Social Question

digitalimpression's avatar

What is wrong with Pit Bulls?

Asked by digitalimpression (9910points) October 16th, 2011

Just what the hell is wrong with Pit Bulls ?

I know next to nothing about dog breeding, but I assume they were bred to be aggressive attack animals? How is this process done? What is it about their brain that makes them mean? What’s the science behind it?

Mostly I just want to know what in hell is wrong with the buggers.

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56 Answers

chyna's avatar

There is nothing wrong with pit bulls. The owners of some breed them and raise them to be attack dogs. It’s a shame because they can be really good dogs.

digitalimpression's avatar

@chyna So is it just a stereotype? Whenever I hear of a dog mauling it seems to be at the paws of a Pit Bull.

woodcutter's avatar

Some will say their owners do it to them. Some will say their temperament and muscular build predisposes them to lethal violence if not handled correctly. And some will say a charming pit bull in their acquaintance for years will snap out of the blue and bite another dog in half. Other than that they are probably fine. You should get one.

chyna's avatar

Then those dogs were bred to be mean.

digitalimpression's avatar

@woodcutter LOL. I’m fine with my beagle. She wouldn’t bite my kids if they were throwing ball bearings at her.

woodcutter's avatar

@digitalimpression Ah, the ole ball bearing test. Straight out of the canine DSM LOL.

snowberry's avatar

They are powerful animals, and have tremendous energy and drive. If their energy is not channeled properly, and if they are not socialized properly, a pit bull can snap just like any other dog. The problem is that if they are not properly supervised, trained, socialized, and exercised, they can become very dangerous. This is because they are so strong, any animal or person they bite will be badly hurt or killed. Any dog can be a “bad” dog, but most of the pitbulls that are bad, are bad because of a bad owner.

filmfann's avatar

I have no doubt they can be sweet companions, but there is far too much evidence that they are loaded weapons that will go off with no provocation.

bkcunningham's avatar

American Pit Bulls are extremely muscular and strong dogs. They grab and hold on when biting. They are naturally agressive towards other dogs and very protective. They will fight an enemy to the death. From everything I know about Pits, they require a very strong owner who will be the pack leader in the relationship. I would never in a million years leave a Pit Bull around a child that is unfamilar to the dog.

Aethelflaed's avatar

This question has some really good answers, especially @ANef_is_Enuf.‘s

linguaphile's avatar

First problem is about 150 years of breeding for maximum fight quotient. We can’t undo that many years of specialized breeding in a few generations. The dogs can be trained to be good, sweet dogs by very firm and consistent owners, but that brings us to the second problem…

A lot of people who get pit bulls are not firm and consistent owners, but get the dogs for the looks-factor. I have seen people with an attitude of, “Look at me, I’m so tough, I got a pit bull, har har.” They buy the connotation, not the dog. THOSE, to me, are the most dangerous owners- they are clueless and aren’t training the dog properly. Because they’re being “cool” and total idiots, they create dangerous dogs and perpetuate the myth.

The same goes for all the aggressive/protective dogs—Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, some Spitz dogs, but Pit Bulls have 600 pounds of pressure per cubic inch in their jaws—the other dogs don’t.

woodcutter's avatar

Too many will get a pit for the image, their image, and not so much in giving the dog a great life. Part of insuring a dog’s happiness is to work with it and train, train, train, and when there seems to have been adequate training…train some more. People don’t want to put in the hours and effort, stick it out in the back yard and call it good enough. And to some extent walk around people with it while watching them jump out of the way all scared and shit. It makes them feel respected. Respect out of fear is better than no respect at all. It’s the dog that gives them the power and a certain status or so they think it does. These are exactly the people who shouldn’t have pit bulls. Like what has been stated, even with every precaution taken, they have surprised everyone and killed something without warning.

Who wants to be known as “the guy who’s pit bull killed a kid”? And they will always say “he’s never given us any indication that he would ever do that because he was always so lovable with our kids” What else can they really say? “Sorry” comes off as really lame, even to them.

It very well could be the fact they are so unpredictably dangerous that makes them so attractive to some people, It’s hard to imagine they want them for their looks as much. Pretty fugly animals in my opinion.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@woodcutter Maybe what’s wrong with pit bulls is the type of owner they attract.

woodcutter's avatar

Oops We were going at the same time and almost put the same thing @linguaphile

linguaphile's avatar

@woodcutter We did- but that just makes it even more valid!! :D

woodcutter's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yes it is that but also PB’s aren’t content with doing a quick warning bite and backing off. If one of them clamps on, they almost have to be killed to make them stop. By that time the damage they inflict is often severe. I don’t care much for them. I think the owners of these dogs are asking too much of us to trust them especially if we don’t know them. What are they going to do if their dog attacks? They won’t be very effective once the mayhem is under way.

Make it a law that all pit bull owners have to carry a gun or a tranquilizer dart to stop their own dog.

woodcutter's avatar

@linguaphile Great minds think alike…cliche

Coloma's avatar

There was a case in my county a few years ago where a female Pit that lived with her older, ( 60-ish ) owners went crazy one day, and shredded the woman and severely bit the husband.
Supposedly the dog just went psycho out of the blue in the house that morning. They had had her for years. Sad and scary.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Coloma But that kind of thing isn’t specific to pit bulls. Although I do agree that pit bulls can cause more damage than if, for example, my toy poodle lost her shit.

Coloma's avatar


I know, just sharing. When they go bad they really go bad though.

rooeytoo's avatar

You rarely hear of anyone being killed by a berserk chihuahua. That is not because they never go nuts, it is because they are not big enough to do that much damage. A pit can be an excellent dog, in the hands of a skilled and knowledgeable trainer/handler. You do not put a beginner rider or driver on a thoroghbred or in a Ferrari. It makes sense that a pit is not the ideal dog for the average dog owner as a family pet. It is too big, too strong and too smart for a novice. That is a generalization but true in MOST cases.

Not all are bad, but you absolutely have to take into consideration what years and years of breeding for a specific purpose has done to their psyche. It is almost impossible to breed the essence of a beagle out of a beagle. They will always follow their nose and be mouthy. Same of a lab or a dobe. Even if these traits are not always visible, they are there somewhere, hardwired into the dna. I have a dog who has dingo in her. She is very well trained, loving, lives with my old terrier bitch in harmony, well most of the time. But I would be very negligent to ignore what her background is. She has extremely high prey drive, will kill anything that looks like a food source. It is my job to protect her from herself and society at large. Anyone who gets a pit bull takes on the same responsibility. I have electric fence around my house. My dog is never allowed off lead in public areas. I am always vigilant when we are walking for cats, birds. I have seen her leap into the air and catch birds if they don’t take off quickly enough. A pit bull owner, or for that matter the owner of any large breed of dog, must be prepared to do the same.

You know that old saying, you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy. It is the same thing with dogs. When they are bred for a purpose, it is impossible to completely remove that purpose in all dogs at all times.

Meego's avatar

It is not the breed. Its the human behind the breed.

Pitbulls can be just as loving as any other dog. But if you ask anyone to name the top “breeds” of aggressive dogs there’s a top 10 list scary isn’t it!

Ok so the pitbull is bred for loyalty, and they were originally bred to take down bulls…

So we can assume all dogs have different personalities and needs and if these are not fulfilled they come out in various ways, excitement, aggression, anxiety etc. And yes the more powerful breeds pay for it because they are susceptible due to the fact they have size & power, which were intended when they were bred for their class specification.

But….dogs deserve to have a life too. They aren’t trophy’s, toys, stuffed animals, or forget me nots in the back yard.

Find me a pitbull that is healthy physically, mentally, and has a daily structured exercising, social routine that mauls ppl and I will gladly retract my statement.


As much as I love dogs, I wouldn’t get one as a family pet. They have been purposely bred for aggression, just like the Tosa Inu, a Japanese fighting dog, so they can have unpredictable temperaments. You just don’t know what you’re going to get with a pit bull. Some may have sweet, docile temperaments, but some may be inherently vicious. Still some may be sweet on the outside, but under stress will snap at their owners and turn on them.

Some people will say it’s the owner who makes a pit bull bad, but not always. There is a genetic component involved, and this, coupled with the animal’s unique destructive jaw structure, makes this dog an unwise choice for people with children.

ucme's avatar

They meet on thursday evenings to ridicule poodles?

Soupy's avatar

There is nothing wrong with pit bulls. They are not meaner than any other breed. In fact, I believe the dog breed that most commonly attacks people unprovoked is the Labrador.

The problem is that pit bulls are very strong. When they do bite, they don’t let go. While pitt bulls don’t attack as frequently as other breeds, when they do it’s usually far more likely to do serious harm.

When someone doesn’t train their Shitzu properly it’s not that much of a bit deal. When someone doesn’t bother to train their pit bull it can lead to disaster. Plus, due to it’s appearance and reputation the pit bull often attracts a bad kind of owner.

Scooby's avatar

Pit Bull Attacks Happen Because People are Irresponsible and Ignorant.. Simple. Owners And / or breeders are to blame mostly…

snowberry's avatar

On a related note, dog breeds such as as the Tosa Inu, especially developed for fighting have been outlawed in several countries because they want to reduce not only the fighting, but the attacks on humans. This actually makes sense to me, regardless of how great they are as pets.

OpryLeigh's avatar

If a Pit Bull is raised well they are the most loving dogs you’ll ever encounter. However, sadly, because of their strength and low pain tolerance they are also sought after by the wrong people as a status symbol. They are banned here in the UK but I am very much a member of the “blame the deed not the breed” camp. I believe that, rather than banning certain breeds, more people need to be educated in sensible dog ownership and I don’t think it would be a bad thing if dog licensing was brought back.

linguaphile's avatar

What I understand is that the cute and innocent-looking Jack Russell Terriers are actually quite dangerous. They’re one of the best hunters of the terrier breed and must have experienced trainers to control their tendencies, much like what @rooeytoo‘s talking about in regards to her dingo and pitbulls.

Meego's avatar

:/ @Soupy “I believe the dog breed that most commonly attacks people unprovoked is the Labrador.” This is how breed discrimination starts…I have 2 labs (one is a double whammy shepherd lab X), they have never attacked unprovoked..actually a 15 lb Boston terrier earlier today on our ritual walk just gave my lab X a face full of teeth and snarls because he sniffed the ground near her. lol, my dog was quite comical though he looked at her like he never understood such a thing, if he was human he’d be confused, shocked and flabbergasted. My dogs are explorers, they also want to be in yours, mine theirs and anyone else business who has just given them eye contact. They respond fanstatically to calm dogs. My choc lab will correct dogs who are out of line she barked at the boston terrier for biting my other dog.

The boston terrier is aggressive because she is uncomfortable about space issues, the owner a friend of mine does not correct the biting just pulls back on the lead I’m assuming since I know the dog gets regular exercise then it must be that the dog just does what she thinks she is allowed to do, why not no one stops it, and so far she’s caused no injurys.

There is always a reason behind a dogs aggression whether the dog was not corrected or it was overcorrected or neglected, or just not even taught it can be any dog, any breed…years ago my mothers Bassett hound bit a child right in the face the boy ended up with stitched and had 4 wounds, 2 under his chin and 1 on each side of his nose. It can be any breed.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve talked about an old dog of mine before in similar questions such as this, and, in my expereince, the most aggressive dog I ever owned was a Coonhound X of Plott/Walker hound. He was a monster…very intimidating, and these breeds are usually known to be easy going, if not rather boneheaded. Of course hounds are tenacious in their pursuit of prey, but, are laid back around the house.

My guy had the best care, socializing, professional training and he, ultimately, became so unpredictable I had him euthanized after 2 episodes of biting.

Some dogs are just born bad seeds, like sociopaths. lol

Meego's avatar

Good point…I forgot to add that sometimes it is neurological and there is not much you can do about it, which even sometimes is related due to bad breeding techniques, but not always.

Berserker's avatar

Pit Bulls cause devastating amounts of damage when they attack something. A lot more so than most dogs. I think they stand out because of that. But I’m not sure they go psycho anymore than other types of dogs do.
There is that whole thing about them being bred as attack dogs for years though…but I mean, look at the Irish Wolfhound. Those were trained to hunt and kill fuckin wolves. Yet they don’t have a bad reputation, even though mistreated or neglected ones prolly go nuts, too.

Either way, really scary fuckin story in your link though. :(

bkcunningham's avatar

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“From 1979 through 1996, dog attacks resulted inmore than 300 human dog bite-related fatalities (DBRF)in the United States.

“Most victims were children. Studies indicate that pit bull-type dogs were involved in approximately a third of human DBRFreported during the 12-year period from 1981 through1992, and Rottweilers were responsible for about half of human DBRF reported during the 4 years from 1993 through 1996.”

Coloma's avatar

I was chased by 2 Rottweilers once, I have never been so scared in my life. They were called off at the last second and thank god!!! I was walking/jogging on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere out here and there was NOTHING to defend myself with at all, grass, pebbles and trees that were too huge to climb. I was lucky!

Coloma's avatar

OMG! I shouldn’t have looked at that! It made me cry!

Honestly, I’m a huge animal lover but if my child was mauled like that I think I could kill the dog and the owners!

Meego's avatar

@Coloma shouldn’t of looked at what? I’m confused now…but that’s normal :/

Coloma's avatar


The link @Scooby posted above. All sorts of pictures of mauled/killed people, children, other pets. Horrible!

Meego's avatar

That tugged on my heartstrings :(
I still feel like the pit-bull breed is being outed on the basis of it’s background and that we are creating some kind of fairy tale monster. It is not going to preserve the breed that’s for sure, and we are the ones to blame we fcuked up, we took canine into our homes and now we also take them out…apparently we like to rule the world even those that were doing fine without us. We want to preserve wild animals in the zoo and when they don’t comply we just extinguish them and sometimes they go nuts and extinguish us…the wild don’t really attack humans unless we invade their territory…do we really think we can breed all the wild traits out of all dogs?

Anyway, when I look on wikipedia under “List of fatal dog attacks in the United States” this list supplements information compiled by existing studies regarding the people killed by dogs in the United States, and not all of them are pit-bulls…

January 4, Pit bull, Linda Leal Castillo, 51 years.
Killed by her own dog in her own backyard.

January 12, Pit-bull-type, Maykayla Woodard, 5 years. Killed by her neighbor’s two dogs in their backyard. The dogs also attacked her grandmother. A neighbor reported that the dogs had been abused by their owner.

February 17, Rottweiler, Sirlinda Hayes, 66 years. Killed by her neighbor’s two dogs in her own backyard. The dogs also attacked their owner when he tried to come to her aid.

February 19, Mixed breed, Darius Tillman, 15 days.
Killed by family’s dog.

March 7,Rottweiler, Vanessa Husmann,3 years.
Killed by family’s two dogs.

April 24,Pit bull-type, Margaret Salcedo, 48 years. Killed by four dogs when she was out walking in her neighborhood.

May 27, Cane Corso, Jayelin Graham,4 years.
Killed by family’s dog while playing with brothers in a bedroom.

June 15, Pit bull-type, Roy McSweeney, 74 years. Mauled by neighbors’ two pit bulls while walking on his property.

August 30, Pit bull-type, bulldog, Alaskan malamute, German shepherd and German shepherd-bulldog mix, Addyson Paige Camerino, 9 days .
Mauled to death by 5 dogs in the kitchen of the family’s home.

September 4, Labrador-mix, Brayden McCollen, Two weeks.
Killed by family dog.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t believe in attacks that have “no reason”. There is always a reason but we can’t always see it. Like @Coloma some dogs are just wired up wrong, like some people and it is regardless of breed. However, this is why, when I hear of an “unprovoked” attack I wish that people would look a little deeper. I have known a few dogs that have been sweet family dogs for years and then turned on someone “for no reason”. Turned out, everytime, there was a health problem and the dog was, more than likely, in extreme discomfort.

I also knew of a Labrador that attacked a child “unprovoked”. The dog was put to sleep only for it to be discovered that the child had shoved a crayon so far up the dog’s nose that it couldn’t be seen without very close examination. Can we blame the dog for attacking the kid? I couldn’t.

We should all remember, also, that a lot of the time the media will favour sensationalism over the complete truth. Every time I read that a person has been harmed in an “unprovoked” dog attack I wonder what information they are deliberately leaving out because it would make the story less interesting.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, I truly believe my hound was mentally unsound from the get go.
I met his mother, she was sweet and docile, no issue with people around her puppies. She was the Plott hound which are more tenacious than the Walker which was the father I never met.

It broke my heart to have to put him down, he was only 5 years old, but, my daughter was 6 or so at the time and I couldn’t risk any harm to her or others children that came to my home.

I have also been a horse person for most of my life, and, agree with the example of not pairing a novice person with a high strung horse.

This same situation happens in the horse world too, people with little experience wanting the fiery, hot blooded horse and getting killed or injured because they went for the “cool” factor instead of the stability factor.

I had a novice neighbor once that bought a stallion, he had zero experience with horses, let alone studs, the horse layed his thigh open severing an artery and he was lucky to live, barely made it back to his house from the pasture.

I blamed the people that would even consider selling a stud to a novice owner. Very irresponsible.

Meego's avatar

Yes that’s the truth…that’s the biggest point of all.

Inexperience in the type and breed and needs and wants. Some people’s needs for a dog are for the intended bred purpose..some people see it as cuteness and some people see it as a status quo, most of the time the animal doesn’t match the persons needs.

@Coloma Do not feel bad for your choices hon. Sometimes things happen, your choices are yours and your families alone and the best thing at that time for your one else’s. We all make decisions which we think back on, maybe regret, think we could of done better, or reminisce over because we know that we made the right choice. As a dog owner we are accountable for their actions and if the dog is ‘off’ so to speak your chances are much higher that you end up being accountable for what cannot be prevented. I can not say I wouldn’t of made the same decision myself. Unfortunately I’ve had every other bad streak but aggressive animals hasn’t been one of them…knock on wood

Coloma's avatar


Yes, I knew it had to be done, but, it was a shame, he was a magnificent dog, it was very sad. I couldn’t re-home in with integrity, so, it was the only safe and sane option. :-(

Meego's avatar

I am just watching this show about lions mauling a zookeeper it is about accident reconstruction. It just makes me wonder how many maulings to people by animal could be prevented if we didn’t ever need to have the wild in captivity. And as they say, you can take the dog out of the fight, but you can’t take the fight out of the dog….isn’t that some kind of lesson? :/

Coloma's avatar


Agreed. People project their own emotions onto animals, stupid and dangerous.

” Oooh, he’s just a big KITTEN.”
Yep, a “kitten” than can take your head off in one swipe. haha

Meego's avatar


Yes! And for all the many times we come across how many people really DO know the difference of how animals really should be treated…yet the we seem to showcase attacks and maulings like it is more of the problem. What about the stories of the animals that save lives let’s showcase those.

In the show I was watching the zookeeper didn’t even know why he was mauled! Ends up another ‘expert’ said it was the way the guy moved, and that the lion knew the bucket had meat in it and that happened to be the target first..then the lion swiped the guy fell over and it all went downhill from there. The lion saw the fall as a sort of playtime. At first the guy fought so the lion tried to subdue the guy, then he layed still and the lion felt it accomplished it’s prey so to speak. Do we really know animals like we think we do?

This is the video if your interested

It’s a little off of the topic of pitbulls hope that’s alright, to me I feel it’s all the same…once wild animal now being held captive..something sometime is bound to go wrong, the more powerful the animal…the worse the damage

Meego's avatar

Michael Vicks dogs show us that pit-bulls are not all bad even after being mistreated.

These are 2 stories…both very lovable pit-bulls, both from Michael Vicks background and yet one may not be able to help people due to breed discrimination..


Jonny Justice

rooeytoo's avatar

I think we should ban idiot back yard breeders who are looking to make a fast buck. I think we should ban amish and other puppy mills looking to make a fast buck. I think we should ban people who let their adorable little mutt have a litter so the kids can see the miracle of birth. I think people should have to get a license to own a dog instead of licensing the dog. I think anyone who has a litter without spending the thousands of dollars on health checks (the way reputable breeders do) should be banned.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@rooeytoo You are now officially my favourite person!

I am currently trying to persuade a family member of mine not to let her young Collie have a litter. She has had a few dogs in her lifetime but has never had a litter from any of them but, all of a sudden, she considers herself an expert on breeding. She has decided that “the best thing for the dog” (her collie bitch) would be to let her have a litter before getting her spayed. However, I know this woman well enough to know that she does not have the dog’s best interests at heart and, even if she did, has got a lot of her “facts” about breeding very wrong. So far I have managed to persuade to wait at least a year as the dog is still very young. Sadly, she claims, the vets are telling her there is “no problem” with allowing the dog to have a litter when, in my opinion, they shouldn’t be encouraging this kind of “breeding”.

Why she thinks the world needs another litter of Collie puppies I have no idea.

Coloma's avatar


I let go of a 7 year “friendship” with a woman about 8 months ago for many reasons, but, one thing I just couldn’t abide by was her wanting to breed a pair of boxers she bought on a whim.

She had zero interest in training those dogs, and lost interest in them quickly.
They were well fed but neglected emotionally and when she started talking about making her money back by breeding them I just couldn’t hold my tongue.
I was very diplomatic but pointed out all the reasons this was a terrible idea.
Of course they fell on deaf ears.

The thing that really pissed me off was how greedy she was, this womans husband makes about 200k a year as a corporate bigwig and she is wanting to make a lousy $500 off these poor dogs to comp for their purchase price! Grrrr!

That was the final straw, along with her manipulative and passive aggressive ways. Gah, I couldn’t take ONE more minute of this person! haha

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Coloma My family member believes that she will be able to get £1000 for her Collie puppies. I pointed out that, in this country at least,I have never heard of Collie pups going for anymore than £500 each (and even that is pushing it!) to which she said “I won’t settle for less”. Talk about deluded!

SpatzieLover's avatar

Deluded is right.
@Leanne1986 Shelties are in more demand here (due to their smaller size). They go for between $250 to $800 a piece…and all of those include lineage and AKC papers.

Meego's avatar


I get it! I have a ‘best friend’ that I am sure I should end my relationship with.

They just take too many animals on.

I was just informed she got a jack russel puppy which she dresses up..arg…and takes it wherever she goes, the major piss off is that she took in an old lab with arthritis that she makes stay outside almost every night, and if not the dog gets to stay in the basement!!!

All because the original owner passed away and then ‘my friend’ as retarded as it sounds, believes she and her family saved the dog because the dog apparently was going to be euthanized. I almost feel like it may have been the better alternative.
It pisses me off. That’s just a small part of why I do my best to not really talk to her anymore.

Did you here about this


So if you want a zoo you can have one in your backyard!! No problem, we will just kill anything if you don’t control the situation and it’s pretty obvious many people are not in control of even themselves.

Last I heard the police killed the monkey and the wolf. I mean because they are so endangering the humans :/
The police killed BENGAL TIGERS wtf.

Coloma's avatar


That just makes me sick. Poor innocent things. Stupid disturbed collector.
Humans are evil. :-(

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