Pitbull Photograph

Myth: Pit bulls are not good with children.

FactPit bulls and kids can be perfect together!

Tank (right) was adopted from PAWS in 2009 and now spends his time hanging out with his best friend.

Pit bulls and pit bull mixes all over Philadelphia (and beyond!) have been successfully adopted to families with children. Their naturally people-friendly, playful, patient nature makes them a perfect match for lively kids. (If this weren’t the case, then Olive and Lizzie would certainly have some explaining to do!)

Some dogs enjoy a hectic household with lots of running around, and others prefer just to watch cartoons together on the couch. Children should always be supervised around dogs of any kind. Children also need to be taught how to safely approach and interact with dogs. Some higher-energy dogs do best with older children, since smaller kids might be knocked down by an enthusiastic jump or a wagging tail!

Myth: Pit bulls do not get along with other dogs.

Fact: Many pit bulls, like Emma and Dylan, live happily with their canine siblings. Others are more selective with their canine friends and prefer not to live with other dogs.


Every dog, regardless of breed, will have its own level of tolerance toward other dogs. If a dog doesn’t get along with other dogs, it’s not a big problem; even a highly reactive dog can be trained to ignore other dogs when they pass by on a walk.

Smart dog owners can keep their dogs happy by arranging one-on-one play sessions with a few select playmates. Many dogs are perfectly content without the company of other dogs to play with.


Myth: Pit bulls do not get along with cats.

Fact: Countless dogs of all types live in harmony with family cats. In fact, many are so mild-mannered that the family cat ends up in charge! Former PAWS dog Darla is so friendly with her feline housemates that they use her as a pillow at night. Reggie, meanwhile, is so frightened by tiny kittens that he will run and hide if they look him in the eye!


Myth: Pit bulls have locking jaws.

Fact: This is just another urban myth promoted by those who don't understand that pit bulls are just like any other dogs. No dog has a locking jaw – not even Molly when she’s playing with her favorite toy!

Myth: A pit bull is more likely to bite me than another dog.


No conclusive research exists that implicates breed (or breed mix) as a cause of dog bites. In most bite cases, it is impossible to distinguish the dog’s background based on appearance. When breed is unclear, it’s all-too-easy to apply an arbitrary label for dramatic effect.


In fact, dog bites - involving all breeds and mixes - are at an all-time low. There are around 78 million pet dogs in the US, and an average of 30 dog-related fatalities per year. According to studies (more information below), a person is more likely to be killed…

- by a family member
- by a falling coconut
- in a bedroom slipper-related accident
- choking on a marble
- drowning in a 5-gallon bucket
- getting struck by lightning

…than by a dog of any breed.

Who’s really responsible for dog bites? Humans. In almost every case where a person died because of a dog bite, there were steps that someone could have taken to prevent it. Responsible ownership influences good behavior, and every dog deserves to be set up for success!

More information:
Bradley, Janis: Dogs Bite: But Balloons and Slippers Are More
Dangerous. James & Kenneth Publishers, 2005