PIT BULL MYTHS
1) Pit Bulls have locking jaws. - MYTH
The jaws of a pit bull are built just like the jaws of any other dog. This has been proven in studies conducted on the breed and other breeds. Dr. I Lerh Brisbin at the University of Georgia had this to say about the locking jaw myth: "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is not different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of 'locking mechanism' unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier." Instead of a locking jaw, the pit bull possesses strength, tenacity and determination. Willpower is the glue that keeps him hanging on.
2) Pit Bulls have more bite pressure per square inch (PSI) than any other breed. - MYTH
The only study conducted comparing the bite pressure of several breeds showed the PSI to be considerably lower than the estimates that have been circulating. Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic conducted a comparative test between a Rottweiler, a German Shepherd and a Pit Bull. In his study, the pit bull had the lowest PSI of the three breeds. It fell fall short of the 10,000+ PSI of pressure the breed is reported to have. It measured in at 320 pounds per square inch of pressure. Dr. I Lerh Brisbin of the University of Georgia concluded the following: "To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. There are, moreover, compelling technical reasons why such data describing biting power in terms of ‘pounds per square inch’ can never be collected in a meaningful way. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to either unfounded rumor or, in some cases, to newspaper articles with no foundation in factual data."
3) Pit Bulls turn on their owners without warning. - MYTH
Dogs don't perform behaviors “just because”. There are always reasons for behavior. When aggression becomes a problem in any breed the reasons behind it range from improper handling to lack of socialization or training to a misreading of dog behavior by the owner. Aggression in dogs follows specific patterns. First there are warning signs, then more warning signs, and finally, when those signs are continually ignored or misinterpreted, the dog resorts to using its teeth. When an owner is startled by a sudden, aggressive outburst, it is because they have chosen to ignore or been unaware of problems that were presenting. This is true of all dogs breeds, not just Pit Bulls. No dog breed "just snaps" and turns on its owner. According to Karen Delise of National Canine Research Council who has analyzed thousands of cases, "no single neutered household pet pit bull has ever killed anyone." The definition of a household pet means that they live inside the house as members of the family and not in the backyard, on a chain or in a basement. Household pets are cherished family members who aren't used for guarding or breeding.
4) Pit Bulls have to be trained to fight. - MYTH
Pit bulls are terriers. Terriers can be confrontational with other animals if unsocialized, poorly managed or left to their own devices. Just as farmers have used Jack Russell Terriers to do battle with foxes, badgers and other animals, unscrupulous people have exploited the terrier drive in pit bulls against other dogs for their own 'entertainment'. Pit bulls, like many breeds, can range in personality from very dog aggressive to exceptionally dog friendly, but each dog shares some potential to fight other dogs if mismanaged. A well socialized, properly managed pit bull should never get into a dog fight because his owner has accustomed him to the presence of other dogs. A smart, responsible owner keeps their dog safe from situations that could end in a scuffle.
5) A Pit Bull that goes after another animal will go after a human next. - MYTH
Dog aggression and human aggression are two totally different things. It is normal for a pit bull to be gushing and affectionate with people yet not tolerant of other animals. Dog aggression is a normal trait in many of the terrier breeds. A properly raised, well socialized and responsibly owned dog of any breed, pit bulls included, should NEVER be human aggressive. Pit bulls that do show truly aggressive behavior towards humans are not typical of the breed and should be humanely euthanized.
6) Pit Bulls don't feel pain. - MYTH
Pit Bulls have the same nervous system of any other breed. They can and do feel pain. Historically, the dogs that would tolerate or ignore discomfort or pain to finish the task they were required to perform were the dogs that were bred and the sort of dogs breeders strove to produce. This trait is often referred to as “gameness."
7) Pit Bulls aren't good with children. - MYTH
Most pit bulls are excellent with children. The American Pit Bull Terrier has long been known for their loving nature and affinity toward children. Pit bulls have a long history as favored children's companions and beloved family pets. When well socialized and properly raised, they're the perfect breed to tolerate the rough and tumble play of children. They tend to be drawn to the joyful optimism of children as it matches their own. Young pit bulls may not be suitable with young children because they could knock them down in their exuberance. Families with small children may want to look for an older pit bull as a companion. They are extremely tolerant of children. Responsible parents teach their children how to properly interact with dogs of every breed and never leave their kids alone with a dog unsupervised.