Advocating Against Pit Bull Stereotypes

Elena Minardi and Brianna Randazzo

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Pit Bulls are a very recognizable dog, but they are still surrounded by many harmful stereotypes that more dog owners should be more aware of. These stereotypes originate from hundreds of years ago in the Pit Bull’s history.

Critterfacts details the history of Pit Bulls, beginning in the 19th century, when it was not Pit Bulls but Bulldogs that were originally bred for the purpose of fighting other dogs.  These dogs were trained to fight in a “pit,” and to kill both rats and similar breeds to itself. 

Before the Civil War, individuals from the British Isles arrived in the United States with their dogs, which were Pit Bulls.

However, as time passed in the 19th century, Bulldogs were taken away from dogfighting. Instead, individuals started to breed and train Pit Bulls to fight, which impacted the future of Pit Bulls to this day.

According to Shaw Pit Bull Rescue, the word, “Pit Bull” describes multiple breeds in this category, such has Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers.

But today, society typically stereotypes Pit Bulls as dogs that were bred with the sole purpose of being aggressive. Merriam Webster defines stereotyping as a group of individuals who label or have certain ideas of a group that may be untrue.

Many Pit Bulls are stereotyped because of their aggressive body language and attitudes towards an individual or towards other dogs. This issue can make pit bulls less likely to be adopted and more likely to be euthanized.

To stop Pit Bulls from being stereotyped, we need to find positives to owning Pit Bulls, rather than looking at what they were known for in their past.

There are many ways to become an advocate for Pit Bulls worldwide. Here are some ways from ASPCA Pro (2021);

  1. Show their strengths.
  2. Help Ban Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL).
    • BSL targets Pit-Bull type breeds and discriminates them to the public.
  1. Honor them at an event
  2. Spread the word!
    • Use the hashtag #AllDogsAreIndividuals and spread the word about not to judge Pit Bulls by their cover.

This article was written as a collaboration between the Paws for Change Club and the Psych Club to help raise awareness about Pit Bulls! Paws For Change is a Tier 1 club at St. Thomas Aquinas College since 2020, that plans events to raise money for shelters in New Jersey.

Psych Club is a Tier 2 club at St. Thomas Aquinas College since 2020, that raises awareness on mental health around campus.

To contact Paws for Change, email [email protected], and to contact the Psych club, email [email protected].