October 26, 2020 is National Pit Bull Awareness Day, a day dedicated to changing common pit bull stereotypes and misconceptions through education.
When pit bulls immigrated with their owners from the British Isles to the United States, they quickly became a part of American culture and were admired for their brave, hardworking spirits. Pit bulls were so loved by the American people that they became known as the “All American Dog” and were featured on commercial advertisements and popular television shows.
So, how did pit bulls go from the “All American Dog” to the vicious dog many people think they know today? One of the main reasons comes from the rise and popularity of dogfighting. Dogfighting gained popularity in the 1980’s and pit bulls began to be bred for the sole purpose of making their owners profit. As pit bulls were associated with the crime and violence of dogfighting, the media quickly shifted from their “All American Dog” narrative to a perception of violence and danger that many people still hold today.
So, what is the truth about pit bulls? We have outlined 10 fun facts about pit bulls in hopes of debunking common pit bull myths and stereotypes.
- In the first half of the 20th century, pit bulls were known as “Nanny Dogs”. Families preferred leaving their children home alone with their pit bull to watch over them. The pit bull’s loyal and determined personalities made them five-star nannies!
- In a test done on the strength of three popular dog breeds’ bites, pit bulls came in last behind German Shepherds and Rottweilers. While they are undeniably strong dogs, they are no stronger than many other breeds.
- The common belief that pit bulls have locked jaws is false. They are, however, muscular dogs with strong jaws and should be given the appropriate treats for their power chewing tendencies.
- Pit bulls love humans. Yes, you heard that right. In a series of temperament tests that involve putting dogs in unexpected situations with strangers, pit bulls had an average passing rate of 82% compared to an average of 77% in the general dog population.
- While pit bulls get along well with humans, they may have less of a tolerance for other animals. Some may love to play with other dogs, but others require socialization and training. Be sure to monitor them around other dogs and start training your pit bull early.
- Pit bulls are high-energy, playful dogs. Pit bulls require a fair amount of exercise and love to stay active. Those looking to get a Pit Bull should have an active lifestyle and keep plenty of durable chews on hand for when you’re not there to keep them busy.
- Nearly half a million pit bulls are killed in shelters annually. In a study done in Arizona, dogs labeled as pit bulls spent more than three times longer in shelters than similar looking dogs. While the stigma around pit bulls is continuing to improve, the existing negative stereotypes surrounding them have detrimental effects.
- The American Pit Bull Terrier is the only true pit bull breed. The term ‘pit bull’, however, is used to describe a wide range of dogs with similar characteristics. Often times, a dog that is referred to as a pit bull is really a mix of multiple breeds.
- Pit bulls are very intelligent and learn new commands and tricks with ease. While they have strong personalities that can lead to stubbornness, their intelligence allows them to be trained and socialized early.
- One of the most famous pit bulls is Stubby, a decorated war dog in World War I. He earned the sergeant ranking for his bravery and commitment. He returned to America as a hero, marching in parades across the country.
Whether you’re looking to adopt a new pit bull, or you’re just interested in learning more about the breed, it is important to work to debunk damaging pit bull stereotypes. Like any other dog, pit bulls are a product of their environment. They are full of life and love, and with early socialization and training, your pit bull is sure to become your most loyal companion.
If you’re looking to add this loveable, goofy breed into your family we would love to introduce you to a very special pup! Best Bully Sticks is proud to partner with our local animal shelter Richmond Animal League to help get one of their long-term pups, Tres Leches, adopted into the perfect home! Here’s a little bit about our favorite gal:
- She’s currently in foster care via Richmond Animal League in Richmond, Virginia
- Tres Leches is friendly, loves kisses, and has the most incredible wiggle-butt
- Sweet, gentle, and eager to please. Tres Leches has already learned many commands thanks to her helpful friends at Richmond Animal League
- She can be spooked by other dogs, so she must be an only pet
- A backyard is preferred so she can run to her heart’s content
Has she won you over yet? Do you know the perfect forever family for Tres Leches? If so, please share!