Pit Bull Terriers – Lets Talk Facts

Pit Bull Terriers score higher in temperament tests than a lot of ‘more acceptable’ breeds of dogs. Don’t believe me? I’m not asking you to, not at face value anyway.

Before we look at some factual statistics, let me explain what is meant by temperament. According to W. Handel, a German police dog trainer, in his article, “The Psychological Basis of Temperament Testing,” temperament is defined as:

“the sum total of all inborn and acquired physical and mental traits and talents which determines, forms and regulates behavior in the environment”

Keeping this in mind, the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) focuses on and measures aspects of temperament such as shyness, stability, aggression, friendliness and instinct to protect it’s handler in the face of a threat. This is done through a simulation of a casual walk during which the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are presented to the dog, testing the dog’s reactions and ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.

Let’s look at a subset of data from the ATTS statistics up to 31st March 2011. I think the results may surprise you … or not?

Breed Name

Tested

Passed

Failed

Percent

Labrador Retriever

773

714

59

92.40%

Irish Setter

142

128

14

90.10%

American Pit Bull Terrier (Pit Bull)

804

695

109

86.40%

Standard Poodle

249

215

34

86.30%

Golden Retriever

764

649

115

84.90%

German Shepherd Dog

3 078

2 597

481

84.40%

Rhodesian Ridgeback

455

384

71

84.40%

Rottweiler

5 446

4 558

888

83.70%

Dalmatian

330

272

58

82.40%

Cocker Spaniel

227

186

41

81.90%

Boxer

424

355

69

81.60%

Border Collie

271

220

51

81.20%

Beagle

72

58

14

80.60%

Belgian Sheepdog

486

391

95

80.50%

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

202

158

44

78.20%

Doberman Pinscher

1 592

1 237

355

77.70%

Airdale Terrier

102

79

23

77.50%

Afghan Hound

162

117

45

72.20%

Chihuahua

38

27

11

71.10%

These results are quite astounding if one has to take all the media hype at face value. What genuinely surprised me however was that the Golden Retriever, a breed portraid as a gentle willing sole and favoured by many families, scored lower than the Pit Bull Terrier which is commonly feared and shunned to the point of being banned in certain regions and states around the world.

Sadly it is this stereotyping that has lead to and continues to lead to the unnecessary deaths of innocent and loving Pit Bulls. There are no bad Pit Bulls … only bad owners.

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