Visitor:
Practical > Companion Animals & Urban Wildlife > Companion Animals
Un-verified Information on Pit Bulls

see: Pit Bull Essay Rebuttal

Pit Bulls are more aggressive than other breeds. They've attacked more people than other breeds. They've also caused a large portion of the fatal attacks caused by dogs.

Here's some information on pit bull attacks, aggression, etc.


What have Pit Bulls been bred for?


Pit Bulls have been bred specifically to be aggressive. They're descended from the now-extinct old English "bulldogge," a big, tenacious breed used in the brutal early - nineteenth-century sport of bull baiting, in which rowdy spectators watched dogs tear apart an enraged bull. Victorian reformers, concerned about the coarsening effect bull baiting had on its devotees, banned it by the early 1830s, but enterprising bull baiters merely migrated to an equally bloody sport: organized dog fighting.

What makes a pit bull's attack so frightening?


Pit Bulls are frighteningly tenacious; their attacks frequently last for 15 minutes or longer, and nothing -- hoses, violent blows or kicks -- can easily stop them. That's because of a behavioral anomaly: the breed's remarkable insensitivity to pain. Most dogs beaten in a fight will submit the next time they see the victor. Not a defeated Pit Bull, who will tear into his onetime vanquisher. This, too, has to do with brain chemistry. The body releases endorphins as a natural painkiller. Pit Bulls seem extra-sensitive to endorphins and may generate higher levels of the chemical than other dogs.

Do Pit Bulls get mad easily?


Yes. The Pit Bull is quicker to anger than most dogs, probably due to the breed's unusually high level of the neurotransmitter L-tyrosine.

Are Pit Bulls more aggressive than other dogs?


Yes. Research has confirmed that Pit Bulls are more aggressive than other breeds.

How do we know Pit Bulls are more aggressive than other dogs?


In a several year study, the most commonly reported dog breeds involved in aggressive dog attacks were Pit Bulls, followed by Rottweilers, and German Shepherds.

What percentage of dogs in the United States are Pit Bulls?


Nearly 2% of the population of dogs in the United States are Pit Bulls.

What percentage of serious dog attacks are caused by Pit Bulls?


50% of the serious dog attacks in the United States are caused by Pit Bull breeds.

How do we know Pit Bulls cause more serious dog attacks than other breeds?


In a study reported by a retired professor from California State University at Chino, Robert Plum, it was found that one dog in 55 will bite someone seriously during the course of a year. With respect to breed differences in the tendency to inflict serious injury, Plumb estimates that when a Pit Bull bites a human, one in 16 (e.g. 1/16) will inflict serious injury; this contrasts with a ratio of 1/296 Dobermans, and 1/156 German Shepherds.

A compilation of statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on fatal dog attacks on human beings shows that American Pit Bull terriers, or Pit Bulls, have the worst record of any breed. Between 1979 and 1996, there were 60 fatal attacks across the country by Pit Bulls on humans. The second-worst record was for Rottweilers, with 29 fatal attacks, followed by German shepherds with 19.

Another study of American and Canadian dog bite related fatalities from September 1982 to November 2006 produced similar results, reporting that Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and their mixes were responsible for 65% of fatal dog attacks.

Are Pit Bulls more likely to attack than other dog breeds?


Yes. There are certain breeds of dogs that are very much prone to aggressive attacks and multiple bull breeds are on the list.

How do we know Pit Bulls are more likely to attack than other breeds?


According to a study performed by Merritt Clifton, the editor of Animal People, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes are responsible for 74% of attacks that were included in the study, 68% of the attacks upon children, 82% of the attacks upon adults, 65% of the deaths, and 68% of the maimings.
A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association in September, 2000 reports that in a 20 years study (1979 to 1998) Pit bull type dogs and Rottweilers were involved in one half of the dog bite related fatalities in the United States.

Pit Bulls and pit-bull crosses have caused more than a third of the nation's dog-bite fatalities since 1979 and a comparable proportion of serious injuries.

What's so odd about the way Pit Bulls attack?

Most dogs warn you before they attack, growling or barking to tell you how angry they are -- "so they don't have to fight," ASPCA advisor and animal geneticist Stephen Zawistowski stresses. Not the Pit Bull, which attacks without warning. Most dogs, too, will bow to signal that they want to frolic. Again, not the Pit Bull, which may follow an apparently playful bow with a lethal assault. In short, contrary to the writings of Vicki Hearne, a well-known essayist on animals who -- in a bizarre but emotionally charged confusion--equates breed-specific laws against Pit Bulls as a kind of "racist propaganda," the Pit Bull is a breed apart.

What separates Pit Bulls from other tough dogs?

A Pit Bull's breeding history separates it from other tough dogs like Doberman pinschers and Rottweilers, which have been bred to guard their masters and their property. Pit Bulls are genetically wired to kill other dogs.

Aren't the only Pit Bulls who attack mistreated or abused?

The answer is no. Pit Bull enthusiasts constantly reveal images of severely injured Pit Bulls. They find these images by doing searches through Google. Most of the images they discover are of dogs that have not attacked any one. They simply look for images of neglected Pit Bulls so you'll take pity on them. So they show images of dogs that have been abused, but have never even attacked any one! They do this because they can't find any images of severely mistreated Pit Bulls that have mauled people.

In reality, a Pit Bull that's been beaten to a bloody pulp, won't be able to fight. They may be able to ignore the pain, but they can't escape the effects caused by their wounds. Also, many dogs that are beaten and extremely abused become shy and submissive. They become fearful. Submissive dogs that are fearful usually only nip or try to intimidate.

Most of the Pit Bull attacks that have occurred involved healthy, happy dogs.

If Pit Bull breeds are so aggressive, why have they passed so many temperament tests?

These tests are done on dogs that are healthy, both mentally and physically.
These temperament tests don't prove any thing. All Pit Bulls have different temperaments. You can't base a breed's temperament on only a small fraction of its population. It's ridiculous. Temperaments are as unique as a dog's personality. Most information found on certain breeds explains what type of temperament it'll have. All dogs develop differently though.

Why do Pit Bull attacks occur?

Attacks occur when inexperienced dog handlers do not recognize a dog's behavior as aggression, or refuse to acknowledge it as a warning sign.

Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin, annxtberlin@gmail.com