The answer is no. There are unscrupulous dog owners who breed them to fight and subject the dogs to inhumane treatment with little or no caring, human supervision. However, pit bulls are no more harmful than poodles if trained correctly and socialized properly.
The History of Pit Bulls
It is believed that pit bulls originated from the English bull-baiting dog known as Mastiff “bullenbeissers” which translates into “bull biter”—a dog that was bred to bite and hold bulls, bears and other large animals around the face and head. When this was outlawed in the 1800s, the dogs were bred with smaller, quicker terriers to combine the intelligence of a terrier with the strength of a Mastiff.
Some pit bulls were bred to fight while others were bred for work and became noteworthy for their gentleness, affection and loyalty. This was the breed that appeared on army recruitment posters during World War I and starred in the Our Gang comedies. In fact, you may remember the RCA Victor logo which featured a gramophone and a pit bull.
Now, more than 700 cities and 40 states have bans on pit bulls. What caused America’s darlings to become the scourge of all dog-dom?
Unfortunately, dog fighting made a comeback in the 1980s and the pit bull was the breed of choice to fight even though it was illegal. The breed also became popular among drug dealers and gangs as a means of protection.
The Facts Don’t Support A Ban
In yearly tests of over 240 dog breeds by the American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS), pit bulls consistently achieve a passing rate that’s as good or better than the other most popular breeds. To achieve this good rating, they are put through a series of confrontations and if any aggression is displayed, they fail the test. Pit bulls displayed no more aggression or unprovoked attacks than any other breeds.
The bottom line? It all comes back to the dog owners. Like any breed of dog, a healthy pit bull that is properly raised will reflect the good care his owners have invested in him. If they have early positive experiences and good socialization, puppies will learn to play and communicate with both people and members of their own and other species, and will be less likely to show aggressive behavior as adults. In fact, many pit bulls are ideal for children because they can tolerate the rough and tumble play that kids can dish out.
However, if pit bulls or any breed are constantly chained outside, neglected and isolated from caring humans, they will be more likely to bite people and fight with other dogs.
To ban a whole breed does not get to the root of the problem and gives the public a false sense of security about the breeds that are not outlawed. It’s not the dog’s fault or the breeds – it’s the owners who misuse them.