggression and get very nervous when they sense tension in the air. So stay calm, speak in a friendly tone, and get to know this breed in a controlled environment.
Many pit bull owners will swear by the breed, listing their good qualities and recalling many occasions when their dog was much more controlled than breeds like German shepherds or Golden Retrievers, dogs of a similar size.
But there are also many bad owners out there that contribute to the bad reputation that the breed generates among uninformed people. These people raise and train their dogs from a young to be aggressive, capitalizing on the aggression that the breed was originally bred to display.
It’s simply unfair to judge a dog by its breed - each one should be judged on its own merit.