Pit Bulls: Animal Behaviorist Dispels Myths About The Breed

Pit bull is a slang term that encompasses a few different breeds of dogs. Often times, the term “Pit bull” is used for animals that are not even purebred. In fact, in rare cases, what has been reported as a Pit bull was not a Pit bull.

The Inquisitr reported on the bizarre incident that happened in England. The country is known for it’s “Dangerous Dog Act,” which has been banned Pit bulls in England and Wales.

“The dog, Tyson, was being trained for police work at the Avon and Sommerset Police Department after being rescued from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) when Dog Legislation Officers determined the dog had the characteristics of a pit bull. Tyson was returned to the RSPCA shelter and was put to death.”

Despite the legislation in England and a few select areas of America that regulate or ban the breed, Pit bulls have shown time and again to have been given a bad reputation. In at least three cases, an adopted Pit bull has been a lifesaver to those who have been willing to adopt the tainted breed.

Unfortunately, that has not distilled the constant mill of “vicious” Pit bull stories that helped continue or create new regulations or bans on the breed.

In Kalispell, Montana, a group called the Flathead Shelter Friends held an event called “Adopt a Bull,” aimed at helping Pit bulls get adopted and helping dispel the ever expanding myths about the breed. A local resident that attended that event was herself a Pit bull owner and shared her love of her own dog, as reported by NBC Montana.

“She is the biggest sweetheart you will ever meet. She just wants to be in your lap, 80 pounds of love.”

NBC Montana further reported that the event was not merely packed with Pit bull lovers and owners looking to merely express a potentially biased opinion, an animal behaviorist was also on hand. Aditi Terpstra expressed the common misconceptions about the Pit bull breed.

“When people say ‘that’s a pit bull,’ often times they’re referring to a dog that fits a look. So, it is a label given to dogs that have short coats, muscle bodies and blocky heads.”

The most common misunderstanding that most people have about Pit bulls is that the very breed itself is instinctively born with a violent disposition, which as Ms. Terpstra explained is a vague description. According to Terpstra, the American Temperament Test Society suggests otherwise.

“If you look at the American Temperament Test Society, they conduct an assessment on dogs to evaluate their temperament. American pit bull terriers and their mixes scored in the 85 percentile.”

The Pit bull’s earliest reputation came from dog fighting that ramped up in the 1980s, and also their popularity in being used as guard dogs for drugs dealers and gangs. Despite all the hype and confusion over these animals, Ms. Terpstra left the event goers with food for thought, according to 8KPAX out of Missoula.

“If there’s one takeaway I want people to leave with, it’s that all dogs are individuals, and we have to judge them as such. We can’t just make breed stereotypes and generalizations. We don’t like it when people do it to people, and we shouldn’t do it to our dogs either.”

[Image Via Wikimedia Creative Commons]