- Pit Bull
Pit bull is the common name for a type of dog often considered in North America to be of the pit bull family, they include American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The American Bulldog is also sometimes included.
Many of these breeds were originally developed as fighting dogs from cross breeding bull-baiting dogs (used to hold the faces and heads of larger animals such as bulls) and terriers.
After the use of dogs in blood sports was banned, such dogs were used as catch dogs in the United States for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt and drive livestock, and as family companions.
Despite dog fighting now being illegal in the United States, it still exists as an underground activity, and pit bulls are a common breed of choice.
There have been many cases of violent interactions between humans and these canines.
In a 2014 literature review of dog bite studies, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that this breed is a poor sole predictor of dog bites.
Controlled studies do not show pit bulls to be disproportionately dangerous. While pit bull-type dogs are more frequently identified with cases involving very severe injuries or fatalities than other breeds, the review suggests this may relate to the popularity of the breed, noting that sled dogs and Siberian Huskies compose a majority of fatal dog attacks in some areas.
Contrary to popular myth, pit bulls do not have “locking jaws”. There is no physiological “locking mechanism” in the jaw muscle and bone structure of pit bulls or other dogs.
Pit bull-type dogs, like other terriers, hunting and bull-baiting breeds, can exhibit a bite, hold, and shake behavior and at times refuse to release.
Pit bulls also have wide skulls, well-developed facial muscles, and strong jaws, and some research suggests that pit bull bites are particularly serious because they tend to bite deeply and grind their molars into tissue.