National Pit Bull Awareness Day is coming up at the end of October. But why should pit bulls get their own day, you ask?
Pit bulls are perhaps the most misunderstood breed of dogs. They've developed a reputation for being mean, aggressive, and even violent. Let's talk about why pit bulls have become canine enemy #1 and which are the most common misconceptions surrounding the breed.
Misconception #1: Pit Bulls Bite the Most People
Let's face it...you hear more news reports about pitties becoming aggressive with people than you do about Saint Bernards (not Beethoven!) But in fact, pit bulls barely make it into the Top 10 list of fatal dog bites each year when you account for the rate of bites per breed. We hear about pit bulls a lot because there are a lot of pit bulls. In fact, Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Malamutes are far more likely to be involved in a fatal bite encounter than a pit breed.
Misconception #2: Pit Bulls' Jaws "Lock" When They Bite
Pit bulls are indeed quite strong, but their jaws aren't composed any differently than any other strong breed dog. When pit bulls clamp down on something like a toy or a stick, they usually bite hard...this is because they're determined, not locked! Bulldogs and Huskies, for example, also have very powerful clamping mechanisms.
Misconception #3: Pit Bulls Can't Live With Other Dogs
While some dog breeds are generally a little more territorial than others, ability to get along with others is a dog-specific trait. Plenty of pit bulls coexist peacefully in the same household with other dogs, cats, and kids! It's all about choosing a dog with the right temperament for your family from the get go, then appropriately training and exercising them as they mature. Knowing a dog's background goes a long way towards understanding how adaptable they'll be, so use caution when adopting a pit (or any other dog) whose history is unclear.
Misconception #4: Pit Bulls Are Mean
As any pit bull parent will tell you, pit bulls can be some of the most lovable dogs around. They tend to be incredibly loyal, affectionate, and smart. That being said, their intelligence and natural prey drive does mean they're highly alert. Like any dog with a sporting heritage, be sure you think carefully about your lifestyle before you bring a pit into your home.