The American Pit Bull Terrier has received a lot of negative publicity in recent years, which has given it a fearsome reputation. This reputation has led to a general dislike of the breed among the overall public, and has even led to increases in insurance premiums for owners and local bans on the dogs.
The fearsome reputation of the American Pit Bull Terrier stems from a series of well-publicized attacks by dogs of the breed, a number of which resulted in human fatalities. Attacks on other dogs by American Pit Bull Terriers are also common and well-publicized, and, given the tenacious nature of the dog, these often result in dog deaths too.
Dedicated breeders and owners of American Pit Bull Terriers paint an entirely different picture of these dogs, however. Pit Bull lovers tell about dogs with extraordinary intelligence, loyalty and devotion-fun-loving, life-long companions which make excellent work-dogs and pets.
So what is the truth regarding the American Pit Bull Terrier? Is the dog a lover or a fighter? Is the fearsome reputation of the dogs deserved?
Recognizing Overall Breed Temperament
It is easy to find people who will talk or write about either 'side' of the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). And in fact, even devout APBT supporters will admit to both positive and negative temperament characteristics of the dogs, although they argue that the negatives are not normally what is reported in the news, and that extenuating circumstances often exist. Responsible supporters also willingly admit that there are 'bad' Pit Bulls that have no business serving as any pet or working dog. Responsible supporters will also report that the dogs that have shown dangerous, negative temperaments should be destroyed and never bred.
Why, then, is there such controversy?
Controversy exists over the American Pit Bull Terrier reputation because many generalizations are made; APBT stories that make the news are usually only negative-this is true of not only the American Pit Bull Terrier, but also of any number of dog breeds that have been the subject of ridicule and potential bans, including Rottweilers and German Shepherds. The fact that a relatively few uncommonly aggressive and bad-tempered pit bulls have been selected and bred for their negative traits (often for the purposes of prestige or illegal dog and/or animal fighting) has in large part contributed to the Pit Bull controversy, because these are often the dogs that eventually cause harm and thus, make the news.
When researching American Pit Bull Terriers, or any dog breed for that matter, what potential owners need to keep in mind is the overall temperament of the breed. Temperament as it applies to a dog breed describes the majority of dogs of that type; it is not a guarantee for any one specific animal. Overall, the temperament of the APBT is quite positive, but there are some definite negatives which apply to the breed. These are negatives that must be considered and prepared for, but they should also be balanced with the positive characteristic the breed has to offer.
Experts caution that within any dog breed, and within the breed of the APBT, there certainly are dogs with bad temperaments that should not be kept as pets and/or breeding stock. It is an unfortunate occurrence, but a truth nonetheless; however, there is no solid research to show that the problem is restricted, or more common, in American Pit Bull Terriers, which means that the fearsome reputation of the APBT just isn't necessarily so.