It is very important that potential owners of pit bulls understand the history and inherited characteristics that are potentially within this breed. This page discusses some of the most typical traits of pit bulls, including the potential for dog-aggression. This is NOT a breed to jump into ownership of half cocked. People should inform themselves of all of the issues surrounding pit bull ownership BEFORE getting one. This includes their innate dog aggressiveness (not to be mistaken for human aggression which is totally different and should NEVER be tolerated in a dog), the negative stigma they have in society, the fact that many homeowner insurance plans will not cover pit bull ownership, the breed specific legislation that prohibits ownership of this breed and others in too many areas, their level of energy and more. This page doesn't even begin to touch on all of these issues. Please do as much research as possible before you bring home that beautiful dog; you and your pet will both thank you for it.
Pit bulls: What's in a name?
Pit bulls have great physical and mental traits that make them excellent partners for responsible, active and caring owners. Pit bull owners should ensure that they receive enough exercise and other positive outlets for their energy. Many pit bulls are easy going couch potatoes but can also be quite rambunctious until maturity, which can come pretty late with this breed (2 to 3 years old in some cases).
Pit bulls remain playful all their life and have a great sense of humor. These dogs are natural clowns and will make you laugh like no other breed. Remember that pit bulls are very strong, agile and powerful dogs. Determination is probably their most notable trait. Another very important pit bull characteristic is their love of human attention. Most pit bulls think they are lap dogs!
Human aggression, severe shyness and instability are not traits typically found in pit bulls. Dogs with these traits are not good representatives of the breed and should not be placed into adoptive homes. The last thing our breed needs is more negative publicity.
Pit bulls: Temper, temper...
These dogs do make wonderful, loving and very loyal companions as long as you understand them well. They also require clear, consistent obedience training just like any other breed of dog. These guys may be goofy, but they are very smart and they will push a mile for every inch you give them.
Pit bulls: It takes two to tango!
There are precautions to take when owning pit bulls, especially in a multiple-dog household. Knowing how to avoid a fight and, most importantly, how to break it up if, despite all efforts one occurs, is proof of smart and responsible pit bull ownership. Take note that a fight can strike suddenly and for no apparent reason. Warning signs are more sometimes more subtle with pit bulls than other common breeds. Two dogs may:
- be best friends for years
- be related
- sleep together
- even eat from the same bowl (although this is NOT suggested)
Then one day something triggers one of them and boom! Often, the dogs act like best friends as soon as the fight is over. They might even lick each other's wounds. You should try to avoid this type of situation by crating the dogs separately when you cannot supervise them. Keep a breaking stick on hand for emergencies. This is not a sign of the "dog-fighter" as some would have you believe, but instead the sign of a caring and thoughtful owner who is prepared for any emergency. Just because you have a fire extinguisher doesn't make you an arsonist, does it?
Pit bull owners must also be aware of the remarkable fighting abilities of this breed and always keep in mind that pit bulls have the potential to inflict serious injuries to other animals. A pit bull may not even be the one starting the hostilities with another dog but, chances are, he will fight if provoked. Keep in mind that pit bulls are almost always blamed and often end up paying the price at the hands of the authorities.
Every negative incident involving a pit bull disgraces the breed's reputation and jeopardizes our right to own these great dogs!