Breaking the Pit Bull Stigma: A History of the “Nanny Dog”

A Natural Caretaker

When we look at their appearance we would not say that pit bull breeds are actually great caretakers, being that they are naturally strong.

However, what makes them ideal dogs for people who want both protection and pleasure is that they are quite intelligent, and courageous.

This is the reason why they got the title “Nanny Dog.”

Pitbulls are really faithful, loving, and loyal dogs, and this is especially noticed and expressed when children are in question.

But, what makes people so distrustful and frightened of these dogs?

What Happened to the Nanny Dog?

Years ago, pit bulls were considered nannies and they belonged to the most beloved dog breeds in England and the United States.

However, many things influenced people’s opinion so pit bulls developed such a bad rep.

To understand this change, we will go through the following:

  • The Breeds: History and Development
  • Behavioral Habits: Training and Abuse
  • False Stigma: Facts and Figures

The Breeds: History and Development

You need to have in mind that there are four breeds that belong to the “pit bull” group:

  • The American Pit Bull Terrier
  • The American Staffordshire Terrier
  • The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • The American Bully

The breed that you can most frequently see is the American Pit Bull Terrier.

American Pit Bull Terriers were first brought to the United States in the late 1800s and in World War II, they became the symbol of American strength and courage.

A Dog of Many Trades

There are two origin strains of pit bull breeds.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is the first strain and this dog was used for guarding and dogfighting, due to their great and strong built, square heads and firm jaws.

Fortunately, dog fighting became banned, so the American Staffordshire was developed.

This strain was a smaller and milder dog frequently used for hunting and driving livestock, thus becoming a perfect pet.


Being that there are numerous people who took advantage of the first strain, they took these dogs as guard dogs for illegal activities.

So, these wrong people are actually those who train Pitbulls to attack and kill whatever comes near, creating the wrong image of this breed.

We need to say that Pitbulls are not aggressive by nature, they are being taught to act that way.

Behavioral Habits: Training and Abuse

We have mentioned that there are people who are training their Pitbulls to be aggressive and the methods they use for this are terrible.

So as to change their behavior, you must abuse an animal for a very long time.

Taught to Kill

Yes, this may sound awful and terrible, but Pitbulls are actually taught to kill.

Training consists of using other people’s pets as bait, such as cats, rabbits, and other small animals.

Baits are used to draw out the dog’s attack instinct, and being that it has been beaten and starved for a longer period of time, a dog’s natural reaction is to find some food.

What is even worse, they give Pitbulls smaller dogs to practice fighting with.

In case the small dog is not killed, they beat the pit bull severely.

False Stigma: Facts and Figures

As we have already noted, Pitbull once was a patient and gentle dog, and due to bad people, they are now portrayed as the most dangerous.

Their bad reputation causes that 2,800 pit bulls are put to death every day.

Rottweilers were considered to be the most aggressive breed of dog, as well as the Doberman and the German Shepherd before Pitbulls got this title.

Banning laws have been disputed when each of these breeds is in question, but very little was done.

The Data Doesn’t Lie

We need to believe in the actual data, as temperament tests were operated by the American Temperament Test Society, and according to their results, pit bulls were rated the second-most tolerant.

The most tolerant dog was the Golden Retriever, whole the least tolerant on these tests was the Chihuahua.

People were told that the pit bulls’ jaws lock once they bite and that they have the most powerful bite among dog breeds, but you need to know that neither of these statements is true.

The dog with the most powerful bite is the Rottweiler.

Don’t Judge a Pup by Its Breed

As you could notice, we have provided the facts so that you can understand how wonderful Pitbulls are, and it is necessary that you do not judge a dog by its looks or breed.

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