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10+ Things You Never Knew About Pit Bulls

10+ Things You Never Knew About Pit Bulls

When’s the last time you saw a pit bull? How did you react? The average person might shrink back from an encounter with a pit bull, scooping up their kids or crossing to the other side of the street.

Pit bulls have the reputation of being vicious fighters, liable to snap and attack without a moment’s notice. You might be surprised that this reputation has been forced onto pit bulls by human misinformation, rather than earned through behavior. As Rebecca O’Connor writes for National Geographic, pit bulls used to be America’s darling breed.

“An American favorite, the pit bull was featured in army recruitment posters during World War I and there were several famous pit bulls that served in the American military. They were a dog that was seen as a protector, a friend and an athlete, the sort of dog Americans aspired to have by their side…Pit bulls were also seen as a child’s best friend. On the silver screen the pit bull was a constant companion to the adorable kids in the Our Gang comedies, as well as with Buster Brown.”

How times have changed. Now pit bulls are villainized, abused, and shunned. Owning a pit bull is prohibited by many homeowners’ associations and apartment complexes. Perhaps you yourself have feared or suspected the pit bull, but how much do you really know about this controversial breed?

In the infographic below are a wealth of facts about the pit bull, as a breed, pet, and companion. When facts are separated from fiction, we see a misunderstood animal that deserves love and protection just like any other.

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Pit Bull Puppies Poisoned During Pit Bull Awareness Event

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Pets, , , , , , ,

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.


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8:14AM PST on Feb 11, 2015

Thought-provoking article. Such differences on both sides of the discussion. Personally, the pit bull is not the dog for me, but I don't wish them any harm. As with all animals, 99% of their problems are caused by people. Oscar Wilde said (I'm paraphrasing) that the only thing worse than being in society was not being in society. In the case of animals, they end up the losers whether they are out of fashion or in fashion. It seems people just can't get it right. Either people see a particular animal or a particular breed in a movie or with a celebrity, and 6 months later the shelters are overflowing with poor dumped creatures who are no longer fashionable, or, a particular animal or breed is suddenly considered no longer acceptable. The result is the same terrible situation, overflowing shelters and high kill rates.

3:36AM PST on Dec 27, 2014

Get to understand before judging

1:49AM PST on Nov 9, 2014

Jane and Harold R can you back up your statements with some empirical evidence or expert opinon. Misinformation leads to ignorance and when ignorance drives public policy such as BSL millions of innocent dogs die.

The successful rehabilitation of the Vick dogs, some of the most aggressively trained pit bulls in the country .

10:32AM PST on Nov 7, 2014

I used to have a 125 pound female Rottweiler. Some people were terrrified of her. This dog was a complete lapdog. Only time she was agressive was when someone was play fighting with me and thought they were trying to hurt me.

So I understand how pitbulls get a bad wrap. I think it is how the owners bring them up that can make them mean, or the most loving animals in the world. I even believe pitbull who have been in dog fights such as Michael Vick's former dogs deserve a second chance.

10:21AM PST on Nov 7, 2014

The problem with pit bulls is their potential to kill. My sweet, chocolate lab mix, shelter dog was attacked by a pit bull this summer and the pit bull tried to kill her. My son grabbed a thick branch and hit the pit bull over the head several times. He did not want to let her out of his mouth, he wanted to kill her. The woman who was watching him was pulling his collar and screaming at him, but until my son hit him over the head with a branch enough times, he would not leg go of her. We learned that this pit bull plays with a five pound pomeranium, No matter, he wanted to kill my dog, and he almost did. A police officer owns the dog. That dog will kill someone. Perhaps a child. Perhaps another dog. I don't think pit bulls should be euthanized, but i do think they should not be bred anymore. Dade County, Miami, has a ban on pit bulls. It's true some of them are sweet and the owners have a lot to do with their behavior, but it is in their genes to clamp down and kill. Other breeds will bite and leave, NOT THE PIT BULL. IT BITES TO KILL.

1:06PM PDT on Oct 31, 2014

Beth R

Anything to do with Merrit Clifton should be investigated and verified. If true this is the story of one dog. One dog's behavior that is being used to characterize the behavior of millions. Sorry this does not pass as good science nor does Merrit Clifton pass as an expert on animal behavior.

One example of expert opinion.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says:

Owners of pit bull-type dogs deal with a strong breed stigma,35 however controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous. The pit bull type is particularly ambiguous as a "breed" encompassing a range of pedigree breeds, informal types and appearances that cannot be reliably identified. Visual determination of dog breed is known to not always be reliable.36 And witnesses may be predisposed to assume that a vicious dog is of this type.
It should also be considered that the incidence of pit bull-type dogs' involvement in severe and fatal attacks may represent high prevalence in neighborhoods that present high risk to the young children who are the most common victim of severe or fatal attacks. And as owners of stigmatized breeds are more likely to have involvement in criminal and/or violent acts37—breed correlations may have the owner's behavior as the underlying causal factor.

2:49PM PDT on Oct 30, 2014

Merrit Clifton is the man behind 24-7. Merrit Clifton is a fraud. Misinformation is dangerous. Ignorance kills innocent Pit Bulls.

Merrit Clifton The Academic Imposter Behind the Pit Bull Hysteria

"Your choice here is to embrace Merritt Clifton -- a jaw-dropping conspiracy theorist, and a quack who lies about his academic qualifications -- or a specialized medical epidemiologist attached to the national public health institute.

A distressing number of people have sided with the charlatan. Merritt Clifton's quackery is the research underlying breed specific legislation across North America. Pit bulls are being banned, confiscated and killed based on numbers that have no demonstrable foundation in reality.

We are plagued these days by superstitious zealots who prefer cranks to experts. Epidemiology in particular seems to suffer from this -- all sorts of people take Jenny McCarthy more seriously than they do tenured professors at Harvard Medical School. The sheer disdain for actual expertise is depressing: Barbara Kay dismisses Dr. Sacks as a "guru." Excuse me? He's a specialized medical doctor on staff at the most important body in America charged with preventing epidemics.

If I need heart surgery, I go to a heart surgeon -- not some Clifton-like crank who has personal theories about how heart surgery really should be done, and who dismisses actual heart surgeons as biased and corrupt."

8:50AM PDT on Oct 28, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

6:44PM PDT on Oct 27, 2014

6:44PM PDT on Oct 27, 2014

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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