Pitbulls have endured unjust stereotypes for decades. For over 40 years, they’ve been painted as dangerous and aggressive after they were exploited for financial gain as powerful fighting machines during the dog-fighting boom of the 1980’s. And despite science disproving many of the myths that exist behind these beautiful dogs, they continue to be the number one most discriminated dog-type in the world.
Dangerous Dogs Through the Ages;
This notion that certain dog breeds are dangerous is nothing new. One of the first recorded breeds to be labeled as “dangerous” was the Bloodhound, dating back over 170 years to 1850. And this idea that certain dogs are susceptible to certain behaviors isn’t completely unfounded either. Genetics do play a role in temperament and that’s why specific breeds are bred for specific tasks like herding, hunting, etc. These stigmas however, typically surface from one specific source that is then perpetuated into a negative narrative. The Bloodhound for example, was criticized and represented as a savage beast because they were used to hunt escaped criminals. What has followed is a handful of misrepresented breeds because of fear-mongering and quite simply ignorance - the Newfoundland, the German Shepherd, the Doberman, the Rottweiler, and now the “pitbull.”
Pitbulls are the number one most discriminated dog-type in the world. And that discrimination takes many different forms. They are the least likely to be adopted from shelter and rescue environments. They are the most abused. They are the most neglected and abandoned. And from a legislative position, there are over 500 cities across 37 states that have some form of breed specific legislation in place.
The consequence of these unsubstantiated stigmas is the loss of innocent life with very little consequence to the very people and systems in place that allow for this continued mistreatment.
- Pitbulls are no more dangerous than any other breed type in existence.
- Pitbulls are highly intelligent and trainable.
- They’re affectionate and loyal, making them wonderful family pets.
- They’re gentle and patient, making them great with children.
- They’re eager to please and thrive in a structured, loving home with regular human-interaction.
Animal welfare and dog rescue advocates have been navigating these murky waters for decades and in 2007, October 28th was instituted as Pitbull Awareness Day. Created out of the need to end the stigmas through education and advocacy, the positive response to this one day was so profound, it eventually expanded into a month-long celebration.
- Knowledge is the first step in eradicating misconceptions. Start talking and sharing accurate information about their temperaments, training and care needs.
- Support responsible ownership. It starts with dog owners and the support of spay/neuter initiatives within your communities. Advocate for proper training and socialization.
- Advocate for breed-neutral legislation.
- Support your local shelters and rescue organizations through donations, volunteer work, fostering and adopting.
Pitbull Awareness Month serves as a vital reminder that pitbulls continue to face discrimination because if this narrative didn’t still exist, there would no longer be a need for it. There’s no simple solution and it will take a lot of work and a lot of support from our joint communities to end the mistreatment of these wonderful dogs. But they deserve all the beautiful things the world has to offer and they’re 100% worth the fight! Happy National Pitbull Awareness Month.