Frequently Asked Questions!
Sometimes, we just want to shake our heads at the things people believe are true about pit bulls -- but we know that public perception is fed by so much misinformation that the smart thing to do is educate people. So here are some of the top questions we hear in the pit bull world -- and the truthful answer.
We have big mouths and we warble and gurgle and talk to you (some of us even say "I love you") but our jaws don't lock, silly!
Yes, I'm so dangerous, grrr!
They made me fight. Maybe I even won sometimes, since I survived. But even after all that, I am now a breed ambassador and a hero to all the abused dogs out there. (Hector, former Vick dog)
Q: Don't pit bulls have locking jaws?
A: NO. No canine has the ability to "lock" its jaws, and that includes the bully breeds. This myth likely came from a misunderstanding combining the disease tetanus, with a fear of strong dogs. You'd think that 21st century citizens would not create such medieval cognitive fallacies but such is the power of ignorance+fear. Pit bulls don't even have the strongest bite strength among canids. National Geographic's Dr. Brady Barr conducted a bite pressure test among varying species including dogs, with these findings: "Domestic dogs: 320 LBS of pressure on avg. A German Shepherd Dog, American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), and Rottweiler were tested using a bite sleeve equipped with a specialized computer instrument. The APBT had the least amount of pressure of the 3 dogs tested." (http://dogfacts.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/national-geographics-dr-brady-barrs-bite-pressure-tests/)
Q: Aren't pit bulls inherently dangerous and vicious?
A: Just as it would be incorrect to say that all people of a certain ethnicity are dangerous and vicious, it is also incorrect to assume that all dogs of a certain type are uniformly aggressive. Any dog (or human) can be dangerous, depending upon a huge range of factors including environment, upbringing, situation and individual temperament.
The famous dog fighting case involving Michael Vick's dogs demonstrated that even dogs bred, raised and tortured into aggression were not permanently thwarted into dangerous behavior. "Many of the dogs have been adopted into homes with children and other dogs. Some, like Mel, continue to deal with fear issues, whereas others work as therapy dogs in hospitals or children’s programs. Some will live out their lives at Best Friends Animal Society." (http://aldf.org/article.php?id=928)
Q: Isn't a "pit bull" one type of mean dog breed?
A: The term "pit bull" refers to an array of varying dog breeds as diverse as the Cane Corso and the Bull Terrier. This confusion alone makes Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) difficult to enforce. Areas where BSL has been enforced have not demonstrated significant decreases in dog bites, and many breed bans have been repealed for lack of efficacy. (See World-Wide Failure of Breed Specific Legislation, National Canine Research Council)
Q: Don't pit bulls make great guard dogs?
A: Historically, even the dogs bred for fighting pits were culled (exterminated) if they demonstrated any human aggression. This was done so their handlers could safely step between two dogs during a heated battle without fear of the dogs biting the people. Many pit bull type dogs are too friendly to be useful as guard dogs, and must be trained/beaten into this type of behavior.
Read more about pit bull myths here: http://www.badrap.org/monster-myths