Are Pit Bulls Really Dangerous Dogs? Exploring the Public Conception
Some argue that pit bulls are dangerous dogs. However, many factors lead toward aggressive behavior, including breeding dogs for protection, dog fighting, and social status. Abuse, neglect, chaining, tethering, and inadequate obedience training and supervision also significantly impact a dog’s tendencies.
The truth is that no dog is inherently “bad” or “dangerous”. So how do these expectations arise?
Dog breeds are characterized by certain physical and behavioral traits. Each developed to perform a specific job, whether it be hunting, retrieving, herding, or sitting on people’s laps.
A well-bred dog should have both the physical attributes necessary to perform its job and the behavioral tendencies needed to learn it. While a dog’s genetics may predispose it to perform certain behaviors, tremendous behavioral variation exists among dogs of the same breed. Note that some dog breeds are now bred for entirely different jobs than those for which they were originally developed.
Today’s pit bull is a descendant of the original English bull-baiting dog, bred to bite and hold bulls, bears and other large animals around the face. When baiting large animals was outlawed in the 1800s, people turned to fighting their dogs against each other. These larger, slower bull-baiting dogs were crossed with smaller, quicker terriers to produce agile athletic dogs for fighting other dogs.
Other pit bulls were bred for work and companionship. These dogs have long been popular family pets, known for their gentleness, affection and loyalty. Even those pit bulls bred to fight other animals were not prone to aggressiveness toward people. They needed to be routinely handled by people, so aggression toward people was not tolerated.
It’s likely that the majority of pit bulls today are the result of random breeding, resulting in a population of dogs with a wide range of behavioral predispositions. Because of this, it’s important to evaluate and treat each dog, no matter its breed, as an individual.
All puppies that learn how to positively interact with people and other animals are less likely to show aggressive behavior as adults. It’s no surprise that dogs isolated from positive human interaction are more likely to bite people than dogs that are integrated into our homes. Because these factors can be controlled by better educated owners, it is possible to reduce these risks in dogs of all breeds.
It’s not true that pit bulls are unpredictable, have locking jaws, or can tolerate huge amounts of pain. unfortunately, pit bull owners need to do more than the average dog owner to counteract negative perceptions. Pit bulls, along with other breeds like mastiffs and Dobermans, are large and can be scary-looking, and for many people, that’s enough to convince them that these dogs are dangerous.
For those who own pit bulls, we know that this belief is not true. Pit bulls can be very friendly, shy, or sweet, and make loving and loyal companions. Last year, we shared the story of Titan the pit bull, one of our insured dogs who gave his life to protect his owner from a rattlesnake strike. Though this dog may have looked intimidating, he was nothing but a true friend to his owner.
All dogs, including pit bulls, are individuals. In spite of this, many apartment complexes, HOAs, and even insurance providers do exclude certain breeds from residence or coverage. Here at Dog Bite Quote, we do not discriminate. Our Dog Bite Insurance (also known as Canine Liability Insurance) covers dogs of every breed. Providing dogs with adequate care, training and supervision, and judging them by their actions and not by their breed will ensure they can share safe and happy lives with those around them.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.