The Real History of Pit Bulls Might Surprise You
Pit bulls have a reputation as brutal fighting dogs that attack without warning, and it is completely unfair. Learn how pit bulls went from being the family dog to being feared.
Every time I read a story about dog fighting it breaks my heart a little bit. I hate any animal cruelty, but dog fighting hits close to home for me. My sweet girl, Jenna, is a lab-pit bull mix, and one of my nightmares is that someone would steal her to use as a fighter or bait dog. The infographic below is so great, because it takes a fact-based look at pit bulls and debunks some common myths about them.
Just like any other dogs, pit bulls can be aggressive or they can be friendly. It’s all about training and breeding. Unfortunately, pits have a bad reputation, and a lot of it is based on myths. These myths about pit bulls and other so-called “bully breeds” are dangerous in two ways:
1. They’re bad for these dogs. It’s harder to adopt out pit bulls – even friendly ones – because of their reputation. These dogs are also more likely to be used in dog fighting, because they have a reputation for being aggressive.
2. They make us less cautious about other dogs. We tend to assume that if a dog isn’t a pit bull or other bully breed that it will be friendly. This isn’t necessarily true.
If you don’t know a dog’s history, you don’t know how she is going to behave, so take your cues from that dog’s owner.
With any dog that you don’t know, it’s best to approach with caution. Whether you encounter a poodle or a pit bull, you don’t know if that dog is aggressive toward humans or other dogs. What makes the difference between a friendly, approachable dog and an aggressive one? Training and environment.
Pit bulls weren’t always considered vicious fighters. In fact, because of their loyalty, they were once considered the perfect family dog. In the graphic below, you can see pit bulls – once known as “nanny dogs” – posing with the children that they helped care for.
So, how did these sweet, protective pups become fighters? That’s on us.
The graphic below looks at the history of pit bulls and how their reputation has changed since the late 1800s because of how humans have bred and trained them. It also looks at some of the most aggressive dog breeds, and that list may just surprise you. There are a few “bully breeds” on there, but it turns out that small dogs may have the same aggressive tendencies as larger ones.
You can click the graphic below to view a full-sized version.
graphic via Vitamins for Pit Bulls