Why Do Pit Bulls Get A Bad Rap? Ctd


Several readers counter the innocent portrayal put forth by Bronwen Dickey:

I work at a large trauma hospital in an inner city, in pediatrics. I can't tell you how many awful pit bull bites I've seen. The problem is that they have really strong jaws, and they bite down and don't let go. Many times it's been the family dog that's done the biting, out of the blue. I had no preconceived prejudice against these dogs, but I've just seen too many shredded kids. 

Another shares a similar perspective:

My wife is a surgeon in a major metropolitan area who regularly repairs facial trauma suffered by victims of attacks by dogs. 

Our city has a lot of dogs.  I'm sure a huge number of different breeds are represented, although I don't know their statistical distribution.  However, the kids/adults who need their faces put back together are almost exclusively pit bull attacks.  I can't even remember the last time that another breed was involved in an attack that made its way to my wife's operating room. 

Additionally, the dogs involved are usually the family pet (who everyone insists is very loving and never has done this kind of thing before), not some abused guard dog.  A recurring example is when a kid's friend is over playing, and they horse around or wrestle with one of the kids the dog is bonded to … and the dog flips out and attacks the friend to protect its master. .


Why do they get a "bad rap?"  First and foremost is the fact that a Pit Bull is physically capable of doing more damage than most other dog breeds.  You might be able to make a Yorkie as vicious as a Pit Bull by using the same methods, but little holes in your pants cuff don't compare to have large pieces of flesh torn from your body. Pit Bulls are bred to have unusually powerful jaws and a low center of gravity that makes them extremely formidable.  This makes them potentially dangerous, even if well trained and of good temperament.  All it takes is one misunderstanding like a tickle fight between a family member and a friend and the dog is capable of a disastrous response in a matter of seconds.


Defenders of pit bulls can be just as self-delusional as are people who want to demonize every single dog of the breed.  Unfortunately some pit bulls are descended from many generations that were bred to be extremely aggressive, and those traits won't disappear just because the pups are raised in a loving and benign environment.  I had a border collie bitch who was knocked up by the dog next door, which turned out to be a fighter pit owned by a man who was deeply involved in the ruthless illegal fighting circuit.  I kept one of the resulting pups, naively believing that generations of focused breeding specifically for the purpose of killing dogs in the ring could be nullified by cuddles and squeaky toys. 

By the age of three months, that pup had completely dominated her sweet but passive mother, and by the age of six months, when she'd turned on me several times to establish her alpha status, I realized that I had a dangerous problem on my hands that was way beyond my ability to cope.  I copped out by passing her onto someone else, and there's always been a worry in the back of my mind whether any of those eight half-pit/half-border collies or their descendants ended up viciously harming someone's child.

The above photo was captured by Flickr user This Year's Love. To be fair, the caption reads:

Judah and Israel have a bad habit of fighting right outside of my bedroom door because I'm ignoring them/on the computer. And I don't mean fighting like going-for-the-jugular, I mean wrestling and making snarly faces like this. Literally the "fight" just looks like one, it isn't actually one. They snap at each other's faces, then two seconds later they're licking each other and practically making out.