Pit bulls are some of the most feared and misunderstood dogs on this planet. They are often seen as nothing more than overly-aggressive monsters that need to stay far away from children and other animals. While there are incidents that prove this to be true, they don’t reflect the nature of all pit bulls. Just like any other dog breed, their owners and environment play a huge role in their temperament. Here are some of the most common misconceptions you have about pit bulls.
1. Their Bite Is the Strongest Among Dogs
It is often said that pit bulls are the strongest dog breeds with a PSI (pound per square inch) of 2,000. Compare that to a lion’s PSI of only 600. However, the media is partially to be blamed for this misunderstanding, since it came from a study referring to Newtons (2,000 Newtons equal roughly 450 PSI). In a National Geographic study by Dr. Brady Barr, he measured the PSI of three dogs: German shepherd, rottweiler and pit bull. The rottweiler was the strongest, with a PSI of 325 while pit bulls came in last with a PSI of only 235. This proves they’re not as strong as we believe.
2. They Have Locking Jaws
Another persistent myth is that pit bulls have a special mechanism within their jaws that makes it impossible for their targets to escape. This myth comes from the pit bulls’ biting style, where they prefer to latch onto their prey and shake it around, rather than biting it multiple times like some other dogs. While it’s true they have strong, well-developed muscles and a large skull, it’s very much possible to break their bite, if you know what to do. Responsible pit bull owners will insert a break stick behind the dog’s back teeth, then twist and pry its jaws open.
3. They’re All Aggressive
According to the American Temperament Test Society, the pit bull, or American pit bull terrier, has a passing rate of 86.8% in terms of its friendliness. That is significantly higher than other “friendly” breeds like golden retrievers and German shepherds. Ironically, studies have proven that smaller breeds like chihuahuas, collies and spaniels are more likely to be aggressive towards people. It also doesn’t help that the media reports pit bull attacks at a much higher rate and for a much longer period of time.
4. They Attack Without Warning
A common talking point in many pit bull attack stories is the victim or eye witness claiming that the dog charged at them without warning. This is generally false as pit bulls, along with every other dog, will give a warning before they attempt to bite someone. However, the victim isn’t entirely to blame since the signs can be very subtle or even mistaken for friendliness. Growling, on the other hand, is one of the more obvious signs, and it’s followed by a series of escalating events that lead up to the biting.
5. Pit Bulls Trained to Fight Can’t Be Rehabilitated
When it comes to pit bulls, many people believe that those trained to fight absolutely cannot be rehabilitated and must be put down. One of the reasons that this is very much possible is that pit bulls are trained to attack other dogs, not people. The responsibility also falls on their new owners to be aware of the new dog’s past and to treat them with care and patience. They also need to be aware of the things that may possibly trigger their dogs. Aside from that, many of them are quite friendly towards humans.
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