In many cases, the problem ends up being an issue with misidentification of pit bulls. More and more dog breeds are being associated with pit bulls that do not belong to the same group as them. Many breeds share characteristics of pit bulls which makes it difficult to distinguish them and leads to more bites/attacks being reported under pit bulls when it in reality was a different breed all together.
Try to find the pit within these images:
Did you find the pit bull? There actually is not a pit bull pictured above. These are some of the breeds commonly mistaken as pit bulls.
With it so easy to mistaken another breed with the classic pit bull image, they are typically blamed more often than other dogs who are more easily identified.
If you would like to do more of these types of quizzes to see if you can actually properly identify the pit bull:
The CDC states that since any dog may be prone to biting, it is up to the owner to reduce the risk of the dog biting and therefore attacking. They state things such as choosing a breed that fits your lifestyle well by speaking to a veterinarian, a breeder, or another expert on the matter. Always spay/neuter the dog as that will decrease their aggressive behavior and will reduce the likelihood of being bitten. They also say that any dog, no matter the breed or circumstances, that has a history of aggression should not be in a house with children. Before you adopt the dog, spend time with it to see if there are any signs that this dog may display aggression towards and aspect of your life and get to know the dog a bit better. If you can learn the dog’s body language, you can be able to tell if the dog is getting over worked within the house and may need to be taken away from the situation.
If the child is afraid or anxious around a dog, you should wait on getting a dog so the child will be more comfortable, the reduces tension between the dog and child. The dog and child should never be left alone or unsupervised just in case something does go wrong or there needs to be an intervention.
Socialize and train the dog so that it will not develop dominant behavior over the child. If the dog does display aggressive behaviors, speak to a veterinarian about it as they may be able to give advice on the issue. Do not play aggressive games with the dog that may involve wrestling or nipping as the dog may accidently bite in a playing manner without knowing that it is not ok to do. Teach children how to properly act around a dog such as, never approaching a strange dog without permission, do not look directly in a dog’s eyes, do not disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping or has puppies, etc.
Although these tips will help minimize the likelihood of being bitten, it does not cover everything. Always approach the situation with caution and be aware because even though you may do everything correctly, that does not protect you from strays and other people’s incorrect behavior.
Pit bulls are some of the most commonly used dogs in dog fights and are growing in popularity as a pet. In response to their growing popularity there is also a growing population of these dogs which in turn causes more unpleasant encounters with them. Many cases state that pit bulls are the most aggressive dog breed and cause the most dog attacks when compared to all other breeds. Many people fear that pit bulls are extremely dangerous and should not be kept around kids as pets because of a trait called “lock jaw” in which the pit bull will not/cannot release it’s jaws once it latches onto something. Studies of the jaw and skull of pit bulls and other dogs reveals that there is no trait specific to pit bulls that allow them to lock their jaw. Even though it has been proven in multiple cases to be false information, many people still go to it to prove that it is too dangerous of a breed.
In a study done by the CDC, it was found that the information stating that pit bulls bite more than other dogs could not be properly used seeing how the seriousness of bites and misidentification of mixed breeds make it difficult to properly collect data.The idea that the breed is too dangerous to own has caused some areas to ban pit bull breeds from being owned all together.
In the areas where pit bulls are banned, there has been no convincing data that it has been a success. One problem that comes with the ban, as stated earlier, is misidentification of a dog could be the difference between life and death. Many breeds are thought to be pit bulls but are in fact not a pit bull dog, including boxers and bulldogs, and are therefore put down because of the misidentification. Both the ASPCA and the CDC do not agree with breed specific bans because there are a variety of factors that go towards raised aggression in any dogs including, chaining the dogs up, if they are intact, and if they have a heritable gene that promotes more aggression. Rather actions against chaining dogs up have been found to be effective in lowering bite rates.
Also, the bans are not just for pit bulls typically but for many different types of breeds including American Bull Dogs, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers and any mix of these breeds. These bans force people to give up their dogs, even if they are raised properly and pose no threat to the public, for euthanasia. This puts added stress on the shelters who have to house the dogs and perform the procedure as well as not being able to adopt out any of the dogs.