The stories we see on social media and in news journals across the country heavily influence how people perceive specific topics. One such example is the frenzy surrounding a specific type of dog, the pit bull. When people are victims of a pit bull attack, it makes a lot of headlines and contributes to a negative reputation built against the breed.
One of the most recent examples of a pit bull attack making national news was in October 2022. A woman in Tennessee, Kirstie Jane Bennard, was wounded and her two young children were killed after being attacked by their family pit bulls they owned for eight years.
When authorities were unable to find evidence as to why they attacked, it was easy for some people to start thinking the worst about the nature of pit bulls. We’ll discuss whether pit bulls are actually more dangerous than other dogs using statistical evidence and whether the risk of owning one is expensive, such as home insurance for pit bull owners being pricier than for other pet owners.
What about a pit bull makes their attacks so deadly?
It’s important to understand why pit bull attacks often lead to such horrific violence before we get to the greater statistical evidence relating to the number of attacks. Pit bulls are incredibly strong animals, even compared to other dog breeds. Their muscle mass to body size ratio is higher than most other medium-sized dogs.
The way humans breed dogs also contributes to their muscular strength. Combining different types of dog breeds has always been something that is popular, and people often look to accentuate the most obvious traits in any specific breed.
American Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and American Bullies all have broad shoulders, low centers of gravity, and wide chests. These are some of the main types of dogs that are grouped under the pit bull umbrella.
When breeding these types of pit bulls, breeders might look to combine the gene pool of the most muscular and athletic pit bulls to bring out these qualities. Unfortunately, this has sometimes been for the purpose of dog fighting, as pit bulls are one of the most used types of dogs for this illegal activity.
When you look at the anatomy of a pit bull, it becomes clear their physical traits can lead to deadly attacks even before even considering their temperament or any other variables that could make the dog feel threatened. It’s important to note what animal psychologists and experts believe about the emotional state of pit bulls and whether this makes them deadly.
Do psychologists believe pit bulls are dangerous?
Before ever considering whether to bring home a new puppy, it’s vital for prospective dog owners to learn about the temperament and personality of the animal they are about to adopt. What do experts believe about pit bulls and their safety from this perspective?
Some psychologists who study pit bulls claim that there is no way to truly claim this dog is inherently more aggressive than any other. Because humans are so influential in how a pet’s personality turns out, pit bulls have become victimized by the activities humans force upon them.
As we mentioned earlier, the prevalence of dog fighting has been a huge issue in the temperament of pit bulls. The different types of pit bulls are also sometimes used as guard dogs by pet owners because of the aggressive nature that has been bred into them across many decades and even centuries.
Our conclusion should be that if pit bulls are more emotional or ready to attack than other breeds, it’s because of a long history of human intervention in their behavior. Some people claim their pit bulls are incredibly sweet and caring, and this is anecdotal evidence of the ways some owners are trying to change the reputation of pit bulls by training them to be gentle.
How many pit bull attacks are there compared to other breeds?
The statistics are where the meat of the argument takes place against pit bulls. Between the years 2005 and 2017, 65.5% of fatal dog bites came from pit bulls. There is no way to spin this evidence against the danger of being around a pit bull. Still, the context from above can help illuminate the points of someone defending pit bulls.
The anatomy of a pit bull, as we talked about, is very muscular and strong. This means their attacks are often deadlier than other dog attacks, even if they weren’t to attack very often. This doesn’t account for their emotional state. Even if a pit bull is non-aggressive 95% of the time, the one time they’re angry could result in fatal consequences.
Do pit bulls make a person’s life more expensive?
Owning a pit bull might become more expensive than owning other breeds due to their negative reputation. Home insurance policies are often more expensive for owners of pit bulls than owners of other dogs. Pit bull owners also might have to think about hiring a dog bite lawyer or another attorney to defend against a dog bite lawsuit due to a pit bull attack.
Due to the higher amount of gruesome pit bull attacks, home insurance companies are often having to pay out expensive claims made against these breeds. This makes them less likely to want to cover a pit bull attack compared to another dog attack. Home insurance companies pay an average of $37,000 when a claim is filed against a dog for an attack.
Try to talk to your agent or shop online to find a policy that will be kinder to pit bull ownership. State Farm and USAA have been reviewed as pit bull-friendly insurers
The Consensus on Pit Bulls and Their Danger to Humans
The statistics back up that pit bulls are more prone to deadly attacks than other dog breeds. This is evidence that can’t be ignored, and if you own small children you should be extra aware of leaving them around a pit bull.
This doesn’t mean pit bulls can’t be kind if they are trained properly, though, as humans are often the culprits in how their dogs behave. Cautious optimism is the name of the game when it comes to owning a pit bull.