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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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PBRC Media Center  

Common Questions and Answers

  1. Is Pit Bull a breed?

  2. Do Pit Bulls have locking jaws?

  3. Do Pit Bulls have a 1600 PSI bite pressure?

  4. Do Pit Bulls attack more than other breeds?

Question:  Is Pit Bull a breed?

Answer:  Pit Bull is not an official breed.  It's a common term used to describe a certain type of dog.   There are actually three breeds of dog that are typically grouped together under the umbrella term of "pit bull"  They are:

    • The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) - Recognized by the ADBA and UKC
    • The American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff or AST) - Recognized by the AKC
    • The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT) - Recognized by the AKC and UKC.

They are essentially the same dogs but have been bred for a different purpose and/or size standard since the mid 1930's. Some are even duel registered. Pete the Pup from "The little Rascals" was among the first APBTs to be registered with the AKC as an Amstaff.

Question:    Do Pit Bulls have locking jaws? 

Answer: Prepared by:
Al W. Stinson, D.V.M.
Director of Legislative Affairs, Michigan Association for Pure Bred Dogs, and the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, and a Member of the Board of Directors of the American Dog Owners Association

The following quote was sent to me from Dr. Howard Evans, Professor Emeritus, College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, Ithaca New York. We were colleagues in the veterinary college for four years. He is the author of the textbook, ANATOMY OF THE DOG, (the world's definitive work on the anatomy of the dog). His statement was in a letter addressed to me on March 26. 2002. His quote was: "I have spoken with [Dr.] Sandy deLahunta (the foremost dog neurologist in the country) and [DR.] Katherine Houpt (a leading dog behaviorist) about a jaw locking mechanism in pit bulls or any other dog and they both say, as do I, that there is NO SUCH THING AS "JAW LOCKING" IN ANY BREED.

We all agree that the power of the bite is proportional to the size of the jaws and the jaw muscles. There is no anatomical structure that could be a locking mechanism in any dog." As a Professor Emeritus from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University, I agree completely with their conclusion.

Question:  Do Pit Bulls have a 1600 PSI bite pressure?

Answer:Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic (Dangerous Encounters: Bite Force, 8pm est 8/18/2005) – Dr. Barr measured bite forces of many different creatures. Domestic dogs were included in the test.

Here are the results of all of the animals tested:

    • Humans: 120 pounds of bite pressure
    • Domestic dogs: 320 LBS of pressure on avg.  A German Shepard, American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and Rottweiler were tested using a bite sleeve equipped with a specialized computer instrument.  The APBT had the least amount of pressure of the 3 dogs tested.
    • Wild dogs: 310 lbs
    • Lions: 600 lbs
    • White sharks: 600 lbs
    • Hyenas: 1000 lbs
    • Snapping turtles: 1000 lbs
    • Crocodiles: 2500 lbs

Question:  Do Pit Bulls attack more than other breeds?

Answer:There is no accurate statistical data on dog bites.  There is nothing in place to track dog bites in the US accurately.  Many dog bites are never reported to authorities. 

It must be understood that dog bite sta­tistics are nothing more than an estimate of incidents within a community. These reports in no way represent statistical data of bites for several reasons:

    • The reports will inevitably show popular large breed dogs as the problem.  This is to be expected since large breeds can do more damage if they bite and due to popularity of certain breeds they have more individuals that could bite. 

    • To our knowledge, there is no report that shows an analysis by breed, of population verses bites. To have an accurate statistical representation this has to be part of the analysis. Ten attacks by a Doberman relative to a total population of 10 dogs implies a different risk than 10 attacks by a Labrador relative to a population of 1000 dogs. (A community approach to dog bite prevention, AVMA task force report)

    • Breed identification is often inaccurate with mixed breeds often identified as purebred. In many instances the identification is made by the victim or witnesses who are not trained in canine breeds or identification. Pit Bull identification is even less accurate than for other breeds like Dalmatians, Siberian Huskies, etc. As stated above, 'pit bull' is not a breed. It’s a term used to group together a minimum of three different breeds of dog. In fact, there are 25+ breeds that look like a 'pit bull' and are commonly identified incorrectly.

    • The true number of bites isn’t known as many dog bites are not reported.

    • The number of dogs, by breed, in any given area is unknown. Rarely, are all dogs in an area properly licensed with the city/county. Therefore, there is no accurate way to determine statistics when all the factors are unknown or inaccurate. Often, reports don’t consider multiple incidents by the same dog.