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The PBRC website is a virtual shelter and resource for owners and caretakers of American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and pit bull mixes.

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Breed Information: Pit Bulls and Other Dogs Related Links

Never trust a dog not to fight. Dogs of any breed can exhibit intolerance toward other dogs.

Dogs may fight over hierarchic status, food, toys, or rawhides. External stimulus or excitement can also trigger a fight. Remember that any canine can fight, regardless of breed. If you frequent a dog park, you’ve surely seen a fight occur among a pack of dogs for reasons not discernible to humans. Owners should separate their dogs if they cannot closely supervise them.

Dog aggression (that is, aggression shown by dogs towards other dogs) is a complicated matter. Like most things in life, it is not a black-and-white issue. We should not think of dog aggression as a binary (dog aggressive/not dog aggressive) but as a spectrum: dogs can exhibit zero dog aggression, dog aggression only in some situations, a high level of dog aggression, or dog aggression that falls somewhere in between these points.

The graphic below provides a helpful visualization of this concept:

Given their historical circumstances, pit bulls can be less tolerant of dogs than other breeds. Pit bull owners must understand that their dogs may not get along with all other dogs. There are several levels of dog tolerance. Many dogs are great with other dogs and enjoy the company of fellow canines. Some dogs do well only with dogs of the opposite sex. Some are fine with dogs they were raised with but intolerant of new dogs. Some dogs are tolerant of other dogs except for in limited circumstances, such as when greeting a new person. Others cannot accept any other dogs. All of this should suggest that dogs are individuals and should be treated as such.

Owners need to understand their particular dog’s acceptance level of other dogs and manage their dog appropriately when around other animals.

A dog's tolerance level can change during its lifetime, and owners need to be aware of these changes so they can properly manage their dogs while in the company of other dogs.

Some dogs become less tolerant as they mature from puppyhood to adult, while others become more accepting as they mature into the senior years. Some can become more tolerant with socialization and training.

Regardless of breed, there are many dogs that do not like other dogs, and all dog owners need to be responsible. This means following the basic rules of dog ownership: keeping your dog on leash at all times, not letting your charge unfamiliar dogs, and supervising your valued companion at all times (i.e. not leaving your dog in the backyard without supervision).

For pit bull owners, the stakes are always higher. While pit bulls may not instigate a fight, they often won’t back down from a challenge. Inevitably, no matter who “started it,” no matter what the circumstances, the pit bull will always be blamed. Each incident in which a pit bull gets blamed jeopardizes our right to own these great dogs. Keep your dog out of trouble!

That said, many pit bulls get along great with other pets and may live happily with other dogs without incident. We simply cannot assume that this is true for all of them. We also cannot take for granted that pit bulls who get along with other pets today will do so tomorrow. None of this should suggest that, in the language of popular myth, pit bulls are more likely to “snap” or “turn.” It only means that their attitude toward other dogs may change as they mature.

Pit bull owners must show common sense by ensuring that they don't set their dogs up to fail by putting them in inappropriate situations. It is every dog owner’s responsibility to ensure that they are managing their dog’s needs and looking out for their dog’s safety at all times.

Please remember that, as we note throughout the site, animal aggression and human aggression are two entirely distinct behaviors and should never be confused. Pit bulls are, by nature, very good with people. They are, in fact, one of the most loving, loyal, friendly, and dedicated companions one can have.

Basic Breed Overview | An All-American Dog: Breed History
Pit Bulls and People | Pit Bulls and Other Dogs

 


 

Part I: Basic Breed Overview
Part 2: An All-American Dog: Breed History

Part 3: Pit Bulls and People

Part 4: Pit Bulls and Other Dogs