Pitbulls always seem to be in the news for negative reasons, and they have an extremely bad reputation around the world.
Considered as the most dangerous dogs, Pitbulls might be misunderstood by many. But are Pitbulls really as dangerous as the media makes us believe?
History of Pitbulls
The best place to start would be to go back to the history of Pitbulls. Pitbulls originated from the now-extinct old English bulldog. These dogs were specifically bred for fighting.
During those days, there existed a cruel sport where a bull was tied to a stake and was intentionally irritated and angered. Dogs were put in the same pit while the audience placed bets on which dog would bring the bull down.
This game would end in the bull being killed, perhaps with some of the dogs as well. This is also where the names Pitbull, Pitbull dog, and bulldog originated.
Pitbulls were also bred with terriers, which resulted in a combination of strength and intelligence. As bull-baiting was banned in the 19th century, it paved way for another illegal sport underground on a smaller scale – dogfighting.
However, as the Pitbulls became common across the world, all of this eventually stopped and Pitbulls were put to the use they were originally meant for – herding and working dogs.
Ironically, Pitbulls were America’s favorite in the early half of the century. They were also referred to as “nanny dogs” because of how much they loved people, especially kids.
But despite the ban on dogfighting, it still made a comeback in the late 20th century. The choice of dog was Pitbull. This was also the choice of guard dog for drug dealers and smugglers, who trained the dogs to be vicious.
This led to a very publicized attack by a Pitbull which then resulted in a lot of proposed bans that did not take time to become laws.
News about Pitbulls
News is filled with reports of attacks by Pitbulls, and they have been getting more and more common.
One of the news that caused social outrage was when KFC asked a 3-year-old dog-attack victim to leave their premises because her face was disrupting their customers.
While the outrage was for KFC’s behavior, the incident that took place was terrifying. Three Pitbulls broke down the door of her grandfather’s house and mauled her. Half of her face was paralyzed and she lost one of her eyes.
In another horrifying incident, a young woman had taken her Pitbulls out for a walk when out of nowhere they attacked her to death.
A 4-year-old boy was mauled by a Pitbull so viciously that they cracked his jaw, cheekbone, and eye socket. He had to go through months of reconstructive surgery.
It does not help that Pitbull attacks are always sensationalized more than any others. News headlines will always highlight “Pitbull attack” when there is news of an attack by a Pitbull, but will term an attack by any other breed as just “dog attack”.
This is nothing new. There was a time when Doberman Pinschers were victimized this way, then German Shepherds, and then rottweilers.
Some myths about Pitbulls
Pitbull is a breed of dog
This is not true. Pitbull is a generic term applied to multiple breeds that have similar physical characteristics.
The American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Blue Blood Bulldog, and many other mixed breeds that look-alike come under the umbrella of a Pitbull.
This leads to a greater misunderstanding as people usually cannot differentiate between the breeds and that is why Pitbulls are targeted majorly.
Pitbulls are inherently aggressive and dangerous
Pitbulls are not naturally violent or dangerous. They might become so due to neglect, abuse, lack of or improper training. This is true of all dogs.
In fact, Pitbulls have a very high temperament score. They are people-oriented dogs who love humans and children.
Pitbulls are born to fight
While it is true that Pitbulls were bred for fighting, they are not born that way. They are trained to fight by people who participate in inhuman entertainment and earn money through “games” like dog fights.
Once these dogs are trained, they are forced to fight to the death. If they lose, they are often abandoned or killed by electrocution or other cruel means.
Pitbulls have locking jaws
Pitbulls have strong jaw muscles. Once they catch hold of something they don’t easily let go of it. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t.
Indeed, according to experts, there is no such thing as a locking jaw in any breed. The jaws of Pitbulls are just like any other breed’s.
Pitbulls are more dangerous for children
Some people believe that Pitbulls are not safe when there are kids involved.
Most Pitbulls are great with kids. They have endless patience and high pain tolerance, which means that they will not be easily irritated because of children.
They love small children and are very kind to them.
The only cause of concern, however, is that Pitbulls don’t know how strong they are. It may happen that they get very playful, and could hurt the child unintentionally.
This is the only reason why Pitbulls should never be left alone with children, but then, that is true of all dogs.
The problem with Pitbulls
Pitbulls are very strong, muscled dogs. They are loveable animals who make very good family pets. However, knowing their history, Pitbulls need to be trained properly.
Wrong training can result in a lot of issues. Although Pitbulls have a good temperament, they can get aggressive when angered or threatened.
Many times, Pitbulls are not aware of their strength, which can result in their playfulness actually hurting somebody without them intending to.
Because Pitbulls have a stronghold, their bites are more dangerous.
If you have a Pitbull which has had a bad past, it will be wary of strangers and will take a lot of time and training to behave properly. A Pitbull with a past of abuse and neglect can misbehave and be vicious.
Why are Pitbulls banned in some places?
Not only are Pitbulls considered dangerous, but they are also banned in a lot of places around the world. Apart from Pitbulls, some other popular breeds that are banned include Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Dobermans.
Pitbulls have earned a very bad reputation for being aggressive and dangerous.
There have been a lot of incidents where Pitbulls were made out to be criminals in the story. In this case, it is easier for the government to just issue a ban on the breed rather than trying to change the people’s opinion about it.
Where are Pitbulls banned?
Ownership and breeding of Pitbulls are banned in the UK by the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.
Pitbull terriers are legal in the USA, but they are banned in several cities in Canada.
Countries like Brazil, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, France, etc. also have some restrictions or regulations on Pitbulls, which is important to keep in mind if you are traveling abroad.
Only some of these laws are outright bans. Some locations require you to register your Pitbull. Others limit Pitbulls to 1 or 2 per household.
Are Pitbulls really more dangerous than other dogs?
According to studies, yes.
While the definition of “dangerous” is quite broad and subjective, statistics show that Pitbulls are dangerous, maybe a bit more than other breeds.
They are more dangerous based on the frequency of aggressive behavior and the severity of the encounters.
Pitbulls tend to be aggressive towards other dogs more than towards humans. Looking at their history, we know that Pitbulls were bred as fighting dogs.
Because of this, they have evolved with a powerful bite that is dangerous. While the force of the bite isn’t stronger when compared to other dogs of its size, their jaws are powerful.
They were trained to bite and hold on, and this makes Pitbull bites a lot more dangerous than other dogs.
But in the end, it all comes down to the environment they are raised in. No dog is inherently more or less dangerous than others.
If Pitbulls are more dangerous, it is because they have been bred to be dangerous. That can change with proper training, as they are not inherently born that way.
The various bans and laws against Pitbulls have been described as “canine racism”.
Indeed, all the attacks have been due to poorly bred and wrongly trained dogs raised by breeders who are just looking at their profit.
It all comes down to their training. The dog is being punished for the crimes of its irresponsible owner. The two-legged beast is the one we need to worry about more than the four-legged beast.