Bully Breeds?

Pit Bulls, similar dogs get undeserved negative reputation


Sophia Frederickson

A Pit Bull named Frost is in search of a home at the Animal Protection Association in Brentwood.

If you were to visit the Animal Protective Association’s building in Brentwood right now, you would see the same thing I saw when I went this past week. Almost all of the dogs up for adoption right now look like something someone could easily be mistaken for a Pit Bull. 

In 2021, the top 2 breeds of dogs responsible for fatal attacks were Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes, according to a Colorado law firm called Fuicelli & Lee Injury Lawyers. They said when they examined a 13-year data set, Pit Bulls were the cause of 83% of fatal dog attacks, over 8x more than other breeds. For some, this is a good reason to dislike Pit Bulls or see them as aggressive animals. In the same article, they later mentioned, “with 89 million-plus dogs in the US, 0.0004% result in fatal dog attacks.” That’s 356 dogs, including all breeds, out of the 89 million dogs that were in the U.S. at the time. However, Dallas Dog, a rehabilitation and rescue shelter for dogs states that Pit Bulls are also the most “abused, neglected, and the most euthanized.” Dallas Dog and multiple other dog websites say that at least 40% of dog euthanizations in shelters were Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes in 2022.

All dogs deserve love, especially Pit Bulls. Pit Bulls, Bull Terriers, and the like are often discriminated against and seen as being too aggressive because of a long history of misinformation, bad owners, and dog fighting rings.

  Dogs with muscular builds, boxy faces, and floppy ears are usually called “Bully breeds,” which Pit Bulls are a part of. According to the Marin Humane Society, an animal shelter in California, “‘Bully breed’ is a generic term used to identify a variety of terrier-type dogs such as American Pit Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, Bullmastiffs, Staffordshire Terriers, Boston Terriers, Boxers, and French Bulldogs.”

Unfortunately, “Bully breeds” are usually the type of dogs someone would find in an animal shelter, and this is only backed up by data from Labrador Training HQ, an organization that focuses on giving information about a variety of dog breeds. “Statistics suggest that American Staffordshire Terriers are the least likely to be adopted and get adopted at a rate 50% lower than average,” they said. Staffies share a lot of physical characteristics with Pitbulls, which is why they aren’t adopted. 

In many cases, dogs that fall under the category of a “Bully breed” are looked at as being too aggressive. This is not the case, and if these dogs are aggressive it is not the fault of their breed, but instead a product of their environment. In fact, they aren’t even the most aggressive breeds. “In tests done by the American Temperament Test Society, bully dogs were generally less aggressive when faced with confrontational situations than many other stereotypically “friendly” breeds,” said the Marin Humane Society.

The reputation and name comes from the origin of most bully breeds. Originally, Pit Bulls and other breeds were bred for fighting, which is where they get their reputation from. A-Z animals, a site that writes articles about different animals, explains that “Historically, Pit Bulls were used for dogfighting and bullfighting and are still used for illegal dog fights today. This has earned them a reputation as aggressive dogs and led to them being completely banned in some countries.” This is true. Surprisingly, Pit Bulls are banned in several countries, such as the United Kingdom and Venezuela. 

Several people I know have owned Pit Bulls before, and I’ve never been given any reason to be scared of them. In my experience, they’re sweet and loving dogs, the opposite of their reputation. 

All of the dogs I met at the shelter were the same way.

For example, there’s Blink. He’s 5 years old, and shares many of the same characteristics as a Pit Bull. The description on his information page reads: “Blink needs you! The shelter stresses out this sweet boy. He’d love a couch to snuggle on, or even a soft dog bed. Don’t close your eyes too long, come meet BLINK!” 

Another dog, Frost, is a large stocky looking white dog. He looks big and scary, weighing around 60 pounds. The only thing he did while I was there was chew on his toy. At one point, he accidentally pushed his toy out of his cage and I had to get it for him. He was a very nice dog who thanked me by letting me pet him and licking my hand. His description reads: “Frost is a big handsome beefcake! He has loved snuggling with his human friends, and has played very well with other dogs in the shelter. Frost is most likely deaf, so an owner that is familiar with deaf dogs would be perfect for him!” 

Both of these dogs are available for adoption right now at the APA adoption center in Brentwood. Most of the dogs there only require a $100 adoption fee, and are well worth the money. Frost especially needs a home, since he’s been at the shelter since November 29, 2022. 

All Pit Bulls, Bulldogs, Staffies, and other “bully breeds” need more love and advocacy. Their misrepresentation has given them a bad reputation, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. If you or anyone you know is looking for a dog, pit bulls are always a good choice to be your new best friend.