The TRUTH About Pit Bulls

“Pit bull” is not a breed, but a “type” that encompasses several registered breeds and crossbreeds.  Therefore, statistics that claim “Pit bulls” are responsible for some percentage of attacks are lumping many separate breeds of dogs together, then comparing those statistics to other dogs that are counted as individual breeds.  There are currently 25 breeds that are commonly considered a “pit bull”.

Myth:   Pit Bulls or Pit Bull type dogs are human aggressive by nature.

Fact:    Studies by the Center for Disease Control have proven that no one breed of dog is inherently vicious. The CDC supports the position that irresponsible owners, NOT breed, is the number one cause of dog bites.

Myth:   Pit Bulls or Pit Bull type dogs are inherently vicious.

Fact:     No more vicious than Golden Retrievers, Beagles, or other popular “family” dogs.  In a recent testing done by The American Canine Temperament Testing Society (ATT), pit bulls achieved a passing rate of 83.9%, passing 4th from the highest of 122 breeds. That’s better than Beagles, passing at 78.2 and Golden Retrievers passing at 83.2%.  The average passing rate for ALL breeds is 77%.

Myth:   Pit Bulls or Pit Bull type dogs are responsible for most fatal dog attacks.

Fact:     From 1965 – 2001, there have been at least 36 different breeds/types of dog that have been involved in a fatal attack in the United States. (This number rises to at least 52 breeds/types when surveying fatal attacks worldwide).

When dog bite statistics are taken into consideration versus the population, “Pit Bulls” come in at the BOTTOM of the list.

Registered Population

# of Reported Attacks


% vs. Population

  Approx.  240,000            12   Chow Chow   .005%
  Approx.  800,000            67   German Shepherd   .008375%
  Approx.  960,000            70   Rottweiler   .00729%
  Approx.  128,000            18   Great Dane   .01416%
  Approx.  114,000            14   Doberman   .012288%
  Approx.  72,000            10   St. Bernard   .0139%
  Approx. 5,000,000            60   Pit Bulls    .0012%


Regardless what the media would like us to believe by their “selective” reporting, the FACTS are what matters. There is no denying them.  Pit bull and Pit Bull “type” dogs are no more dangerous than any other breed. The fact is that their overall temperament is more stable and people friendly than that of most other breeds. It is time to stop believing the hype and educate yourself on the truth.


Canine Genetics and Behavior

By Glen Bui, American Canine Foundation

“To state that a breed of dog is aggressive is scientifically impossible.  Statistics do not support such a finding.  Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and within all breeds there can be dangerous dogs because of owner issues such as training the dog to attack, lack of training and socialization.

There is no such thing as the “Mean Gene” in dogs as well as in people. However, mutant genes have been discovered.  Alteration of a single DNA base in the gene encoding an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) has been found to render the enzyme nonfunctional.  This enzyme normally catalyzes reactions that metabolize the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and  oradrenaline.  What this does is cause slight mental impairment which interferes with the ability to cope with certain situations resulting in aggression.  There is no proof and there never has been that the American Pit Bull Terrier possesses mutant genes.   There is a one in ten thousand chance of a mutant gene appearing in a population.

Aggressiveness has many definitions and its stimulus of the environment that causes behavior.  Dogs defend territory, they exhibit dominance and if allowed can become protective of their family.  All this behavior can be controlled by the owner and aggression is mainly an act of behavior.  To make claim that the American Pit Bull Terrier can cause more severe injury than other breeds is ludicrous.  Over 30 breeds of dogs are responsible for over 500 fatal attacks in the last 30 years, every victim was severely injured.  The American Pit Bull Terrier is clearly a useful member of society.  The breed was World War One Hero and it’s rated as having one of the best overall temperaments in the United States (A.T.T.S.).  The breed is used for dog show competitions, therapy, service work, search and rescue, police work and companionship.  Man has domesticated dogs to the point they serve as companions, workers and even objects of beauty. Dogs will protect man, see for him, hunt for him and play.  One breed is not more inherently good or evil, vicious, harmful or helpful.  It is man who is responsible for the dog’s behavior, not the breed of dog.  Those passing breed bans fail to understand that a mis-trained Pit Bull can be replaced with another breed.  People determine whether dogs will be useful members of a community or a nuisance.  It is the people who allow their dogs to become dangerous and legislators must control and punish the people.” 

Organizations Against Breed Specific Legislation:

  • American  Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • The American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • The United Kennel Club (UKC)
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
  • American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS)
  • National Animal Control Association (NACA)
  • Maryland Veterinary Medicine Association
  • Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
  • American Canine Foundation (ACF)


Get Adobe Flash player