Pit Bull Terriers are a controversial animal, with opinions on them varying greatly. Some people argue that they are loving and misunderstood, while others say they are too dangerous to own. To understand the facts about Pit Bulls, it is important to look at the data and statistics available.
- According to the American Kennel Club, the Pit Bull is not an official breed.
- Data from the ASPCA shows that Pit Bulls are the most commonly found dog in animal shelters.
- There is no definitive data on the popularity or number of Pit Bulls in the United States.
- The identification of a dog as a Pit Bull can vary depending on location and who is labeling the dog.
- Dogs labeled as Pit Bulls spend longer in shelters than those labeled as other breeds.
- One study found that Pit Bulls and Rottweilers were responsible for 67% of dog bite-related fatalities in the United States.
- Over 42 different breeds have been found to have caused at least one dog bite-related fatality in the same study.
- The number of dog attacks remains consistent over time, however, the breeds involved in these attacks can change.
- According to data from the American Temperament Test Society, Pit Bulls pass temperament tests 87.4% of the time.
- Pit Bulls have been shown to be more aggressive toward other dogs.
- The Pit Bull has the 8th strongest bite force of any breed, as determined by a study of bite force.
Pit Bull Terriers, a group of breeds including American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, have been a controversial topic. Here are some facts and statistics to better understand the Pit Bull:
- According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Pit Bull is not an officially recognized breed. It can be difficult to accurately identify a Pit Bull as the term is often used to refer to any medium-sized dog with a stocky body and boxy head.
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that Pit Bulls are the most commonly found dog in animal shelters. In 2014, over 50,000 Pit Bulls were in shelters, but only 11,000 were adopted and 25,000 were euthanized.
- There is no clear data on how popular Pit Bulls are or how many currently exist in the United States. The ASPCA study reported that Pit Bulls are the third most commonly adopted dog from animal shelters, but the number of adopted dogs from shelters is only 19% according to data from the HSUS.
- Breed identification in shelters can vary depending on location and who is labeling the dog. A study by Arizona State University’s Canine Science Collaboratory found that different regions have varying odds of labeling the same dog as a Pit Bull. The presence of breed-specific legislation (BSL) in the area can also affect identification.
- Dogs labeled as Pit Bulls spend three times longer in shelters than those labeled as other breeds. This is likely due to the negative perception associated with the Pit Bull breed, which can make them less appealing to potential adopters.
- A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) found that Pit Bulls and Rottweilers accounted for 67% of all dog bite-related fatalities in the United States between 1981-1992. This data relied on eyewitness identification of the dogs involved in the attack, without DNA analysis, and may not account for the misidentification of other breeds.
- The same study found that over 42 breeds were responsible for at least one dog bite-related fatality, illustrating that any breed of dog has the potential to be dangerous.
- The data has shown that the breeds responsible for fatal dog attacks have changed over time, with German Shepherds and Great Danes also topping the list in previous years. This suggests that the high numbers associated with Pit Bull-type dogs may be linked to their increasing popularity as a breed.
- According to the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), Pit Bulls pass temperament tests 87.4% of the time. This indicates that unprovoked aggression is not an innate issue with Pit Bulls.
- However, a 2008 study by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine found that Pit Bull-type dogs showed increased aggression towards other dogs, particularly those that were unknown to the Pit Bull. This aggression was not directed toward the owners of the other dogs. Pit Bulls were not the most aggressive breed in this metric, with Chihuahuas and Dachshunds also showing increased aggression towards other dogs.
- The Pit Bull has the 8th strongest bite force of any breed, with a psi of 235. According to studies, the dog with the most powerful bite is the Kangal, a Mastiff-type dog that can pack 743 psi in each bite. However, it’s important to note that the bite force of a dog is not the only factor that contributes to a dog attack.
Why Do Pit Bulls Have Such a Mixed Reputation?
The reputation of Pit Bulls is complex, as it’s influenced by a combination of myths and misinformation, as well as historical facts. Originally developed in the United Kingdom in the 19th century, they were used in blood sports such as dog fighting, bull-baiting, and rat-baiting. Although these sports were banned in 1911, the reputation of the breed as aggressive and violent remains.
Additionally, Pit Bulls can attract certain types of owners that may not properly train, socialize, or contain the dogs, increasing the risk of serious attacks.
Pit Bulls and Breed-Specific Legislation
Due to the breed’s reputation, Pit Bulls often become the target of breed-specific legislation (BSL), which aims to restrict or ban the ownership of dogs deemed dangerous. However, numerous studies have shown that BSL does not work as a solution to reducing serious dog bites, and it can drive up costs to the community. A better approach would be enforcing existing animal control laws and requiring more training and certification from dog owners.
The Pit Bull is not an actual breed, and there are several breeds often lumped together under the umbrella of “Pit Bull”, such as American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. According to data compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Pit Bulls are the most commonly-found dog in animal shelters.
Pit Bulls are the third most commonly adopted dog from animal shelters according to the ASPCA. But according to data from HSUS, only 19% of all dogs were obtained from shelters, the rest were either taken in as strays, bought from breeders, or taken from friends and associates.
One study found that Pit Bulls and Rottweilers accounted for 67% of all dog bite-related fatalities in the United States. Over 42 breeds were found to have caused at least one dog bite-related fatality in that same study. While the number of dog attacks has remained constant for quite some time, the breeds responsible for them have changed.
According to data from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), Pit Bulls pass temperament tests 87.4% of the time, showing unprovoked aggression is not an innate issue with Pit Bulls.
Pit bulls have been shown to be more aggressive toward other dogs. According to one study, Pit bulls have the 8th strongest bite force of any breed.
Pit Bulls are subject to a variety of myths. Some of these are intended to unfairly demonize the dogs, while others give them undeserved credit. Pit Bulls don’t have locking jaws, they don’t feel pain when they fight, they were not considered nanny dogs and they don’t attack unprovoked.