(WIS) - If you hear the words "pit bull," a few thoughts may run through your head.
You either think lovable, cuddly, sweet-natured, four-legged family member or vicious beast deemed unfit for society.
If you think the latter, October's National Pit Bull Awareness Month is for you. The recognition started as just National Pit Bull Awareness Day in 2011 and has spawned into an entire month of loving this once-American icon.
The American Pit Bull Foundation has laid out a series of myths that may shatter your misconceptions about the breed.
- MYTH: ALL PIT BULLS ARE MEAN AND VICIOUS. - It is reported on temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society that Pit Bulls had a passing rate of 82 percent or better — compared to only 77 percent of the general dog population.
- MYTH: AGGRESSION TOWARDS OTHER ANIMALS MEANS PEOPLE ARE NEXT. - And yet the greyhound, coon and foxhound and beagle are among the friendliest of breeds towards humans. And it is the same with the pit bulldog. His work through the years has been controlling of other animals – never humans. A correct pit bull is more often than not submissive toward all humans and adores children.
- MYTH: IF A PIT BULL WAS NEVER TRAINED TO FIGHT, IT WILL BE SAFE WITH OTHER DOGS. - Pit Bulls can live peacefully with other dogs and animals. However, the Pit Bull has historically been bred to take down large animals. Early and continual socialization can help a Pit Bull be more animal-friendly. Genetics, however, play an important role in how the dog will respond to other dogs and animals.
- MYTH: AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIERS HAVE 1600 P.S.I. IN JAW PRESSURE. - Dr. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, “To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs.
- MYTH: PIT BULLS BRAINS SWELL/NEVER STOP GROWING. - This rumor started with the Doberman and has since been said about game-bred dogs in general. The concept of an animal’s brain swelling or growing too large and somehow causing the animal to “go crazy” is not based in truth in any way.
A full list of the myths can be found here at the American Pit Bull Foundation website.
National Pit Bull Awareness Day is Oct. 28 - just in time to show off your pitties in Halloween costumes.