About the Breed

The term “pit bull” these days is used to describe a certain look of dog. Most times when dogs enter shelters and rescues, they are given a breed classification, and for dogs fitting the look of short coat, blocky head, muscular body, and weighing between 30-70 pounds, they are labeled pit bulls.

“Pit bull” is a general term typically used for describing three distinct breeds of dogs, and their mixes. The three breeds are: the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), the American Staffordshire Terrier (AST), and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT). Although these three breeds and their mixes can be very distinct is their physical traits and gaminess, they are often lumped together and labeled “pit bull”.


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Here are some Fun Facts and Myths about Pit Bulls:


Myth: Pit Bulls have locking jaws.  Fact: Pit Bulls do not have locking jaws.  Pit Bulls are no different than any other dog breed in their physical build and make-up.  In fact, there are no mammals that have the capacity to lock their jaws.

Myth: Pit Bulls are inherently mean and aggressive.  Fact: Pit Bulls are no more aggressive than other popular breeds according to the American Temperament Test Society, where dogs are put through the paces and tested on how they’ll react to a variety of stressful situations.  Check out ATTS.org to see how APBTs and other breeds compare.  Pit Bulls that are raised in loving homes and socialized appropriately are loving family members.

Myth: Pits Bulls that are aggressive towards dogs will be aggressive towards people. Fact: Some Pit Bulls can show aggressive tendencies towards other dogs, due to lack of socialization and/or their genetic make-up, but aggression towards other animals does not translate to aggression towards people.  In fact, prized pit fighters originally bred for fighting other dogs were always bred to have a positive temperament towards people.  Handlers wanted to be able to pull their dogs off one another without getting bit or attacked themselves.

Dogs that bite people often have behavioral issues, and many may not have had positive associations with people during their life. Some dogs, regardless of breed, can also have “hardwiring”/genetic predispositions for being more fearful or reactive in their environments.

Myth: Pit Bulls can’t live with other animals. Fact: It all depends on the individual dog. Many Pit Bulls live peacefully in multi-species households, living alongside cats, small animals, horses, and others.

Myth: You can not have two pit bulls of the same gender living together. Fact: Again this all depends on the individual dog. All dogs fall somewhere on the compatibility spectrum, some will be more dog-social, while others will be more dog-selective. Gender preferences depend on the individual dog, and introductions play a crucial role in how dogs will get along long-term. There are many pit bulls that live with other dogs of the same gender without concern.

Myth: It’s all in how they’re raised! Fact: Nope, it’s not. Dogs are resilient creatures, and many dogs that come from horrific and abusive conditions can go on to be wonderful companion dogs with no aggression issues. Take for example the hundreds of the dogs that have been rescued from dog-fighting rings that go on to become Canine Good Citizens, Therapy Dogs, and all around great family dogs. On that same note, there are dogs (regardless of breed) that have been raised in loving homes that may have genetic markers for them to be more dog-selective, or low threshold dogs.


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