The debate over whether or not Pit Bulls are more dangerous than other dog breeds has been going on for decades. Those that love and own the breed frequently speak of the dog’s gentle nature and say that they believe any dog that does bite is the product of poor training on the part of the owner. Statistics, however, show a very different story.
These dogs, which were originally bred for bull baiting, a blood sport which set dog against an enraged bull, are known for their powerful and muscular compact body and large head. Breeders looked for dogs that would hold and shake their prey – a maneuver that causes damage which has in the past been compared to that of a shark bite. Some may argue that it is simply their body type which makes them inherently more dangerous, but studies have shown that the bite force exerted by a Pit Bull is less than that of a German Shepherd or Rottweiler. Despite this, the damage done by Pit Bulls is far greater than either of these breeds.
In a study published by the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, doctors reported that 51% of the pediatric dog bite cases which resulted in a need for reconstructive surgery involved a Pit Bull. The second highest number is held by Rottweilers, who accounted for only 9% of all the attacks. Although the CDC no longer records breed specific dog bite data, in a report which reviewed the number of fatalities caused by dog attacks from 1978 – 1998, they found that Pit Bulls were responsible for more deaths in the U.S. than any other breed.
While numbers aren’t always a great indicator of how a dog will fit into a family home, those who are considering the adoption of a Pit Bull may what to reconsider the decision, especially if they have small children or other animals.
Name: Bruce Millar
Phone: (770) 212-3795
Organization: Atlanta Advocate