Everyone knows the story. Pit Bulls are evil. They’re aggressive. Their goal is to rip you limb from limb. They’ll attack your children. The sole purpose of a Pit Bull is to fight to the death. And they know it. So it’s either them, or us. If we don’t kill them, they’ll kill us. They’re like home-grown, four-legged terrorists that will tear out your throat if given the chance. RIGHT?
The Truth About Breed Temperament
You may not want to accept this, but – statistically speaking – your Golden Retriever poses a greater risk to your kids than a Pit Bull. As does a Collie and a Shetland Sheepdog. I bet it never dawned on my Grandma the danger she put me in when she had a Collie and 2 Shelties while I was growing up. Apparently I’m lucky to be alive!
The Breed Temperament Big Picture
Feel free to check out The American Temperament Test Society’s full breed statistics. Obviously some breeds are more common than others, so there is quite a discrepancy in sample size from breed to breed in the full result list. Though you will notice that the sample sizes of the breeds shown above are generally comparable.
If what people collectively refer to as “Pit Bulls” are so dangerous as to warrant being banned and killed based on a supposed predisposition to aggression, it would stand to reason that Shetland Sheepdogs, Akitas, Doberman Pinschers, Collies, Border Collies, Boxers and Golden Retrievers would be subject to the same treatment. I love dogs. No dog should be exterminated because some ignorant souls choose to believe in a hypothetical danger.
The truth is that to discriminate against ANY breed based on ignorance and sensationalism is a tragedy. It is no less ludicrous to discriminate against a dog based on breed than it is to discriminate against a person based on race, creed, gender or sexual orientation. Some ignorant and xenophobic souls believe black people to be intellectually inferior. Some woefully obtuse individuals believe women are subordinate to men. Some of the most painfully judgmental among us, as illustrated by the government of Uganda, believe anyone afflicted with “the gay” should be put to death.
These same types of prejudice are at work with regard to Pit Bulls. Pit Bulls are victims of prejudice, but that prejudice is socially acceptable, albeit based no more in fact than the prejudices held by racists, sexists or homophobes. I suppose because dogs can’t speak out against injustice, their suffering is somehow less tragic. They’re quiet victims. They suffer silently. NO breed should be demonized and preemptively killed based on ignorance, prejudice or fear-based misconception.
The Media – “Pit Bulls Licking Faces” = Not A Great Headline
The media has demonized and sensationalized Pit Bulls. This sensationalism is not based on the truth about the breed’s inherent temperament, but the fears associated with the consequences of SOME OWNERS choosing to abuse these dogs. In much the same way Retrievers were bred to retrieve, Collies & Sheepdogs were bred to herd and Greyhounds were bred to run, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier – collectively referred to as “Pit Bulls” – were bred to emphasize specific traits, like loyalty and fearlessness, while eliminating others, like human aggression and instability.
Learn the truth about the breed commonly referred to as the “Pit Bull” at Pit Bull Rescue Central.
Ignorance Is The Real Danger
Abuse can cause ANY dog to become aggressive. Abuse can turn ANY dog into a danger. So, why don’t the idiots who abuse and fight dogs use other breeds? Well, a fight between a Golden Retriever and an American Staffordshire Terrier wouldn’t last long, now would it? It’s the same reason a heavyweight boxer doesn’t fight a welterweight boxer. “Pit Bulls” are fantastic physical specimens. WE bred them to be! Now some people want to kill them for it.
Temperament isn’t about nature alone. Dogs are not so different from us. Separate twins at birth. Raise one in a home where he’s tucked into bed each night with a hug and a full stomach. Watch the other grow up on the street, fighting for every morsel of food and relying on his fists to survive another horrendous day of a miserable existence. Then let’s see if one seems more prone to aggression.
Anger, abuse, neglect and violence…that’s the reality that awaits many Pit Bulls from the day they’re born. Not because it’s what they must do, but because the despicable fools who breed them will settle for nothing else. But when they’re rescued, if they’re rescued, they thrive. They become loyal and loving members of warm and welcoming families.
How Can You Help Pit Bulls?
You can learn more about Pit Bull type breeds and how you can help by visiting Pit Bull Rescue Central.