From a national symbol to America’s most hated dogs, Pit Bulls have an undoubtedly complex history. How did that happen? Is there a reason to dislike the breed, or is it all just a big misunderstanding? 

Pit Bull statistics show how the media and public opinion did a number on this loving breed. Did you know that 25% of Americans dislike Pit Bulls? You’ll find some of their reasons listed below.

But what might be the biggest issue for these brave pals is the lack of clear breed definition. Let’s find out more about these misunderstood dogs and their characteristics.

Fascinating Facts about Pit Bulls

  • Pit bull mixes make 6% of the US dog population, or 4.5 million.
  • The breed consistently scores more than 85% on temperament tests.
  • Pit Bull statistics in 2022 show that 40% of Pit Bulls in shelters are euthanized each year. 
  • In WWI, a Pit Bull named Stubby earned 13 decorations and the rank of a sergeant. 
  • Between 2013 and 2021, 20 States confirmed that pit bulls were involved in most bite incidents.
  • Pit Bulls were also responsible for 39 dog bite-related deaths in 2019.
  • Pit Bulls are abused more than any other dog breed.
  • You’re 213% more likely to get a severe injury from a Pit Bull than other dog breeds.
  • In 94% of the attacks involving Pit Bulls, the dogs were male and not neutered. 
  • On average, between 2005 and 2019, there were between 30–40 fatal dog bite attacks per year. 

But What Is a Pit Bull Breed?

“Pit Bull” is an umbrella term for several dog types that descended from bulldogs and terriers. The name classifies at least several types of Pit Bull dog breeds such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Bully. 

Keep this in mind while you read the facts about these dogs below. 

Pit Bull Breed Characteristics and History

The history of the breed continues to be a roller coaster to this day. Divided into two main camps, people either adore Pit Bulls or will do anything to eradicate them. 

1. Pit Bull Mixes Make 6% of the US Dog Population or 4.5 Million

(Source: Dog Bite Law)

  • The AKC does not officially recognize the Pit Bull as a purebred dog. Pit Bull statistics show that broad chest and short hair don’t necessarily mean that your dog belongs to this breed. To be sure, you can try a dog DNA test.
  • Pit Bull’s origin dates back to the 1800s, with the Old English Bulldog as their ancestor. When the bear and bull-baiting got banned, gamblers started pitting dog breeds against rats,  and that’s how Pit Bulls got their name. 
  • More than 20 dog breeds are mistaken for Pit Bulls due to their similar characteristics. That puts some doubts on those horrible pit bull attack statistics. 
  • 12 countries that banned Pit Bulls: Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Puerto Rico.

Initially, these dogs were bred for fighting. In time, they found their way into Americans’ hearts as one of the best guard dogs that could also herd cattle and even entertain the children. So, what went wrong?

Good Pit Bull Statistics

Pit Bulls had no trouble winning over the hearts of people in the past. These canines are intelligent, easy to train, and incredibly loyal, so they’re often chosen as police and service dogs.

2. Pit Bull Varieties Consistently Score More Than 85% on Temperament Tests

(Source: Pit Bull Info)

  • The Pit Bull was America’s favorite during WWI and WWII. Ads featured this breed the most, emphasizing the dogs’ courage and protection. What’s more, the breed was often a mascot for football and basketball teams.
  • A Pit Bull named Stubby earned 13 decorations and the rank of a sergeant. He served for 18 months and fought next to soldiers in 17 battles. Today, the US remembers Stubby as its first dog soldier.

Pit Bulls have a strong reputation for being family and therapy dogs. But with so many dogs mislabeled as this breed, the truth about pit bulls statistics is often twisted. It can be years before organizations could repair the dogs’ image. 

Pit Bull Adoption Statistics

With so many people disliking the breed, Pit Bulls remain in shelters longer than other dogs. Eventually, animal shelter statistics show that many of them die there. 

With so many people disliking the breed, Pit Bulls remain in shelters longer than other dogs.

3. 54% of Pit Bulls in the US Were Put for Adoption in 2019

(Source: Animals 24–7)

  • 15%–20% of dogs in shelters are Pit Bulls. That said, it’s challenging to come up with an accurate number as the definition of the breed is quite broad. 
  • 80% of Pit Bulls are euthanized each year.  There’s simply not enough space in shelters, and the adoption rate for this breed is significantly lower at only 4%.
  • Pit bull statistics vs other dogs show that it takes three times longer for this breed to get adopted. Public opinion might have something to do with this.
  • 25% of Americans view Pit Bulls negatively. More than 50% agree that families with small children shouldn’t adopt a dog of this breed. No wonder that so many of these dogs remain in shelters.
  • 75% of shelters get the dog labels wrong. Even animal experts like breeders and vets have trouble recognizing a breed and are correct only in a few cases. At least the Blue Nose Pit Bull is easy to distinguish.
  • 64% of Pit Bulls got adopted when a shelter in Orlando removed their labels. 

The American Pit Bull Terrier might have less trouble finding a new home if shelters remove dog labels. Since the breed is often mislabeled anyway, this could be one solution to get these canines back on the public’s good side. 

Pit Bull Abuse Statistics

Dog fighting might be illegal, but that doesn’t stop people from participating in it. In 2022, it’s still a massive issue in the US, with horrible consequences for the dogs involved. 

4. Pit Bulls Are Abused More Than Other Dog Breeds

Believing the myth that Pit Bulls don’t feel pain, owners have allowed and participated in these animals’ suffering.

(Source: PETA)

  • Pit Bull violence statistics report that these canines are forced to participate in dog fights more than other breeds. These dogs are chained, tortured, and starved to make them more aggressive. Not to mention that dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states.
  • Three men held 42 Pit Bulls in 2021, training them for the illegal dogfighting ring. They were rescued during the investigation, but before that, the dogs were scarred, wounded, choked, and starved. None of the pups could be placed for adoption but rather placed with organizations with Pit Bull experience. 
  • 84% of dogs involved in fatal attacks were abused or neglected. What’s more, studies prove that people investigated for domestic violence are also often reported for animal cruelty. 

Pit Bull fighting statistics show the animal cruelty of vicious pet owners. What’s more, studies have found that such people are more likely to participate in criminal activities. Perhaps the dogs are not the real issue here. 

Pit Bull Facts & Myths 

As one of the most misunderstood breeds worldwide, Pit Bull myths keep hurting the dogs’ reputation.

The truth is, all dogs feel pain, and Pit Bulls are no different.

5. Myth: Pit Bulls Have a High Pain Tolerance 

(Source: Animal Farm Foundation)

The truth is, all dogs feel pain, and Pit Bulls are no different. The breed has nothing to do with it. 

  • Fact: Pit Bulls don’t have locking jaws. Their skull is similar to other canines and has no unique locking mechanism. That said, when they bite, they do it with enthusiasm, which might be the reason for this widespread rumor. So, you’ll need some indestructible dog toys around.
  • Myth: Pit Bulls have a stronger bite compared to other dogs. Pit Bull bite statistics put the American Bulldog fourth on the list, and the American Pit Bull is way lower. Rottweilers have a much stronger bite, and Kangals are at the top of the list with a 743 PSI. 

But what about all the bite incidents involving these types of dogs? Let’s dive into the Pit Bull facts and statistics on them to find out more. 

Pit Bull Bite Statistics

No one can deny that this breed has contributed to the overall number of dog bites to humans. But how many of them are severe? 

6. Between 2013 and 2021, 20 States Confirmed That Pit Bulls Were Involved in Most Bite Incidents

(Source: Dogs Bite)

  • According to actual Pit Bull statistics from 2019, the breed inflicted 801 out of more than 4500 bites to humans and animals in Arizona. 
  • A Taxes study from 2020 claimed that you’re 213% more likely to get a severe injury from a Pit Bull than other dog breeds.
  • Over 80% of dog bites require no medical treatment. Less than 1.5% of all such injuries are severe. Children are more likely to be hospitalized after getting an object stuck in an eye or ear than after a dog bite. 

Some Pit Bull biting statistics are disheartening and turn many people against the breed that used to be America’s favorite. After all, no one wants to take care of an animal that has severe dog behavior issues. But it’s all about proper training and care. So using a vibrating dog collar, instead of a shock one, might help reform any dog.

Still, when we consider the Pit Bull killing statistics, the situation gets even worse.

Pit Bull Fatality Statistics

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact breed to blame for fatal dog attacks. That’s why CDC no longer takes into account breed-specific data related to such incidents. Still, some Pit Bull statistics are worrying. 

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact breed to blame for fatal dog attacks. That’s why CDC no longer takes into account breed-specific data related to such incidents.

7. Between 2005 and 2020, Pit Bulls Killed 380 People in the US

(Source: Dogs Bite)

  • Pit Bulls caused 33 deaths in 2020. It’s worth noting that all breeds involved in such incidents are bred for fighting or baiting. Most victims were adults over 20 years old.
  • In 2019, Pit Bulls were to blame for 91% of fatal attacks on animals in Texas. In case you’re wondering, we’re talking about more than 50,000 animals. 
  • On average, between 2005 and 2020, there were between 30–40 fatal dog bite attacks per year

But that’s not all, let’s have a look at some Pit Bull attack statistics compared to other dogs. 

8. In 2020, Dog Bites Killed 46 Americans

(Source: Dogs Bite)

  • We know Pit Bulls caused 33 deaths in 2020, but they aren’t alone. American Bulldogs killed two people in the same year. 
  • Additionally, six deaths occurred by unspecified breeds
  • 24% of fatal dog mauling’s took place on the owners’ property. To prevent any unwanted incidents, we recommend looking into a wireless dog fence. 

As the death by Pit Bull statistics show, the breed is involved in many tragic human fatalities. But let’s not jump to conclusions. Annually, you’re more likely to die from lightning than a dog attack. In any case, experts say that testosterone, the primary reproductive hormone in males, might have something to do with all that dog aggression. Let’s see what the data shows.

Pit Bull Aggression Statistics

While they were trained for fighting, that doesn’t mean Pit Bulls are more prone to aggressive behavior towards humans compared to other canines. 

9. Pit Bulls Are Not Inherently Aggressive

(Source: National Geographic)

There’s no scientific evidence indicating that this “breed” is more aggressive than other dogs. 

  • A 2020 study in the UK reported that Pit Bulls mixes accounted for 40% of dog-on-dog attacks. In most cases, the victims were small breeds like Yorkies and Chihuahua. 
  • In 94% of the attacks involving Pit Bulls, the dogs were male and not neutered. That means the canines had significantly higher testosterone, which has been associated with more aggressive behavior. 
  • Survey participants rank Pit Bulls the highest in aggression. But is their opinion accurate? Science says no

Getting to the bottom of violent Pit Bull statistics is a complicated task as many factors are at play. Neutering and raising a healthy and social dog is a surefire way to diminish the risk of your pet being aggressive to humans or other animals. 

Always ensure your dog has access to water, food, and shelter, since Pit Bulls have shorter coats we recommend looking at some dog house heaters

Wrap up

Pit Bull facts and statistics tell a cautionary tale on humanity’s influence on dog lives. The breed that was once called America’s Dog is now shunned as the worst canine you can adopt. These loyal and courageous animals spend three times more time in shelters, waiting for a new home. 

An overwhelming amount of data shows that most dog bite-related incidents and deaths can be traced back to Pit Bull mixes. That said, many of these four-legged animals suffered abuse, neglect, and were forced to fight other canines all their lives. 

We hope that the alarming Pit Bull statistics won’t stop you from choosing this breed to be your future friend and home protector. 


Are Pit Bulls more dangerous than other breeds?

In short, no, not inherently. No breed is more dangerous than another. However, since Pit Bulls are often bred for fighting and other aggressive behaviors, it can be a learned and conditioned behavior that often can’t be unlearned until it’s too late. 

Do Pit Bulls have locked jaw?

No, this is a common myth because the breed has a super strong bite, standing at number four on the list of the strongest. For example, a Kangal has a PSI of 743, the highest of all canines. But a Pit Bull can inflict severe damage, but it doesn’t mean it won’t let go. 

Can I identify a Pit Bull?

Not by simply looking at a dog. Pit Bull statistics show there are so many different breeds and mixes like the Pit Bull Terrier mix, that the AKC doesn’t even recognize Pit Bull as a breed on its own. Unfortunately, this is what causes so many misconceptions about Pit Bulls, and they are basically constantly misidentified. 


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