Pit Bull Myths And Facts

A number of myths surround pit bulls and contribute to the negative stereotype associated with these dogs. However, many of these myths are unfair and do not accurately represent pit bulls.

First off, many people do not understand that pit bulls are not a breed of dog. In fact, many pit bull breeds fall under the blanket “pit bull ” category. These include:

  • Alano Espanol
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Cane Corso
  • Cordoba Fighting Dog
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

In some cases, pit bulls myths stem from the way in which people see pit bull owners and/or breeders treat these dogs. Because pit bulls are typically large, muscular and intimidating in appearance, pit bull puppies are regularly bought by people who want a mean, scary dog or by thug-types who want to impress their friends with an aggressive dog.

However, this is not to say that pit bulls are mean, aggressive or scary at all. While any dog can become aggressive and mean if it is mistreated, with the proper training, pit bulls can be as loving and loyal as many other types of dogs.

Pit Bull Jaw Myths

One of the most popular pit bull myths is that these types of dogs have “locking jaws, ” meaning that their jaws cannot be pried apart once they bite down. In some cases, this myth even goes so far as to say that a pit bull”s jaw cannot even be pulled apart if the dog is killed.

In truth, a pit bull”s jaw structure is no different from the jaw structure of any other dog breed. No such locking mechanism exists.

Another pit bull-related myth is that these dogs do not feel pain. This is also untrue. A pit bull”s nervous system is the same as that of any other dog. However, because pit bull”s are stubborn animals, they often will continue whatever task is at hand despite pain or discomfort.

Pit Bull Skull Myth

One myth that has jumped from dog breed to breed involves the size of a pit bull”s skull. This myth states that a pit bull”s brain can swell to a size that cannot be accommodated by the skull, causing pit bulls to go insane. This myth, which has also been attributed to Dobermans, is completely unfounded and untrue.

Pit Bull Behavior Myths

Along with myths surrounding the physical aspects of pit bulls, there are also a number of pit bull myths associated with the behavior of these dogs. First and foremost, many people believe that pit bulls are inherently aggressive and more likely to attack their owners and other people. This is simply not the case. Pit bulls, like any other dogs, do not exhibit aggressive behavior without reason or provocation. If a dog reacts aggressively, it is usually the result of:

  • disease
  • improper handling
  • lack of socialization or training
  • misreading the dog”s behavior.

Keep in mind that most dogs will exhibit warning signs, such as a quick movement or a growl, before resorting to using teeth. Pit bulls, like all other types of dogs, do not suddenly snap without reason.

Pit Bull Facts

Here are a few facts about pit bulls, some of which may surprise you:

  • Despite what some people believe, pit bulls actually make great pets for families. In tests done by the American Temperament Test Society, pit bulls were generally less aggressive when faced with confrontational situations that produced negative reactions out of many other stereotypically “friendly ” dog breeds, such as beagles and poodles.
  • Early in the 20th century, pit bulls were actually the No. 1 family dog.
  • Dog fighters use pit bulls breeds because they are strong, agile and have a desire to please their owners. Unfortunately, pit bulls” abuse in this circumstance contributes to the negative myths surrounding them.
  • While many pit bulls are trained to be “animal aggressive, ” this does not mean they are also “human aggressive. ” These behaviors are completely separate and can be adjusted through proper socialization and training.


Midwest Rescue of Illinois (n.d.). Myths vs. Facts The Truth About Pit Bulls. Retrieved January 22, 2008, from the Midwest Rescue Web site: http://www.midwestrescueabull.org/myths.html.

Real Pit Bull (2004). Myths. Retrieved January 22, 2008, from the Real Pit Bull Web site: http://www.realpitbull.com/myths.html.