This article is from the American Pit Bull Terriers Breed FAQ, by Michael Bur with numerous contributions by others.
No, this couldn't be further from the truth. Most people who think or
say that "Pit Bulls" are inherently mean, have most likely never met one
and rely on the inaccurate media hyped portryal of "Pit Bulls" as the
basis of their opinions. Like any other breed of dog, the key areas of
focus for ensuring a happy, well adjusted American Pit Bull Terrier as
a pet are: owner education, proper breeding, socialization, and training.
A break down in any one or more of these areas could lead to problems down
The APBT is, contrary to popular belief, very human-friendly and will
not naturally be aggressive towards humans. The APBT is, however, very
loyal and eagar to please, so that if an owner wants a dog to be
aggressive toward humans and reinforces this behaviour from an early age,
the dog will most likely be aggressive towards humans as an adult.
Many people equate or confuse aggressivness towards other dogs with
aggressivness towards humans. I have seen newspaper reports in which
"concerned neighbors" are quoted saying things like, "This time it killed
a stray cat; tomorrow it may be my children." Yet animal-aggressiveness is
an entirely different thing from human-aggressiveness. There is no
reason to infer from its killing a cat that a dog--any dog, not just
an APBT--will ever show aggression toward human beings. Dogs can and do
discriminate, even if irate neighbors cannot.
One of the most enduring urban legends involving dogs is the one about
Doberman Pinscher's supposed tendency to suddenly "turn on" their
loving owners. This violent change in behavior is said to be
precipitated by a natural swelling of the dog's brain at a certain
age (the exact age differs according to the retelling). Of course
this legend has no basis at all in fact. The "pit bull" has replaced
the Doberman Pinscher as the stereotypical "vicious breed," but the
same human ignorance and credulity is behind the persistence of such