While some pedestrians on the street are terrified when they pass a Pit Bull, many owners can attest to their pets’ friendliness. PetPremium takes a look into the long debated breed.
Many of the characteristics Pit Bulls are known for today are out of the dogs’ control. Breeders often developed and mixed breeds with a sole purpose in mind. Unfortunately, a century or so ago, the goal was frequently to create the ideal dog for dogfighting or hunting. Bulldogs were originally used for bull baiting, considered a “blood sport”. The dogs would grab onto bulls by their snouts and try to immobilize them. After this trend passed, Bulldogs were crossed with Terriers to create the more agile Pit Bull Terriers for the purpose of dog-fighting.
Nature vs Nurture
The human psychology model of nature versus nurture plays into effect with canines, too. While a dog’s genetics may play into its personality traits, many other factors affect a dog’s personality, including its owner, training, socialization, and past experiences and memories.
According to the ASPCA, “the factors that feed into the expression of behavior are so inextricably intertwined that it’s usually impossible to point to any one specific influence that accounts for a dog becoming aggressive.” It is important to remember that, like people, every dog is an individual, and you cannot stereotype or make blanket statements. Random breeding has led to a plethora of personality traits in mixed breed dogs, and reinforces the idea that we can’t make a singular stereotype about a certain breed.
In 2013 the US Federal Government published a statement called “Breed-Specific Legislation is a Bad Idea” where they stressed that “dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.” An owner of any breeds needs to take the initiative to be a responsible owner and ensure that their pet receives the proper care, training, and socialization that makes a dog a loving family member, rather than a threat. There will always be dogs that pose too great a threat to society, but it is impossible to tell who those dogs are based solely on their breed.
The right dog for the right family
While we do not recommend Pit Bulls for first time pet owners or families with small children, the right Pit Bull can be a great fit and the perfect addition to the right family. Check out this story on our blog about Joey, an autistic boy, and his pet Pit Bull Roxy who helped him overcome his fears and make strides in his personal relationships: Family’s Pit Bull Changes an Autistic Boy’s Life.
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