What’s the story on pit bulls?

Most shelters have quite a few dogs labelled “pit bull,” and the Burbank Animal Shelter is no exception.   Why so many pit bulls?  The answer is complicated, but there are a few factors:

Sky says “Read all about it!  Then come adopt me!”.

  • “Pit bull” is not a breed, it’s a label used for multiple breeds and mixed breeds with blocky heads, short coats and muscular bodies, including American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully and several others.
  • Pit bulls are very popular – they’re people-friendly, sturdy, athletic, playful dogs.  Unfortunately, they’re also popular with backyard breeders because they tend to have large litters. Sadly, people who buy but don’t train their cute little puppy don’t know what to do when that puppy grows into a big, energetic adolescent, and those dogs often end up at a shelter.
  • Pit bulls get a bad rap – so some adopters avoid them.  Many prospective adopters tell us they really like the dogs but can’t consider adopting a pit bull because of landlord or homeowners’ insurance restrictions.

With so many pit bulls in the population, it’s important to sort the myths from the facts.

Benson says, “Know the facts, then get to know me!”

  • The most important thing to know about pit bulls is that pit bulls are just dogs, with all the typical traits of Man’s Best Friend. They don’t have any special structural features or mental defects. Their jaws aren’t more powerful than those of other dogs, their jaws don’t lock, and they aren’t mentally unstable (they don’t “snap”).
  • Pit bulls are people-friendly.  According to the breed standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier, “The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.” Pit bulls may or may not get along with other dogs, but human aggression is definitely not a breed trait for any of the breeds in the pit bull category.  The two characteristics are not related.

Bruno wants to be your forever friend!

 Ultimately, each dog is an individual, regardless of breed or looks. We don’t judge humans based on appearance (or at least we know we shouldn’t); let’s not judge dogs on their appearance either. When you’re looking for your next dog, visit your local shelter, keep an open mind and look for the dogs that fit your lifestyle.  Sometimes the best matches happen when you least expect it!