Pit Beauty

Pit Bull Characteristics and Tales

What Breeds Are Bully Breeds?

The pit bull is just one breed that falls into the bully breed category. The following list assembled by The Canine Journal actually make up the bully breed category:

  • Alapaha blue blood bulldog
  • Ambullneo mastiff
  • American bulldog
  • American mastiff
  • American pit bull terrier
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • Anatolian mastiff
  • Australian bulldog
  • Bantam bulldogge
  • Banter Bulldogge
  • Belgian mastiff
  • Boston terrier
  • Boxer
  • Buldogue campeiro
  • Bull terrier
  • Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Ca de bou
  • Cane corso
  • Catahoula bulldog
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Dogue de Bordeux
  • Dorset olde tyme bulldogge
  • English bulldog
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • French bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Mastiff
  • Miniature bull terrier
  • Neopolitan mastiff
  • Olde Boston bulldogge
  • Olde English bulldog
  • Pug
  • Pyrenean mastiff
  • Renascence bulldogge
  • Rottweiler
  • Spanish mastiff
  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • Standard bull terrier
  • Tibetan mastiff
  • Valley bulldog
  • Victorian bulldogge

Is There a Difference Between a Bully Breed and a Pit Bull?

Bully breed is the name of a large category of dogs within which are many breeds of dog that all come from the same root or ancestral breed: the Molosser. Molossers were a breed of dog found in Ancient Greece that were cross bred with other dogs to serve as shepherds and guardians; they were selected based on their favored characteristics of large frame, short snout and ears, and large bones. Owners would also use these dogs for “sports” such as bull baiting, which is most likely where the term bully breed comes from. Unfortunately, some people utilize the great strength and build of these dogs not for their original intended purposes of protection and defense, but to fight. They incite aggressive behavior and spurn their loving and protective tendencies.

Myth vs Fact: Pit Bull Bite Power

        A pit bull bite has the same amount of force a s a crocodile, sounds incredible, right? That’s because it is a total exaggeration, a crocodile has a bite force exceeding 3500 psi, pit bulls come in a hair under 240 psi, not even the most powerful bite among dogs (the Rottweiler is highest at 328 psi). Don’t be fooled, that is not an insignificant number, however, this does not indicate a dangerous breed, a loving and nurturing environment will generally produce a loving and nurturing dog. This simply means that a dog with this amount of power can do more damage than a small breed and it is more likely to be reported, when was the last time you heard about a Maltese attack on the evening news?

Myth vs Fact: Locking Jaw of the Pit Bull

        Once a pit bull bites and sets its teeth, its jaw cannot be opened, even with a crowbar. Although the jaw muscles of the pit bull are impressive and the size of their gigantic noggins seems like it could be true, there are no significant physiological differences between pit bulls and other canines. In a more common-sense approach, if their jaws locked how would they eat? Nevertheless, when a dog is trained as a police or military dog they are trained to clamp on and not let go in order to restrain their subject. I would suggest this may be the foundation of the myth, but very few pit bulls, relative to German shepherds, Rottweilers and Malinois’, are used by military and paramilitary forces in the United States; so, if it were the origin, why isn’t the same myth applied to those breeds too?

Are Pit Bull Attacks Resulting in a Fatality Common?

        According to the media it would seem that the only dog attacks reported on result in a fatality or serious injury and are committed by pit bulls. It is infrequent that people stop and learn about the facts of these attacks for themselves or about the type of dog that may or may not have been the aggressor; they take the reporting of the media at face value and jump to whatever conclusion is presented. How often does an attack of this magnitude really happen that actually involves a pit bull? Research shows a person is far more (200x) likely to suffer fatal effects from over the counter acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) than be mauled to death by a pit bull; and a blow to the head from a coconut dropping out of a tree is sixty times more likely. Even a five-gallon bucket of water poses a greater threat to one’s life than a pit bull, but these stories are shockingly absent from news reports. This media preference fuels the preconceived notions of pit bull detractors, and gives more credence and precedence for their ignorant theories and notions.

How Does This Partiality of the Media Affect Pit Bulls?

        What does this predisposition of opposition to pit bulls and their ilk (bully breeds) mean for their future? About sixty percent of shelter dogs each year face euthanasia; approximately twenty percent are identified as pit bulls and up to forty percent are claimed as bully breeds. Less than half of these shelters put the pit bulls on the adoption block and another third of them have special considerations when allowing adoption. Perhaps the most depressive statistic of all is that one fifth of them put the dog to death despite its individual personality. This may be the worst type of breed discrimination there is; putting a potentially loving and joyful animal to death based solely on its appearance is flat out wrong. They’re not given the opportunity to demonstrate their worth due to ignorance and unfairness; its unjust and this practice needs to be corrected.

How Does This Partiality of the Media Affect Pit Bulls?

        What does this predisposition of opposition to pit bulls and their ilk (bully breeds) mean for their future? About sixty percent of shelter dogs each year face euthanasia; approximately twenty percent are identified as pit bulls and up to forty percent are claimed as bully breeds. Less than half of these shelters put the pit bulls on the adoption block and another third of them have special considerations when allowing adoption. Perhaps the most depressive statistic of all is that one fifth of them put the dog to death despite its individual personality. This may be the worst type of breed discrimination there is; putting a potentially loving and joyful animal to death based solely on its appearance is flat out wrong. They’re not given the opportunity to demonstrate their worth due to ignorance and unfairness; its unjust and this practice needs to be corrected.

How Can We Help the Pit Bull?

        By spreading more knowledge and information about the so called dangerous or “bad dogs,” maybe people wouldn’t be so prone to evaluate a single dog based on their prejudicial feelings of an entire category of dog. If a law or rule is written vaguely enough to encompass more bully breeds, Boston Terriers may be banned from municipalities and labeled dangerous. While that is laughable the reality isn’t far off and is more offensive. It wasn’t long ago that the social norm was to segregate people, you’d think people could learn from some of the biggest mistakes we’ve made as a species.

Be the Voice for Pit Bulls, Propagate Knowledge

        An easy start to this is to inform yourself about bully breeds and let people know how big and varied a category it really is; from Pugs to Mastiffs. Promote people to become informed and not judge any single dog based on the preconceived idea of what their breeds supposed disposition is. If they hear a story about a pit bull attack, consider the source and if possible investigate on their own and come to their own conclusions.

Don’t Dismiss Pit Bull Attacks

Learn some of the history of these dogs and focus on the good while not dismissing or minimalizing the bad (because that will be taken as ignorance on your part, and you can never change a mind if you’re seen as oblivious). Know that any dog that is not given a loving and nurturing home will probably turn aggressive and misbehave, regardless of breed. Yes Pit Bulls do bite people, but I’m certain it happens less often than attacks by Shih-Tzus or Chihuahuas, however the psychological and physical trauma from a pit bull attack is far more impactful than a little white dog. Although, it is possible that much of this is due to their reputations and appearance rather than the actual incident. Huskies, German Shepherds and Rottweilers also bite people, but no one is proposing bans on their breeds. Within all breeds of dogs there are some that will be aggressive to humans and some that will be snuggly couch potatoes. Some people will have experiences that color their opinion of certain dog breeds, but you must remain vigilant for the fair and humane treatment of all dogs and it is important to make others aware that one dog should not represent all dogs.

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