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Are Pit Bulls More Aggressive

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Drayton Michaels, CTC is the owner of Urban Dawgs Dog Training in Red Banks, NJ. He also holds a Certification in Dog Training and Behavior Counseling from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers (known as “the Harvard for dog trainers”). 

Are pit bull type dogs more aggressive than other dogs?

Information that is based on behavioral science versus opinion is pretty easy to see. So somebody says well you know pit bulls are aggressive towards other dogs, that’s an opinion. Science would dictate, and behavioral science would dictate that aggression rooted in fear and behavior is contextual. So what is the context?

All dogs have the ability to be afraid, and all dogs have the ability to aggress, but not all fear equals aggression, but all aggression equals fear. And what are the peoples in this dog’s life doing with this dog, that’s the real question. Okay if I leave my dog in the backward chained up all the time, and he has no dog friends, and then I bring him out to a dog park. He is probably going to get into dogfight because he has no social history.


So, are pit bulls more likely to be afraid?

No! You can’t say that one breed of dog is more fearful than another breed. Now, some dogs are more fearful than other dogs. Fear stems from them being insecure or unfamiliar with objects. All of this goes back to socialization at a young age and the treatment of the dog. So if a dog is being left alone on a chain, screamed at, underfed, injected with steroids and never seen a friendly person (this is how fighting dogs are created), he will be more aggressive!!

Factors That Influence Aggressive Behavior:

  • Genetics
  • Health
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Fear
  • An imbalance of brain chemicals
  • Hormones
  • Socialization

Myths about aggression in pit bulls:

Are pit bulls more dominant? No! Read our statement by a Ph.D. in applied animal behavior.

Pit bulls bite without warning. No! All dogs, including dogs commonly labeled “pit bull”, signal their intent. “Pit bulls signal like other dogs.” The Institute of Animal Welfare and Behavior of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany temperament tested over 1,000 dogs.

Pit bulls have a locking jaw. NO! All dogs have the same bone structure in their mouths.

Pit bulls have aggressive temperaments. No! Several surveys have been done, thousands of dogs have been evaluated, and pit bull type dogs are some of the best-tempered dogs. Some pit bulls are more reactive to new dogs, but they are less reactive than miniature schnauzers according to Brian Hare an associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University in North Carolina and a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, which is a division of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

Pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. NO! There is no scientific evidence that one kind of dog is more likely than another to injure a human being than any other kind of dog. “…Controlled studies have not identified this breed group [pit bull-type dogs] as disproportionately dangerous.” American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)