Breeding Bullies

Are We Blaming the Wrong End of the Leash?

“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” (LaPorte, Danielle)

Today, our society has found many ways to demolish the positivity of everything that crosses its path. One of these things happen to be an entire breed of dog, but it is not the first time. Dog breed discrimination has happened before with breeds including, but not limited to German Shepard's, Doberman's, Rottweiler's, and now Pit bulls. Though this kind of breed inspired discrimination has been around for years, it has now reached an all time low with the lives of Pit Bull's at stake.

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Background Check

The Pit Bull Terrier is essentially a mutt breed, the term classifies a group of dog breeds. The breeds that make up the term Pit Bull are American Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. The "Pit Bull Terrier" was actually bred in England in the early 19th-century and made for the purpose of baiting bulls (hint on their name). After bull-baiting was banned in England (1835) breeders looked for other means of money which lead to the start of dog fighting. Throughout all of the phases that Pit Bulls went through they were always well-known as "nanny dogs" for their naturally gentle, loving, and protective personalities.

Hero or Heroine?

Upon the introduction of Pit Bulls into the United States, they became a huge hit. Pit Bulls became very trusted and utilized for their abilities. They assisted in hunts, being the companions of young children, protected the homesteads, and helping on the farms. Pit Bulls were an important part of the United States development. Pit Bulls became the common face for advertisements for businesses and merchandise throughout America. The breed even became the mascot on World War I posters for their immense amounts of bravery. Pit Bulls went on even further to become celebrities in commercials, movies, and tv shows.

Later down the road, and even currently, Pit Bulls became exceptional service dogs. Along side Labradors and Golden Retrievers, Pit Bulls are commonly used as therapy dogs. The breed has been deemed one of the most superb narcotics dogs in the United States. Also, they have been widely used as search and rescue dogs due to their keen since of smell and their strength and agility.


Along with all of the general hatred for this "dangerous" "fighting" breed, there have also been many accusations, or myths if you will.

  • One of the most popular myths about Pit Bulls is that they have a locking jaw upon attacks that cannot be undone. However, Pit Bulls do not have jaw formation differing from other breeds by any means. Like other big breeds, Pit Bulls exert a bite force of about 235 pounds per square inch; Rottweiler's exert the highest bite force at about 328 pounds per square inch.
  • Pit Bulls have a low temperament making them less likely to attack without reason. For the past five years the ATTS (American Temperament Testing Society, Inc.) has recorded the temperament of Pit Bulls at 86.8 percent, ranking them right under Labrador Retrievers and above Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Collies. In addition to this statistic, Pit Bulls also get tested multiple times throughout a year while all other breeds get tested no more than twice a year.
  • A chemical imbalance causes Pit Bulls to be aggressive by nature. There is no chemical imbalance or enlarged brain issues that are present in this breed. No signs of any abnormal physical or chemical structures in the Pit Bull frame has been detected to cause aggression of any form.
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Breaking News

The media has played a very large [negative] role in our societies outlook of Pit Bulls over the past several years. Most of the news channels you watch will report on severe Pit Bull attacks on innocent people or other animals. There are also more news stories on Pit Bull attacks in the news than any other breed of dog, however in 2014 Labradors took up 11.45 percent of the fatal dog attacks in the United States while Pit Bulls held a percentage of 6.69 and Dalmatian's come in at 4.68 percent.

Over the past five years I have seen a large number of stories covered by local and national news stations. Not to my surprise, they have been astonishingly negative; ending with the life of the dogs being taken followed by the reputation of the breed being further tarnished. Though the cases were sad and could have been prevented, one bad dog does not make a breed bad. There have been many heroic deeds done by the breed that should equally be shared to the public but ends up being tucked away or briefly shown. I feel as though the media should show the stories of the attacks being done by other breeds as well or follow up with the positives that Pit Bulls have also done; equal representation is key.

In August of 2008 over a four-day period there were four dog attacks. The media coverage on the four attacks were as follows:

  • Day one, a Labrador attacked an elderly man resulting in him being hospitalized. The news covered his story with one article in the local newspaper.
  • Day two, a mix-breed fatally injured a young child and the media ran two stories in the local newspaper.
  • Day three, a mix-breed dog attacked a child resulting in him being hospitalized and only one article was reserved in the local newspaper.
  • Day four, two Pit Bull's attacked a woman guarding her small dog, she was hospitalized and her dog was uninjured. The attack was reported in over 203 articles in national and international newspapers as well as broadcasted on several media news networks.

This kind of unequal representation aids in societies negative outlook on Pit Bulls as well as aids the fire behind Breed Specific Legislation.

Pit Bull Saves Family Must Watch...

Breed-Specific Legislation

Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) is a law that was originally passed in the 1990's and has picked up popularity over the last five years. Breed-Specific Legislation is a law that "regulates" or bans certain dog breeds in an attempt to reduce attacks on humans and other animals. This law impacts the following breeds: Pit Bulls, German Shepards, Dobermans, Rottweilers, and "Pit Bull like mixed breeds". Many states have adopted this law such as Texas, Colorado, and New York; however, more than 700 cities in the United States have now adopted the law.

Population observation statistics over the last three years have shown no evidence that Breed-Specific Legislation has made communities safer and lowered the amount of dog attacks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to strongly oppose the theory behind BSL due to the inaccuracy of "dog bite data" because a dog bite cannot be accurately linked to a specific breed especially when it comes to mixed breed dogs. Also, due to the high cost of enforcing Breed-Specific Legislation (roughly $250,000 per year) the CDC does not see enough evidence favoring the theory behind it to comply.

Beyond the Myth: A Documentary About Pit Bulls and Breed Discrimination
Some alternatives to Breed-Specific Legislation that have been proven to be more effective are the following:

  • Enhancing the enforcement of dog license laws
  • Increase the availability of low-cost sterilizations
  • Create breed-neutral laws based on the behaviors of the individual dog and their guardians
  • Have graduated penalties and alternative living options for dogs deemed dangerous
  • Create strict laws holding the dog's guardians financially responsible for not adhering to the dog laws
  • Create laws holding the guardians civilly and criminally liable for any injuries and damages caused by their dog
  • Uphold laws prohibiting the chaining, tethering, and other unreasonable confinements, including animal cruelty charges
  • Community-based approach with up-to-date dog bite data and realistically enforceable laws

This type of breed discrimination is a national problem and is going to require people to work as a community to resolve the issue.

In The End

Owning a Pit Bull is a lifestyle. You fight stereotypes and you take on these stereotypes as if they were about your own family. Being a Pit Bull owner is about fighting for a breed who's reputation is immensely tarnished and showing people who these dogs really are. Their bad stigma becomes your mission to change. You become an advocate for their rights. Being a Pit Bull owner is not just your responsibility, it is your duty and most of all,it is a privilege to be the voice for the voiceless. It is a privilege that no one could ever begin to understand, but the owner of one of the most loving breed of dogs that there is.