As an English bulldog owner, I have heard more than once from people who think that my dogs look scary and menacing. This impression is even stronger when it comes to pit bulls, especially considering the breed specific legislation that bans many bully breeds. However, bully breeds, which include pit bulls, English bulldogs, boxers and bull terriers, are the victims of many myths. Here is some information about bully breeds to help challenge these misperceptions:
1. “Pit bull” is an umbrella term which includes many bully breeds, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and others. True pit bulls are rare today–many “pit bulls” are true mutts whose breed can’t be traced easily to any specific blood line or heritage.
2. When it comes to having a reliably friendly temperament, the bully breeds well exceed the average dog, outshining Chihuahua and Poodles.
3. Bully breeds tend to have qualities that make tolerant to pain and have an eagerness to please their owners. This quality can be used against them as a way to make them fight other dogs, buts this aggressiveness isn’t what is bred into them.
4. Pit bulls tend to combine the qualities of bull dogs and terriers because of breeding practices, being strong, agile dogs. Again, aggressiveness isn’t a trait bred into them, but a learned behavior.
5. You can’t tell a dog’s breed just by looking at him, especially if they are shelter dogs or come from the street. These dogs may be aggressive due to their circumstances, not due to their bully status.
6. Most of dog attacks have been reported to be with unsupervised, unneutered/unspayed dogs with young children. This isn’t specific to bully breeds and can be prevented.
7. Dogs are animals and thus act on survival instinct when stressed or scared and many aggressive behaviors are really attempts to protect themselves.
8. Bully breeds are loyal and affectionate dogs and most of them are loving companions in families, who work in search and rescue and as therapy dogs.
9. Because bully breeds are large and muscular they often live outside. This can mean long hours spent restrained on a chain. This treatment can turn any good dog into an aggressive, neurotic, and anxious animal.
10. Bully breeds do not have locking jaws-and should be trained to let go of items. You should never play tug of war with a bully, but expect them to be gentle with their strong jaws.