Pit bulls are notorious for their aggressive behavior, which some claim makes them unsuitable as pets. But how accurate is this view, and are pit bulls more likely to lash out at humans and other animals than other breeds of dog? The following information sheds some light on this controversial topic.

According to the ASPCA, pit bulls were originally bred to bait large animals, such as bulls and bears. As this practice fell out of favor, pit bulls were then bred with terriers, who are quite small and swift. This breeding practice was an attempt to make pit bulls more skilled at fighting other dogs. However, in the ensuing years after dog fighting become illegal in many states, pit bulls were often randomly bred.   

While genetics certainly play a role in how aggressive a dog is, socialization is also important. A properly socialized dog is unlikely to attack other canines or people, despite its breed. This is where responsible ownership comes in; a dog owner must provide shelter, food, clean water, and a loving, nurturing environment for their pet to keep aggressive tendencies at bay. In this sense, an attacking pit bull may be caused by poor conditions provided by its owner. 

PetMD dispels some myths when it comes to pit bulls. These animals do not have locking jaws as is commonly stated. However, they do possess a common terrier trait which is to tightly grab hold of something and shake it. They’re also not anymore impulsive or unpredictable than other breeds of dog. While pit bulls have the same pain response to other breeds in general, in an agitated state they’re less likely to respond to pain stimulus.