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5 Myths (and Truths) About Pitbulls

by MetLife Pet Insurance
4 years ago

The last Saturday in October is National Pit Bull Awareness Day. This day was established by an organization called Bless the Bullys to celebrate the wonderful characteristics of pit bulls (pibbles!) and educate the public to dispel negative stereotypes.

But how did those negative stereotypes come about in the first place? Let’s look at some of the myths about pibbles and destroy them with the facts.

MYTH: Pit bulls are an aggressive breed.

FACT: There are aggressive pit bulls, sure. There are aggressive Pomeranians, too. I met a vicious Bichon Frise once.

The American Veterinary Medical Association conducted a study that showed definitely that pit bulls are no more or less aggressive than any other dog breed. Any dog can be trained to be aggressive. Some big dogs like pibbles, German Shepherds, and Rotties have been labeled “aggressive breeds.” But big dogs are generally more trainable, have a high work drive, and have the physical strength to be trained as protectors.

MYTH: Pit bulls are a breed, period.

FACT: There’s no such thing as a “purebred” pit bull. “Pit bull” is a catch-all term used to refer to a large range of terrier breed dogs – usually American pit bullTerriers and Staffordshire Terriers. Even dogs that simply resemble what we recognize as a “pit bull” are usually called pit bulls. Not to harp on a point, but this means that pit bulls can’t possibly be an inherently “aggressive” breed because they’re not one specific breed in the first place.

MYTH: Pit bulls are bred for dog fighting.

FACT: Remember when we talked about how any dog can be trained to be aggressive? And how big, smart dogs are usually the ones that people do train to be aggressive?

Over time, the vicious pit bull stereotype became sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As pibbles became known for dog fighting, the nefarious baddies who breed and train dogs for that purpose began to seek them out.

MYTH: Pit bulls should not be around small children.

FACT: Pit bulls make perfect family pets. They’re smart, easily trainable, very eager to please their pack, and protective. Some dog parents even keep pibbles specifically to protect their family. Generally, dogs that fall under the pit bull breed umbrella are docile and gentle. Many are even good with cats and otheranimals, like Joanie and her BFF Chachi the Chihuahua.

One of Michael Vick’s rescued fighting pit bulls, Handsome Dan, was placed with a family with a small child, and they couldn’t be happier.

MYTH: Pit bulls’ jaws lock in place when they bite, making them even more vicious and deadly

FACT: Seriously, where do they come up with this stuff? This is simply not true. Pibbles have the same hinge-joint mouths that every other dog has.

Pit bulls don’t even have the strongest bite among dogs — not by a long shot. At 743 PSI, that honor goes to the Kangal dog (for reference, a full-grown male African lion’s bite sinks in at 691 PSI).

Pit bulls bite at about 235 PSI. Nothing to sneeze at, but not even close to the most deadly biting force in the canine world.


At PetFirst, we understand that there are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners. Dogs are eager to please their humans, and when their humans train them to be aggressive, they’ll be aggressive. Trained with love and patience, pit bulls can be perfect family dogs and loyal protectors.

Many dog insurance carriers refuse to insure dogs like pit bulls and other so-called “aggressive breeds.” Not PetFirst. We cover every breed, every age, every time. Contact us now for a free quote to get your pet – vicious or not! – covered with the best healthcare possible.


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