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BSL and American Pit Bull Terriers

Updated on April 8, 2012
American Pit Bull Terrier.
American Pit Bull Terrier.

I thought in light of the current situation with NFL star Michael Vick, I would voice my opinions of BSL, breed specific legislation, and pit bull in general. When I use the term 'pit bull' it will encompass all bully breed dogs that are pit bull, pit bull mixes, american staffordshire terriers, and any mix thereof.

I will go ahead and say I am by a long shot, biased towards pit bulls. I have worked with many pitbull who were CGC certified, pet therapy certified, and dog trainer's assistants. I have owned two pitbulls, and been very close with other pit bulls.

Now, breed specific legislation involves the banning of certain breeds, normally including pit bull, chow chows, rottweilers, dobermans, and sometimes huskies, shepherds and akitas. Other time, various other dog breeds have been included into the mix. The legislation tends to say that these breeds are not allowed in a particular state period. But, sometimes they will add a clause that says if you have owned one of the breeds listed, for a designated time, you can keep your dog, but they will give you many rules in order to do so. The dog must be leashed at all times, wear a muzzle if in public, etc. All rules that further 'this is a bad dog and a worse breed. So be aware.'

I disagree. There are bad owners not bad breeds.

Any dog can become aggressive. Any dog can become dog aggressive. Any dog can become food aggressive. Toy aggressive. And even human aggressive.

I have a dog who has possession agression, dog aggression, and is semi human aggressive. This dog was not trained to be so, and this dog is not a bully breed dog. It is a yorkshire terrier!

Female pitbull playing nicely with another female dog.
Female pitbull playing nicely with another female dog.

Many say that pit bulls are naturally aggressive or will turn no matter what. Not true. I will admit there are cases that this happens, but not the majority of the time. Banning breeds that have the bad reputations, means that the good owners are punished, while the bad owners move to a state that allows the breed.

Pitbulls were once nanny dogs. They were family pets. They were house pets. They were loves members of the family. They were fighting dogs.

These dogs had two jobs, (1) fight other dogs and (2) be family pet. If they showed any signs of aggression to the family or any person, they were put down. Human aggression was highly frowned upon even in these dogs. So, why is it that today, the majority of mankind assumes that these bully breed dogs will attack them?


Media catches ahold of dog bite, and immediately publishes it as a pit bull attack before knowing any details. They never go back to retract the story.

How fair is that for the dog?

Why is it that even pitbull rescues have mixed emotions and opinions about the dogs they are rescuing? Why is it that they tell people that pitbulls do not get along with other dogs of the same sex? When I have two females- a pit and a mix- that get along great. Why do they tell people that young pitbulls should not be housed with young children? When they WERE nanny dogs to children in history.

Why is that they when most people think of pitbull, they think visciousness? When in reality there are many noted pitbulls in military history for search and rescue and therapy dogs. When several years back, Petey from 'The Little Rascals' was the pitbull of the times.

Why is the all American, AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER is now treated like the plague?

Bad owners. Bad reps.

Not the individual dog's fault.

"Yes I am a pitbull, get over it!"
"Yes I am a pitbull, get over it!"

What's not understood in today's society is that dog bites are all pit bull. Labs, terriers, retrievers, are ALL on record for biting. Those aren't publicized, as it would ruin their reputation as a 'good dog'.

What's not understood is that there are literally thousands upon thousands, probably near millions of pit bulls (remember this includes mixes, AmStaffs, etc) running around America today. Outside dogs. Inside dogs. Strays. Etc. There are bound to be pit bull bites. Statistically the higher number of an individual breed, the more likely to have dog bites occur.

Plus, statistically, APBT's are the least likely breed to bite. Not saying that it doesn't happen... I'm just saying...

Personally, I have one dalmation, one mutt, one yorkie, one St Bernard/ collie mix, and one APBT. Of all my dogs, I trust the APBT most. The dalmatian is hyper and a tad unpredictable. The mutt is very old in age, and becoming senile. The yorkie is semi-aggressive on different levels. The St. Bernard/collie mix is slightly food and toy aggressive, and will jump on another dog if it cries. The APBT, even though a puppy, is quickly learning her boundaries as a pet; she's had less training than the other dogs, and is just as responsive if not more at times.

I strongly believe that breed specific legislation is NOT the way to go when it comes to fixing the problem of dog attacks. What needs to be push is education. Education of proper dog ownership needs to be stressed upon Americans today. This would not only help correct bad dog behaviors, but shelter dog numbers. The fewer badly behaved or misunderstood dogs, the fewer dogs that are admitted to a shelter. The fewer dogs admitted to a shelter, lowers the number of euthanized dogs in America.

Dogs are supposed to be man's best friend. Why don't we treat them that way?


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    • profile image

      Dave 6 years ago

      I live in Melbourne Australia, where they have recently introduced "dangerous dog laws"

      Nearly everyone who knows anything about dogs disagrees with these laws, but one isolated attack by a cross breed pitbull has sealed the breeds fate.

      Yes I have a pitbull which I adopted when 4 years old, and he is now 9. Shovel is by far the most trusting and friendly dog I've ever had or known.

      The only problem pit bull I have come across was housed in a pen, but was then given away where it was allowed to be a house dog (lounge lizard). What a difference! The dog transformed into a very chilled out and friendly dog. They must be treated like any member of the family and you'll be rewarded 1000 times over.

    • JenJen0703 profile image

      Jennifer McLeod 6 years ago from Battle Creek, Michigan

      I am a dog lover, and I especially love pit bulls. I currently have a pit bull, a Rottweilier mix, and a Yorkie. My dogs take care of me. If they hear a weird noise in the night, they are barking and waking me up, that's for sure.

    • profile image

      austin  6 years ago

      i know some people that said they did research that pits shouldn't be around kids every pitbull ive ever owned protected kids from getting hurt and protected my family i own a pitbull that's a quarter husky a quarter akita and the rest is red nose pit whoever thinks pits are mean and viscious should be bit a few times by one that's what i think

    • profile image

      michelle 7 years ago

      my baby boo is a pittbull terrier,staffordshire terrier mix and i have had her for about 2 years i got her as a pup my boo has no problems except she has a severe detachment dissorder i am 13 i got her when i was 11 i call her boo bear she is the sweetest dog ever my mother has a pure breed pittbull she named her dolly she is my baby neice dog she is only 2 and climbs all over her she would never hurt her i think these rumers should be dropped

    • profile image

      Sniffer 7 years ago

      And as much as I do respect and love SOME pitbulls. I do have to disagree with you on the media reports on labs and other breeds.

      Where I live any dog that mauls regardless of breed will be shown on the news. Is it is often? No, but any dog mauling is good news fodder. So to say that the owners of these dogs are restricting the news flow of their dogs even though it mauled or killed a loved one seem preposterous.

      We should all know the news by know. Almost any juicy story will be picked up by most states or counties.

    • profile image

      Chris 7 years ago

      I think everybody is missing the big picture. Fifty and sixty years ago pits didn't have bad raps the reason being we didn't feel bad destroying the dogs with bad temperments. I agree it starts with a well bred dog and then a good owner. YOU CANNOT MAKE A SOUND TEMPERMENTED PIT BITE A HUMAN. And I am sorry if it does it should be destroyed. If we don't take the necessary steps and stop being in a tunnel vision of "all dogs are great it's all the owner" we are going to ruin the breed. Stop making excuses of why the dog has the bad behavior because no matter what it shouldn't. Maybe you should take a look at some children who have been mauled by a pit who had an owner who swore they didn't know their dog was like that. I am not bashing the breed I have the utmost love and respept for the breed, I am however a realist.

    • profile image

      karen 7 years ago

      i disagree in the fact its not exactly all the owner of the dog and that just because the way the dog is raised is all you need for a good pit. There are too many pits being bred with off temperments and its done on purpose and i speak from experience my dog was raised properly and he did not have the proper pit bull temperament he was born from agression on purpose and many breeders are doing this and ruining the pitbull. so when you say its bad owners you are including me and that's not right because i did everything right he was born that way and there was nothing i could do to change it . it was bred into to him his temperament handed down from his parents and so forth. yes he was loyal obedient well trained but did not love everybody and was NOT GOOD with children. my other pit is classic pit bull temperament the way they are supposed to be awesome with all kids. i didn't have to teach her that she was born that way it wasn't work she is a natural reliable dependable its in her nature trustworthy and obviously good to everyone she meets. i had to euthenize my other one because he had a bad breeder and its more common than you think but most people blame the owners and make excuses for the dogs behaviour when its their demeanor nothing more bred that way on purpose having no business being a family pet bred to guard and fight . STOP THE BAD BREEDERS and euthenize bad temperments clean house they are ruining a great dog from poor over breeding practicing paying no attention to proper temperament. either they have it or they don't no inbetweens or maybes no "rehabilitation" . we need reliable proper temperments accept nothing less than that and that is the only way the opinions will change!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Please see the links below for statistics. You'll find that in most cases, people can't identify a dog, and just assume based on hair and build that it's a pit or mix, and in most cases that's wrong.

    • Software - Photos profile image

      Software - Photos 7 years ago from Canada

      You make a good point about media sensationalism; however, you do not address the statistics -- these stats are collected at hospitals, not by journalists, and you should confess these before your readers -- compare retrievers and danes there, if you will.

    • profile image

      Aaron 7 years ago

      I own an american pitbull terrier named hickory and let me just tell you he is absolutely goofy. he always looks like he's laughing or smiling and whenever he's really happy he has this completely goofy face where he hangs his tongue out of the side of his mouth and he starts panting like he's giggling. And talk about personality in a dog. you say something mean and he stops laughing and gets a hurt look in his eyes. you say something funny and you get the goofy look. and I don't think its possible to make him angry unless you go after his family. my cousin was once playing with my nephew and was chasing him around and hickory jumped on his back and tackled him to the ground then stood over him growling because my nephew was squealing out of happiness but hickory thought he was frightened.

    • profile image

      Thepitbullsareinnocent 7 years ago

      this is a good read. And most of this is true. I have an american pit bull terrier named hickory who is about 2 years old and I also have a german sheperd named mickey. guess which one I trust more? if you guessed mickey you're wrong. APBT's are some of the best dogs out there if you ask me. smart loyal loving and defensive. I used to be a biased person like most of america. But then I thought "eh what the hell. I'll give it a chance". so I went down to the shelter and found the cutest puppy I'd ever seen. I brought him home named him hickory and he's been my best friend ever since.

    • profile image

      Annie 7 years ago

      I own a second hand Pit Bull Terrier. His name is Rocco. He was a fighting dog. He has NEVER attacked or acked aggressive tward any of my seven other dogs, or five cats. He is fantastic tward my grandchildren and all people. Rocco lives in my house with another dog and two cats. I can't ask for a better tempered or more forgiving dog. Other than staying on the bed or sofa, I can't say anything bad about Rocco, even though his back ground was Horrible. I was very leary about him, but he has steadily won me over heart and soul. He looks mean, but he is a teddy bear. I love him, and I recommend the breed. He is loyal, very intelligent and has a marvolous temperament. Rocco is a gift in a scary package. He's a great dog.

    • profile image

      jackiez 8 years ago

      I personally have owned 7 pits in my life and never had an issue in fact 1 of my males save my son from a cyote, he attacked and killed it when he saw it running at my son, i love pits but unfortunately im not allowed to own 1 where i live now. so i have akitas but when i am out of here i will be getting a new pit puppy. My friend is a breeder and he has 17 pits at his house some he uses for breeding whie others are for pulling compititions. my 3 year old daughter can get in the middle of all of them and have no issues. i love the breed and beleive you should punish the deed not the breed

    • Deanna419 profile image

      Deanna419 8 years ago from Ohio

      Great page! I have an American Staffordshire and he is the best dog I have ever owned. I've done a lot of research on Pit Bulls and they are absolutely wonderful dogs, it's just a shame that the media portrays them as being vicious monsters.

    • profile image

      Milos V. 8 years ago

      Greetings from Serbia.

      Your story is beautiful. I have a pit named Boss and he is the joy of my life. I just hope that stupid hypocrite BSL laws don't come to Serbia, cuz I'll probably end up in jail if someone tries to take him away from me. The worst part of that law is that it doesn't affect dog fighters and game breeders, since they are already illegal. It only affects us, people who hold our pits as loving pets. Our dogs will have to be neutered and/or taken away, and the only pitbull offspring will be game dogs. We all know that this law won't stop them. I think it is crucial that this stupidity stops in the USA, since it started there, so maybe other countries in Europe would follow that example.

      So, Americans, fight for your and our pitbulls!

      God bless all God's creatures.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I have more info on the topic on another hub (

      It even shows places that have implemented breed bans and have not seen any significant changes.

      I'd follow the rules before you come across someone who can make a difference as to whether you get to keep the dog or not. In a way you're testing the waters by not using the muzzle when the law is that you have to.

    • KailsChaos profile image

      KailsChaos 8 years ago

      yes i too believe that the banned should not be. I live in ontario where the banned took place and am upset at the fact that they did this to such a loyal dog because the owners of theses dogs do not have control over them as they are a determined breed and need daily training, when i first got kail my pitbull great dane mix at the laws adoption agency they made me muzzle him, he was the sweetest dog sitting all sad like in his cage as all the other dogs were barking and running around the run. i purchased the muzzle and used it for a while on walks for a while, he hated that thing. and every one that saw him crossed to the other side of the street thinking he was meand and the fact that he was a pittbull mix. i finally said enough is enough and took the muzzle of him on walks and had all kinds of people walking up to me a prazing me for a well manered dog and we dumb strucked that he was a pittbull and not mean. so this tells you its no the public that feer the breed its certain owners who make there pits mean for the bad boy image that is being played theses days.

    • profile image

      Nicole L. 9 years ago

      I agree, it is not the breed, its the owners that are at fault. I know people who own pits, or pit mixes and they are very well-behaved, and so friendly. Any breed of dog can be aggressive, and can bite, even breeds that we think of as being the best dogs for famlies. Also look at all of the "bad dogs" who have been recused and rehabilitated, and are happy heathly dogs with owners and traniers who love them, I know serveral of them, so BSL and the media just scapegoating certain breeds. By the way, Whitney, your pit looks like a sweetheart.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      The breed is NOT harmless by any means. No dog is harmless, and if you truly thing that the APBT is harmless, you are very skewed in your opinions. They can do a great bit of damage, even well socialized and trained. I have one and have worked with many, so don't think that I don't like the breed and am one of those who believes they are all bad.

      There is also little you can do if BSL is implemented in your area. The only thing you can do is fight it before it's passed and move after. Sometimes there is a grandfather clause, but not always.

    • profile image

      cassie 9 years ago

      i have to say i love pits thier so cute but whatever happen to rights or do we not have those anymore i have a pit an if bsl ever tried to have my dog killed there would be trouble i dont see how they can just say a certain breed is mean i find small dogs meanier they r evil i dont like them at all pits are nuthing to fear their harmless for the most part thier just doin what they are trained for. i think people of bsl are jus bored an they need to find a hobby better than what they got an leave our dogs alone

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      You may be interested in my hub that has more information about BSL. This was my first attempt.

    • profile image

      Jeremy 9 years ago

      Well Whitney i would say that on this topic you are spot on. BSL is a joke. its a half A**ed attempt by polititians who have no common sense and even less knowledge about dogs, to make it look like they're doing something to appease the fear of the moron masses that drink up this over exagerated bile that they media feeds them about these breeds. I would like to see more done about regulating Dog Breeding in general... i shudder to think of all the Garbage out there breeding dogs for fighting, or that are cranking out litter after litter of unhealthy pups just to make money. and aside from that people need to take responsibility for the dog they are buying. I think many Pitts end up in shelters because people are unwilling or unable to meet the dogs needs. Bully Breeds are not neglectable couch potatos, (ok a few might be couch potatos,) but for the most part these are some of the smartest most athletic dogs that exist. they need physical and mental challenge. They also need loving but firm leadership. when breeders and rescue organizations tell you this stuff its not to hear themselves speak, its because they know the breed and what it needs. everyone needs to be active in speaking out against BSL the people that are the most vocal and active will be the ones that win. once we lose the right to own these awesome breeds its going to be near impossible to get them back

    • profile image

      gabby 9 years ago

      I love you pitbull, he/she looks just like mine!! Well mine is tan but still, just adorable!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      I actually heard he wasn't going to be able to rehabilitate the dogs. Hm. I'm not a big Millan fan, so I don't keep up with what he does. He's not as great as he thinks he is or he would be helping out more in the dog world that he is.

    • profile image

      Pitbull names 9 years ago

      @JazLive - I think it is possible to rehabilitate, in fact I believe Cesar Milian is rehabilitating some of the dogs involved in the Michael Vick fighting ring, so far I think he's had some good success.

      I love the last picture by the way, where did you get the jumper?

    • profile image

      Howard Margolius 10 years ago

      Please read and link to my Pitbull Story, perhaps you heard of it? Thank you, Howard Margolius

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

      pitmommy: I agree with you that just because a dog is an APBT doesn't mean that it should be euthanized because of its breed. In the recent issue of the APBT Gazette, published by the ADBA, there is an article about a man who must get rid of his APBT, but the city that he lives in and all the surrounding cities are in BSL, so no one can take the dog and any shelter will automatically euthanize it. He is having trouble finding a home. The article said that APBT owners can thank PETA and HSUS for this problem, which is great that the organizations that set out to help animals are killing the innocent.

      I, also, agree that it's all in the training of the dog. I will say that you got the pup a litle to early. Puppies should stay with their moms for at leas 6 weeks, 8 wks being better so that they learn how to be a dog and all the dog behaviors. Train early. Train well. Keep it consistant and constant. Those are definately the rules for training. You may consier getting the pup CGC tested; this will give your dog a special dog tag and tell others that although an APBT, it is certified with good behavior, so it won't bite your hand off. It gives you more credibility as the owner as well. Most local pet trainers can do this for you. Petsmart and Petco, included.

      Did you know that Great Danes were once on the list of "bad dogs"? They were. I just hope that one day APBT's will have the rep of the Great Dane, as they certainly have the personalities.

    • profile image

      pitmommy 10 years ago

      Thank you for your article. My 3 year old was given a pitt baby for her birthday by a breeder. My husband was not happy to say the least. This free puppy whom my daughter named LILA JADE is one of the most loving and smartest dogs I have ever known. LILA was 5 weeks old when we got her, and now at almost 8 weeks she is potty trained, knows her name, learning how to sit on command. She sleeps with my child and plays with her all day long. I do believe it is the way they are raised and not the breed, i wish others realized this. I own a Great Dane and a English Mastiff and they were alot naughtier/aggressive as pups until they were trained. LILA would not deserve to be killed because she ia a PITT.......owners need to take the responsibilty to train their dogs, not hit them, give them lots of love and attention. These are smart animals and need to be part of a family, not just a cute puppy who gets attention then grows up and stuck outside on a chain, this could cause them to change their attitude towards their owners and other humans. Sad but true the full story is never told.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

      I believe it is possible to rehabilitate SOME pitbulls that have been fought. I have met several pitbulls that have been shot or used at bate dogs in fights, and they have been fine. They are currently in great homes. I don't think ALL fighting dogs can be rehabilitated, but I do believe some can be.

    • JazLive profile image

      JazLive 10 years ago from Decatur

      Is it possible to rehabilitate Pitt Bulls that were formerly trained to fight?

      Would also like you to review blog:


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