10 Dogs People Mistake for Pit Bulls
There is so much controversy these days about pit bulls. Are they a breed or are they a “type” of dog? Even owners can’t agree.
- The truth is that American pit bull terriers are in fact a distinct breed, part of a group of working breeds that descended from the Molosser dog. Because of this, they look similar to many other breeds.
- Also, the term "pit bull" is often used to refer to many breeds of terriers: American pit bull, the bull, the American Staffordshire, and the Staffordshire bull terriers. This leads to a lot of misunderstanding, and sadly it has even led to people losing their beloved pets due to misidentification and breed-specific legislation which targets “types” of dogs.
- So is it a pit bull or isn’t it? Thanks to the media, crossbreeding practices, and well-meaning but incorrect information, it is very hard to be sure.
The true American pit bull terrier is people-friendly to a fault and weighs no more than 60 pounds at the absolute largest. We will clear up some of the confusion by identifying the top 10 breeds that are mistaken for pit bulls.
1. The American Bulldog
Generally white or predominantly white with patches of color, these big friendly brutes can weigh in at over 100 pounds. A working dog (as all bulldogs are), the American Bulldog is a wonderful family pet equally at home working on a farm or relaxing in an apartment—provided he gets enough exercise and is properly socialized.
The American bulldog is an accomplished hunting and sport dog and a favorite in the show ring. He comes in two types: standard and bully, with the bully type being stockier with a shorter muzzle.
The American pit bull terrier, while sharing many of the same wonderful traits, is much smaller than either type of American Bulldog and differs very much physically.
2. The Presa Canario
The Presa Canario is a very large mastiff-type dog. He can reach 150 pounds and he is very powerful. He is a working dog, used for herding cattle and guarding. His temperament can be aggressive; he is only a good choice for a very experienced owner who can handle his size and attitude. This is a big dog that knows he’s big. Aggression toward humans and other animals can be problematic if he is not socialized properly.
The pit bull, in contrast, is much smaller and has a much friendlier, more family-oriented temperament. The Presa Canario is a natural guard dog, with innate suspicion toward humans and the “alpha” type of assertiveness we see with guarding breeds, but the pit bull possesses neither of these traits; they are not guard dogs. The huge aggressive “pit bulls” we see walking around are often crossbred with the Presa.
3. The Cane Corso
The Cane Corso (pronounced kah-nay kor-so) is another very large breed. Also known as the Italian mastiff, the Cane Corso weighs from 70 to 100 pounds. His history is as a guard dog and a working dog, as most Molosser breeds are. The Cane Corso is not a fighter and is not generally known to be aggressive toward other dogs but is a guard dog by nature and is not recommended for any but the most experienced handlers because of his great size. He is protective and bonds tightly with family members, often with one family member in particular, and he may become overprotective if he is not socialized very early and often.
The pit bull is far less aloof with strangers and is typically very social in comparison to the Cane Corso. The pit bull is also much smaller, with very different physical features.
4. The Bull Terrier
Easily remembered as the Spuds McKenzie dog from the Bud Light commercials, the bull terrier is often mistaken for the American pit bull. Stubborn, tenacious, and a true terrier at heart, the bull terrier is smaller in size than our previous entries but don’t let that fool you. He is stocky and muscular, with erect ears and a pleasant demeanor. As a terrier, he has a highly-developed prey drive and has been known to kill smaller animals if they challenge or harass him too much. He is the perfect blending of the bulldog-terrier lineage: strong, tenacious, and stubborn, and because of this, he is not recommended for novice handlers.
The bull terrier has a very distinct appearance, with an “egg-shaped” skull and triangular eyes, both of which are exclusive to the breed. He is very easily distinguished from the American pit bull because of these unique features.
5. The Boxer
The boxer is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United States. She is a working dog and a hunter, as well as an excellent guard dog. Tall and proud, she can weigh up to 80 pounds and is often recognized by her fawn-colored coat. However, she can be white, brindle, or multi-colored. This probably adds to confusion with the pit bull, as many people have not seen boxers of any color other than fawn. The boxer is intelligent and high-energy. She is great with children but can be stubborn and protective. She’s prone to mischief such as excessive barking, chewing, and other nuisance behaviors if she is not exercised enough.
The boxer and pit bull have some temperament similarities, as they can both be stubborn, high energy, and excellent with children, but the pit bull is smaller and does not possess the boxer’s distinctive shape.
6. The Dogo Argentino
A super-athlete bred for hunting wild boar, killing mountain lions, and protecting her human to the death, the Dogo is a fierce hunter and a brave guardian, excellent for use in military and police applications. She is very large, heavily-muscled, and white in color, weighing close to 100 pounds. A fairly new breed that originated in Argentina and still largely resides there, these dogs are relatively rare in this country but they are growing in popularity due to their stamina, loyalty, and exceptionally beautiful appearance. They are a great choice for people looking for a very active breed they can hike, camp, climb, and work outdoors with.
They have been described as similar to the pit bull terrier, even though the pit bull is much smaller than the Dogo. This adds to the confusion surrounding the pit bull “type” and has led to the Dogo Argentino often being misidentified.
7. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Besides the bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier (or “Staffy”) is probably the most similar to the American pit bull of all the breeds listed here, although he is still distinguishable from the pit bull with his trademark “Staffy smile” and a blocky, squared head. The Staffy is an affectionate dog, very friendly and wonderful with children. He loves to love and is an excellent family pet. He loves people and adapts to strangers very well. Like pit bulls, the Staffy possesses lower-than-average aggression toward humans.
Staffies are mistaken for pit bulls frequently, with many people believing the two breeds are the same. This is because up to a certain point in history, the American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, and the American Staffordshire terrier were all the same breed of dog. They no longer are, however; they are now three very distinct and separate breeds.
8. The Bullmastiff
A very large dog, the bullmastiff is an excellent guardian and watchdog. He is a breed that needs no training in protection; he will react on instinct to any threat which presents itself. He is powerful and formidable, making him a great choice for activities such as pulling carts, which he greatly enjoys. He is smart and independent, making him a great agility competitor and a wonderful tracker in the field. He requires a somewhat special method of training because of his intelligence (he dislikes repetitive tasks) and requires a firm hand due to his size.
The bullmastiff is often confused for other breeds, including the pit bull. For instance, despite what many people think, the dog from the movie Turner & Hooch was not a bullmastiff—he was a Dogue de Bordeaux. The pit bull is much smaller than the bullmastiff, possessing a very different temperament and physical characteristics.
9. The Olde English Bulldogge
A fairly new breed, the olde English bulldogge is a throwback. This breed was an attempt to re-create the old bulldog of the 1800s, which was very different from modern bulldogs. This breed was created in the 1970s with foundation dogs that were English bulldog and bullmastiff, American pit bull terrier, and American bulldog (breeds that all have the old bulldog in their lineage). The olde English bulldogge is tenacious, agile, eager to work, and far less aggressive than the bull-baiter from the 1800s. He is muscular and strong, a true bulldog in every sense. This is a respected breed that thrives in pulling competitions, therapy work, and obedience competitions.
The olde English bulldogge, while similar to the pit bull and sharing a lineage, is a very distinct and different breed that is generally thicker, with a larger head and a shorter, trademark bulldog muzzle.
10. The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
You may have never heard of this breed, but it is an old breed, surviving since the 1800s in isolated places in the South until 1979 when it was resurrected with a passion. The American pit bull we know and love today was created in part from this breed, as were a few others like the Black Mouth Cur and the Catahoula leopard dog. The Alapaha blue blood bulldog is a loyal, loving family member, as bulldogs are. She loves children and is a wonderful guardian and companion. She’s beautiful, spirited, tenacious, and eager, possessing the bulldog personality in spades. She can be aggressive if encouraged and because of this, she makes a wonderful protection dog but must be socialized well to prevent too much aggression.
This is in contrast to the American pit bull who, without training, generally won’t become naturally aggressive toward people.
Can You Identify a Pit Bull Just by Looking?
As this list unequivocally demonstrates, it is no easier to tell a dog’s genetic heritage just from looking than it would be to know a person’s heritage by visual clues alone. Breed misidentification plays a huge part in the stigma attached to pit bulls, and because of this thousands of animals lose loving families, are banned from cities, or are euthanized in shelters because they are incorrectly identified as “pit bulls” or “pit bull-types” based on how they look. Even experienced shelter personnel can’t get it right just by looking. DNA testing is the only way to be sure, but since that just isn’t feasible, to prevent needless deaths we must judge them based on their individual qualities instead of how they look.
Questions & Answers
Question: Where do you get a DNA test for a dog, and how much do they cost?
Answer: There are several places that offer "doggie DNA" tests, and the prices vary. You can check online.
This is a hot topic. Got an opinion about it? Let us know.
Rocco on September 04, 2020:
Just had are dogs dna result Back 75” American Staffordshire bull terrier cross Staffordshire bull terrier and a nicer dog you couldn’t meet 10 months old now he’s a cracker
Glo on August 24, 2020:
having been in ranching I was around heelers and Austrailian shepards. I was bitten by Heelers for no reason. Heelers like thier name , nip cattle on the nose and on the heels to drive them forward. I have found them to be over exited, stubborn and aggressive. The need to have a job, be active . They are a working dog. Austrailian shepards are also a herding dog needing a job and alot of activity. In my opinion if you coup these dogs up as house pets they are going to have blow outs.
Bonnie on August 17, 2020:
I have a Australian Shepard Texas healer mix . She is showing and active aggressiveness toward my smaller dogs. She has caused injury to smaller dogs as far as puncturing bites to cause bleeding, and now sending our another god to the vet with eye injury! It seems she is being protective of the food ! What can I do
Angela on August 03, 2020:
When I was a child , I lived in a trailor park. One of our neihbors owned a small dog that would come running out everytime we walked by. I was terrified of that tiny dog. He was mean as hell.
David Baker on July 29, 2020:
I have an American Staffie x Pit Bull. He's almost 3 year old. I adopted him 11 months ago. A nicer dog you'll never find, anywhere. No aggression at all with people, he just idolises kids, and has shown no unwanted tendencies toward other dogs. They've had a really rough deal. Owners are the main problem. Imbeciles who want a 'macho' dog. A fashion accessory for their back to front cap, and trousers around their knees. Very stupid people. They should never be allowed to have a dog. My boy is curled up on his chair next to me now. He's protective of me, but thats not being viscious. He lets me know when he's got a concern. And you don't have to worry about the dog, be wary of his old dad.
Amy Fairchild on July 22, 2020:
Got my first pit 35 years ago.Mom & her boyfriend brought home the cutest pup i ever sae. Within 2 weeks we ended up rescuing the #1 fighting male, #1  fighting females. They were confiscatedwhen a dog fight got raidef & were shceduled tobe putdown. We were able to " retrain" them ( easy once they got love). I hhave had pits ever since. I'vehad them aroundmy children & now mygrandchildren. The biggest problem I've EVER had with any of them would be the feather pillow "fight" they had a year ago, & what we came home to today. They tore apart their dog bed,(really a bean bag chair, messy). When they saw my grandson upset by it,(was given to him by his late uncle, whom I'm sure was up there laughing) younever seen any animal sadder than them. BTW, I have 4. A Gator mama & 3 of her pups. Female pups are 1&1/2 & the male just turned 1 five days ago (my 90 lb. lap dog). They actually whined for an hour! I have people that are afraid of my boy because he's so big & he "talks". It really pisses me off cause hes a
big lovable baby who is actually afraid of most anything new. I.E. a mouse running across floor or a pair of pants falling of a hanger!
My husband never had a pit until we got together 5 years ago. We ended up losing our boy so my son asked us to take his Gator Pit Angel. When she got pregnant my husband asked her for ' a brown & white( our lost boys colors). I'll be damned if she didnt give him exactly that! Same exact markings & all, just female instead of male. Never seen it before but when she was a week old they were barking & howling together! They've been inseparable since. Yes, she sleeps between us EVERY night cause she wants us both, but she is truly Daddys girl!! Anything happens to her, I'm leaving the country! LOL
Anyway, he's hooked. Not only are they the most loving, loyal animals, they are great for your health. My husband has A-Fib that can be triggered by his high blood pressure.. Dr. has had to literally stop his heart before. Since he found his furry soul mate his blood pressure is much better & he's had only 1 small A-Fib attack.She keeps him CALM. My two are my emotional support(for TSD) I truly couldn't & won't live without my babies. If people don't like it, or if they don't like someone then screw them! I trust my pit's instincts, they haven't been wrong yet. And to those afraid to have a pit around children, you are probably to fkn IGGNORANT to even be a parent so you dont have to worry!
So fuck yes, they are seriously misunderstood!
Anil karki on July 21, 2020:
Knowledgble information any dog breed
Mickey Broverman on July 19, 2020:
My son was given a pitty puppy and at a year was given to us because of his work . I have had many breeds but this little girl is the most lovable dog. She is high energy & retrieves
Better that a lab. Loves to play . Her one draw back is she is highly protective of our front porch.& she tend to be a little rough playing with our other dog. But what a Smuggler.If you haven’t owned one you have no clue!
Christine on July 16, 2020:
I have a pit bull. He is sweet and loving dog. He is a people person. And playful lazy couch potato
Jennifer on July 16, 2020:
I have three pit bulls two males and one female. All in the house. They are like our children. My husband is disabled and elderly. They all are very sweet and great around us. I would not trade them for anything. They all go outside and stay in the yard and come back when told too.
Turk on July 13, 2020:
“Pit Bull” is a breed of dogs. Kind of like Shepherds are a breed of dogs. A German Shepherd is a Shepherd dog but not ALL shepherd dogs are German shepherds.
Bull terriers and Staffies are both “Pit Bulls” under the category but they definitely are not an American Pit Bull Terrier.
All rectangles are squares, but not all squares are rectangles.
Patricia Stone on July 12, 2020:
If a person can not identify a pit bull they have no business saying anything about them and they sure have no business working in a shelter or saying if one is to be euthanized or not
Ray Clark on July 11, 2020:
I love all dogs but the pitbull is my favorite of all they are misunderstood and the media makes it worse my dog's i've had in the past and now present have always been gr8. I got a saying if it ain't a pit it ain't shit. Pitbulls all day long keep the breed alive
850bull on July 01, 2020:
All "Pits" are the sweetest caring, most loving dogs. So misunderstood by many, which is Bs because the small little yappers are the ones to watch out for. I rescued my pitbull from an abusive household, gets bit by these small dogs all the time when all he wants to do is play, yet everyone has it out for this breed of dog.
Bully Momma on July 01, 2020:
I've had dogs most of my life,. I didn't get my first American Staffordshire Terrier until I was in my 60's, (0I'm 4'8" tall ). My first was a 4 yeat old abused rescue, who was my constant companion for over 11 years. Sweet Gracie was absolutely the gentlest, most loving loyal dog I ever had. Sadly, she passed, at the age of 15+, due to inoperable cancer. I miss her every day! I have since adopted a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who was about 6 months old when I got her. Both dogs were located through Petfinders.com. Both were Texas rescues, where overpopulation, is a real problem due to failure of owners to spay or neuter,
causing a very high stray, and fostered dog population. I went to see Gracie, before I adopted her, with Daisy, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier, I saw videos sent by her foster mom, but adopted her from 1800 miles away, as where I now live, we don't have enough ownerless dogs in shelter, so states with large stray dog populations have partnered with states, like Wisconsin, to foster, socialize and provide transport dogs north to loving, forever homes. Daisy still has a lot of puppy energy, but is sweet, gentle, loving, loyal, and only wants to please me, which is why, though bully's are not a naturally agressive breed, scoring better on testing for low tendancy for agression and reactivity, than Golden Retrievers,Labs, and Collies, and many other breeds considered, "family" dogs, people can train them to be agressive, or groom them to fight. They only want to please. It is not in their nature to fight, and, sadly, many actually end up being used as bait dogs, and are killed because they naturally resist fighting! Before you are quick to believe the media about a pit bull attack keep in mind, most dogs are never DNA tested, and when they are, many times there's no bully DNA in the dog, at all! Actually, more people are treated, each year, in ER's for attacks by small, and "toy" breeds, than larger dogs cause larger injuries, so get the media attention. When was the last time you read about someone being attacked by a a Fox Terrier, or other dog under 25 pounds?
Charlene on June 30, 2020:
I have a Catahoula Leopard and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Both are family dogs and as sweet as can be, MOST of the time. If you get too close to me or I sound an alarm, you may lose an appendage. My Catahoula is even protective of my Staffy since she doesn't know better.
Ozzy on June 29, 2020:
I’ve a cane Corso Pitbull mix. Very friendly and love most people but I can tell he’s on his toes when it comes to guarding his family and property. He’s about 110lb
Kris S on June 22, 2020:
I have a lot of favourite dog breeds (Most of them are huge, I love big dogs) but whenever someone asks what my favourite is I just say pit bull cause even though I can't really decide a full favourite, pit bulls are a real special breed to me and I really wish people would stop judging them without ever once sitting down on a couch with a damn pit bull, they are so snuggly (But also crazy energetic
Eileen Rose Ervin on June 15, 2020:
Im looking for a pitbull boxer mix male puppy i live in new jersey
Love those amstaff on June 13, 2020:
If you know anything about the breed
Ampits are not amstaff.. and i wish you could please stop saying that they are the same...we use them for baiting hogs here and ampits are smaller then amstaff...
Moonlightdreams on June 11, 2020:
I have a beautiful Dogue de Bordeaux mastiff cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She thinks she is a lap dog. So gentle and all the kids on our estate love her and she gets very drag arsed if she doesn't see her humans. She looks just like a Pitbull. We always say, no bad dogs but stacks of bad owners and the character of the dog tends to travel down the lead. So if you are a dick chances are your dog will take on your dickishness and if you are a normal happy go lucky person then .ost likely your dog will be too. I know this doesn't always hold true, but i think, for the most part it does. We have had 2 English Bull Mastiff cross Great Danes for that were the biggest soppiest most gentle loyal dogs you could come across and had good long lives, not leaving this mortal coil u til they were 13years old and both were 77kilos sobig boys. Amy being what she is, is a 52kilos of love and is 8years old in August. Don't just hudge a dog by its breed.
Lego C-3PO on June 10, 2020:
I have a xl bully american pit and shes a big baby.
And yeah pits and other dogs that are similar are missunderstood and most are abused and neglected by cruel owners. Like my dogs previous owners
Freak on June 08, 2020:
Hihi no thats y they r AKC they cannot have A PIT BULL AS AKC
Hihi on June 07, 2020:
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure pit bull is an umbrella term, and I’m also pretty sure the and Staffordshire bull terrier falls under it, but still, I could be wrong.
Larry yanez on June 01, 2020:
My dog is a mix american english bulldog terrier. She is very hyper. She want to launch at some people who comes close to me.
Karen on May 30, 2020:
I have 3 pitbulls, two from a shelter. I love my dogs and recognize their faults and strengths. I am getting older now and all three of my dogs think they are lap dogs. Is there a breed that has the same temperament without the weight?
JJ on May 29, 2020:
I just can't understand why that is in question. Dumb and foolish owners are to blame. even a human is responsive to abuse,cruelty.and mistreatment. me and my girlfriend Kate adopted (rescued) HULK An American bully 14 months old
he was basically on k9 deathrow. we had an instant connection so he joined us. I can honestly say that I was and to this day amazed on how intelligent he is. great w the kids awesome protetctor and he has became a part of our lives a great addition to our home.
Carol L Bach on May 23, 2020:
My dog is americanbully bulldog council blufffs iowa licenced him at 6 months old as dawn German Shepard americanbully pit mix, after 1 year goes by they say i cant keep him in city limits, but they licensed him threatening to take my dog pushing me out my home telling me i have to move, like really. I need help with this i have rights so does Jinx my dog
Deneeka Brunson on May 22, 2020:
I have a American Bullly his very big and yes he has his moments but his my best friend so i can say its how yu treat them to make them act ugly but he is wild...
Donna Cranford on May 20, 2020:
I have been a bulldog owner for 62 years.I am now owned by a three year old,125-130 lbs.He is a sweetheart.I was given my first pitty when I turned 2 years old.There is no better,sweeter,loving dog than a bulldog!
Ronnie PRICE on May 18, 2020:
I want to adopt a pitbull
Jozelle torquato on May 16, 2020:
I just lost my gottiline pit she was the best thing in my life.
Mel on May 15, 2020:
I think it is bad to claim ALL put bulls are bad and ALL dogs similar are bad I have a American bulldog who came into my home age 1 1/2 years and my granddaughter 2 and he loved her from the first moment she hugged him and they played all the time. She now has the American Staffordshire I raised from 3 days old to 6 months and her dad has his sister and she is doing great training them. All three are wonderful dogs and all three live children and are the friendliness companions you could ask for.
And why does everyone crop ears and tails? I think that is so very very mean!!!!
Josh on May 10, 2020:
I'm 43 years old and have had pits for 43 years. I have a 7 month old bully xl and 3 year old albino bitch. They play more then my children and some days i think they live me more too. Jkn..... I've been attacked twice. German Shepard which in sorry but they are very hard to trust and also by a lab but the worst of them all are the toy breeds. There's dogs but l but more people then pitbulls and are much more annoying. It's about time that pits lose their stigma and get the respect they deserve.... At least they are excepted by akc now not just adba.
James Massey on May 09, 2020:
I have an American Pitbull Terrier her name is Lady Marie and she is ten years old. I got her when she was eight months old and she is amazing extremely sweet to everyone. Before I got her spayed because of a hormone imbalance she nursed and raised two kittens and now that she is spayed she sleeps with and cleans my female cat and her kitten. Pitbulls are not the problem inexperienced and cruel people are they take an amazing creature and mistreat it. My girl Lady is proof that if raised right there is no other animal on earth that compares with the intelligence, loyalty and kindness of an American pitbull Terrier.
Bridgette Johnson on May 08, 2020:
I have a blue pit bull I had every since he was 5 weeks and now his 8 .he's a great dog and his my hole world I will protect him no matter what .
Angel on April 18, 2020:
I have had my boy Mack for 2 months. I adopted him from a shelter he’s 1.5 years old. Best doggie ever he loves to play and go for walks. Pit bulls are definitely misunderstood.
Jennifer Talkington on April 09, 2020:
I personally have never owned a pit but I have never met a mean one! I have several friends that have them and I WOULD NOT hesitate to have one. In fact I think it will probably be my next dog. I'm at max capacity now.
Darrin Wilson on March 08, 2020:
Look no further than the comment by an idiot (Craig Malmstone) and therein lies the problem. Backyard breeders who don’t have enough grey matter to realize you don’t breed dogs that show aggression and the pussy’s that need a vicious dog to live vicariously thru are the 2 reasons you have dogs that bolt out open doors or jump fences to attack another dog or person. The low-life’s that breed dogs to be aggressive will always be out there until society finds a way to eliminate ‘stupid’...Breed specific legislation needs to apply to humans.............
Elizabeth on January 26, 2020:
I am suppose too have a blue pit she's mostly white. Is this possible ?
Mark on December 08, 2019:
Please Adopt and not shop for your dog Too many dogs are euthanized each year due to over breeding There are no reasonsible breeders For every dog you buy one or more die in the shelter, or suffer worse fates Don’t feed into the demand If the demand dries up, these breeders will go away
Connor on December 07, 2019:
I have a bull terrier, the breed is not very good with small dogs but dogs 4 times the size of them. They must be greeted to a small dog when playing.
Nicole on December 04, 2019:
I think that pit bulls are misunderstood, they are not aggressive if you make them aggressive, my dog is part pit, and he’s a gentle being.
jaime on November 12, 2019:
im thinking on rescuing a 4 month old pitbull, but ive got kids
should i do it?
Sachin on November 10, 2019:
Or bhai putt bull dog caei bhai
Amanda Walmsley on November 07, 2019:
Excellent article!!! I finally know wot a pit bull is!! In a 10 minute read!!! Thank u!!!
Melinda Miller on October 19, 2019:
Thank u Kay Mills. U said it perfectly..and I too am a very proud owner of 2 beautiful American pittbull Terriers. And i would not trade either of em for nothing in the world. My male 8 yr old named Buddy and my 6 month old female named Lola (a.k.a ) "lou-lou" are very lovable pets and its all in the owner raising them as loving lil family members. And it really pisses me off to hear how ignorant some ppl can be about any breed of pittbulls. Dont get me wrong everyone, opinions are like a**holes and everybody has one..only some are bigger than others. I just choose to be open minded about all breeds of animals better known as wonderful lil family members I would rather read up on things than to listen to hear say. Bcuz it all falls bk to the OWNERS RAISING THE BREED PROPERLY. Take care everyone.
Sophia on October 18, 2019:
I have a 6 month old puppy, she is an American Bulldog, Boxer, Blue Nose Pitbull, and Akita mix- all of which are very misunderstood breeds. She's had a lot of bad encounters with petrified people who deem her scary, and/or dangerous dog, when in reality shes a sweetheart who just wants love, attention, and to be noticed just like all of the other dogs. I will admit she is very protective over me and my family, but she has never attacked, bitten, or has ever hurt someone. And I get it, a 60-70 pound puppy may be scary to be around, but she never deserved the whispers that she gets from afar, nor random people screeching to get her away from them, every dog is equal, and deserves to be treated the same to an extent. (As in they may have different needs or requirements)
chuck on September 04, 2019:
we.ve owned a several dogs of different breeds over the years but we hit the jackpot with our most recent (two years ago)--a female German Shephard. An absolutely wonderful dog in every respect. great with our small grandkids, other dogs, neighbors, very obedient, loyal, smart, easy to train and beautiful to look at---getting a lot of comments on our local walking trail. If you love dogs, you gotta own one or more of these at some point. .
337 on September 02, 2019:
People & doge left untrained & no experience all become nasty and Misunderstood.
If you don’t have your life in order and time to train a dog then don’t get one I don’t care what breed.
You only get out what you put in. German Shepherd‘s train by the police department to bite people and purpose get a better rap then my bull terrier companion dog who is trying not to bite. Remember it’s not the dog just like it’s not a gun it’s the idiots who possess them
emma on August 05, 2019:
i love bulky dogs but I would get a well traind one or get a pup and train it
Craig malmstone on August 02, 2019:
I'm going to get a pitbull a nasty Pitbull
Kathy on July 21, 2019:
All dogs have the potential to be aggressive. Training and knowing the signs teaching your children to respect animals would go a long way.
Nala owner on April 28, 2019:
I know that a lot of people have had a lot of bad experiences with pittbulls but I think the only way a pittbull has aggression is from the person that trained him/her, I have Nala for 8 years before that my son had her since she was 4 weeks old and he did a very good job training her she is a big baby loveable she has never been aggressive towards me or my kids, please give them a chance!!!
Mary on April 23, 2019:
People are always so romantic about defending and recommending pit bulls as sweet and loving pets, but I think breed-specific banning could do some good. I am aware that individual pit bulls can be good, non-aggressive pets. As a breed, however, pit bulls do have a tendency to be aggressive. They were bred to be attack dogs, with the most aggressive animals being selected. Pit bulls always make up a large portion of dog attacks that occur each year. It is important to remember that, while proper socialization, responsible ownership, and training can do much to improve the temperaments of these dogs, not all aggression is acquired. Behavior is partially determined by genetics. It is horrible that these dogs are abused and mistreated. Dog fighting is a cruel and disgusting "sport".
Jeff Isbell on April 18, 2019:
I've encountered hundreds of dogs in my five decades of life. My skin has bled at the tooth and claw of teacup breeds and 120-pounders alike, 90% of the time in play.
Four animals have aggressively attacked me (three totally unprovoked) in those years. I had the chihuahua aggression coming to me as an unsupervised toddler (maybe five-years-old) antagonizing a tempermental dog in the first place. One was a neighbor's dog in my yard. He is a Border Collie mix who was easily enough subdued before he could rip off my check and nose (because I was in-tune enough to know what was potentially coming).
The other two both resulted in antibiotic treatment. The cat was subsequently euthanized for the attack, and the toy poodle nearly cost me my right foot.
Yes. Cat and toy poodle. Unrelated.
I've been the responsible friend and custodian to a 110# Purebred American Pit Bull, a 90# American Bulldog, and a 50# Pit Bull 'Pocket Pittie' mix. None of them, over two decades, have ever broken human skin (except mine, and only with claws (not teeth), while rough-housing).
They have all been around countless other dogs, children, and adults. They were (and are) all well-socialized.
In my experience and opinion, it is rarely a matter of genes, but (like Cesar says) a matter of responsible owners able to make the time to instill in a subordinate species Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations.
Sure, there is the poodle now and then that almost costs someone (me) a foot; but not all poodles should be assumed to be bad dogs because of the actions of one.
People, it seems, still have much to learn from their canine (and feline) companions. If you doubt that, raise a dog "unto death do you part," and keep an eye on the headlines while you do it.
You might find you have more faith in the opinion of a dog than the opinion of a person like me (or the one to whom I write this).
Roger on April 18, 2019:
Why take the risk that comes with owning a pit bull. If i got one, i would love it too as you all do. But the potential for it to snap (as some other breeds can do) ruin it for me. Its not worth it for me. There are plenty less aggressive dog breeds out there to pick from!
Moni1928 on April 05, 2019:
Why can’t Cities, Counties or States have some kind of a test for ALL DOGS to go through, to show how tolerant and wonderfully behaved they’re? To show they aren’t and aggressive dog, that they’re a lover, not a fighter? We have quite a few pitbulls that go to my dog park in Ventura, CA and they’re the sweetest, most gentle of all the breeds when I’m handing out treats. I get my fingers literally stripped of skin, by the labs and goldens... My staffy, has never started a fight, yet he’ll break up fights that are going on, sometimes causing him to get bit. He’ll knock off dogs that are mounting, using his chest to push them off and he protects puppies that are being picked on. He’s truly a remarkable dog and is appreciated by the owners, who’s dogs he’s saved. He’s been attacked way too many times and yet he’s never retaliated. He’s needed surgery for one of the bites. I just wish people would stop listening to the news about how they’re so awful and actually listen to the entire situation they were put in... “Drug dealers Pitbull attacks person that walked onto or by his property!” So if you took out, the drug dealer, the fact that the poor dog has been forced to protect him and his drugs!” That dog would be a happy dog. They’re tied to a pole, beaten, starved, shot up with steroids and repeated several times, until the dog does what it’s supposed to do... And yet the dogs the monster, the bad one! Humans cut their ears off, overbreed them, make them fight, And yet their the bad ones, their the ones we fear? Something is so wrong with that entire thing!!! Something needs to be done about it. You’d think that landlords would appreciate having a dog like that on their property, being a chicken, like mine or not. People don’t have to know the dogs are harmless and may only bark... It would help protect their properties and keep it safe. It’s common sense!
Cela on April 03, 2019:
Hey, stop saying things about dogs that don't act like what you say. they only act like that because of there owner. and your facts are a lie.
Kay on March 31, 2019:
Hey KayMills. I own a purebred American Pitbull Terrier (with papers) and he does not show aggression toward other dogs or animals because he was properly trained. I think YOU need to be educated about them. Yes, aggression is in the breed standard, but it is also about how you raise them so you can take your "facts" and shove it. Here is an exert from the United Kennel Club website:
"The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit *some level of dog aggression* and because of its powerful physique, the APBT *requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train* the dog. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work."
Tommi Grace from Woodward on March 12, 2019:
I adopted a Dogo Argentino some years ago. He had been severely abused by terrible people. He was deaf when I adopted him (at 5 mo). I don't know if it was the abuse that caused it or if he was born that way. After we attended dog obedience training together and me taking him to PetSmart every Friday to socialize him, he went from being terrified of humans to loving them. He was the sweetest and most loving dog ever. He was also, often, mistaken for a "pitty." My homeowner insurance did not list the Dogo as a non-covered dog; however, it did list my Am Staff Terrier as non-covered. No matter how I tried to educate my insurance company, they refused to listen. I eventually had to purchase supplemental insurance so I could keep my family members (yes my dogs are members of the family). You would think professional underwriters would be more educated.
KayMills on February 27, 2019:
Paul you are wrong. Pit bull is the short form of American pit bull terrier. American pit bull terrier is in fact a breed.
KayMills on February 27, 2019:
The number one breed should have Been American bully! Everyone here claiming to own a pit bull probably doesn't. Without proven lineage papers from a reputable breeder & registry to show pedigree IT IS NOT A PIT BULL! a pit bull is an American pit bull terrier which is a game bred dog usually animal/dog aggressive naturally. It's a genetic trait that's been in the breed from the start & it's in their breed standard. They were however, specifically bred not to be human aggressive. Aggression is a genetic trait. It's passed down from previous generations. Anyone saying it's all in how you raise them is sadly mistaken. All these "pit bull" attacks you hear about weren't perpetrated by actual pit bulls. Uneducated or misinformed owners with mislabeled mutts are the cause of BSL. Calling your dog something that it's not gets other dogs killed. If you own a blue nose or red nose pit, I'll almost guarantee you that it's not a real APBT. Those are marketing terms thought up a few decades ago & used to sell back yard bred mutts for more money. Just because you think it looks like a pit or you were told it is pit absolutely doesn't mean that it is one. Actual pit bulls weren't bred for looks so you can't say it's a pit just by the way it looks. The majority of the general public (80%-90%) does not own a pit bull, but a mislabeled mutt instead. Only 10%-20% of the general public actually owns an American pit bull terrier. People really should educate themselves about the breed.
Olivera on February 14, 2019:
I have a pitbull and he hangs around with my cats. I socialized him so he plays with other dogs too. He adores people. He is the most adorable creature I have ever had. When I watch TV, he sleeps on my lap. Fortunately, I have special features on my sofa, so we can both sit there.
Jennifer B from Bolingbrook on January 19, 2019:
Working in a doggy daycare we have a lot of pits. Some are more a fan of people than dogs. But aggressive? Never. They are some of the most playful and affectionate dogs that come in.
Greyster on January 10, 2019:
I think that people are not just scared of pittbull type dogs but the big dogs in general. I have a 80lbs black brindle greyhound mix that I rescued from a shelter, which kinda looks like a Doberman. I had a veterinarian tell me that she knows the type of dog and that she will not work with him because he looks big and scary and that she is afraid that he is going to bite her as soon as she tries to touch him, even though he is the sweetest dog ever and he has not bitten a single human. People are just afraid of what they don’t understand.
moonlake from America on December 18, 2018:
A friend bought a bull terrier. He started being aggressive they finally had to give him to a rescue. The rescue started trying to train him he attacked her. He had to be put down. The same friend got another bull terrier as a foster. If he worked out they would adopt him. He was also mean she was told by her parents never to bring him to their house again. They worried about the grandchildren.
They gave the dog back and he did go to a home.
I see Pit Bulls find homes almost everyday from our no kill shelter.
Chavo on November 29, 2018:
So cute and strong
Jack leopard Pitbull on November 12, 2018:
Are they real ?
Sheryl Mayer on October 25, 2018:
My pitbull "Baby Girl" was the sweetest most wonderful dog I have ever had. I loved her second only to my son. I miss her and I hope she is waiting for me when I pass on.
Lil hopkins on September 30, 2018:
Author of article, little shaman, what expertise do you possess on dog breeds, or is this just your( and many peoples opinion. Do you, perhaps work with akc?
Paul on September 29, 2018:
No such breed as a pitbull!!
Skylar Phillips on September 26, 2018:
I believe that the outcome of a pitbulls behavior depends on how you raise them and treat them. Im 19 and ive grown up with pitbulls since i i was about 5. They are amazing family dogs and are very loving and attentive. I literally could not imagine my life without a pit by my side.
To Sherae Drake on September 18, 2018:
To Sherae Drake, I've been running a daycare for about 18 years. During that time, I've had two pitbulls. Both of which were extremely gentle and playful when near the children. I've never had an incident. Now. With the chihuahua mixes, they were atrocious whenever anyone came by. EVEN with me! The person feeding them!
Gail on September 15, 2018:
The jury is still out. Adopted a rescue Pitt bull. Great dog for three weeks. Out of nowhere one night we were laying in bed watching TV. She attacked me. I have 15 bites. Had to choke her with her collar to stop her
v on September 12, 2018:
is there a 'term' or name people use to replace the generalized term... pit bull..???
Instead of saying,, this is a pit bull... what do owners use to stop the generalization and stereotype
Crystal Larson on September 04, 2018:
Run for President! Lol! It saddens me to the core about the misidentification on pit bull like looking dogs. I concurs on everything u said! Now how do we go about helping the dogs? How do we change laws?
Ann on August 19, 2018:
I have a red nose pitbull called dexter he was taken from me under the dangerous dog act here in England they do 15 measurements and if your dog meets ten its taken luckily the court let dexter come home hes the best dog I've ever had its not the dogs that are the problem its certain owners!
bookpaw on July 30, 2018:
i think pit bulls are very misunderstood breed i think that they can be okay with us
Roxy holland on July 18, 2018:
I have a pit bull i rescued him from a abusive owner and hes the sweetest and most loyal dog ive ever had and loves everyone baby to cats ...and so i names him buddy ...its the way you raise them hes never hurt anyone or anything to condeme an entire breed of dog because of some of them that were misstreated or triggered in some way ..is unreal buddy is my son and ill go to bat for my son everytime and for any dog that needs me ...every breed of dog has a few bad eggs just like humans were all prone to mistakes that doesnt mean you kill them...know one should be able to take a life like that its not right and we should never allow such a thing to go on its inhuman its just wrong..life is sacred and should be charished not just trown away like trash... We should be building sancuary instead of digging graves..
Olivia on June 04, 2018:
I think pit bulls are definitely a misunderstood bread of dog... the can be a very good and loving pet .. but can also be made to be mean and nasty if in the wrong hands.. as with any dog , if with a good loving family , the dog will be also ... any breed of watch dog can be made to be mean and nasty , a shepherd, a Rottweiler, a Doberman ... but if raised right, they will be a loving family member .... i would take a pitbull in a heartbeat if I could where I live ....
shakespeare18 on May 16, 2018:
We adopted Lilo, a beautiful black and white cocker spanie,l in 2003 when she was 8 months old. We were told then that her previous people had abused her and were forced to give her up. Even though we loved her a lot, for a long time she was very suspicious and defensive. She had bitten my husband several times when he approached her when she was sleeping. We had to be very careful whenever strangers approached her; such that often they thought we just did not want them to pet her -- an adorable cocker spaniel.
Lilo died in March, 2016 from kidney failure. In October, 2017 we adopted Gogo (10 weeks old) from a rescue organization and was told he was a labrador and springer spaniel mix. When he was about 5 months old we took him to be neutered and the vet told us he believed Gogo to be a pit bull mix. We were kind of shocked and worried. The rescue place told us that we can return him if we want to. But then Gogo has always been such a sweet, loving puppy, we decided to keep him. Now he is almost 10 months old and still the same sweet, loving dog. We have trained him to stay within our property line and not venture into the street. He is friendly towards everyone and every dog who walks by our house, but most people walking their dog seem to be very cautious whenever they pass by our house!
Gogo still thinks he is a puppy and often put his head my my lap. I often look into his gentle eyes and ask him "how can you ever be mean!?"
It's not the dog, it's how the dog was brought up and treated. Cocker Spaniel Lilo was defensive because she had been abused in her puppy days.
Pitty Gogo has never demonstrated anything but sweetness and will never be a danger to anyone!
Kamrynlovesdogs on May 03, 2018:
voted for no but meant to press yes
Doggone smart on April 23, 2018:
FYI to anyone who puts a stereotype on any particular dog breed: there are sooo many other breeds that are considerably more aggressive by nature then true pit bulls! I have worked around dogs and cats most of my life and have seen more aggressive and dangerous Labrador Retrievers, Huskies, German Shepards, and others way more likely to attack or bite then I've ever seen any pit bull I've met, and believe me I've met quite a few. In fact, I can't say I've ever met an aggressive pit ever in the years I worked as a veterinarian technician, the ones I had the pleasure of working with were the sweetest creatures that just wanted to cuddle and lick you to death! This is just my experience with a variety of breeds and many may disagree, but I do know for a fact, ANY dog can be dangerous if not properly socialized and trained, and ANY breed of dog can cause harm to people or animals. People are allowed to have their personal preference but please don't be shallow minded and stereotype a breed you may not be familiar with. The media plays a huge part in influencing the minds of all of us unfortunately, and it's usually hugely wrong. I used to not like doberman pinschers because they were always portrayed as aggressive guard dogs on TV. Well come to find out, they are sweethearts too that love attention and a scratch on the belly like any other! All I can say is do your research and be cautious around any unfamiliar dog no matter the breed.
Stephen on April 23, 2018:
I love my Presa.Walter is very loyal to me and loving. VERY ALERT all the time of his surroundings.great friend and protector of my home.
Gontse on April 19, 2018:
I like pit bull
Cori Craig on April 02, 2018:
David A Edwards
The best start is to leave pup with his mother until 8 weeks of age as the mother is still teaching him important things. When you do bring her home, wait until she has all of her shots. Once she has her shots then take her to puppy class and go from there. Keep up on her training and he socialization. Stay clear of Dog Parks. Dog parks are the place to pick up illnesses. Also you do not want her to pick up on the bad habits of other dogs. The last thing you want her to learn is how to fight. She will learn this at a DP. You have use on a computer so I suggest you go to facebook and join a educational group that is willing to teach you. There are a few there.
Anon on March 25, 2018:
@Doreen C There's no such thing as "bad dogs".
Yayayayaya on March 08, 2018:
All dogs can be agressive and attack no matter what breed they are. It is heartbreaking to see so many dogs in sheliers that people think are pit bulls just because of how they look. They are ready to offer us unconditional love if we let them.
no name on February 26, 2018:
sooooooooooooo wrong the poodle is the second smartest dog in the world.
mrkk on January 11, 2018:
i have two dogs and people are scared of them because they think theyre pitbulls. one is a band dogge/boxer/mastiff and the other is a shaffy/pit. both dogs are kind hearted, loyal, protective, dogs. i think dogs attack not because they hate whats infront of them, because they love whats behind them.
D on January 08, 2018:
Pitbulls are the most misunderstood animals in the world!! Any breed of dog can be made aggressive, its so heartbreaking to see this gentle, loving breed suffers the consequences of idiotic humans who cause animals to act aggressively when they originally only wanted to be loved. Animals only act the way they have always been raised to... love a dog and it will be loving, abuse a dog and it will act the only way it knows how to...
Dawn on January 07, 2018:
I never thought I would have a pitbull. Like most of America, I was socialized to believe they were unpredictable and potentially dangerous dogs, though as a former social worker I was well versed in nature vs. nurture. My son adopted a three-legged pitbull named Violet two years ago. She was his angel, and the joy of his life. Over Thanksgiving he and his girlfriend and my husband and I adopted sister and brother pit mixes we named Winona and Wilbur. They are now three months old. Winona and Violet are inseparable, as are Wilbur and his best friend, our six month old kitten. They play and cuddle and sleep together. He has enriched our lives immeasurably. People need to open their minds and let go of their predjudices. I am so glad I did!
No on December 24, 2017:
I have a bullmastiff pitbill
Doreen C on December 17, 2017:
Pitbulls are an amazing breed.
They were bred to NOT be aggressive towards humans.
If they were, they would be eliminated on the spot as in electrocution, hanging, drowning...please do your reading on this breed & get an education instead of getting information from your next door neighbor or the media.
They are the only breed that will go in a `pit` & fight FOR THEIR OWNER. They fight for the owners love & `treats` the same way they `sit` for treats. It is conditioned this way from birth.
The most dominant pup of the litter is egged on to kill the rest of its litter mates for `treats`& `love`.
It then graduates to chickens or small animals tied to a tree.
Then, to dogs its own size, whether it is in a `pit, or a backyard.
THINK. THINK. THINK.
They are in a `pit`(or in the woods) fighting, w/ limbs hanging, ears dangling, noses chewed off & have to tolerate handling from the referees & the owner when the round is through.
Sometimes the owner or medical staff literally cuts the ears off or saws the limbs off. ( And the dog goes right back in! For a pat on the back & some treats!).
If the dog shows ANY signs of aggression while these procedures are being done, (ya know, like having a limb sawed off) the dog is killed ON THE SPOT so the gene isn`t passed along to future fight dogs.
They were once on the interior soles of BUSTER BROWN shoes, because they were so trusted w/ children...
The `wrong people` take this trust & abuse it.
We need to change laws, crack down on backyard breeders; who most of them abuse the dogs in some way...
The media simply makes them more desirable to the `bad guys` for all their (mostly inaccurate) stories....
`Fear the pitbull` - `Look at me, I`m a badass, I have a pitbull`.
But a lot of other breeds (as this article shows) get caught in the crossfire. ALOT.
The pitbulls or pitbull looking dogs that don`t live up to the mean, vicious stereotype the media shows to the `bad guys`are usually killed in a barbaric way.
Some are trained to kill people, especially those dogs used to guard meth labs & crack cocaine houses.
Pitbulls & any breed that resembles a pitbull are victims.
The innocent people who get killed are victims.
If you want to get one, go to a reputable breeder, or if adopting from a shelter, have an outside trainer evaluate the dog before adopting.
And have the dog trained after; they are super smart & love new challenges. You will also get to see how they are with other dogs in a classroom setting.
Dogs need to be walked EVERY DAY.
Want your dog to bond w/ you & listen better? WALK WITH THEM! I DON`T CARE HOW BIG YOUR BACKYARD IS!!
I have 3 Pitbull Terriers, 1 Jack Russel, 6 cats....
They are my favorite breed, though I love them all.
They are so abused & misunderstood.
I have trained many a dog.
You do have really bad dogs. All breeds do.
Pits are the only ones that seem to make the news though.
I hope this helps.
Peace to all -
Yolanda on December 16, 2017:
I have a pit would thinks he is a 125 pound lap dog. He has been a part of my family since he was a puppy. He is 13 years now. He nice, calm, obedient...just a wonderful dog. This morning, one of the cats decided that she wanted to eat his food. He moved back from his bowl and watched her eat.
Any dog will bite. My miniature poodle who weights less than 7 pounds tried to bite a repair person on the ankle. It's a shame that bad owners and in-breeding has caused this breed to assume a bad reputation.
Rinetta Horst on December 15, 2017:
Thank you for all the amazing facts about our new family member Dilema, she's a mastiff-pit bull and we just love her . she's so loving and at 15 months old strong as an ox. I have had dogs my whole life but never owned this breed. Your info is appreciated
Dwayne R on November 10, 2017:
I have a American pit bull terrier one of the most protective dog I had since my Doberman he is great with kids and is very loyal to me and my wife .don't judge all pits because it's how you raise them I never wanted one until now I LOVE my castor troy.
Ben on November 05, 2017:
I personally have nothing wrong with pitbulls and think they are misunderstood. I want to either get the Presa canario or the cane corso but am scared people will be scared of it cause it looks like a pitbull.
pat on October 10, 2017:
pit bulls are what you make them the two i had i trust with young children they love to be loved need to raised to be mean they are not born that way