Are Pit Bulls Mean, Dangerous, or Overly Aggressive?

Are Pit Bulls Mean, Dangerous, or Overly Aggressive?

Having a dog is a remarkable experience. These creatures provide you with plenty of love, loyalty, and happiness. However, some breeds are inclined to be aggressive, which can be a big problem for their owners.

If you have a Pit Bull or are planning to get one soon, you might be asking yourself if that’s the case with this type of dog.

Are Pit Bulls mean, dangerous, or overly aggressive? Fortunately, Pit Bulls aren’t aggressive at all. Be it towards their families or strangers, they’re always going to be smiling and welcoming anyone. The only situation when Pit Bulls can be aggressive is with other dogs. The story of them being the most dangerous dogs in the world is a legend.

There are many characteristics you may concern when it comes to getting a dog. For the Pit Bull’s case, aggressiveness is definitely not one of them!

If you need more details about this good news, I will explain it to you in this article.

Why Do Many People Believe That Pit Bulls Are Overly Aggressive?

You may have already heard many people believe that Pit Bulls are one of the most aggressive types of dogs in the world. However, that is a complete misconception.

There are four main reasons for these claims, which people don’t realize:

  • Pit Bulls’ origins
  • Pit Bulls’ appearance
  • Bad dog owners
  • Misleading statistics

The first thing that leads people to believe Pit Bulls are aggressive is their origins. Most Terriers were originally bred to be fighting dogs. However, this fact doesn’t have any connection to the way they behave with humans nowadays.

The past actually explains the current attitude they have with other dogs. Pit Bulls are indeed aggressive towards them. This is related to some extent to the fights they submitted a couple of centuries ago. But, again, this practice never made them angry with humans.

Pit Bulls’ appearance is another attribute that makes people scared of them. Their muscular body and not-so-cute face make people believe they are highly hostile creatures. But appearances don’t always show the truth!

For this kind of dog, they reflect absolutely nothing about their real behavior.

In the majority of the reported cases of problematic Pit Bulls, the problem is not the dog, but his owner! If you find a Terrier creating a lot of troubles and trying to bite people, he likely has an irresponsible owner that didn’t train him well.

Although this may intrigue you, that’s the reality. Many Pit Bull owners deliberately train their dogs to behave aggressively, to make them look “bad boys,” or don’t train them at all. As a consequence, these animals are going to be hostile to other people.

Another thing that makes people scared of Pit Bulls are some statistics. Although numbers don’t lie, they can be misleading.

Some well-known studies point out that this type of dog is involved in the majority of cases of dog attacks and bites in the United States.

Even though this data is correct, many people fail to notice that Pit Bulls are also the most popular dogs in the country!

The next time you go to the street, look at how many of them you will find in comparison to any other breed. With higher exposure, it’s evident that they will be more prone to have a stressful moment and try to attack people. At the end of the day, Pit Bulls are as stable as any other type of dog.

Are Pit Bulls Friendly With People?

Yes, Pit Bulls just love human beings. If you’re going for a walk with your furry friend and are worried about him attacking strangers on the street, know that this is probably not going to happen.

There isn’t such an explanation for this kind of behavior, it’s just their essence. Every dog breed has its own natural characteristics that slightly differ from one another. And, fortunately, breeds belonging to the Pit Bull family are incredibly passive.

As you may have imagined, they’re really affectionate with their families. Other breeds may be more independent, but Pit Bulls are extremely extroverted.

They will try to make as many friendships as possible.  Whether you live alone or with a big family, your dog will adapt well to any situation.

Pit Bulls are fantastic with kids as well. In fact, many people claim that parents some time ago used them as “nannies” for their little children.

Because they have a good sense of attention and amiability with kids, there’s a high chance that these reports are true. That’s why people often refer to Pit Bulls as “The Nanny Dogs.”

With strangers, it’s no different. Be it a person walking on the street, a friend coming to your house, or any other person, your Pit Bull is always going to be the friendliest pet possible.

Although these characteristics are perfect in the majority of cases, they may not be that incredible in other situations. If you want your Pit Bull to be a watchdog, for example, I’ve got some bad news: they are terrible at this function.

Their charisma makes it almost impossible for them to care about a stranger in front of your house.

You can train your furry friend to be a guard dog, which is different from a watchdog. A guard dog is specially trained to protect a person or a place no matter the occasion.

They don’t have any mercy with approaching strangers and will do virtually anything to comply with their tasks.

Pit Bulls have some of the characteristics required to become guard dogs, such as high trainability and loyalty. However, you probably don’t want to turn your pet into an ultra-security ferocious wolf.

Guard dogs are more adequate for protecting important places or people. They can rarely be considered a pet, but rather a member of a security team. Guard dogs must be highly intimidating and ready even to kill someone if necessary.

When you say you want a dog for protection, you are probably referring to a loyal companion that can protect you, additionally. In this case, you’re looking for a watchdog.

You can try to train your Pit Bull to react a bit more aggressively, but he still won’t be the most appropriate option for the job.

Are Pit Bulls Aggressive With Other Dogs?

Unfortunately, Pit Bulls have one significant downside when it comes to behavior. That’s because they have a tendency to be extremely aggressive with other dogs.

As I previously mentioned in this article, Pit Bulls were historically bred to participate in blood sports. They were constantly trained and exposed to a fighting environment.

This spirit remains nowadays. If your dog sees another animal on the street, there is a high chance he will become disturbed.

It is essential to notice that this may not always be the case, though. Not all Pit Bulls were obliged to fight. So there may still be a chance of your pet being reasonably friendly with other animals.

As with any other type of dog, Pit Bulls’ behavior is determined by many variables. Genetics, training, family background, their mood on a specific day, and many other factors will influence the way your dog acts.

To avoid problems as much as possible, you need to socialize and train your dog. The more he gets in touch with other animals, the less likely he will behave aggressively with them.

The ideal age to start these adaptations is when a Pit Bull is still a puppy. If your dog is older than this, you must train him as soon as possible.

As dogs age, their capacity for absorbing new information decreases. It’s much easier to teach a lesson to a puppy than to a senior dog.

In addition to it, when a dog gets used to a code of conduct, it’s hard to forget it later on wholly. As a consequence, traces of this old way of acting may sometimes still influence their decisions. The less exposed your furry friend is to an unwanted attitude, the easier he will forget it.

How to Train Your Pit Bull to Be Friendly With Other Dogs?

So let’s put our hands to work! If you’ve got a dog that is overly aggressive with other pets, it’s time to start training and socializing him.

Before starting it all, here’s a quick consideration: make sure all your furry friend’s vaccines are up to date. By checking this, you prevent any bad outcomes from happening in case of accidents. Vaccinations are crucial for the security of both your pet and others.

Don’t forget to grab his basic items as well. If your furry friend has a tendency to bite, have a muzzle with you. Apart from that, get a good leash or harness to be always able to control him. Last but not least, grab his favorite treats to reward him in the training sessions.

The most efficient and clear way of making your Pit Bull friendly towards other dogs is by exposing him to direct contact with them.

Go for a walk with him and head towards a place you know has a considerable amount of dogs. Parks are generally the best option. Now what you want to do is to approach the other pets there calmly.

Maintain a safe distance at first. If your dog starts barking, go back a little and stop when he gets calmer.

The ideal spot needs to make him slightly uncomfortable, but not to the point of being completely pissed off. Stand there for a while, until he accepts that he can’t go further than that.

If necessary, practice a bit of obedience. Make him respect some basic commands such as sit, heel, and others. When he behaves well, give him treats. That’s crucial for maintaining positive reinforcement.

Stay with your Pit Bull in this position for about 5-10 minutes. Then, advance to the next level. When he starts to become aggressive again, stop. Repeat the same procedure, always smiling and maintaining a calm posture.

After some time, move on once more. This time, once he gets calmer, you can call it a day. Your Pit Bull will start to get more confident with other dogs. If he fails to get relaxed at this distance, that’s also OK. In the next sessions, he will fully be able to do it.

The objective of this method is to get your Pit Bull used to other pets slowly. Let him take his time to develop his friendliness and don’t hasten.

Socializing him will take a good 2 to 4 months, so be patient. However, this isn’t a hard task. Just let it flow and you’ll see results without many efforts.

Always make it be an enjoyable experience. Play with your pooch and let him have a treat when he deserves it. After some weeks of training and closer contact with other dogs, why not try to make them have fun together?

Approach other owners and ask them if your pets can have some time together. If you’re not comfortable with making this kind of request, a fantastic alternative is to join local dog owners groups in social media and online forums.

People often organize dog meetings through these communities. It’s even better if you can join a specially focused Pit Bull group.

Its members likely are or may have already passed through the same situation you’re in. Due to that, you’ll find valuable sources of help as well.

My Final Thoughts

So we come to the conclusion that Pit Bulls are amazingly gentle dogs and that they’re not dangerous at all! The only situation in which your pooch may misbehave is with other animals.

That can be explained by their past. Many Pit Bull owners used them to fight in blood sports. Until now, many of them still hold the vision of other dogs being enemies.

There isn’t any proof that this type of dog is more dangerous to humans than other breeds. Remember, in the end, they’re all dogs!

If you’re having headaches with your Pit Bull’s behavior, train him or call a professional. With adequate care and patience, he will act exactly as you want.

References & Citations

  • Peter Caine Dog Training
  • Hachiko
  • PetHelpful
  • Petfinder
  • Quora
  • One Green Planet

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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