Pit-Bull's...friend or foe?

Soldier's*Sweeties

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
How is he around strangers? Just curious, especially because he was a fighting dog.
Absolutely fine with people. Now he’s old and “Sundowns” so we’re a little cautious with him and strangers.

But when he used to play if his mouth ever closed on skin (like gagging a grip on a toy) he would immediately let go.
 

ThistleMae

Falling More in Love Every Year!
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
There are countless stories of friendly family dogs "snapping" and turning on children or adults. They are dangerous animals regardless of how they are raised simply because of their nature, physical characteristics and breeding history.
Are you saying "any family dog" can turn or are you specifically referring to the breed referred to as Pit Bull?
 

luvsJack

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
There are countless stories of friendly family dogs "snapping" and turning on children or adults. They are dangerous animals regardless of how they are raised simply because of their nature, physical characteristics and breeding history.
They were bred to hunt wild hogs.

What physical characteristics are you talking about? What characteristics do they have that other dogs do not?

Their “nature” is to be loyal, loving, protective and want to please.
 
  • Colleen27

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2007
    I personally prefer less slobbery breeds, but I don't think they're dangerous or anything. We've fostered two and they were both sweet as can be, though the one was young and needed a very firm hand because she had the potential to accidentally hurt someone with her jumping, play-chewing, and pulling while on leash. But all of the same can be said of my current dog, a border collie mix.

    But I do think, with larger/stronger dogs, it is more important to be aware of their pasts and any triggers they might have than it is with smaller and more submissive breeds. Our border collie was abused before coming to us, and she has serious issues with adult men, especially those who smoke and drink beer, that we learned about the hard way. She bit my husband pretty good once, about a week after we got her, because we were having a few beers out in the yard and he was chasing our 10yo around the yard, playing. The dog decided he was a threat to her favorite person, got between them, and bit his hand. If a dog with the size and strength of a pit did that, it could easily be more serious than some neosporin and a couple of band-aids.
     

    jliehr

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2013
    Are you saying "any family dog" can turn or are you specifically referring to the breed referred to as Pit Bull?
    Any family dog can, the mixes often referred to as Pit Bulls are certainly among the most dangerous there are. But it's ultimately about risk tolerance, I could leave a loaded gun in the living room and teach my family to never use it. But if one day my wife gets angry with me and shoots me that was my risk right?
     

    ThistleMae

    Falling More in Love Every Year!
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2015
    Absolutely fine with people. Now he’s old and “Sundowns” so we’re a little cautious with him and strangers.

    But when he used to play if his mouth ever closed on skin (like gagging a grip on a toy) he would immediately let go.
    Awe, I didn't dogs could get Sundowns. Had you ever heard of it in dogs before?
     
  • Soldier's*Sweeties

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2009
    I personally prefer less slobbery breeds, but I don't think they're dangerous or anything. We've fostered two and they were both sweet as can be, though the one was young and needed a very firm hand because she had the potential to accidentally hurt someone with her jumping, play-chewing, and pulling while on leash. But all of the same can be said of my current dog, a border collie mix.

    But I do think, with larger/stronger dogs, it is more important to be aware of their pasts and any triggers they might have than it is with smaller and more submissive breeds. Our border collie was abused before coming to us, and she has serious issues with adult men, especially those who smoke and drink beer, that we learned about the hard way. She bit my husband pretty good once, about a week after we got her, because we were having a few beers out in the yard and he was chasing our 10yo around the yard, playing. The dog decided he was a threat to her favorite person, got between them, and bit his hand. If a dog with the size and strength of a pit did that, it could easily be more serious than some neosporin and a couple of band-aids.
    Very good and reasonable insight.

    I actually have a scar from a Border Collie. When I was working for a vet I was bathing one. She turned and looked at me and I knew she was going to snap but I couldn’t just leave her in the elevated tub in case she tried to jump out. She got me on the ear as I turned away and tore my lobe. She wasn’t mean, she was just scared. I had cared for that dog numerous times before so who knows what I did to trigger her that day.
     

    ThistleMae

    Falling More in Love Every Year!
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2015
    I personally prefer less slobbery breeds, but I don't think they're dangerous or anything. We've fostered two and they were both sweet as can be, though the one was young and needed a very firm hand because she had the potential to accidentally hurt someone with her jumping, play-chewing, and pulling while on leash. But all of the same can be said of my current dog, a border collie mix.

    But I do think, with larger/stronger dogs, it is more important to be aware of their pasts and any triggers they might have than it is with smaller and more submissive breeds. Our border collie was abused before coming to us, and she has serious issues with adult men, especially those who smoke and drink beer, that we learned about the hard way. She bit my husband pretty good once, about a week after we got her, because we were having a few beers out in the yard and he was chasing our 10yo around the yard, playing. The dog decided he was a threat to her favorite person, got between them, and bit his hand. If a dog with the size and strength of a pit did that, it could easily be more serious than some neosporin and a couple of band-aids.
    Yes, I agree...knowing the dogs history is important. But like you, with many rescue dogs the history isn't known. Do you still have to be cautious regarding men and beers?
     

    bellanotte10

    see the line where the sky meets the sea...
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2009
    Only dog I was ever attacked and injured by was a pug.... and I used to volunteer at an animal shelter with a high number of pit bulls. Little guy managed to give me a giant bruise on my arm through a puffy north face jacket and two hoodies.
     
  • Luv Bunnies

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2006
    Depends...I’ve known two Pits who came from abusive backgrounds, then were taken into fosters homes where they were cared for and trained. Both dogs have since been adopted and are the most chill dogs ever. Their owners have had them for years and neither dog has ever shown any sign of aggression.

    One of those owners decided to adopt another Pit since she’s had such a good experience with her first one. She found someone in her neighborhood who needed to rent a bigger home, but couldn’t find a landlord who would accept a Pit. The family had two kids and said the dog had always been gentle with them. My friend took her first Pit over for several visits before taking the dog home.

    He was great for several weeks, playing with the other dog, lounging on the couch with his new owner, not destroying the house. But, one day her nephew’s kids came over. The dog flipped out and bit the 10-year old in the face. When my friend grabbed his collar to pull him away, he bit her in the stomach. She called the previous owner and said, “You need to come and get this dog.” They immediately showed up and took the dog out of the backyard, no questions asked. They knew the dog could be aggressive!

    My friend is happy with the Pit she’s had for years. That dog just cowered in the corner while the other one was attacking. She didn’t try to join in. She’s going to get her another friend, but is going to stick with labs. They’re more predictable and she knows the breed well. She’s decided Pits are hit-and-miss and she’s not willing to take another one on.
     

    Soldier's*Sweeties

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2009
    Thank you, I had no idea. So, does she frighten easily? Or is it that she's unpredictable because of it?
    No he doesn’t frighten easily. He can be anxious and agitated on really bad days. For that reason, if we have company I’ll let him in my room and lay on my bed (usually he’s not allowed so this is a treat).
    I just take him into a quiet room and relax with him until he falls asleep or take him for a walk if the weather allows when it’s just us. There is nothing physically wrong with him other than normal age related issues.
     

    jliehr

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2013
    They were bred to hunt wild hogs.

    What physical characteristics are you talking about? What characteristics do they have that other dogs do not?

    Their “nature” is to be loyal, loving, protective and want to please.
    From the ASPCA

    Today’s pit bull is a descendant of the original English bull-baiting dog—a dog that was bred to bite and hold bulls, bears and other large animals around the face and head. When baiting large animals was outlawed in the 1800s, people turned instead to fighting their dogs against each other. These larger, slower bull-baiting dogs were crossed with smaller, quicker terriers to produce a more agile and athletic dog for fighting other dogs.
     

    FlightlessDuck

    Y kant Donald fly?
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2006
    Well, there are quite a few of "pit bull" breeds. Do you have one particular in mind? Probably the American Pit Bull Terrier?

    Regardless, the data regarding dog bites by breed is pretty inconclusive. An older study seems to show American Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers account for a larger number of bites. However, newer studies refute this statement. The American Veterinary Medical Association has said that "breed is a poor sole predictor of dog bites. Controlled studies reveal no increased risk for the group blamed most often for dog bites, ‘pit bull-type’ dogs. Accordingly, targeting this breed or any other as a basis for dog-bite prevention is unfounded." (https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/The-Role-of-Breed-in-Dog-Bite-Risk-and-Prevention.aspx)
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    My Boxer was rescued from a fighting ring... Guess what? He’s also reactive to dogs. It’s not a trait of the bred.
    I know someone is going to come along and say it’s bred into them, but I won’t argue with them. No point.
    I agree that any breed can be dangerous under the right circumstances, but IMO, pit bulls can be dangerous sometimes when there is no cause. Additionally, to me, it’s like owning a tiger. If you raise it from a cub & treat it right, you would probably never have a problem with it. BUT, if something went wrong & the tiger decided to attack, it would be so powerful it could easily kill someone. I have a dachshund. They are often biters. My last one was for sure! Current one seems ok so far. But, he’s not dangerous b/c if he becomes a biter, it would be unpleasant but not deadly.
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    I have a Cur and he has just as strong a bite as a Pit.
    Fair enough. But I personally wouldn’t want any breed that powerful that isn’t known for gentle temperament. After working in veterinary medicine for years in college, I have a whole list of large breeds that I would never own. Pit bulls are just one of those.
     

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