Pit bulls have an unfair reputation -- in fact, some parts of the United States ban the ownership of this breed of dog. Because they are popularly, and sometimes illegally, appropriated as fighting dogs and guard dogs, this strong breed is often singled out as dangerous and unfit for domesticity. The truth, though, is that pit bulls are generally friendly, playful dogs that love the company of humans, including kids.
Pit bulls are regarded by experts and organizations like the ASPCA as sociable, smart and gentle dogs when they are well-trained. Unfortunately, though, this strong breed has a reputation for being misappropriated for use in illegal dog fights, and they generally don't like other dogs as much as they like humans. Other times, pit bulls are abused by owners that want to train the dog as a guard animal. All of this gives pit bulls an inaccurate stigma as being naturally vicious.
The truth is that pit bulls naturally love humans and the company of their owners. They are patient, receptive to training and instruction, playful and fun-loving animals that may not like other dogs, but love the people that care for them. Pit bulls are big and strong, so they require regular exercise and ample playtime, and in tests, have actually scored below other breeds in terms of natural aggression.
Bulls and Kids
Pit bulls love people, and not just adults -- their loving, playful nature makes them natural companions for children. Pit bulls are relatively gentle, amiable dogs. Generally, the only danger of leaving your child with a pit bull is that pit bulls love to play so much that they could accidentally knock over a small child. Children and dogs should always be supervised when they play together, though, no matter what the breed -- pit bulls are not unique in that regard.
Background and Socialization
Adopting a pit bull is as serious a commitment as adopting any other dog, if not more so -- especially when it comes to rescue dogs. Rescue pit bulls may have histories of abuse, mistreatment or even illegal fighting, and they may have trust issues with humans and other dogs that are difficult to overcome. As with any dog, if you are want to adopt a pit bull for your child, you should make sure that it has been well-socialized, trained and, if necessary, rehabilitated.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.