What is a pit bull's temperament like?
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Thread: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

  1. #21
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    The pit bulls that we've owned or helped train are very friendly with people. Altho I personally prefer Lab-mixes, I believe that pits are a little better with people, tougher to benign abuse, and a little more cuddly. Very strong dogs with a love of tug. I consider them to be a little more energetic than Labs, a little less easy to train... but still easy to train, and quicker, with faster reflexes.

    I believe that a socialized pit will not be aggressive, but also will not back down if another dog growls.

    I think that one source of the bad reputation comes from over-excitement. We helped one family train an amazingly sweet female pit with Bite Inhibition that was soft as cotton. On the other hand, my nephew has a pit with inadequate Bite Inhibition that can draw blood while playing with other dogs, and can nip people during tug .... not aggression by any stretch, just over-excitement and inadequate Bite Inhibition. I have minimal control over the training, and I'm not allowed to use a newspaper on my nephew :-)

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  3. #22
    Senior Member Sasha1/2's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by hanksimon View Post
    I believe that a socialized pit will not be aggressive, but also will not back down if another dog growls.
    This is a good summary of the puppies and dogs we've fostered in rescue.
    My daddy is Great Pyrenees. Mommy is Border Collie X English Springer Spaniel. I was born on a farm; now I live in the suburbs.

  4. #23
    Senior Member Sloth's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    So...THIS is the American Pitbull Terrier, right? The "real" pit bull? I'm mostly looking at the pics towards the bottom of the page: http://animaltheory.blogspot.com/201...l-terrier.html

    Or this wallpaper: http://www.hdwallpaperscollection.co...lpaper-hd.html

    I never, EVER see those dogs in shelters. They're half the height and 5x the width of what I thought a "pit bull" was. Instead, I always see this:

    http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/23111033

    Or the third picture on the bottom: http://www.badrap.org/node/96

    And this: http://www.badrap.org/node/97

    Are those pit bull mixes, not APBTs? Obviously some are mixes, like the gargoyle-looking one they label as "DA-turned-to dog selective." But the others...un-muscled APBTs, or are they mixes too?

    "First to greet; foremost to defend."

  5. #24
    Senior Member Sasha1/2's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Many of the rescues I've fostered come from California kill shelters and from there you will see APBTs. You are right, though, that many are mixes or backyard bred, so not to standard.
    My daddy is Great Pyrenees. Mommy is Border Collie X English Springer Spaniel. I was born on a farm; now I live in the suburbs.

  6. #25
    Senior Member Spicy1_VV's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by begemot View Post
    ??? Why on earth would you "need" to inbreed to make a nice family dog? Or a dog for any other purpose? If inbreeding is "necessary to bring out characteristics that people like in a dog," by implication, all dogs that aren't inbred don't have the "characteristics that people like in a dog."
    While APBTs make great family dogs who said anything about breeding to create nice family dogs or requiring inbreeding to do so. APBTs (and many other breeds) were not created to to be "nice family dogs" but for a specific function. Inbreeding can be used to set traits of a particular dog and keep the traits consistent in the bloodline. As you said extremely consistent when you are breeding for a certain purpose you want a predictable outcome.

    Of course no one is implicating that statement with negativity. Lol. You are twisting what Darkmoon said.

    Out crossed dogs can bring you something positive to the table. I'm sure Darkmoon knows this and wasn't implying one should only inbreed.

    What she said was its needed to bring out the characteristics people like in a dog. This is true, at least in theory and opinion. You don't have to agree. As you said like genetic material, consistentcy.... A dog which isn't inbred is less likely to have the characteristics or have less characteristics people like in a dog because that dog is only contributing 1x the progeny. How can you expect to have his (or her) characteristics when they contribute less and less of their genes with each consecutive generation. The max contribution would be 50% to direct offspring then they have less and less influene.

    Inbreeding is not necessary for any purpose. The only benefit is extremely consistent dogs, because they share more genetic information -- like if you started inbreeding your own family, the kids would look more alike than the offspring of unrelated couples. Which is why some breeders cheat and use inbreeding as a short cut to get what they want. The downsides are seriously myriad, for the offspring and for the breed.
    I understand the negative impact it could have on a breed.

    But individual offspring?!

    My dogs (whether inbred or out crossed) are as happy, healthy as the next dog. Mutts included.

  7. #26
    Senior Member qingcong's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkmoon View Post
    Um, NO! They aren't "immune" to young children antics. They just have higher threshold for such abuse. No dog is "immune" to such things.
    Agree, immune is not the right word, higher threshold is correct.



    Your "friend" is a highly irresponsible owner if he allowed his dog to "kill" other dogs. Yes Pits have a higher tendency toward dog aggression, most can be managed. My male Pit isn't too dog friendly when first greeting a new dog. He comes around quickly but at first he'll snark but then he's fine and I've found that true to most of the breed. There's even a Youtube video of a 5x Ch APBT (who won 5 fights back when it was legal) walking around with other dogs.
    Notice, I was careful not to mention him as my friend. I was just sharing a story, but it's by no means what I believe. It's completely illogical and downright incorrect to label a dog based on its breed. You can't just start with an 8 week old pit puppy and be like, "oh yeah, this guy's gonna be a killer!" If a dog growls at another dog then it's like, "yep, that's cause he's a pit!" This kind of self-fulfilling mindset is detrimental to the individual owner. I think that anecdotal stories that people share with each other about their experiences need to be taken into context and not used as a rule. That said, if you have a pit puppy, I think that you'd have to be extremely mindful of what they're capable of and do the requisite socialization and training to keep them safe around people and dogs.

  8. #27
    Senior Member ChaosIsAWeim's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sloth View Post
    So...THIS is the American Pitbull Terrier, right? The "real" pit bull? I'm mostly looking at the pics towards the bottom of the page: http://animaltheory.blogspot.com/201...l-terrier.html

    Or this wallpaper: http://www.hdwallpaperscollection.co...lpaper-hd.html

    I never, EVER see those dogs in shelters. They're half the height and 5x the width of what I thought a "pit bull" was. Instead, I always see this:

    http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/23111033

    Or the third picture on the bottom: http://www.badrap.org/node/96

    And this: http://www.badrap.org/node/97

    Are those pit bull mixes, not APBTs? Obviously some are mixes, like the gargoyle-looking one they label as "DA-turned-to dog selective." But the others...un-muscled APBTs, or are they mixes too?
    Most of those pictures on the first link are Am bullys. There is maybe one or two on there that are real APBTs. The first pictures is probably a UKC style pittie. The next two pictures are AM bullys. The next one is an APBT, likely ADBA style. The next one is most likely an Am bully. The next one is likely pitties, at least the white one.

    The wall paper is an Am bully. It's likely the shorty bull type of Am bully.

    The pet finder is likely a pittie or pittie mix.

    The first badrap link shows pitties and mixes, the second is the same.
    Last edited by ChaosIsAWeim; 06-04-2012 at 11:37 AM.
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  9. #28
    Senior Member Spicy1_VV's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sloth View Post
    So...THIS is the American Pitbull Terrier, right? The "real" pit bull? I'm mostly looking at the pics towards the bottom of the page: http://animaltheory.blogspot.com/201...l-terrier.html

    Or this wallpaper: http://www.hdwallpaperscollection.co...lpaper-hd.html

    I never, EVER see those dogs in shelters. They're half the height and 5x the width of what I thought a "pit bull" was. Instead, I always see this:

    http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/23111033

    Or the third picture on the bottom: http://www.badrap.org/node/96

    And this: http://www.badrap.org/node/97
    The 1st link has a mixture of AmBully, APBT, and some with AST. (I know the pedigrees on a couple)

    The 2nd link is an American Bully. A pit mix or new breed derived from APBT/AST and other breeds such as English Bulldog, mastiff, various breeds for shortened stature, heavier bone, ect.

    The petfinder pic might be a Pit mix or a Pit, its a rescue so you can't really say.

    Badrap is also a rescue group which take Pits AND Pit mixes. It's not possible to say what's what.
    The red nose dog in the banner is stunning! I'd love to have that dog or similar in a heartbeat. But the brindle in the banner with it looks like Bull Terrier mix.

    You can Google APBT and American Bully to find more info.

    If you just want pics look at my threads in the gallery or my pic post in general. Darkmoons threads. Oh and our siggies. You could always look on adba website or APBT confirmation.com

    Muzzle from nose to stop should be the length of stop to back of the skull BTW. Not brachy.
    An American Bully couldn't physically last in a fight. Could you imagine a dog like that doing anything physically demanding.
    How many super athletic working breeds do you see which are short, wide, fat, with short muzzle?

    How much muscle a dog has is dependent on genetics as well as diet and exercise. An APBT should be lean and muscular. Most are only conditioned though for show/work and not kept that way all the time. Still many other Pits are only pets and the owner has no real concern with muscle tone.


    I wonder how much you are paying attention to the replies.



    ...
    Are those pit bull mixes, not APBTs? Obviously some are mixes, like the gargoyle-looking one they label as "DA-turned-to dog selective." But the others...un-muscled APBTs, or are they mixes too?
    What do you mean by gargoyle looking? Never heard this term before that I recall.

  10. #29
    Senior Member Sloth's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Thanks for the informative replies!

    "Gargoyle-looking" was just a non-professional term I used to describe the dog mentioned in my post. Because it looks like a gargoyle from a show I saw as a kid.

    "First to greet; foremost to defend."

  11. #30
    Senior Member Spicy1_VV's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    I just didn't know what it meant thanks.
    I didn't see any on the site that I could fully identify as pure or mixed. It's too hard to say. Most look likely to be pure but a mix can look pure bred, especially if the dog has a similar breed. A pure bred can also look questionable when byb without any direction.

  12. #31
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Pit bulls are great dogs. I've had experience with quite a few, all different types. They are sweet, loving, protective, and very energetic and playful. Pit bulls are not born mean like a lot of people say. It just depends on how they are raised and who their owners are. Some people feed their pit bulls gun powder, train them to fight, and even fight to the death. Just because so many people have done that, that's how they got their bad name. I had a beautiful red nose pit bull, Deebo, who was a sweet heart and was best friends with my dog I currently have, Baby Gurl, who is rat terrier/red nose pitbull mix. He would let her beat up on him when they played, but neither one of them held back, lol. I wish I could have kept him but he marked his territory on every single object where we lived and I couldn't deal with that! But anyways.....they are amazing dogs, very loyal and sweet. I'm not allowed to have pitbulls where I live or events have a dog over 25 pounds, but I'd like to get another one someday. One thing to remember, try to get the as puppies so you can raise them and you know exactly what their life has and is going to be like. I got Deebo when he was 9 months old, and I'm pretty sure he was beat because it took me and my boyfriend about 20 minutes to get him up the stairs and inside and he was scared shitless. The he got used to us and he was just a ham Again, there is nothing wrong with pitbulls, you just have to make sure you don't get a pitbull from someone who fights them or feeds them the wrong things! You train them and show them a loving home and they will be just like a chihuahua! Lol

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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    In today's world, it is nearly impossible to define "pit bull." On dedicated dog sites, many people will insist that pit bulls are ONLY purebred APBTs. I am glad to accept this definition, but in the functional world, it falls apart. Insurance companies, city statutes, most shelters, and the general public lump together a bunch of distinct breeds and call them pit bulls, and if you own a staffy bull or an amstaff, you will have to deal with all of the "pit bull" issues. The AKC does not recognize the APBT. That means nothing important, but it does add to the confusion. By definition, any AKC dog should be exempt from pit bull bans, but they are not. Some "purebred" APBTs are such over-done bullies that calling them pit bulls seems like a travesty. The traditional APBT of the past looks nothing like english-bull type APBTs, think Razor's Edge...

    Declaring a temperament "type" is tough without first agreeing to what we are talking about. The traditional APBT is one thing. The squat/squares that are becoming so popular are a completely different thing. They couldn't walk a mile on a sunny day, where the traditional APBT has enough "go" to keep you company as you train for a marathon.

    In the end, it makes more sense to look at the individual dog in front of you because they all vary so much.

    And if you want a chihuahua or a lab, it really works best to get a chihuahua or a lab. A "pit bull" is not a beagle, no matter how you raise them. If you don't like the traits that are typically inherent in the breed, get a different breed or chose an adult dog and look at him very, very carefully to see if he matches your expectations. I live with two dog who would be considered "pit bulls" by nearly everyone on the planet. They make my life amazing and I adore them, but no amount of training would make either of them poodles. I got them because I love terriers, and they are terriers to the core.

    Honor the genetics of the dog, even as you evaluate them as individuals. "Pit Bulls" are not saints. They are not evil. They're just dogs. Both sides of the extremes are equally inaccurate. They're awesome and they make my heart sing, but they're dogs.

  14. #33
    Senior Member kafkabeetle's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    I have very limited experience, but the only possible pit mix I know seems to fit most of the traits mentioned so far. She's super friendly with people. Within hours of the first time I met her she laid down with her face in my lap and fell right to sleep. Her personality is much more "intense" than I'm used to. She would go from lying down to deciding she was thirsty or wanted to play and spring up like she was on a very important mission. She seems like a very serious dog, but ends up doing goofy things all the time without intending to. And she's all muscle.

    When it comes to other dogs, I'm told she is very good with larger more boisterous ones like labs. Her play style was a bit much for Sydney. I've known some larger dogs that easily scale down their play to be gentle with smaller dogs. She didn't seem very capable of that. Sydney actually drags her under tables or onto furniture when she comes over so she's less able to pounce. ;p She seems very tolerant of other dogs though, in that she corrects things like humping only very mildy.

    Anyway, who knows if she's even a pit mix. I guess you guys can decide that for yourselves.




  15. #34
    Senior Member +two's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    This might be helPful: www.adbadog.com/p_home.asp

  16. #35
    Senior Member Spicy1_VV's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleMBDP21 View Post
    Again, there is nothing wrong with pitbulls, you just have to make sure you don't get a pitbull from someone who fights them or feeds them the wrong things! You train them and show them a loving home and they will be just like a chihuahua! Lol
    Pretty much All Pit Bulls DESERVE a loving home IMO. Getting a dog out of a bad situation is one of the greatest things you can do for a dog. They are one of the most selfless beings on earth. Considering APBTs have their great nature with people, stability and many other positive traits thanks to dog fighting shunning a game bred dog or rescued pit dog is quite ridiculous!

    If you give them a loving home and training they won't be just like a Chihuahua. At least they shouldn't. Or would they really qualify as a Pit Bull? There is opinion on breed distinction than being more than genetically "pure bred". I don't want a Chihuahua and certainly don't want a Pit or any other breed I chose to be like a Chi.

    There is nothing wrong with getting an older dog. An adult you know their mature temperament. You can as well train a dog not to mark. Never had this problem with adult males I've acquired.

    Rat terrier/pit that is some mix. Fine dog I bet. I've heard opinion that'd it'd be a handful of a dog but if I were looking to adopt a mix its not one I'd pass up. Although I'm unsure why its important to mention the Pits color. I've seen this done a lot. I also see it with Labs.

  17. #36
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by trainingjunkie View Post
    In today's world, it is nearly impossible to define "pit bull." On dedicated dog sites, many people will insist that pit bulls are ONLY purebred APBTs. I am glad to accept this definition, but in the functional world, it falls apart. Insurance companies, city statutes, most shelters, and the general public lump together a bunch of distinct breeds and call them pit bulls, and if you own a staffy bull or an amstaff, you will have to deal with all of the "pit bull" issues. The AKC does not recognize the APBT. That means nothing important, but it does add to the confusion. By definition, any AKC dog should be exempt from pit bull bans, but they are not. Some "purebred" APBTs are such over-done bullies that calling them pit bulls seems like a travesty. The traditional APBT of the past looks nothing like english-bull type APBTs, think Razor's Edge...

    Declaring a temperament "type" is tough without first agreeing to what we are talking about. The traditional APBT is one thing. The squat/squares that are becoming so popular are a completely different thing. They couldn't walk a mile on a sunny day, where the traditional APBT has enough "go" to keep you company as you train for a marathon.

    In the end, it makes more sense to look at the individual dog in front of you because they all vary so much.

    And if you want a chihuahua or a lab, it really works best to get a chihuahua or a lab. A "pit bull" is not a beagle, no matter how you raise them. If you don't like the traits that are typically inherent in the breed, get a different breed or chose an adult dog and look at him very, very carefully to see if he matches your expectations. I live with two dog who would be considered "pit bulls" by nearly everyone on the planet. They make my life amazing and I adore them, but no amount of training would make either of them poodles. I got them because I love terriers, and they are terriers to the core.

    Honor the genetics of the dog, even as you evaluate them as individuals. "Pit Bulls" are not saints. They are not evil. They're just dogs. Both sides of the extremes are equally inaccurate. They're awesome and they make my heart sing, but they're dogs.
    Very well said !
    I think this is with all breeds and dogs no matter what they are...
    Last edited by houndies; 06-05-2012 at 04:56 PM.

  18. #37
    Senior Member Spicy1_VV's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by trainingjunkie View Post
    In today's world, it is nearly impossible to define "pit bull." On dedicated dog sites, many people will insist that pit bulls are ONLY purebred APBTs. I am glad to accept this definition, but in the functional world, it falls apart. Insurance companies, city statutes, most shelters, and the general public lump together a bunch of distinct breeds and call them pit bulls, and if you own a staffy bull or an amstaff, you will have to deal with all of the "pit bull" issues. The AKC does not recognize the APBT. That means nothing important, but it does add to the confusion. By definition, any AKC dog should be exempt from pit bull bans, but they are not. Some "purebred" APBTs are such over-done bullies that calling them pit bulls seems like a travesty. The traditional APBT of the past looks nothing like english-bull type APBTs, think Razor's Edge...

    Declaring a temperament "type" is tough without first agreeing to what we are talking about. The traditional APBT is one thing. The squat/squares that are becoming so popular are a completely different thing. They couldn't walk a mile on a sunny day, where the traditional APBT has enough "go" to keep you company as you train for a marathon.

    In the end, it makes more sense to look at the individual dog in front of you because they all vary so much.

    And if you want a chihuahua or a lab, it really works best to get a chihuahua or a lab. A "pit bull" is not a beagle, no matter how you raise them. If you don't like the traits that are typically inherent in the breed, get a different breed or chose an adult dog and look at him very, very carefully to see if he matches your expectations. I live with two dog who would be considered "pit bulls" by nearly everyone on the planet. They make my life amazing and I adore them, but no amount of training would make either of them poodles. I got them because I love terriers, and they are terriers to the core.

    Honor the genetics of the dog, even as you evaluate them as individuals. "Pit Bulls" are not saints. They are not evil. They're just dogs. Both sides of the extremes are equally inaccurate. They're awesome and they make my heart sing, but they're dogs.
    Great post!
    We still need to work to keep the definition clear. I know BSL doesn't care if you have an American Bulldog. If it looks like a Pit your dog could be in danger.
    With insurance I've not had the issue, I've had them mistake breed ID but they accepted they were wrong. They don't seem to be as hardcore as BSL though I'm sure some are.

    I think part of the issue is that AKC accepted APBT for registry but then used a different name so it causes some confusion. I have seen some BSL specifically includes AST (along with APBT, Pit Bull and any mix there of).
    I guess the issue with SBT (which I've rarely seen named) is its still a pit dog breed with similar looks. But some BSL bans dogs as being pits by looks alone. Senseless since they can't tell what's a pit they have to be extra sure to eliminate these dangerous killers.

    I think some people need to accept that a Bully isn't a Pit and nothing like a Pit. (I hate these dogs being associated with my dogs) Just as an English Bulldog really is nothing like a bulldog imo its a misnomer.

  19. #38
    Senior Member Poly's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Quote Originally Posted by trainingjunkie View Post
    In today's world, it is nearly impossible to define "pit bull." On dedicated dog sites, many people will insist that pit bulls are ONLY purebred APBTs. I am glad to accept this definition, but in the functional world, it falls apart. Insurance companies, city statutes, most shelters, and the general public lump together a bunch of distinct breeds and call them pit bulls, and if you own a staffy bull or an amstaff, you will have to deal with all of the "pit bull" issues. The AKC does not recognize the APBT. That means nothing important, but it does add to the confusion. By definition, any AKC dog should be exempt from pit bull bans, but they are not. Some "purebred" APBTs are such over-done bullies that calling them pit bulls seems like a travesty. The traditional APBT of the past looks nothing like english-bull type APBTs, think Razor's Edge...

    Declaring a temperament "type" is tough without first agreeing to what we are talking about. The traditional APBT is one thing. The squat/squares that are becoming so popular are a completely different thing. They couldn't walk a mile on a sunny day, where the traditional APBT has enough "go" to keep you company as you train for a marathon.

    In the end, it makes more sense to look at the individual dog in front of you because they all vary so much.

    And if you want a chihuahua or a lab, it really works best to get a chihuahua or a lab. A "pit bull" is not a beagle, no matter how you raise them. If you don't like the traits that are typically inherent in the breed, get a different breed or chose an adult dog and look at him very, very carefully to see if he matches your expectations. I live with two dog who would be considered "pit bulls" by nearly everyone on the planet. They make my life amazing and I adore them, but no amount of training would make either of them poodles. I got them because I love terriers, and they are terriers to the core.

    Honor the genetics of the dog, even as you evaluate them as individuals. "Pit Bulls" are not saints. They are not evil. They're just dogs. Both sides of the extremes are equally inaccurate. They're awesome and they make my heart sing, but they're dogs.
    How true. I'm always amazed at those folks who get a dog of breed A - sometimes spending a lot of time, effort, and money in the process - and then are perplexed to find that their dog isn't behaving like a typical dog of breed B. My answer to them is if you like the way a typical breed B dog behaves, that's the dog you should have gotten. No guarantees - but your chances are much more likely.

  20. #39
    Senior Member Sloth's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Thanks again for all the great replies. I'm unsure about getting a pit puppy so you can "guide" its temperament...it sounds like (from what I've read on here and other websites, not personal experience) pit puppies can be very dog social when they're younger, then "turn on" after a year or so. The Bad Rap website says few pits are truly dog aggressive, but few are dog social. Most are somewhere in between. I wouldn't want to get a puppy and gamble over what it's going to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spicy1_VV View Post
    Although I'm unsure why its important to mention the Pits color. I've seen this done a lot. I also see it with Labs.
    I've seen it mentioned ALL the time, I was almost wondering if there's a misconception that it means something more than just color. I've never seen a certain color associated with a certain temperament on any of my reading, but some of the ways I've heard people describe their pits - it's like they think there's a connection. Not the person here who talked about their red-nosed pit bull, but others I've seen. "I was walking my dog and saw a blue-nosed pit bull, so I crossed to the other side of the street."

    "First to greet; foremost to defend."

  21. #40
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: What is a pit bull's temperament like?

    Someone else can talk to the genetics of white, albino Pits... but I don't think it has anything to do with personality.

    One thing that can happen is that a socialized Pit can get over-excited and bite hard during play. It is not aggression, but it hurts and can cause bloodshed, nonetheless. The cure is simple - Bite Inhibition and training during play to reduce the tendency to get over-excited. A good Pit will self-handicap, play while on its back, and will slime the starch out of smaller dogs... but no harm.

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