35 Fun Facts About Pit Bulls - Simply For Dogs
Pit Bulls

35 Fun Facts About Pit Bulls

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Welcome back readers, it’s Ash again. This week I did a breed spotlight on the American Pit Bull Terrier, and I mentioned in that post that we’d be doing a deep dive into this breed on the blog for a little while. For this post, I’m just giving you some of the coolest things I’ve learned about this breed while doing research. Buckle in and get ready to absorb some cool facts that you can share next time you’re looking for small talk at an awkward party. I’m going to cover things like “Are pit bulls aggressive?”, “Are pit bulls hypoallergenic?”, “Is the pit bull Cuban?”, and more.

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The Most Misunderstood Breed

The pit bull is without a doubt the most misunderstood breed. Because they were trained early on to fight, they gained a reputation as vicious and mean – but the truth is that this dog is lovable, loyal, and great with kids. I’ll probably say this more than once during our long look at this breed, but the way a pit bull acts is all about how it was trained. This dog is smart and eager to please – so if you teach it to please you by being aggressive, it will be. If you teach it to please you by being a loving companion, it will be. That’s how the pit bull works.

In addition to having lovely, goofy smiles and a big heart, these dogs are some of the most interesting dogs we have in America. The breed history is closely connected with our own history. Here are 35 facts to help you understand this amazing dog.

(1) Pit bulls are not Cuban. They originally were bred in England, a cross between the English Bulldog and various terrier breeds. Then they came to the U.S. with the settlers.

(2) Even though these dogs were trained to fight, they were specifically trained to target animals and other dogs. If a fighting pit bull was violent towards people, it was considered a very undesirable trait, because the owners needed to be able to handle the dogs.

(3) Pit bulls were the recruitment mascot of choice for the U.S. Army during World War I. They were also used as popular comic strip characters, advertisement mascots, and more, in the early to mid-1900s.

(4) Pit bulls used to be called “nanny dogs” because of how good they are with kids. In fact, it was widely understood that a good mother left her children with a pit bull without fear – the kids were safe if they were with this dog.

Related Content:

The Real Truth About Pit Bulls
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(5) It is estimated that there are currently two million pit bulls alive in the U.S. at any given time. Many of these dogs are in shelters due to misconceptions about the breed.

(6) There is an organization that tests the temperament of dog breeds across America. The Pit Bull scores “exceptionally well”, better than a great many miniature dogs and other types of terriers. So, no, inherently, pit bulls are not aggressive.

(7) Don’t try to keep your pit bull confined with a short fence! They are notoriously good climbers. They need tall fences, preferably made of solid material like wood. Keep in mind that they’ll likely be able to get over baby gates in your house as well.

 

(8) Even though many people think pit bulls scare away intruders, that’s mostly because of the human perception of the dog. They are so friendly that they truly don’t make the best guard dogs.

(9) Do pit bulls have lock jaw? There’s a myth that a pit bull can “lock” its jaw into place once it bites something. The truth is that they just have very strong jaws. There is actually no such thing as a dog that can lock its jaw into place once it bites.

(10) Although we know that pit bulls aren’t aggressive towards humans unless they are taught to be, it is a sad truth that the breed has been bred to be somewhat aggressive towards other dogs. You have to be careful to socialize them young or keep them away from strange dogs.

(11) There are a lot of places in America and around the world that have banned pit bulls due to their reputation. For example, the dog as a whole is not allowed in England at all, since 1991.

(12) Because pit bulls are so smart and loving, they are often used as therapy dogs. In fact, four of the dogs that were seized from the infamous Michael Vick fighting ring have gone on to become therapy dogs.

(13) Is the pit bull a breed? Well, sort of. The AKC doesn’t recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as a breed, but other breed registries do. The term pit bull can also be used for the Staffordshire Terrier, which is recognized by the AKC.

(14) Pit bulls love to chew! Be sure you have some heavy duty chew toys around for this dog! This will help curb any destructive behaviors as well since this dog is full of energy.

 

(15) The pit bull isn’t the first dog to be treated as a violent breed by the public. Before the pit bull became the choice dog to blame for violence, it was the bloodhound in the 1800s. German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers have also gone through this sort of stigma.

(16) You may have to pay a higher insurance rate on your home insurance if you have a pit bull because of their reputation. This isn’t fair, but it’s something that you do need to keep in mind if you choose to adopt a pit bull.

(17) There are many celebrity pit bulls. Theodore Roosevelt hand one, Helen Keller had one, and the dog from the Little Rascals was a pit bull – just to name a few.

(18) Before dog fighting became a popular past time, pit bulls were invaluable help on the settler’s farms. They helped to protect livestock and helped with hunting.

(19) Pit bulls were also great pets for the woman of the house. They were great ratters and good at keeping an eye on the kids.

(20) Since the late 1890s, pit bulls have been one of the most abused breeds that have existed. At one point in history, they were used in a sport called bear baiting, where the dog would face down a chained bear for the entertainment of onlookers.

(21) A pit bull bite has actually been tested against the strength of the bites of other dogs, and it came in behind several breeds, including Rottweilers and German Shepherds.

(22) Pit bulls don’t need much grooming at all. Are pit bulls hypoallergenic? In a sense, they are better for people with dog allergies. They don’t tend to shed, and they don’t tend to be droolers. Their short coats also don’t pick up a lot of pollen and debris. All they need is a single brush about once every week or so to keep the dead hairs picked up.

 

(23) Pit bulls don’t have many genetic diseases to worry about. They are generally healthy dogs.

(24) Many groups have tried to change the name of the pit bull to help them lose their reputation. In the 1990s, the dog was briefly called the St. Francis Terrier, but it didn’t stick. In 2004, there was an attempt to name them New Yorkies. However, perhaps because of the similarity to the Yorkshire Terrier, called a Yorkie for short, it didn’t stick either.

(25) There are several variations of pit bulls. The blue nose is a very desirable variation, but there are also red nose and other types. Stay tuned this week for a post on the variations of the pit bull!

(26) Pit bulls are best trained around very positive and loving people. Because they are so smart and so eager to please, they tend to pick up on your behaviors and mimic you.

(27) You should always use a leash when socializing a pit bull until you are positive he or she is perfectly trained. Here’s why: Most dogs have specific signs that they show to warn other dogs to back off. These include things like growling or getting into an aggressive position. But in order to make dogs more entertaining fighters, breeders actually bred many of these traits out of pit bulls. So it is very hard to tell sometimes when a pit bull may decide to get aggressive towards another dog.

 

(28) Multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on claims that pit bulls bite humans more often than other dogs. These studies have shown repeatedly that pit bulls are no more likely than any other strong breed to bite humans.

(29) Dogs that look like pit bulls, and pit bulls themselves, are misidentified nearly 60% of the time. Mixed breeds that have Labrador, Boxer, and a wide range of other dog breeds in them, are frequently labeled as pit bulls at shelters, which causes them to not be adopted as quickly, if ever.

(30) There was a 20-year study (once again, peer-reviewed) that showed that 72% of all fatalities related to dog bites were not caused by pit bulls.

(31) One of the reasons that the media seems to report that a pit bull is behind every bite you hear about is because other dogs are so frequently mislabeled as a pit bull.

(32) Despite all of these facts, it is common for rental houses, apartments, dog parks, and even entire towns and cities, to ban pit bulls in America.

(33) Pit bulls have been on the cover of Life Magazine more than triple the number of times that any other breed ever was.

(34) There are still people out there who WANT a vicious dog, and unfortunately, they still train pit bulls to be aggressive. This also leads to this dog having a bad reputation.

(35) There is a resurgence of people trying to help improve the reputation of the pit bull. In fact, there is even a pit bull awareness month every year!

What Can You Do?

The sad truth is that many pit bulls have rough lives. They are mistreated, even outright abused, by those who want them to be aggressive. Then they are blamed and rejected by those who believe they are aggressive. The shelters are full of them – I read that over 20% of all shelter dogs are pit bull or pit bull mixes. In many cases, a family will adopt a pit bull, only to have to move and find out that their well-trained, happy dog isn’t allowed in their new home, simply because of the breed he happened to be born as.

Pit Bulls

So, what can we do? Spreading the right information is a great start. Adopting pit bulls form shelters if you can is another great option.

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Living With a Pit Bull

What can you expect if you adopt a pit bull from a shelter? Well, for starters, you can expect a lifetime of love and loyalty. These dogs are total lovers. They like to snuggle – they suffer from that big dog delusion that they are still lap dogs. They want to be with you everywhere. They love car rides and long walks and hanging out together.

You can also expect to have to do some work, however. These dogs need to be taught how to act. Socialization with other dogs in a safe way is a must. Socialization with other people should also happen slowly. And you’ll likely face at least one neighbor calling the city about your vicious dog – who was probably just chasing a butterfly at the time.

But it’s worth it. I own Boxers, often mistaken for pit bulls, and I have gotten those types of calls. The dogs are loving and deserve loving homes. Use these 35 facts to help you correct those who don’t understand and enjoy the wonderful friends you have in your dogs for life.

Related Content:

The Real Truth About Pit Bulls
10 Dog Breeds Mistaken for Pit Bulls
Breed Spotlight: The American Pit Bull Terrier
Toy Pit Bull, Anyone? The Truth About Small Dogs
4 Indestructible Chew Toys for Pit Bulls

Sources:

https://terriblyterrier.com/interesting-facts-about-pit-bulls/

https://www.pitbullinfo.org/myths–facts.html

https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/blog/2016/february/16/facts-about-pit-bulls/

About the Author Ash