With numerous misconceptions about their personalities being violent, the pit bull may undoubtedly be one of the most misunderstood dogs of today.
Their lineage traces all the way back to the 1600s in England, descending from bulldogs. Until it became illegal in the mid-1800s, Bulldogs originally were bred and used for bull and bear baiting. Sadly, bull and bear baiting were replaced with the blood sport of dogfighting. Because of their original aggressive lifestyle, pit bulls have been given a bad reputation of being violent and dangerous. But under all their mighty muscle, is a pure heart of gold.
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The first common misunderstanding about pit bulls is that people believe they are a breed all to their own. However, the term pit bull is usually referring to a “crossbreed.” Bulldogs began being crossbred with terriers, overall resulting in the creation of the crossbreed, “pit bull,” that we know and many of us love today.
So where else have these lovable animals been misunderstood or under-represented? Here are some facts about pit bulls that you may not know, but ultimately will have you understanding better how normal and loving they really are!
6 Things You May Not Know About Pit Bulls
- America’s Family Dog: While pit bulls may need some extra attention to get the rep they deserve today, they once were known as one of America’s favorite dogs. If you’ve ever watched the Little Rascals, their canine companion, Petey, as well as the RCA dog, and Tige, the Buster Brown shoe mascot, were all pits.
- Army Mascot: During World War I, the army utilized the pit bull as their mascot on propaganda posters. Images of dogs were used to represent and symbolize individual countries. With the United States represented by the pit bull, the intention was to showcase the respect of loyalty, determination, and bravery.
- They’re Loving And Well-Tempered: Dogs that have bad reputations likely came to have them due to the fact that they were bought and trained for the sole purpose of aggression. But much like most dogs, when they are socialized and trained properly, they can be the friendliest and most loving of dogs. Pit bulls are not naturally aggressive toward people unless they feel threatened or were raised being poorly socialized. They do not make for good guard dogs, as the majority of pit bulls are actually fond of people. According to the American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS), pit bulls have an average temperament rating of 86.8%, making them more likely to lick an intruder than attack them!
- Human-Like Emotions: This may surprise you, but pit bulls are quite similar to humans in that they think similarly. Pit bulls are very emotional dogs. They are known to have more irrational, rational, and human-like emotions in comparison to any other dog in the world. This could very well make a pit bull the most relatable dog for humans to own. But with that, they can also be more stubborn and difficult to deal with if they are feeling emotional. And if you really upset your pit bull, don’t be surprised if they even go as far as to give you the doggy version of the silent treatment.
- Family Friendly: Though their demeanor can be intimidating in appearance, pit bulls are actually teddy bears at heart. When these dogs are raised properly to respect and love those around them, pit bulls can be gentle, affectionate giants. Especially known for their affection with small children, they also have no problem climbing up on the furniture to be a lap dog to cuddle up with their owners. And because their pain tolerance is high, they can take quite a bit of lovable mishandling, especially from high energy children who can latch on to them and grab their tails and ears.
- Healthy Dogs, High Lifespan: Pit bulls overall have great lifespans, living about 14-15 years. They often have few health complications. However, the most common health problems that can affect them most are skin allergies, thyroid problems, and congenital heart defects.
When Pit bulls are loved and trained properly, they can sincerely be one of the best dogs to have as pets. Let’s help spread the love for these gentle and loving animals as they are intended to be showcased. By spreading the word, we can help quiet the negative misunderstandings and perceptions of these beautiful dogs.