Dogs Trust

Pit Bulls: Fact Versus Fiction

This week on ‘Dog Tales with Andrea Hayes’ you will get to see our amazing Pit Bull Terrier Amber who has been with Dogs Trust for 3 years now.

Amber is one of the most affectionate dogs we have ever had at our Rehoming Centre in Finglas; within seconds of meeting most people, Amber will attempt to squeeze herself onto their lap and wash their face with kisses! With such an endearingly loving personality, we really thought Amber would be rehomed in weeks but she is still with us, waiting to be adopted. We often wonder if it is because she is a Pit Bull so this week we would like to dispel some of the many myths surrounding Pit Bull Terriers!

Besides the American Pit Bull Terrier, Pit Bulls are generally not one specific breed but more a description of the appearance of certain types of larger bull breeds; usually those with square shaped heads, muscular bodies and generally taller than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

At one stage Pit Bulls were known for their constant companionship with children and appear in many vintage photos of early America* but sadly due to the many misconceptions surrounding Pit Bulls’ temperament, and the ill treatment of the ‘breed’ by irresponsible owners, they have now been banned in some countries.

There are many myths surrounding Pit Bulls that we would like to address:

Myth: Pit Bulls are aggressive, vicious dogs!

Fact: In temperament tests carried out by the American Temperament Testing Society, Pit Bulls consistently achieved the same or better rating than most dog breeds. Pit bull terriers are intelligent, loyal and loving dogs and make excellent companion animals.

Myth: Pit Bulls have locking jaws!

Fact: This is simply not true. Research by Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, Ph.D., Senior Scientist of University of Georgia concluded, "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".

Fun Fact: Helen Keller and Theodore Roosevelt both owned Pit Bulls!

It’s important to note that dogs, just like people, are individuals with unique personalities and shouldn’t be judged by their appearance. That’s not to say that breeds of dogs don’t have some inherited traits, such as the Collie wanting to herd for example, but what we want to avoid is having an entire breed of dog feared and mistrusted because of the actions of a few irresponsible dog owners. Like all dogs, given early socialisation and positive reinforcement training, Pit Bull Terriers can make excellent, loving pets so please don’t immediately discount them if you are thinking of adopting a dog.