Here’s What Pit Bulls are Really Bred to Do

The SPCA Serving Erie County in New York hopes to dispel common myths about pit bull terriers and show the world what they’re really born to do with its new Bred to Love campaign.

“Pit bull terriers are a severely misunderstood breed. The SPCA Serving Erie County’s goal is to educate and bring awareness to this issue in our community. The Bred To Love program’s main purpose is to put an end to the myths surrounding this amazing and loving breed. Pit bull terriers are loyal happy go lucky dogs that just adore people and will make a wonderful addition to a family looking for their new pal,” said Lindsay Guiher, a volunteer at the shelter.

According to Guiher, most of the dogs coming into the shelter are pit bulls who take longer to adopt than other breeds, which they suspect has to do with common myths surrounding the breed.

Some of these myths include the beliefs that pit bulls have locking jaws and are more likely to bite than other breeds. To clear that first one up once and for all, pit bulls do not have any anatomical mechanism that would cause or allow their jaws to lock. No dog does. And while pit bulls still get a lot of bad press, they’re no more likely to bite someone than any other breed.

The American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS), an organization that promotes uniform temperament testing, has found that the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Terrier all had a higher than average passing score, which is 83 percent, and did better than many other breeds, including Golden Retrievers, when it comes to stability, aggression and friendliness, among other traits.

Even the AVMA has stated that despite the stigma, when it comes to pit bull type dogs “controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous.”

In fact, pit bulls used to be referred to as the perfect “nanny dogs” for children because of their fantastic temperaments and were used to represent America on WWI posters because of their loyalty, bravery and determination. Even Helen Keller had one.

“As any responsible owner knows, it’s not these sweet and loyal animals that are the problem, but rather a handful of self-serving and unethical breeders. Raised in the right environment, pit bull terriers are naturally inclined to be wonderful pets, sure to steal your heart!” according to the shelter.

Along with urging people to consider adding one to the family, the SPCA Serving Erie County wants everyone who loves pit bulls to join the campaign by submitting a photo showing the world what their dogs were born to do. So far, they’ve got people showing off pit bulls who were bred to give kisses, be loved, be best friends, protect, be loyal, brighten lives and be family, along with a few who were born to cuddle.

If you want to join the campaign and help spread the truth about pit bulls, visit their website, download and print a sign and fill in the blank: Bred to _____, and take some pictures. You can then submit your images via their website, which will be shared in an album on their Facebook page.


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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Amy Thompson
Amy Thompson1 months ago

I've only had positive experiences with Pits, but I can't discount those who've had negative ones. Veterinarians have said chihuahuas are more likely to bite, but since they're small and don't do much damage, such stats aren't well publicized.

Valentina R.
Valentina R.6 months ago

If you want a Pitbull, please, don't buy one: the shelters and rescues are filled with handsome, lovable, lively Pits. Too many of them never have a family and are euthanized. Safe a life, give a Pit a home.

Kris King
Kris King7 months ago

It isn't the fault of shelters that approximately 1 million pits every year.
The blame rests on the shoulders of pit "advocates", who foolishly resist Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), which requires mandatory spay and neuter. If it isn't born, it can't suffer and die.
Who do you think is dumping all the pits at shelters? The misguided people who believe the myths that pit advocates spew forth. "It is all in how you raise them." "Pits were nanny dogs" and "All dogs are alike". None of those statements are true. Breeds were developed to have specific traits. Pits were NEVER nanny dogs. Historically, pits have mauled and killed more children than all other breeds COMBINED, and by a wide margin. Pits were created to be the ultimate fighting dog. Most pits will end being dog aggressive, which is what they were bred to be.
The reason why pits are being dumped at shelters is because the naive owners soon discover that it is NOT "All in how you raise them" when their pit mauls or kills after reaching maturity. You CANNOT " love" a dog's instinct out of it.
The people who are "ignorant" about pit bulls are the ones advocating for them, which is allowing the endless cycle of breeding and killing to continue.

Jeaneen A.
Past Member 7 months ago

I learned the other day that 599 Pit Bulls are destroyed and 1 out of the 600 will survive and be adopted. Shelters ill these poor angels just because they are Pitties. So sad that people are so ignorant!

Heather O.
Heather O.7 months ago

This is true. Pibbles are NATURALLY animal aggressive, not people aggressive. They're terriers, which means they're usually high energy, intelligent, inquisitive and very tenatious. The reason they were referred to as "nanny dogs" is because they bond very closely with their people.

It also means they're great dogs for working (if you get one from usually a rescue or a reputable breeder). Like all popular breeds, this one has suffered not only from over popularity for all the wrong reasons, but also because of the myths surrounding the breed. Golden retrievers, collies and American Cocker Spaniel's have the same issues...those are three breeds right off the top of my head that have been harmed as a breed by over popularity. People don't realize it, mostly because they a) don't know dogs and b) those three breeds specifically are seen as "family" dogs.

As always, it comes down to knowing what kind of dog is the best fit for your family. Without exception, every single pit bull I have met (and most of them were rescues) are big, slobbery tongues inside a cement head who think they're lap dogs.

All dogs will bite. You NEVER tell someone your dog doesn't bite even if they're the gentlest, most patient, well behaved, well trained dog on the planet. If you insist they'll never bite, you don't know dogs and shouldn't own one.

David S.
David S.7 months ago

This is without a doubt the single most poorly researched article about Pit Bulls I have ever read. I am going to leave with one simple observation. The Nanny Dog is not only a myth but has been retracted by the husband of the originator of the myth after his wife was mauled to death by her own pit bulls. I think one lie is more than sufficient to discredit the rest.

Ineke Bee
Ineke Beeabout a year ago

they may be 'sweeties' and 'nice dogs' but really ... we know they are bred to kill so why take the risk! There are so many other breeds that are beautiful gentle animals that pose no danger. We had a miniature poodle from 6 weeks old until she died of old age. She was our children's pet and companion and left us with fond and wonderful memories.

Kate S.
Kate S.2 years ago

I've met some wonderful pits! BUT I also know first responders who have had to treat attack victims too. I wish them all to find a wonderful forever home!

Lyn Romaine
Lyn Romaine2 years ago

I had two pits and one was aggressive and the other one was scary. The aggressive one didn't like other dogs and I had to keep him leashed when we were out. I walked him at night. Never had to worry about anything or anyone. The scary one was ok. and could be taken anywhere. You just have to know your dogs. Then one I had for 16 years and had NO PIT in him and was crazy as a loon I used to tell him. He was 3 wks. old when I got him and I raised him like my own baby. He didn't even know he was a dog and he was very protective. He had crawled away from a litter and was lost. I didn't want him but I couldn't just throw him out there to fend for himself. I wouldn't have been able to sleep. So I figured I would keep the little thing until I found him a home and 16 years later I had to put him to sleep. He was my heartbeat. So like I said before you just have to know your dog.

Kris King
Kris King2 years ago

Darla Napora was huge pit advocate and used the same arguments many of the posters here have used. She was a member of "Bad Rap". Tragically, Darla's 2 year old Pit Bull mauled her to death when she was 6 months pregnant. Bless her and her unborn baby's hearts. What a horrible way to find out that the breed you advocated for really is bred to attack to the death. I am fully aware that it could have been me when I was advocating that there were no bad dogs, only bad owners.........