Friend or foe? The truth about pit bulls

Pit bull awareness

National Pit Bull Awareness Month was created to celebrate these often-misunderstood dogs and to shed light on the truth about pit bulls. Media stories of pit bull attacks have even garnered political intervention, with some communities banning pit bulls altogether. But is this truly warranted for a breed long known as the "Nanny" dog?

Are pit bull attacks as common as it seems?

While there is no argument that there have been cases of attacks by dogs of the "pit bull" type, (e.g. American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers) attacks by pit bulls do get much more attention than those of other dog breeds.

Pit bull attacks have become a sensationalized topic in the news, and the national media is very quick to broadcast the latest occurrence. However, fatal attacks committed by other dog breeds barely garner a local news story. In fact, the probability of being fatally attacked by a pit bull is actually lower than many other breeds.

Why do pit bulls get singled out?

In large part, this is due to the reputation they have garnered as "fighting dogs." Illegal dog fighting rings exploit pit bulls more than any other breed, subjecting them to torture, abuse and forcing them to fight. Their stout, muscular bodies have made them a favorite in this type of brutal spectator event.

Pit bulls are also often trained to be guard dogs. Because of the reputation that the media has bestowed upon them, many people have a general fear of pit bulls and will likely avoid them if possible. If a dog is used as a tool to intimidate others, it doesn’t help ease generalized fear of the breed or socialization of the dogs into society.

Learn the truth about pit bulls

The truth is, like most pets they are the products of their environments and can be very loyal, loving pets when treated with care and compassion. When abused, any dog can become defensive, aggressive and violent. Unfortunately, pit bulls are some of the most commonly abused and neglected of all breeds.

It is better to treat all dog breeds with understanding, compassion and respect than to spread generalized fear that could lead to further abandonment, abuse and neglect. Learn more about pit bulls in this interesting and enlightening infographic Pit Bull Facts and Myths at

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  1. Additionally, most dogs labeled as “pitbulls” are a mix of many different breeds, so it is near impossible to know what a particular dog’s temperament is based on looks alone.

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