Shaking Away the Myths About Pit Bulls

What do Helen Keller, Theodore Roosevelt, and Kevin Federline all have in common? They all have had a pit bull as their pet. However, a pit bull is not actually considered a dog breed. Accroding to Pit Bull Rescue Central, what is commonly referred to as a "pit bull," includes three different breeds: American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and mixes that include one of these breeds.

These breeds of dog have recently been given a bad reputation because of their connection with dog fights. Director of Washington Humane Society, Beau Archer said, "Sadly, the more a breed is portrayed this way, the more likely they will be acquired by irresponsible owners who will often use the dog for negative purposes, such as protection or fighting."

However, this has not always been the case. states that in the early 1900s, they were referred to as "nanny dogs" because of their excellence with children and humans in general. During this same time period, they were used to herd cattle. It comes natural for them to interact well with humans because this was essential for their job.

"The truth is, all dogs have potential to do harm, regardless of their breed, which is why it is imperative that they receive proper socialization and training to live well within their families and communities," said Archer.

The Washington Humane Society, along with many other organizations are spreading the truths about pit bulls. Partnership for Animal Welfare debunks the crazy myths that pit bulls are naturally human-aggressive dogs and they can't get along with other animals. They argue that similar to any other breed, pit bulls must be taught how to act.

It is essential that they are socialized correctly so they will learn to be friendly when put in any public situation. Any young animal, or child, needs to be taught right from wrong and be reprimanded when doing something bad.

Pits are no different. If they are trained in the wrong setting and never punished, or even praised when portraying unacceptable social behavior, that is not a fair assessment of the dog's nature. For some reason, people don't see that this is actually a reflection of their owners.

"When I got my puppy Bill [an American Pit Bull Terrier], I didn't want him to be stereotyped as another dangerous pit bull. I exercised him a lot so he wouldn't have any pent up physical energy and brought him around my little cousins so he would know to be gentle around other people," said University of Maryland senior, Danny Wilbur.

While pit bulls are not a dangerous breed by nature, they are only suitable for a certain type of person or family. First and foremost, they require someone who is willing to take on the responsibility of changing the misconceptions about pit bulls. Also, as Pit Bull Rescue Central advises, comparable to adopting any type of animal, the person should research about the dog and know what they are getting into before taking them home.

Pit bulls require a lot of exercise, much more than some other breeds. This is important so that they don't use their energy in a negative way. They need to be socialized correctly and taught that the person is in control of the house, not them. Finally, they need love and attention like any other living thing.