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Loving, gentle, good with children. If you were asked to picture what breed of dog fits this description, you might imagine a smiling Golden Retriever, a tail-wagging Labrador, or a cuddly Poodle. But you may be surprised to learn that we are talking about the American Pit Bull Terrier, a breed once known as the "Nanny Dog" for their loyalty and affection for children.

Baby Willis and Polly the Pit BullThis well-known breed has gained a less-than-favorable reputation over the past several years as Pit Bulls have become vilified in the media for their association with dog-fighting and other aggressive behaviors.

However, violence and aggression are not true to the nature of the Pit Bull. In general, Pit Bulls were raised to be very people friendly and form strong bonds with their families. Designed to have lots of energy and an athletic build, Pit Bulls require lots of exercise and usually excel at activities like agility and fly ball.

Tanya Mustard, a Pit Bull adopter and mother of three, wants everyone to know what wonderful companions Pit Bulls can make. "I couldn't imagine my life or my kids lives without our Pit Bull Terriers" she says. "They are the most loyal, devoted pets with so much heart!" 

While American Pit Bull Terriers and their mixes are not the right fit for all families, if you are considering one of these dogs as a companion, we highly recommend the following resources for learning about the breed and determining if a Pit Bull is the right dog for you:

    Bad Rap: BadRap.org
    Pit Bull Rescue Central: PBRC.net
    Animal Farm Foundation: animalfarmfoundation.org
    Also, check out our Resource Library for training tips.

Meet some of the wonderful Pit Bulls at PAWS!



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Thank you so much for this post, and for the great photo! I'm 63. When I was a baby, my grandma had a pit bull and it was my babysitter. (This is one of those old family stories that a person learns as an adult.) My family life had a lot of chaos and bad things in it, and I'm sure my grandma's dog loved me and cared about me more than any person did. To complete the story, I need to add that my grandma loved animals, and animals loved her. Today we would call her a "dog whisperer".

Unfortunately, pit bulls have the reputation of being aggressive. However, any breed can be aggressive, even the ones you would never expect it from. I thin k what is really important is the kind of training that your dog has.

I agree with Claudia, any dog can be aggressive, depending on how it was raised and trained. I would personally prefer to avoid having any dogs during the period when my kids are small just to ensure their safety.
I also admit that some dogs are really nice and loyal, they love kids and even save people but it is really hard to find exactly such a dog kind.

There really is a misconception on the behavior of pit bulls. I think people who raise these adorable creatures just to take them on fights should be imprisoned because they are sending a wrong message to others that pit bulls are evil and are rared to fight and kill.

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