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Facts About Pitbulls

Updated on October 3, 2011


As an animal lover, this was not an easy subject for me to research, however I felt it was necessary to tackle this issue. There are many myths about these lovable dogs and unfortunately, they are also the most commonly abused.

Because of prejudice against pit bulls, they are frequently unwanted, euthanized and denied by shelters. They are the dogs preferred by people who breed dog fighters, which reinforce stereotypes against these dogs.  I would like to share with you the truth about pit bulls, why these animals deserve better treatment from humans and why you should consider adopting a pit bull.

Are Pit Bulls Dangerous?

Do you know that saying about there being no such thing as bad children, just bad parents? The same could be said about people who own pit bulls. Pit bulls are not dangerous dogs. There is no proof to back up that they are dangerous.

The American Pit Bull Terrier (more commonly known as the pit bull) is one of the dogs studied by The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS). In 2004, pit bulls received a passing score of 83.4%. The average score was 81% and the pit bull's rate was higher than the average. Pit bulls were rated highest on temperament compared to popular breeds such as the laborador retriever, collie and cocker spaniel.

Pit bulls are strong, muscular dogs with a high tolerance for pain (this does not mean that pit bulls do not feel pain). Because of these reasons, there are idiots out there who train these dogs to be vicious and aggressive. People who use pit bulls in dogfights use them because of these traits and because a pit bull's nature is to please. If a pit bull's owner wants him or her to fight, the pit bull will fight. They will do almost anything to please their master.

Bottom line is that there is no such thing as a dangerous breed.  Behavioral problems and violent tendencies have to do with the way an animal is raised and not due to breed.

Adorable Pit Bull Puppies

The History of Pit Bulls

Pit bulls were originally bred as hunting dogs. They were bred to be strong and hunted big animals such as bear, boar and bull. The Irish immigrants brought their pit bulls with them to America. In the early 20th century, pit bulls were very popular dogs and many American families had a pit bull as a pet.

During World War I, the pit bull was used to represent America. The pit bull was the official mascot for Buster Brown Shoes and RCA. Petey from Our Gang (The Little Rascals) was a pit bull. America truly loved the pit bull.

Pit bulls started getting a bad rap because of people. Some people want a pit bull because they appear as strong and tough dogs. These people train their pit bulls to be aggressive at an early age. Pit bulls are not the first dogs to get a bad reputation. Rottweilers, german shephards and doberman pinschers are just a few other dogs that are - or have been - labeled as dangerous and aggressive.

Spike always protected Jerry from Tom the cat in the classic cartoon Tom & Jerry.  Here's a pic of Spike with little boy Tyke.
Spike always protected Jerry from Tom the cat in the classic cartoon Tom & Jerry. Here's a pic of Spike with little boy Tyke.

Breed Characteristics

Pit bulls are medium sized dogs that are about 18 to 22 inches long and weigh about 30 to 85 pounds. They are short haired and coat color varies. Pit bulls are athleltic with a solid and muscular build. Pit bulls have square heads and strong jaws.

Pit bulls are very energetic and need a lot of exercise. Due to all the energy a pit bull has, they may not be a good breed for certain people. A bored pit bull may tear your house apart. It's important that your pit bull has a yard and a lot of activity.

They are loyal companions, intelligent, social and love being around people. Pit bulls must be trained as early as possible. Since pit bulls are such powerful dogs, they must learn as puppies that you are the boss. An adult pit bull that is untrained will be impossible to control.

Stubby, the WWI pit bull
Stubby, the WWI pit bull
Petey from the Little Rascals was a pit bull.
Petey from the Little Rascals was a pit bull.
Life magazine used the pit bull on its cover not once, but three times.
Life magazine used the pit bull on its cover not once, but three times.

Famous People Who Love Pit Bulls

Helen Keller owned a pit bull. So did pioneer girl Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her pit bull's name was Jack and he is frequently mentioned in her books.

Here are some other famous people who own or have owned pit bulls:

Brad Pitt

Alicia Silverstone

Fred Astaire

Rachel Ray


Theodore Roosevelt

Thomas Edison

Jon Stewart

Barbara Eden

Bernadette Peters


Sir Walter Scott

Judd Nelson

David Spade

Jessica Beil

Woodrow Wilson

Michael J. Fox

Mel Brooks

Rescuing, Adopting and Helping Pit Bulls

A great place to start is the Humane Society. You can learn more about pit bulls, volunteer and / or donate money to help save these amazing dogs from further abuse.

If you know of dog fighting going on somewhere, please contact the Humane Society at 1-877-TIP-HSUS. The Humane Society offers rewards to people who report dog fighting.

If you would like to adopt a pit bull, please check out a shelter and not a breeder. There are many homeless pit bulls you can save from a shelter. The American Pit Bull Advocacy Site can help to get you in touch with shelters in your area.

Check them out at

Love dogs? Check out my hub on uncommon dog breeds:


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    • susansisk profile image

      Susan Sisk 

      5 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I hope lots of people continue to read your hub. People are afraid of pit bulls, they often hit the animal out of fear, then are bit. It is also sometimes the owners fault. They leave them in groups outside in pens. A pit bull treated with love, will respond with love.

    • DeviousOne profile image


      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great hub. I've got an American Stafford Shire Terrier, which comes from the breed of pitbulls and he's amazing. I think its correct to say its about the environment a dog has and the owners as to it's behavious.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image


      6 years ago

      Very interesting that bit bulls got such a high temperament score. It certainly surprised me and I certainly learned something new.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Very good hub! Pit Bulls are a very loyal and gentle breed of dog as long as they are treated right. They do not deserve the reputation the have been labeled with. I did a hub several months ago on the pit bull and would like to include a link to this hub. Please let me know if that would be ok with you. The title of my hub is - The Pit Bull Dog-Once Known as The Nanny Dog - What Happened? I think the two hubs compliment each other. Voting this hub up, interesting and sharing!

    • afriqnet profile image

      Joe Njenga 

      6 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Interesting Facts about Pit Bulls, I think this is one of the most misunderstood breeds. Thanks for your resourceful article.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Karina,

      I'm sorry that happened to you. Poor and aggressive behavior in dogs have more to do with how they were trained than breed. That said, I really hope you get over your fear of dogs. It's probably best to stay cautious though and always ask the owner before petting or getting near a dog. Another thing to remember is that animals sense fear and many will become aggressive as a defense mechanism if they sense your fear. I know it's difficult but try not to be so afraid when around them. Good luck and thanks for writing. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I know people say ther not aggressive but one scratched me really hard on my stomach which caused me to be afraid. How could i over come my fear of these dogs.

    • profile image 

      6 years ago

      I have a pit bull he's nice most of the time

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I got a bunch of good information from this thanks

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Dubuquedogtrainer,

      Thank you for reading and sharing. I appreciate it greatly and will be checking out your fb page.

    • Dubuquedogtrainer profile image


      6 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

      Very nice, well written hub! Voted up! I am sharing on my Canine Connection page on Facebook.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Thank Lovelace. I agree. Pitbulls are the best!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      at this present moment i own a pitbull and she is awesome .im training her to obey which isn't hard to do since they are loving dogs so whoever doesn't own one i got something to say "GET ONE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Kashmir56,

      Pit bulls are beautiful and wonderful dogs to have. They've always been among my favorites. It's time that people realize that the reason pit bulls have such a bad reputation is due to people. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it tremendously!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi amymarie, great hub about these very beautiful dogs, it is such a shame that they have to pay for stupid greedy people who made these dogs vicious and aggressive and now made all Pit Bull dogs bad dogs,i think it is so unfair to label all Pit Bulls as bad dogs,it's the bad people that made them that way.

      Vote up and more!!!

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Your welcome. I feel like this is a topic that needs to be addressed. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Dubuquedogtrainer profile image


      6 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

      Good information. Thanks for educating people about pit bull terriers!

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      i have had pitbulls and all were loving and sweet the owners need to train them up that what's important

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks for reading Nspeel :) I'm off to read yours. I like terriers a lot!

    • Nspeel profile image


      7 years ago from Myrtle Beach

      i just want to pop in and say amazing article; i am glad to see not only my self thinks the owner that determines the dog. read my article on why terriers make good pets here

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks Mr. Grimwig!

    • Mr Grimwig profile image

      Mr Grimwig 

      7 years ago from California

      Great hub! Up & awesome. :)

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for commenting Jillianvue. I'm sure she was a great dog!

    • jillianvue profile image


      7 years ago from Minnesota

      I had a pitbull and she was the best decision I have ever made. She was a great family dog.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Sarahredhead, thank you for commenting. Yes, it would be a shame if pit bulls were outlawed. I live in Chicago and they have been talking about doing it for some time now. The media has also been misleading people. It's all just so sad.

      Wesman Todd: I could not agree more and I am just as disgusted! Thanks for commenting!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Anyone who suggest that a pit bull is somehow more dangerous than Labrador is the same type of person that would think that blacks are not the equal of "whites." It's disgusting.

    • Sarahredhead profile image

      Sarah Jackson 

      7 years ago from Southern United States

      As a dog groomer, I agree - we even own a pit-boxer mix. I know pomeranians and chihuahuas which are incredibly mean and aggressive (bad parenting) and yet all of the pits we know were raised around kids and are incredible sweet and smart. Breeds get a bad rap because of a few unfortunate press reviews. It would be a shame indeed if these dogs were outlawed.

    • SKCandles profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      My friend has a rottie, and he is a great dog. But she took him to obedience since he was little, which was a condition of the adoption.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Hi SKCandles, thanks for commenting. I agree with you. Strong dogs like pit bulls need to be trained very young. As long as they are trained properly and in a loving environment, there is no harm in having a pit bull as a family pet.

    • SKCandles profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I fully agree that it is the owners that cause the problems, not the dog. That said, I think people who get these dogs should have to take them to obedience class to learn how to communicate with them properly.


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