Some people who are concerned about dangerous dogs often point to genetics, stereotyping certain breeds as more dangerous than others. Pit bulls are perhaps the primary example of this. But do those genetics matter more than the way that the dog was raised and the experiences that it had?
The truth, experts note, is that both things matter. Genetics are important, especially when considering what dogs were bred to do. Pit bulls were originally bred to engage with larger animals in an aggressive fashion, and they were later bred to fight one another. This has led to agile, strong and aggressive dogs who can do serious harm.
However, these dogs still needed to get along with their human handlers, so the way they were raised also plays a role. When raised properly, they can be affectionate and kind. When raised improperly, they can become aggressive and mean-spirited.
No matter how they are raised, though, the one thing that doesn’t change is that strength and physical ability. A pit bull and a smaller breed could be equally likely to bite a person, but the pit bull would likely do more damage just because it has the physical ability to do so. This reflects the physical traits of the dog more than the mental and emotional traits, but it still plays a role in the overall outcome of that attack.
Have you been bitten by a dog? If you suffered serious injuries, make sure you know exactly what legal options you have at your disposal.