What do you think when you hear “Pit Bull”? Sadly, many people think that all pit bulls are vicious, blood-thirsty killers. This false image has been exaggerated and carried on by the media. In reality, pit bulls that are raised right are great dogs. In fact, I have a pit bull of my own. She is a friendly, playful dog who would never hurt anyone. That’s why it saddens me for pit bulls to have such a horrible image.
The American Temperament Testing Society found that pit bulls, on average, have a better temperament score than “the perfect family dog”, the golden retriever. It is not the breed that is an issue, but rather the bad owners. Some people get pit bulls just because of their “tough” image and they raise them to be tough. Even worse, some people train them to fight. Pit bulls are chosen to fight not because they are vicious in nature, but instead because they are strong, fast, and can do more damage than most other dogs.
Most of the dog bite stories you see on the news are from pit bulls or other large dogs, but the news station wouldn’t run a piece about a Chihuahua attack. Many dog bites or attacks from small dogs go unreported. An important thing to point out is that in many cases the breed identification is left up to the victim, and there are more than 20 breeds commonly confused with pit bulls.
If you don’t believe pit bulls can be good dogs, just ask someone who has one. Jerry Voyles, owner of a pit bull says, “I couldn’t think of a better family dog. They’re smart, affectionate, playful, and fun-loving.” Many other pit bull owners would say the same. My pit bull, Gracie, is the sweetest dog I know. She loves everybody she meets, just like many other dogs of her breed. Pit bulls are very eager to please and they love to play. They are also protective of their family and even other pets in the house. A lot of people who are afraid of pit bulls have never met one that has been raised well.
With all the bad press about pit bulls out there, it’s good that there are people speaking out against the negative stereotype. You may have seen the show “Pit Boss” on Animal Planet. They work to rescue pit bulls and find them homes and to disprove most peoples’ misconceptions about the breed. Of the more than 30 dogs who have earned the “Super Dog” title, nearly half of them are pit bulls. To become a Super Dog, a dog must have a winning title in Obedience, Agility, and Weight Pulling.
So remember, if you are looking for a new dog, don’t exclude pit bulls from your criteria. You could be missing out on a great pet. And if you hear someone rant about how bad pit bulls are, don’t be afraid to correct them. It’s time that we get our facts straight about these wonderful dogs.
By: Lauren Voyles, Staff Writer