October is Pit Bull Awareness Month!
We've all heard the news reports and urban legends that surround this misunderstood breed. So what exactly IS a pit bull anyway?
Used correctly, the term "pit bull" refers to the American Pit Bull Terrier, however the term is also used to describe Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. Additionally, many other breeds that are not pit bulls are often referred to as "pit bull type dogs"! If you're thinking this sounds like a recipe for confusion, you're right. In a recent study by the Matrix Canine Research Council, 600 people, 100 of whom were canine professionals, were asked to identify pit bulls. Thirty percent of the participants misidentified boxers, 45% mis-identified mastiffs, and 44% misidentified Presa Canarios. Only 2% of the survey's participants correctly identified pit bulls without first mistaking them for another breed!
Another peer reviewed study published this year by the American Journal of Sociological Research asked veterinarians, shelter workers, and other animal professionals to identify dog breeds based on video images. Our scores were similarly appalling. If animal care professionals find pit bull identification this difficult, what hope is there for the reporters, journalists, and eyewitnesses who provide the general public with information about this breed?
This month, our blog will discuss facts vs. fiction as we get to know the pit bull. But before you get to know them, first try to FIND them! Take this test to see if you can correctly identify a pit bull. If you tell us YOUR score, we'll tell you ours. :-)