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Why Pit Bulls Are Controversial

I like to share information about wildlife, animals, and pets—dogs in particular.


Pit Bull Origins

Pit bull is a dog breed of American origin that is popular throughout the world. They are medium-sized, muscular, sturdy and fearless dogs, and share the same lineage of American Staffordshire terrier. Pit bulls were bred by mixing between old English Terriers and bulldogs to participate in big games like hunting, dogfighting and to contribute in blood sports, like bull and bear baiting.


Characteristics and Temperament

Pit bulls are very active dogs, highly protective of their owners and eager to please. A well-bred and properly trained pit bull makes a reliable and loyal companion. They also excel in weight-pulling, dog agility, flyball, lure coursing, and advanced obedience competition. Pit bulls are sometimes know for their aggression toward other animals and dogs of the same sex and they can be destructive when bored. They can be willful and dominant if not properly trained.


  • Height: Male: 18 to 21 inches, Female: 17 to 20 inches
  • Weight: Male: 35-65 lbs. (Adult), Female: 30-60lbs. (Adult)
  • Life Span: 10 to 15 years

Dog Bans

Dogs are devoted companions, full of unconditional love and loyalty, and they do what they are expected to do. But some dog breeds are aloof and aggressive, many times because of irresponsible training (or lack of training).When raised by a less experienced or weak owner, or without good training or socialization, then they can became aggressive, willful, dominant and a threat to the public.

The dog breeds that are more likely to develop such a temperament are classified as "dangerous dogs" by many countries and insurance companies. And they are either banned or restricted in public. In many countries where they are restricted, a license has to be obtained from the government to pet them.

5 Common Reasons for Breed-Specific Legislations (BSL)

There are a number of reasons why some countries ban a specific dog breed.

  1. Dog-bite statistics report: Breeds that have a history of aggressively biting and/or breeds with the most damaging bites.
  2. Tendency toward aggression: Breeds that have a tendency to attack people or those that can be a risk to public safety.
  3. Used for illegal activities: Some excellent breeds are unfortunately used for illegal activities like dogfighting and are, therefore, banned.
  4. Rare or unrecognized breeds or wolf-hybrid dogs: In many countries, crossbreeds or mutts are banned because people believe they have unpredictable behavior. If a certain breed is banned, mixing it with a legal breed will also make the mixed dog illegal.
  5. Poor history: Dogs that have poor health or behavior records are banned. In specific countries with extreme weather, specific dogs that will not do well in the climate will not be allowed to live there.
Pitbull Terrier

Pitbull Terrier

Why Are Pit Bulls Banned?

If you look at the dog bite statistic in the United States and other countries, it shows that pit bull dogs are responsible for higher fatalities than dogs of other breeds. According to U.S. dog bite statistics, the number of dog bite bites is one out of every 73 people and approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, with 800,000 of those bites resulting in medical care.

This means 19% of dog bites cause severe injury and require medial attention, and pit bulls are responsible for about 70% of cases that require medical attention. These figures are alarming, and they create a negative image of pit bulls.

But that's just one aspect of judging the characteristics of pit bulls. According to another survey of over 4,000 dog owners, pit bulls consistently ranked as one of the least aggressive dogs out of the 35 most common breeds. (The chihuahua was ranked as one of the most aggressive). Basically pit bulls are good guard dogs that can be extremely loyal and protective of their owners, and if properly trained and socialized, make a good family pet. But if owners are inexperienced, pit bulls that are not trained and groomed well can be dangerous, too.

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Pit Bull Dog Bite Statistics

Pit Bull Dog Bite Statistics

Dog Bite Fatalities

According to the dog bite fatality records in the United States over the five years between 2016 and 2020, pit bulls account for 6 to 6.5% of the total dog population and they are responsible for approximately 72% of dog bite fatalities.

This means that pit bulls alone have as much risk of dog bite fatality as 40 dogs of other breeds.


Dog Bite Fatalities: Owner or Family Member

According to the dog bite fatality records in the United States over the five years between 2016 and 2020, in approximately 60% of cases, pet pit bulls were the breed that killed their owner or family member.

This pit bull is good with babies

This pit bull is good with babies

Child Dog Bites Caused by Pit Bulls

According to the dog bite fatality records in the United States over the five years between 2016 and 2020, approximately 40% of dog bite fatalities for children are by pit bulls, and pit bull and pit bull mixes together are responsible for approximately 63% of the total child dog bite fatalities. The 6.5% pit bull population from a total population of dogs in the USA, are responsible for 40% of child fatalities by dog bite.

This means that pit bulls are at equal risk to children as 27 other breeds of dogs.


Pit Bulls With Other Dogs and Pets

Pit bulls were bred to participate in big games like hunting, dogfighting and to contribute in blood sports (like bull and bear-baiting) and they have an incredible muscle and jaw power, stamina and attacking talent. Because of these traits, they became one of the most in-demand breed of dogs for participating in dogfights and blood sport games. And many backdoor breeders groom them to participate in dog fights, developing this bad characteristic in pit bulls. Dogfighting as a sport is now banned in most of the countries, but some pit bulls still possess a fighting instinct and can be aggressive towards other dogs and pets.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2021 Aaradhya

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