Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pit bull behavior: 3 distinctions

This post from a couple years ago has been updated and bumped to the top, as it has become increasingly relevant in the current climate. We see a surreal contrast between, on one hand, the daily toll of disfigured, maimed and mutilated pit bull victims, and on the other hand, the swarms of sociopathic pit bull promoters angrily attacking any news site reporting any news of pit bull attacks, bullying and threatening any who say a word about the pit bull problem.

As pit bull fans like to say, pit bulls are not like other dogs, and we must agree, but not for the reasons they would like. As a natural result of a long, bloody heritage, pit bulls have a set of behaviors and motor patterns which differ from other canines.

Pit bull attacks A/C officer

Those differences emerge often in the following notable pit bull behaviors:
  • Performing a remarkable escape in order to attack a victim.
  • Entering a stranger's house to torture and kill the animals living inside.
  • Unexpectedly mauling an owner or other family member.

How can we explain this? Do we chalk it up, as the pit bull promoters would have us do, to a problem exclusively of "bad owners"? How then do we explain so many kindly, loving pit bull owners like Darla Napora who have been suddenly betrayed and mauled by their well-treated and well-behaved pit bulls? No, we have to look at the genetic characteristics of the breed - this should be patently obvious. Only someone with a very specific agenda could deny the reality of breed-specific characteristics. Why do pit bull fans refuse to accept or understand the role of genetics in pit bull behavior?

Certainly, we can all agree that pit bulls are canines, along with wolves, coyotes, jackals and domestic dogs, which cover an incredible range of size, shape, temperament and behavior profile. If humans varied in size as much as different breeds of domestic dogs, then adult humans would range in height from about 2 feet tall to 33 feet tall - a remarkable variation!

One marvels at the flexibility of canine DNA, expressed in the sheer variety of characteristics for which domestic dogs have been bred - quite apart from size and shape, a remarkable variety of behavior and temperament is on display. From common ancestors have emerged dogs bred to point at birds, or to retrieve downed birds with soft mouth.

Shepherd types were bred to herd livestock, while the livestock guardians were bred for the complementary role of guarding and protecting livestock. Livestock guardians are remarkable to see in action. For hundreds of years they have had the job of acting independently to protect herds of livestock, using gradually escalated measures - only as much force as is required - to deal with any threat to the flock. Over the past several centuries they have capably performed a difficult role.

 The bull dog, on the other hand, was created and bred to torture livestock - as far back as 1500, sadistic britons watched bull dogs torture doomed bulls, and bear cubs were raised in Bear Gardens specifically to be tortured by bull dogs. After these barbaric practices were outlawed in 1835, the dog men, needing a new target for their sadism, decided that watching dogs kill other dogs in the fighting pit would be a worthwhile new pastime, and the pit fighting bull dog or "pit bull" was born. The early pit fighters found that mixing terrier with the bull dog made for a more energetic bull dog, creating a more relentless attacker, the pit bull/terrier mix, known as the "Staffordshire Terrier".

Dog fighters who brought their Staffordshire "pit bull" terriers to the new world renamed them "American Staffordshire Terriers" and to this day, a registered AmStaff can also be dual registered as an "American pit bull terrier".

There are a lot of names and nicknames for these purpose bred canines, and their derivatives (e.g. the American Bulldog). Perhaps in an attempt to disassociate these breeds from their bloody past, several new names have been given - some of them, like the "New Yorkie" or the "St Francis Terrier", did not stick, but other deceptively cute and harmless names like "Staffie" or "AmStaff" are in current use. (The deceptive labeling of pit bulls as other breeds by shelters is a subject for another blog post.)

Regardless of what new names are given them, these canine IEDs continue to make headlines  with bloody, violent surprise attacks on innocent animals (though only a small fraction of such attacks are ever reported) and to a lesser degree, on unsuspecting people - people who thought they knew these animals well.

Pit bulls are indeed special - but not in any sense that should be celebrated.

References -
Partial list of pit bull home invasion attacks

Should pit bulls be called "life flight dogs"?

Pit bulls allowed to abuse animals

Darwin attacks


  1. Jake,

    I bet you'll like this vid about LSGDs if you haven't seen it.

    I'm only halfway through reading your post when I took a break to learn a bit more about livestock guardians. It's amazing that they are so bred that they reliably protect their flock, yet you do not read of attacks on humans by them. Also, the video covers that wolves and other natural predators will not usually fight the guards due to wasting energy and risking an energy, this goes for animals that would have a good shot against them (wolves and bears). I believe this underlines how oddly fighting breeds behave, in the context of nature, due to the hand of man.

    So odd that vets and behaviorists have to basically deny genetics and breed character in order to be politically correct in the dog world. What a strange world we find ourselves in!

  2. *risking an injury

    haven't had enough coffee yet today

  3. Biological weapons
    nuclear bombs
    all man made and all uncontrollable

  4. I'd disagree with Jaloney and state that biological and nuclear armaments are more controllable than pit bulls. The weaponry you alluded to usually require a human to actuate them.

  5. Jaloney, I agree with only half of your statement. Yes, pit bulls are man made. No, they are not uncontrollable. Let's diagnose your sentence for a second..You said man made, correct? If it were man made, then wouldn't the product be controllable? Yes, it would. This is exactly what bloggers such as this website and all other ignorant individuals seem to forget. Not all pit bull breeds are "aggressive, violent, surprise attack, evil, etc". They are created that way that their current owner. It's not found in their DNA. They are created, man made rather, to be violent animals by their current owner. The environment they live in as well as their direct treatment can turn even the friendliest of toy poodles into an aggressive animal. You should not be worried about these trained, man made, pit bulls. It's the owner who raised them as such whom you should fear.
    Oh, and for all you "know-it-all's", go read a book and learn some facts. There have been more Labrador Retriever attacks to humans than pit bull attacks. You might learn something by reading some books rather than watching the filtered media.

    1. @NancyA - your assertion falls apart when exposed to the light of day.

      First of all, as to pit bulls being controllable: every day, horrified pit bull owners discover that they can't stop their pit bull from torturing and killing innocent pets. They scream at the pit bull to stop, they punch the pit bull, they kick the pit bull, and the pit bull simply ignores them and continues torturing the screaming victim for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes - until the innocent dog is dead.

      It's a shame we can't ask all the pit bull owners who've been tortured to death by their pit bulls whether they could control them.

      Secondly, your assertion that DNA plays no role in canine characteristics is ridiculous. It took the sadistic animal abusers hundreds of years of breeding to produce a type of canine that would happily attack, torture and kill a sentient, feeling creature for no particular reason.

      You have no clue about genetics of dog behavior, and you simply spew the pit freak talking points like a brainwashed cult member. Do yourself a favor and use whatever search engine you like to research the pit bull attacks that occur daily. What you will find is the following: Well-treated family pit bulls, which have never shown any hint of aggression, suddenly, and without warning, do what they were bred to do and begin torturing an owner, a family member, a friend, or an innocent and docile animal.

      Your statement that there have been more labrador retriever attack than pit bull attacks is a scream. What's frightening is that there are people like you walking around that spout this crap with a straight face.

      Seriously, this kind of stupidity is really annoying. You need to educate yourself - but we know that's never going to happen, don't we. You'll just continue to quote nonsensical statements from pit bull activist propaganda sites and avoid any contact with reality.

      You talk about "filtered" media? Are you kidding? If anything, pit bull attacks are grossly under-reported. Pit bulls attack every day and it's not news. Wake up, dear, your ignorance is showing.

      Meanwhile, pit bulls continue to maim, torture and kill, and you pit freaks torment the bereaved. I can only hope that there is a day of reckoning coming for the likes of you.

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  7. god bless you all . the point of these pit bull dogs its the way :

  8. Then again... there are plenty who are in fact (as "we" who support the breed are pretty sick of expressing) loving, submissive, playful, and basically the biggest babies of the dog world. I'm over defending it, but the one sleeping in my lap right now is certainly not dreaming of blood... probably bacon like every other dog.
    I'm living in fear, let me tell ya. She could wake any moment and maul me. Someone, help!!!

    1. This sort of cocky, victim-taunting pit bull advocacy is exactly like the sort of thing Alexandra Heady used to publish on her facebook page. And then her pit bulls tortured her brother to death.

      Nicole Cartee used to post the same sort of cocky, "in your face" pit bull advocacy on her facebook page, which was covered with pictures of her pit bull, some of which she taunted victims with the same old "oh, look, my vicious pit bull, LOL" routine. And then one day her much loved and trusted pit bull tore her apart, and nobody could stop the attack.

      The thing is, pit bulls are always sweet and docile and obedient, until they are triggered, and then the attack can not easily be stopped.

      We spend centuries breeding a type of dog which will torture an innocent victim to death for no particular reason - and then we pretend to be shocked when they launch a sustained, relentless attack to the death for no particular reason.

      Why do people risk it? Is it the pride of feeling like a lion tamer, or the thrill of playing russian roulette every day and surviving? Or do they simply delude themselves into thinking pit bulls are 'just like any other dog'?

      Inquiring minds want to know!

  9. My daughter found a dog that everyone says is a Terrier Mix. It was a large puppy. Doesn't look like the standard pit bull, everyone says "not a pit bull" but I am concerned. It is very busy, hard-headed and VERY mouthy. It is learning but I am not sure if we should keep him if he is a pit bull and subject to this kind of behavior. If I send a photo would you be able to tell what kind of dog it is? I am growing more concerned because he is nippy when he doesn't get the attention he wants. As well, we have a cat and small dog. He doesn't show much attention to them but I never, ever leave them alone together. Please advise. I had a small doberman in the past but she was grown when she came here (she never showed agression or bit.) The dog my daughter found has a bad habit of biting instead of whining or pawing for attention. Thank you for any answer you may have.

    1. Just happened to spot this comment in the queue, though we don't normally deal with comments on articles this old.

      Feel free to provide a link to a picture of the dog in question, I'm sure there are several dog savvy people here who could take a look.

    2. Thank you! Today someone told me he is not a pit bull but maybe has a little in him but more likely a boxer and beagle mix. His lega are long. He is probably 30 lbs of all muscle. Still a baby though, very puppy-ish. Here is a link:!AhXGKLRYiPoPqyyTtkMWEEo-yBOl

    3. Doesn't seem to be pure pit bull at any rate, though there could be some pit there but it could also be a boxer mix, hard to tell from one pic.

      If there is pit in it, the animal aggression usually starts showing up around 2 years of age, word to the wise.

    4. Word to the wise-pits bulls as young as eight months old have killed people. Don't risk it.

    5. I have been told it is a boxer terrier mix with maybe a little pit. I just don't know anymore. Are there particular characteristics that make you think it is a pit bull? It is very tall and thin. Thank you for your input.

    6. I'm not so sure. It could be part pit, but I'd need to see more pics, from different angles, to be sure. A video would be even better.

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. I've taken a look at the video (thanks for the link) and I'm definitely seeing pit bull. If you have tiny animals, they are at risk. It would be much better for everyone to re-home the pit bull with someone who is down for the struggle, ready to do the whole lion tamer routine, has effective containment facilities and no vulnerable animals.

      You're free to take the advice or ignore it, but I hope for the sake of your tiny animals that you make their world safe.

      Good luck.

    9. Yes this is a pitty mix for sure

    10. He is in a foster that will end soon. I am helping to look for a home for him. He was too rambunctious, puppy-like and strong for me. He needs an owner who is as tenacious as he is. Thanks for your comment.

  10. I haven't seen the video but looking at the photo I can see various breeds, some type of Hound, Boxer and yes possibly Pit Bull as well. If you want to be sure you can have your dog DNA breed tested. I think the test can detect up to 14 different breeds in your dog's lineage.

    1. Based just on the image, I would have thought something similar. But when watching the video, I definitely see a pit bull puppy, or pit mix puppy.

      I don't have a lot of confidence in canine dna tests. I had my own dog tested, to see what I could find out, and the results came back as a highly improbably mix of 4 different breeds. The manufacturers of the test state on their websites that the results can not be used to determine breed. Perhaps someday the technology will be refined to the point that they can reliably be used for that, but in the meantime, there is a time tested method: observation of the physical characteristics of the dog by a 'person of normal intelligence', according to the court. Dog shows are held all over the world, based on the premise that a dog of a certain breed conforms to the characteristics of that breed.

  11. Thank you both. Was up feeling horrible all night because I made the decision to re-home this pup after an earlier post. I tried and even enlisted a trainer but this is not the right dog for me/us. We do have a small dog and cat which I would never allow together with him now. AND I have become scared of him when he shows the least bit of bitey-ness or forward behavior. That is not good for anyone. Even as tested, at 60 I don't have the temperament for whatever breed he is. Today I had my brother (age 55 and great with pets) play with the dog for several hours. Both were but at a point the dog is insistent on continuing play and gets what I call aggressive (not looking playful with all those teeth) He is so wound that he goes from simple play to easily upset by anything... and he insists the play does not stop. My brother handled it well, calmed him and then they played after he calmed down, but I can not handle that behavior. The dog, however, loved having that much continuous attention... we are talking a mile walk with me, then another with my brother (my standard is 2 miles in the morning) then almost 3 hours of play and petting with my brother. He needs a "pack leader" and somewhere he can be with his owner 24/7 with no kids or small animals around, and he's a digger so maybe a dog run or huge yard with high fencing. I have contacted a few rescues, listed him as a good pet for a strong male leader owner with no small children or small pets. Let us see where it goes. The alternative is the shelter which makes me really sad, because he has become part of the family -- but even with training, neither my daughter nor I have the ability to shut him down when he gets out of hand. Thank you so much for your help and comments, and if you know of anyone who can help me or would like a dog like this please let me know. He knows the basic commands, loves walks and grass, very busy, beautiful, is used to construction noise and people, neutered, vaccinated, chipped, trained with trainer, kennel (but never locked him in), food, treats, front-lead halter. Not for families with small pets or children. My heart was too big... never would have taken him in had I known he would get so big and strong. He was a handful but manageable at 4 months. At 7/8 he is a puppy becoming a teen and testing this old lady. My decision came a few days ago when I began to consider muzzling the dog because I became afraid of it in the yard when he jumps at me (but really afraid of it on a lead). To me, the thought of muzzling my own dog at home means that is not the right dog for us. Thank you all. It's a sad day but this will be better for him too.

  12. Also, I meant to say that I am NOT afraid of it on a leash or lead. He acts very different. It appears he wants to know that someone (not him) is in control. For all of this I'd say he's a good boy, I am just not equipped to handle him.


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