The Star-Herald

A bad rap

Lovable, affectionate, goofy, loyal — these are just a few of the awesome things that come standard with a pit bull. I have always said, “There is no such thing as a bad dog, only bad owners.” I have had good friends who have owned pit bulls; unfortunately these dogs have had a bum rap for the past few decades..

Recently, the American Veterinary Medicine Association shared the results of a controlled study of 30,000 dogs that ranked their skittishness, aggression and ability to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening humans. The study showed that while 83 percent of all dogs passed the test, pit bulls showed an above-average temperament with a score of 86 percent, just below that of the golden retriever.

The United Kennel Club notes that the American pit bull: “is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.”

Contrary to popular belief, pit bulls do not have “locking jaws” that make them lethal weapons. Their jaws are the same as any other breed of dog. In fact, a survey by National Geographic showed that the pit bull actually exerts less bite-force than a German shepherd dog.

So there you have it. Wonderful owners equals wonderful dogs, which leads to a few reasons pit bulls are awesome and make a great addition to any family.

These pooches with the great big smile are highly demonstrative and love to welcome you home with a wiggly butt and a big wet kiss. They thrive on giving back to their family and love to have a role to play.  They follow instruction readily and are always willing to step up to the plate to keep you happy.

Short coats with the usual shedding means you don’t need to spend money at the groomer’s. Brushing two to three times a week keeps them looking their best and gives you some quality one-on-one time.

They’re medium-sized dogs who do well in smaller quarters as long as they get some active playtime and a good walk each day. They don’t need a long, marathon walk to stay fit and happy.

Pit bulls love being part of an active family and this includes playtime with the kids. They likes nothing better than catching and (hopefully) returning a ball or Frisbee thrown for them out in your yard. They are companions that want nothing more than to be by your side, whether hiking or channel surfing on the sofa.

This silly pooch’s playful nature really comes out when he’s interacting with his human pack and vying for attention. His silly grin, lolling tongue and tenacious approach to having fun is contagious.  More wonderful information can be found by Mary Simpson at petguide.com.

Do your homework when considering a pet. Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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