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Project Pit Bull (part 1)

Not so long ago, I wrote a post about my dream of owning a pit bull. Without rehashing the article too much, the reason I have an infatuation with pit bulls is that they are the antonym of what people consider a friendly, lovable, cuddly sidekick. I hope one day to be able to adopt a pit bull type of dog and to prove that these breeds are friendly, lovable, cuddly sidekicks.
This got me thinking. What exactly is a pit bull? Is this goal even possible? Are these dogs really predisposed to some form of violence? Is it realistic to think that these dogs are friendly, lovable and cuddly given the stereotype?
So I am kicking off what I call “Project Pit Bull.” Sadly, this does not involve my spending time with any dogs. Instead, I plan on researching everything pit bull: from the purpose for which they were originally created to hereditary health issues, known behaviours of the breed, and even legal issues.
I admit that I have some preconceived notions about why pit bulls have a bad rap. It all revolves around my belief that people in our society exploit pit bulls because of their appearance and other characteristics. I will try to keep these prejudices aside and focus on research. I plan on interviewing knowledgeable people in the dog world as well as reading articles about the breed written by knowledgeable sources.

So if you have any questions about the breed, anything at all, feel free to sound off in the comments, and I will try to answer them in the project.


8 comments

  1. As your article touched on when you mentioned being predisposed to violence, I would be interested to know how much of a Pit Bull’s characteristics (specifically the stereotypical ones regarding aggressive behaviour) are nature, and how many are nurture?

    While I know this would be difficult to quantify, I wonder if at the core of their being, a Pit Bull is, let’s say, very similar to a German Shepherd but somewhere along the line, German Shepherds got to be heroic police dogs, and Pit Bulls the opposite? I read before that one of the reasons Pit Bulls have been successful in fighting rings is because they are keen to please their master. Is that not the same as a police dog?

    • Your comments got me thinking…I’m going to contact some law enforcement sources about your questions.

      I do know the breed of choice for these military like jobs is the Belgian Malinois. Cairo, himself a Belgian Malinois, was on the raid which killed Osama Bin Laden.

      Anyways, I am interested to learn what a police perspective would be about Pit Bulls. I’m sure they encounter them in their line of work.

      An entire post will cover BSL, as that is literally a subject on its own.

      Thanks for the comment Jenn

  2. Excellent undertaking. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

    I would suggest you also take into account the argument for treating dogs as individuals rather than assuming uniform behaviour/characteristics based on breed:
    http://animalfarmfoundation.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/unique-and-uniform-canine-discrimination/

    Another handy, easy read on pit bull breeds:
    http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/19/the-truth-about-pit-bulls/?fb_action_ids=10100429223161045&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=.Ufu9d-Zu2SJ.like&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

    • Thank you very much for those two sites. They will definitely help on my endeavor.

      I will use your argument about treating dogs as individuals rather than assuming uniform behaviour/ characteristics based on the breed. I do know these types of dogs have a much higher pain tolerance than is usual. They can be experiencing high levels of pain and act pretty normal. I guess that is but one example of how these dogs are different than most other dogs.

      I will keep your comment in my notes and see how it interacts with my findings about this breed specifically.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. I would love to see statistics on pits vs. other breeds. That may be hard to find though. I tried to find statistics on hounds and couldn’t find any.

    I would really love to see interviews and photos from the average joe pit bill owner. It would be great to read their stories. I also think it would be a very positive thing as pits make great pets! It’s the owners that stink sometimes.

    Thank you and I am looking forward to part two!

    • Hi Laura,

      I would propose that most pit bull owners are more educated than your off the shelf dog owner, simply because of their breed being a lightning rod for attention. But I really don’t know. I do have a source who is a Pit Bull advocate, that is not quite the average Joe Pit Bull owner though. Maybe I can work that in towards the end with how these dogs fit in our society today.

      That did get me thinking, it would be interesting to find someone on the other side of the argument, a proponent of BSL and interviewing them…….it would only be fair.

      I did hear an interesting fact that a Rottweiler actually has the strongest bite of any breed. Substantially higher than a German Shepherd, or Pit Bull or any other breed of K9 for that matter. So legislating against Pit Bulls specifically because they have an unusually strong bite is not supported by any science.

      I remember looking at bite stats once. I quickly became cross-eyed because many of the bites are by mixed breeds. I would say this alone is enough to say BSL is not viable.

      Thank you very much for the comments and kind words. I am almost done part two, follow TAGS on Facebook and Twitter and we will promote when it will be published. Hint: part 2 requires a lot of research.


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