When growing up people may have heard the phrase “dogs are man’s best friend” at least one time in their lives. The phrase is a huge but very vague statement given that not everyone enjoys the presence of dogs or can tolerate their dander. People tend to agree with this statement since dogs are loyal, family oriented, and protective (depending on the breed that is). From looking at the title you, the reader, can see that I will be going over the misconception of pit bulls. Too many people across the world say Pit bulls are potentially dangerous dogs, without getting the chance of owning or meeting one. Not only will I go over why pit bulls are viewed in a negative perspective and how they have a huge misconception, I will also compare them to German shepherds.
The Misconception and Stereotypes
Aggressive, territorial, violent, killers those are just a few words some may use when asked to describe a pit bull. Why may some use those specific words to describe pit bulls? Well, because pit bulls were, and highly still likely, used as fighting dogs. Not only were they used as fighting dogs but pit bulls have caused 232 deaths from 2005-2015 which makes up 64.4% of deaths caused by dogs (“11-Year”). No other dog is even close to that number the next one down is 41 deaths which is about five times less than pit bulls. When just looking at numbers it’s safe to say why some people may use those words, but does it make it right to judge all of them because a couple of them attacked and ended up killing people? In my opinion, no it’s not right to judge the breed as a whole based off of 232 deaths over an eleven year period.
In a way by stereotyping pit bulls into saying that they all are dangerous is like singling out a specific race and saying just because a small percentage did something that caused harm that the whole race opposes a threat. Granted it does happen more often than most tend to realize, but that could be a whole other blog in itself. The fact is if people were saying and/or treating you like you were the one who physically performed the act more than likely you’d want them to stop or see you as an individual. So why aren’t pit bulls seen as individual dogs with their own personalities? I will tell you why; it’s because as a society most likely to stick with the general consensus and very few stand against the crowd.
The One and Only Peedee
People who own or have owned pit bulls know just how kind, gentle, and protective they are. When I was a couple months old my parents adopted this baby pit bull; who they named Peedee. My parents didn’t see an issue with raising a family with a pit bull roaming around. Peedee was my best friend and she protected me from everything even if I wasn’t facing any harm. She never showed any acts of aggression to anyone with the exception of her thinking someone was hurting my sisters or I. When I say, ‘her thinking someone was hurting us’ I mean when my dad would throw us in the air and catch us. My sisters and I would scream but Peedee thought we were in harm thus she would growl at my dad or my uncles when they would throw us up.
This is my sweet Peedee looking up at me to make sure that I was okay and she would always follow me around the house.
An example of someone else that has a pit bull is my old teammates Isabela. When we played on the same team together her mom would bring her pit bull, Nani, and she was just so playful and ran up to greet anyone and everyone. However, for the sake of this blog, I thought I should ask Isabela what it meant to have Nani as a dog. Isabela stated, “I love having my pit bull because she is the most loyal and caring dog anyone could have. She is extremely sweet to every person she meets, but I know if I am in trouble she will be right by my side to protect me,” (Isabela Jimenez). I’m not here to speak upon all people who own pit bulls, but it’s generally how most would describe having one that’s apart of their family.
This is Isabela’s puppy Nani and look at how sweet she looks cuddled in her blanket and her flower crown!
Hulk, Who let the beast out?
Another example is Hulk who belongs to Marlon Grennan and his family. Hulk is a pit bull and he weighs 180 pounds! Now Marlon and his wife Lisa are expecting a baby but don’t see any reason to get rid of HUlk since he is fine with their other son. Hulk has been trained to attack but he knows that the alpha of the house is Marlon so he knows whatever Marlon says goes. Thinking about a 180-pound dog being near a baby may sound like it’s a red flag, the Grennan family don’t feel that way since they trust Hulk. As soon as hulk meet the new baby he sniffs and then licks him. Lisa talks about how Hulk would follow her when she was holding the baby and would rest wherever he was. If that’s not loyalty than I don’t know what is. Hulk knows how to attack, but with his family, he seems to be a whole different dog. When training any dog they need to have a balance between family mode and protection mode. People who train pit bulls for dog fighting train them so that they don’t attack them and teach them to be loyal to them. Honestly, it sucks that those dogs may think that what is happening to them is love when in reality if they were to get killed than they would just be thrown away and replaced within a few minutes. (“Giant Pit Bull”)
Dogs VS Babies
Dogs are like babies you have to train them and teach them what is acceptable and what isn’t. If someone trains the dogs to fight that is what they know but that doesn’t mean that it’s all that they will ever know. With using my example from my childhood Peedee wasn’t taught how to fight she was just sweet and loyal and didn’t want anything bad to happen to my sisters and I. So yes it is how you raise them, but it doesn’t mean that they will be in a fighting mode their whole lives, it just takes the right family to take one in and to show them that not every person will cause them harm.Thus many fighting dogs have the chance to get rehabilitated once rescued, in the article “10 Common Misconceptions About Pit Bulls” it gives a statistic of fighting dogs when it comes to finding a new home, “This was disproved by the Michael Vick case where some 50 pit bulls were rescued from a fighting ring. Of those, 49 dogs were rehabilitated. Some went to shelters such as Best Friends and many are well-loved family members today,” (“10 Common”). This proves that not only is it how they are raised, but how you continue to treat them.
Life VS Death
Since they have such a high rehabilitation rate means that they aren’t always human aggressive even after being put through what they do as ‘fighting dogs’. From the same article, “10 Common Misconceptions About Pit Bulls” it also touches base with pit bulls being human aggressive, “Since Pits were bred to fight dogs in a ring, the owners had to make certain they would not turn on them when they went in to stop the fight. Imagine a dog, so riled up from fighting and very aggressive, who was able to then turn it off when his human appeared in the pit. When a Pit Bull attacks a person, there are always other factors involved, such as protection of food. Any dog may bite if provoked,” (“10 Common”). Peedee was very territorial not only with her home but with us kids in the home. She was even protective of my cousins from the first time they came over. However, some dogs may attack if they feel like you’re in their personal space, but pit bulls aren’t the only dogs capable.
The Myth of “It’s in their DNA”
Now some may think that being aggressive is in their DNA which isn’t the case. Yes, pit bulls were bred in order to fight and the people who wanted to fight them picked out the biggest male and female to get bigger puppies. However, aggression is not in all of their DNA, when two dogs are bred that have aggressive traits their offspring may inherit those traits as well but that doesn’t make all of them aggressive or doesn’t mean that aggression is their only choice. For example, if two professional wrestlers were to have a child would smash a chair into someone’s ribs be in their DNA? Absolutely not it’s something you must train for. In the article “Position Statement on Pit Bulls” it talks about pit bulls getting bred for fighting, “Some pit bulls were selected and bred for their fighting ability. That means that they may be more likely than other breeds to fight with dogs. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be around other dogs or that they’re unpredictably aggressive,” (“Position Statement”). Thus proving that just because their ancestors were used for that particular purpose doesn’t mean they are all going to be like that.
Double Standards: Pit Bulls and German Shepherds
In the United States, there is a lot of double standards. Like I mentioned, in the beginning, I will be demonstrating the double standards between pit bulls and German shepherds. Pit bulls are seen as aggressive due to their past with dog fighting, but policemen train German shepherds to attack humans. Both of these dogs have a really strong jaw and can do damage to whoever the target is. I can see that one is illegal and is used to earn money from causing serious damage towards another dog, but German shepherds are trained to attack humans. Not to say dog fighting is better by any means, but it seems more like a case of natural selection at that point. If anyone only had the option to live by fighting to the death I am sure they would. The sad thing about this is that nobody thinks about putting German shepherds down because they attacked someone because they have been ‘professionally’ trained. If I am being 150% honest I feel like that is complete and utter crap!
Go out and see what you’ve been missing
Now that you just hear a lot of information I don’t expect everyone to go out and buy a pit bull based on my words. I do however hope to have changed some views and if you or someone you know still feels like they are a dangerous breed I recommend going to an animal shelter and checking if they have a pit bull and just interact with one. If you choose to go visit a pit bull you can see how most of them were viewed in a wrongful manner so before anyone judges pit bulls on their past, get to know their new and improved behavior. Just one experience can not only change your life and views but also theirs. When dogs are abused it can be hard to trust another human so by showing kindness it may give them the same change of their views on the humankind. I can guarantee that they will lick you to death before actually biting; if they aren’t provoked.
Isabela’s former Pit bull enjoying the pool.
“Giant Pit Bull Hulk & The Newborn Baby.” YouTube, Uploaded by Dog Dynasty, 30 October 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCqJCOWUc-Q. Accessed 6 February 2018.
“Position Statement on Pit Bulls.” The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, https://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement-pit-bulls. Accessed 6 February 2018.
“10 Common Misconceptions About Pit Bulls.” Dogster.com, 8 December 2010, http://www.dogster.com/uncategorized/pitbulls. Accessed 6 February 2018.
“11-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart-2005 to 2015.” Dogsbite.org, 11 February 2016, https://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/11-year-dog-bite-fatality-chart-dogsbiteorg.pdf. Accessed 12 February 2018.