Different dog breeds elicit different perceptions about them to the general public, both positive and negative. As pit bull and bully breed owners, we are sadly familiar with the overwhelmingly negative stereotypes surrounding our dogs. People often see bully breed dogs as “violent,” “unpredictable,” and “scary.” In addition to the negative stereotypes associated with these kinds of dogs, there are also stereotypes surrounding the people who own them. Pit bull and bully breed owners can be seen as criminals, gang members, or even drug dealers.
There are many reasons why these stereotypes persist today, perhaps the most notable being selective interpretation, or confirmation bias. This is the process in which a person forms a theory and then searches for things that prove their theory while ignoring things that are contradictory. For example, events that confirm the idea that pit bulls are vicious creatures are highly publicized by the media, while so many friendly, sweet pit bulls are ignored.
However, discrimination toward others also stems in part from unfamiliarity with bully breed dogs and their owners. It’s important to remember that people who are unfamiliar are reacting to the stereotype, not reality. Oftentimes, those who perpetuate negative stereotypes have never actually had a personal experience with a pit bull and are only going off of something they heard or saw on the news.
So, how do we break these stereotypes?
The most important thing we can do as pit bull and bully breed owners is to become breed ambassadors. This means doing everything we can to be responsible dog owners and separating ourselves from the stereotypical pit bull owner. Make sure your dog is well-trained and socialized. Take him/her places and be sure he is well-mannered and obedient. Make friends with your neighbors and be open to starting conversations about your dog. Educate yourself. Learn and follow laws, and be active in your local government. If someone makes a rude or negative comment, don’t get defensive. Instead, speak with maturity and wisdom and use these opportunities to help others understand the true nature of your dog’s breed.
You have the power to help change the public’s perception of pit bulls, one positive interaction at a time. Through education, outreach, and love, we can help restore the pit bull’s reputation and bring an end to breed discrimination once and for all.
All dogs reputation rests in the hands of their owner. A pit once was a dog fighter now is a therapy dog two different owners the same puppy. All Pit Bulls want to do is live up to your standards just make sure they are meetable in the right aspects.