Myth Buster: Do Pitbulls Actually Have the Most Aggressive Tendencies?
Let’s Face It:
Pitbulls get a bad rap. Because of how the media popularly portray them plus negative incidents and reports, they are seen to be aggressive and undesirable. In fact, in some places, Pitbulls are banned and owning them is strongly discouraged.
However, is it really true that Pitbulls are the most aggressive breed? Here are some data that might support this claim:
- In 2009, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia released a five-year review of dog-bite injuries. The review states that 51 percent of attacks were made by pit bulls.
- In 2009, another study was published by the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology. The study ran for 15 years and it has concluded that pit bulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers are among the most common breeds that cause fatal dog attacks in Kentucky State.
- In 2011, the Annals of Surgery published a study, which concluded that Pitbull attacks lead to more expensive hospital bills, higher risk of death, and higher morbidity rates compared to other breeds of dogs.
These are just some of the studies in recent years that have supported the claim that pit bulls are an aggressive type of dog breed.
However, if you ask pet owners about their pit bulls, you’ll most likely get a different answer. They would tell you how happy, sweet, and loving their pit bulls are.
Not only that but notice how the ASPCA website endorses Pitbulls. They give pit bulls a description that could easily be given to other desirable breeds such as Golden Retrievers.
ASPCA says, “a well-socialized and well-trained pit bull is one of the most delightful, intelligent, and gentle dogs imaginable.”
Another study made in 2008 was released by the University of Pennsylvania. The research includes the use of 15,000 questionnaires given to thousands of dog owners. The study concluded that the most aggressive dog breed is not the pit bull, but rather the smaller ones.
So, which one should you believe? Obviously, there are two sides of the argument, one that is telling us that pit bulls are aggressive while the other one tells us they are not.
There’s no doubt: with conflicting data and findings, it is difficult to pinpoint the correct answer. However, there’s a more important factor that many studies fail to consider: the owner.
Here’s something that should interest you: a 2006 study conducted by the Journal of Interpersonal Violence found out that most aggressive dogs are owned by people who have criminal records for aggressive crimes, alcohol abuse, drugs, domestic violence, and illegal possession or irresponsible use of firearms.
Not only that but in 2009, the Journal of Forensic Sciences confirmed the findings. They also have arrived at a similar conclusion that the behavior of owners affects the level of aggressiveness of their dog.
Other people have also questioned the accuracy of studies and researches made against pit bulls. For one, a lot of people have difficulty in identifying a real pitbull from others. Moreover, aggression from smaller dogs is not reported consistently because they are not big enough to cause serious concerns. On the other hand, since pit bulls are relatively bigger, any aggression from them is more likely reported.
Moreover, it is worth noting that pit bulls have gone a long way since the days when they were bred for fighting. Today, times have changed. Pit bulls are no longer used for fighting and they are more like an adorable pet rather than a vicious fighter.
So, we want to go back to our original question, “Are pit bulls really have the highest tendency to become aggressive?”
The answer is obviously, no. It is not right to make a blanket statement for a particular dog breed. We need to realize that every dog is an individual rather than a breed. Pitbulls are just like any other dogs. If they are trained and treated right, behavioral problems can significantly be avoided and that includes aggression. They can be as problematic as any dog breed, but they can also be as loving and caring at the same time.