myth (mith) n. invented story, fictitious person, etc. 2.a belief or set of beliefs, often unproven or false, that have accrued around a person, phenomena or institution.

Aren't pit bulls MEAN and VICIOUS?
No more vicious than golden retrievers, beagles or other popular dogs ! In a recent study of 122 breeds of dog by the National Temperament Testing Association, APBTs achieved a passing rate of 81.7%. That's as good and better than the results for beagles (78.7%), and golden retrievers (81.1%). See for yourself:  In these tests, a dog is put through a series of confrontational situations. Any sign of panic or aggression leads to failure of the test. The achievement of the APBTs in this study disproves once and for all the mistaken belief that pit bulls are inherently aggressive to people.

Like any breed of dog, a pit bull that is properly raised will remain loving and friendly. In the past 20 years, we've seen some sad examples of poorly bred and badly treated dogs that are the byproducts of irresponsible 'backyard breeders' and cruel and abusive homes. These improperly raised, unsocialized creatures can show temperaments far removed from the traditional authentic APBT. Don't confuse these unfortunate misbreds with the huge majority of well-loved dogs in this country that remain solid in temperament, affectionate, trustworthy and friendly to their dying day.

Don't pit bulls have LOCKING JAWS?
No. The ability of pitbulls to "lock on" with their jaws is a particularly annoying misperception that refuses to let go! The jaws of a pit bull are built just as any other dog's jaw...there is no 'enzyme', no special mechanism that would make a pitbull's jaws 'lock'. They're DOGS, not alligators! What a pit bull does have is strength, tenacity, and determination. When he grasps onto an object, he will hang on due to these bully tough characteristics. And as any well-trained pitbull can demonstrate, will let go just as easily.

Don't pit bulls have to be TRAINED TO FIGHT?
NO! Just as there are breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier which has been selectively bred to do battle with badgers, foxes and other animals, the APBT breed has been selectively bred to fight other dogs. Pit bulls can run the gambit from very dog aggressive to not dog aggressive in the slightest, but all have some degree of the inbred potential to fight written into their genetics. Under the right (or wrong!) circumstances, if a pit bull is poorly managed, he can get into a scuffle with another dog and fight like a pro ... even if he's never done it before. A well socialized, well managed pit bull will never have to get into a dogfight, because he's accustomed to the presence of other dogs and (Important!) his responsible owner is always alert and careful to avoid any triggers or situations that could invite the possibility of a scuffle.

Doesn't forcing a pit bull to HANG from a tree branch make him aggressive?
No...Tugging at a tree branch is FUN for a pit bull (but it's not good for his teeth!). Many bull breeds show an inbred desire to grasp and hold -- a leftover trait from the days when they worked on farms and used as 'butcher's dogs' to grab onto the noses of bulls (i.e. "Take the bull by the nose"). This natural work drive shows up today in an enthusiastic desire to play Tug-o-War and to grab onto hanging objects like tree branches, ropes, etc. Many responsible pit bull owners provide safely designed 'springpoles' for their dog's enjoyment and allow them to burn off steam while exercising this natural ability. The result is a calmer, happier, better exercised dog.

Aren't TREADMILLS used to get dogs ready to fight?
Many responsible owners utilize treadmills to help get their dogs in tip top shape in places where extreme weather prevents outdoor exercise, or in areas where its impractical to exercise a pit bull off leash. Many who show their dogs in conformation rings or work them in dog sports such as weight pull find this tool an invaluable way to better condition their K9 athlete. Because pit bulls are high energy animals with hardy, athletic builds, responsibly using a treadmill can help them be healthier happier dogs.

Will a pit bull that shows aggression towards other animals go after PEOPLE NEXT?
No. Aggression towards other animals and human aggression are two totally different things. We've heard the frightened quote "He went after a dog (or cat) and our kids might be next!". This is one big MONSTER of a myth that has generated a host of damaging anti-pit bull hysteria. It is perfectly 'normal' for a pit bull to be wonderfully affectionate and friendly with people, while at the same time not 100% trustworthy around other (unknown) dogs. Like any breed of dog that we see in families' homes today, a properly raised, well socialized, responsibly owned pit bull should never be human aggressive. Pit bulls that do show aggressive behavior towards humans are NOT typical of the breed and should be humanely euthanized.

Don't SCARS on a pit bull always mean that he "has been fought"?
No. Many APBTs that show up with scars in local shelters are assumed to "have been fought" and are given an automatic death sentence. In many cases, this may be an unfair judgment call. An APBT can show up with scars for many different reasons. They are bold, active creatures and can get into all sorts of adventures (and misadventures). He may have been a stray on the streets and scrapped with other stray dogs without any prompting from an irresponsible owner ... He may have started those fights, or tried like hec to avoid them, or anything in between. He may be an active dog that ran through brambles on a hike with his owner, tumbled in a wrestling match with the family cat, nosed in too close to a wild urban animal such as a raccoon, or cut himself while trying to dig out of a poorly secured yard. He may have developed a skin condition known as mange, which frequently causes suspicious looking scars. Use caution, but don't assume that a pit bull with scars was necessarily encouraged to fight by irresponsible owners.

Should adopters avoid pit bulls with UNKNOWN HISTORIES and unknown lineage?
BAD RAP believes that a pit bull with an unknown history should be judged by his temperament, not by his unknown past or lack of papers. Putting a rescued pit bull through many different kinds of "tests" in many different situations and fostering him in a home setting helps us learn about the ins and outs of each pit bull we take in. Becoming well acquainted with a rescued animal helps to match each dog to the home best suited for his personality.

Should adopters be wary of RESCUED ADULTS and stick with rescued pups?
Many of us in BAD RAP actually prefer taking rescued adult pit bulls into our home over rescued pups. Pups are a LOT more work. Its also a lot harder to know what the personality of a pup is going to be like as a mature adult (really energetic or mellow? dog-aggressive or dog tolerant?). If you're looking to adopt a pit bull puppy from us, don't be surprised if we try to talk you into a young adult instead.

Should DOG AGGRESSIVE pit bulls be euthanized?
Since we know that dog aggression does not equate with human aggression, we believe dog aggressive pit bulls with wonderful people-loving personalities deserve the same opportunity to enjoy life as more dog tolerant pit bulls . (See the wonderful story of 'Mr. B' , the scrappy street fighter on our Happy Endings page) APBTs are highly trainable, and even the more dog aggressive individuals can be RESPONSIBLY MANAGED by their smart and loving owners so there never has to be concern of a tussle.

Is a small animal that shows up with bite marks 'Pit Bull BAIT ' ?
While we hate that there are people who would abuse animals, we aren't convinced that many of the so-called 'bait animals' that show up on the 6 o'clock news are correctly labeled as such. Life on the streets is TOUGH and when a stray dog shows up with bite marks from another dog, we know that that animal got into a scrap somewhere along the way. Whether that stray received its injuries from voluntarily entering fights with dogs on the streets for meager food scraps, etc., from being ganged up on by other loose strays, or from the purposeful abuse by a cruel person is anybody's guess. Unless there is a witness to the cause of injury, mysterious bite marks remain an unhappy mystery with an unknown perpetrator. *To shout "bait dog" whenever a dog with bites appears keeps a popular myth alive and may actually be encouraging copycat crimes by offering animal abusers ideas we would rather they didn't have!

Are pit bulls unpredictable around CHILDREN?
APBTs have enjoyed a long history as favorite children's companions and family pets. When well socialized and properly raised, they're the perfect breed to tolerate the rough and tumble play that kids can dish out. Pit bulls tend to be drawn to the joyful optimism of children and love to meet them with tails awaggin'! Some APBTs may not be suitable with young children because they could knock them down in their exuberance. Common sense dictates that children should be taught how to properly interact with dogs (of EVERY breed) and should never be left alone with a dog unsupervised.

Don't all pit bulls want to chase CATS?
Many self-respecting dogs of every breed will go after cats, and pit bulls are no exception. However, there are endless examples of pit bulls that exhibit a lower prey drive and co-exist quite peacefully with cats, birds and other pets. Within BAD RAP there are members whose dogs are great with their family kitties, birds, rabbits, and ferrets...And there are also some dogs who can never be trusted with smaller animals. (Important!) Understanding your individual dog's realistic limits with small animals, training him to respect your expectations and supervising all interactions will make the difference between success and tragedy -- And that goes for Poodles as well as Pit Bulls! (BAD RAP volunteers Daphna and Scott raised their rabbit 'Bianca' and their pit bull 'Kaiu' together since they were both babes, and they share an agreeable friendship.)

MYTH: Pit bulls bite more people than any other breed.

FACT: It is hard to pin down, as accurate records by breed are seldom kept. Those records available show what a myth this is. Farmers Branch, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, has kept accurate records since 1980. During a 7 year period from 1980 through 1987, this is what was recorded. Total bites: 1,593. Pit bulls, 30 bites, or 1.89% of the total. Other studies tend to show the same results and because of so many mongrels that have similar features to the American Pit Bull Terrier, it seems reasonable to assume that the figures are actually much lower.

MYTH: American Pit Bull Terriers are born mean.

FACT: In a letter to James Huffman of Columbus, Ohio, Alfons Estelt of the American Temperament Test Society, Inc., an international dog temperament test organization, wrote the following: "The American Pit Bull Terriers participating in our temperament evaluation have thus far shown a passing rate of 95%. The other 121 breeds of dogs in our tests showed the average passing rate of 77%. While the heredity factor is of measurable importance, these results show that a dog, even if used for dog fighting, is not pre-disposed as such, but is brought by his environment."

MYTH: American Pit Bull Terriers have 1600 P.S.I. in jaw pressure.

FACT: Dr. 1. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, "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." Need more be said?

MYTH: American Pit Bull Terriers lock their jaws to the death.

FACT: Again from Dr. Brisbin: "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 no 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." These dogs love to bite and pull and will as all other dogs let go on command..

MYTH: All American Pit Bull Terriers are bad and should be banned.

FACT: On July 17,1987 on ABC's "Good Morning America" program, Mr. Marc Paulhaus, S.E. regional director of the Humane Society of the United States stated: "Serious dog problems tend to be cyclical in nature."

MYTH: When American Pit Bull Terriers taste blood, it causes them to go on a killing rampage.

FACT: This is by far the silliest one we've heard yet. When a dog gives birth, just like any species, there is a lot of blood. Instinctively the mother removes the fetal membranes, severs the umbilical cord, licks the puppies clean, and eats the after birth. If tasting the blood were to cause her to go on a killing rampage, she would kill her pups, and the breed would end there.

MYTH: When American Pit Bull Terriers mature their brains grow too big for their head, causing them to go crazy.

FACT: Think about this one for a second, if it really was possible for an entire species brain to grow too big for it's own head, it would kill them, not cause them to remain crazy.

Contact Information:

Ed & Leah Krzak
(702) 631-4822
[email protected]


GoodFellas Kennels - American Pit Bull Terriers

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