Are Pit Bulls Dangerous? The Truth Revealed

A friendly looking Pit Bull dog sitting on a white backdrop
© Susan Schmitz/

Written by Jennifer Gaeng

Updated: November 7, 2023

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Quick Answer:

  • Yes, pit bulls are a potentially dangerous dog breed.
  • However, pit bulls are not naturally an aggressive species.
  • Pit Bulls have one of the most powerful bite forces among domestic dog breeds, so attacks from this breed are more often reported.
Isolated Pit Bull

Sadly, pit bulls were frequently used in dogfights when they were first bred, and are still mistreated to this day.

©Susan Schmitz/

The misnomer that Pitbulls are dangerous dogs originates from the terrible and tragic reality that they are frequently used in illegal dogfights. Most people are surprised when the true nature and history of the Pit Bull are brought to the forefront of such an important discussion.

Are PitBulls Dangerous?

pit bull laying in grass with paw up

Like most dogs, pit bulls can be dangerous if provoked. They are not, however, an aggressive species by nature.


Since the beginning of Breeds’ existence, such a heavy question has been thrown around. Are pitbulls dangerous?

The simple answer is:

 Yes, pit bulls are a potentially dangerous dog breed.

The more important question would be, are Pit Bulls naturally aggressive as a species? The short answer to that is unmistakably:

NO, pit bull species are not naturally aggressive species. 

History Of The Pit Bull

pit bull playing tug

Pit Bulls are a dog breed that has one of the most powerful bite forces, which is why it is reported the most when one attacks.

© Raykova

Most of the proof regarding a Pit Bull’s genuine nature, or any animal’s true character for that matter, would be based on the origins of the animal’s existence. Pit Bulls have an interesting history.

Between 1845 and 1860 is when the Pit Bull first came to the United States. This dog breed, which has its roots in the British Isles, is dubbed the bull and the terrier. Dog breeds that are descended from bulldog and terriers are known as pit bulls in the United States.

Until the mid-19th century, Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs were bred together to produce a dog that combined the terrier’s extraordinary athleticism with the bulldog’s power and agility.

In the early 20th century, pit bulls were used to trap semi-wild cattle and pigs and to drive livestock in the United States. Sadly, they were also used for blood sport (more on this later).

Flash forward to today, and the term “pit bull” refers to a group of canines that encompasses several different dog breeds.

The Five Most Common Pit Bull Breeds Include:

  1. American Bully
  2. American Pit Bull Terrier
  3. American Staffordshire Terrier
  4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  5. American Bulldog

The American Pit Bull Terrier is still considered by some to be the only historically legitimate “pit bull” dog breed. When it comes to tales of pit bull assaults, this is part of the misconception. The more dog breeds a dog has, the higher the risk of an occurrence. As a result, dogs included in the pit bull category are frequently subjected to unjust treatment.

In fact, it is well known by many pit bull owners that pit bull-type dogs are usually extremely affectionate, loyal, and gentle with their owners. Furthermore, they have a playful nature and are willing to meet the needs of others.

What Were Pit Bulls Originality Bred For?

Deadliest Animals in America

Fear aggression is a major reason why dogs attack their owners. If your dog has a bad history or has been beaten and mistreated before, then they feel threatened and become defensive.


Are pitbulls dangerous? Many people may find the answer to this question upsetting and depressing. Dogfighting was a common blood sport employed for high stakes betting in “classy” parties and events in the United States in the early 1900s. Sadly, bull-and-terriers were used in these blood sports.

Thankfully, dogfighting was made illegal in the United Kingdom in 1835, and dogfighting is a criminal offense in all fifty U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia. Possessing canines for the purpose of fighting is a felony in most states as well. Dogfighting spectatorship is also prohibited in all but Montana and Hawaii.

Unfortunately, laws continue to be broken, and pit bulls are frequently employed as pawns in certain criminals’ twisted addiction to sport and gambling.

Are Pit Bulls Good Family Dogs?

Pit Bull Puppy

Pit bulls can make wonderful family dogs, thanks to their loyalty, intelligence, and affection.


Many unfamiliar pit bull owner may wonder, are pit bulls dangerous? A young creature’s environment and the people it interacts with can have a significant impact on its overall temperament. Dogs, cats, or any other pet’s future temperament or personality is directly tied to its owner’s relationship and guidance. Even humans are influenced by this ideology and scientific research.

Dogs of the Pit Bull type are known to be devoted to their owners and enjoy the company of other pets and family members. They are a caring and lovable breed. A pit bull in the correct hands can be the most loving and affectionate pet you’ll ever own. They’re also loyal, funny, and easy to train, as they are smart. Everything a fantastic dog should be is right here in these dogs!

Are Pit Bulls Good With Children?

Blue Pit Bull

Pit bulls are known to get along with kids. Proper training and socialization are key in healthy relationships between pit bulls and people.

©Sophia Tr/

Are pitbulls dangerous and can they be trusted around children? Pit bulls are known to get along great with children. The main rule of thumb is to make sure the child understands how to engage with any animal. Also, make sure to train and properly socialize your dog from a youthful age. Pit bulls crave attention, and a loving child might be just the right person to give it to them. Children, especially small ones, should always be supervised with pets for the safety of both pet and child.

Are Pit Bulls Good With Other Pets?

Pit bulls get along better with other pit bulls compared to other dog breeds, although they are just as social as any other dog.

©Mary Swift/

Are pitbulls dangerous to other dog breeds? Pit bulls are known to not be as tolerant of other dogs compared to most other breeds. As such, pit bulls need to be taught how to always obey their owners. This takes proper training and trust. All training should be based on positive reinforcement, with you being firm while avoiding punishment.

A Pit Bull may have trouble having a good relationship with other dogs on occasion. It’s possible that they’ll only get along with dogs of the other sex or just with a small number of dogs. Most Pit Bulls get along with other Pit Bulls of the same temperament.

Nurturing your current dog should be your primary concern. Stressed dogs aren’t the best candidates for a new family. With the right history, training, environment, and owners, pit bulls can coexist with other dogs and are just as social as any other canine.

Are Pit Bulls Illegal To Own In Some Places?

Pit Bull

Pit Bulls are BSL banned in many places to this day. This is leading to a false sense of safety due to lack of knowledge on the real issue.

©Mary Swift/

Because pit bulls are predisposed to aggressive and harmful behavior attributed to humans breeding them for dog fights, several laws around the country restrict ownership or set limitations on adopting a pit bull.

Breed-specific legislation, or BSL, is responsible for enacting breed discrimination laws, most typically used to target pit bulls. BSL regulations are quite subjective – they allow dog-owners to be banned if their canines “appear” to be a so-called “dangerous” breed.

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s stance is that BSL is ineffectual and can lead to a false sense of community safety by targeting single breeds. A smarter approach is to evaluate the statistics in the community, solicit citizen input and weigh the elements involved in dog attacks for that specific area.

As of 2022, the 10 states where you and your pit bull are most likely to get the cold shoulder are…

Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Are Pit Bulls The Most Aggressive Breed Of Domesticated Dogs?

Types of terrier dogs

Research shows many dogs are considered more aggressive, including the german shepherd,


, and chihuahua.

©Ivanova N/

Surprisingly, the most vicious dog isn’t a Pit Bull according to multiple studies.

In a survey of nearly 9,000 pets based on years of research and statistics on domesticated canines, Rough Collies were considered the most violent breed.

Research also shows that small dogs are more prone than medium and large dogs to act aggressively, which includes growling, biting, and barking. However, these incidents are far less likely to be reported due to the smaller dogs’ less threatening disposition.

Another recent survey indicates that several other dogs land higher on the list of mean or agressive than any pit bull type. These breeds include, the chow chow, doberman pinscher, german shepard, rottweiler, and even the tiny jack russel terrier. The American Temperament Test Society conducted a thorough temperament test to select these breeds.

Please keep in mind, take all survey results with a grain of salt.

More than just figures and data need to be revealed. While many people associate pit bulls with viciousness and aggression, those who have owned a pit bull and raised it with love and care can witness to the kind, if not too friendly, nature of the breed.

In Conclusion

American pit bull terrier standing on ledge

Pit bulls are aggressive when provoked and mishandled by people. Mistreated animals retaliate. In order to break the stigma associated with pit bull aggression, humanity needs to change, not the dog.

©David Robert Perez/

Pit Bulls can be extremely dangerous if mishandled or forced to act in a certain way. It will retaliate if abused, ignored, or mistreated. Pit bulls are easy to teach, but, like all other pets, they must be trained properly.

If you raise them with love and kindness, they will be nice towards you and other animals. Assess these dogs individually, not as a group. Pit Bull Terriers are one of the most loving, loyal, cuddly, and joyful breeds of domesticated dogs when reared properly.

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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