If You're Thinking About Adopting a Pit Bull....
Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T., Companion Animal Programs Adviser. National Outreach
Many pit bulls are extremely social dogs with humans and especially delight in children. However, due to strength and exuberance, in most circumstances they are generally best with older children.
Hardy, tenacious dogs, pit bulls are moderately active indoors and extremely energetic when outdoors. Be prepared to spend a minimum of 20-30 minutes twice a day engaged in aerobic level activities such as Frisbee tossing, bicycle road-working or agility coursework with your dog. Without suitable exercise, they are more likely to be destructive.
Enthusiastic learners, pits enjoy trick training and many graduate at the head of their obedience classes.
Dog-to-dog aggression is a serious issue with this breed. While early socialization is important for all puppies, it is essential for pit puppies. But your best efforts cannot override a dog's genetics. Some pits will become dog-aggressive when they reach social maturity (2-3 years of age) regardless of early experience. A pit bull that doesn't like other dogs cannot be let loose to exercise in dog runs or other public areas. Unless fenced in, they must always be on lead and under the control of a responsible adult. If engaged in a fight, they are capable of severely injuring or killing another dog. Some are also dangerous around cats. Choose carefully if you have other pets at home..
As a pit bull owner, you are likely to experience breed discrimination. Legislation will prohibit you from living in certain communities. Landlords may bar you from their buildings; neighbors will shoot you disdainful looks and homeowners insurance will be harder to find. However, don't let this discourage you from adopting the dog described by more than one owner as "eager to please, loves to work, and only wants to make us happy" if a pit bull is a good fit for your family.
This piece was part of a larger feature, "The Pit Bull Dilemma" by Jacque Lynn Schultz, which will appeared in the Fall 2000 issue of ASPCA ANIMAL WATCH.