Why a Pit Bull Terrier Attacks?

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According to research done by an animal news organization known as Animals 24-7, 68 percent of dog attacks and 52 percent of dog-related deaths in 1982 were caused by Pit Bulls. Due to these reported dog attacks, Pit Bulls gained a bad reputation. Why Pit Bull Terrier attacks?

Why a Pit Bull Terrier Attacks?

A Pit Bull Terrier attacks because it acquires an aggressive temperament inherited from its parents. However, it’s not fair to blame the dog for its nature. It all falls back to how irresponsible the owner is and how he handles his dog.

Graphic image of a Pit Bull Terrier in front of a house with a text explaining why a Pit Bull Terrier attacks

Reasons Why a Pit Bull Terrier Attacks

Since aggression is highly possible in a Pit Bull Terrier’s nature, it’s important to understand what provoked him to get aggressive. Pit Bulls, in general, are the most misunderstood dog breed. In fact, they carry with them bad reputations for many years now.

To help you prevent any future mishaps, below are the following reasons to help you understand why a Pit Bull Terrier attacks.

A Pit Bull Terrier Is Territorial

A Pit Bull Terrier might find a new person a threat to his sight. He’ll attack if he sees you as a danger to protect his owner. Being territorial doesn’t only happen to Pit Bulls but to other canines as well.

Some dogs display territorial aggression despite location. Pit Bulls aren’t recommended in public places such as parks, benches or picnic areas because the tendency of displaying territorial aggression is relatively high.

You can reduce territorial aggression by early socialization and control. For example, to minimize the anxiety towards other visitors, make sure that different people visit him when he’s still a puppy. When he turns adult, you can easily supervise him to relax and settle down when a visitor comes.

A Pit Bull Terrier May Experience Past Traumas

Pit Bull Terrier is one of the most surrendered dogs in animal shelters. Owners express their frustration on Pit Bull’s behavior and the stereotype that Pit Bulls are aggressive. One reason why they attack is fear.

Fear from past traumas such as getting used to violence from punishment. Any dog that experienced violence easily feels threatened and becomes aggressive as a response.

It’s important to use positive reinforcement rather than punishments. A Pit Bull Terrier or any dog doesn’t understand this concept. Punishment only creates fear and aggression. A Pit Bull Terrier that experienced abuse in the past is most likely to exhibit aggression.

Pit Bull Terrier sitting on the grass

A Pit Bull Terrier May Have Shifted Aggression

A Pit Bull Terrier shifts his aggression towards anyone in some incidents – including his owner. For example, your Pit Bull Terrier gets into a fight with another dog and you try to separate them. Just like me, a Pit Bull Terrier instinctively turns to you without thinking and redirects his aggression towards you instead. 

The best way to remove a Pit Bull Terrier from a dog fight is to prevent the fight from happening in the first place. The worst thing that could happen is your dog turns to you and attacks you. Some people end up having severe lacerations from trying to break up their dogs from a fight.

A Pit Bull Terrier Feels Agitated

Agitations caused by either sickness or pain make a Pit Bull Terrier aggressive. For instance, you try to carry your dog who’s currently experiencing stomach ache. Forcing your dog to do something he doesn’t like at the moment might cause him to snap at you.

Illnesses such as liver disease and rabies can change your dog’s behavior.

If this thing happens, take your Pit Bull Terrier to a vet to make sure it’s not something serious. A vet can diagnose and treat the source of the problem.

A Pit Bull Terrier Has Food Aggression

Dogs snap if you disturb them from eating. Food aggression is somehow similar to territorial aggression. A Pit Bull Terrier might exhibit hostile behavior to guard his food.

Pit Bull Terrier

I can trace back this kind of behavior being passed down via evolution where dogs need to protect the resource they had. Don’t ever try to pet this dog while eating, even the tamest dog snaps when you disturb them from enjoying his food.

What Can You Do if a Pit Bull Attacks You?

The best way to prevent a Pit Bull attack is to stay calm and back away. Don’t run. As hunters, dogs will chase you once you turn your back and run. Avoid eye contact, don’t move and place your hands by your side. Stay motionless until the dog loses his interest in you.

If a Pit Bull ends up attacking you, protect your face, neck and ears. Curl yourself into a ball if you fall on the ground. Try distracting the dog with anything in your reach such as a purse or a hat.

Related Questions

Do Pit Bulls Bite More Than Other Dog Breeds?

If the community where you live constitutes Pit Bull owners, then most likely yes. That’s why responsible dog ownership is very important to prevent such incidents from happening.

What Is Dogfighting and Why Are Pit Bulls Connected to It?

Dogfighting is one of the original purposes of Pit Bulls. They’re called Pit Bulls because they were once used to fight in pits with other dogs or bulls.


Pit Bull Terriers attack due to several reasons. The reasons could be any of the following such as aggression caused by past traumas, territorial aggression or food aggression. You can prevent Pit Bull Terrier attacks by socializing him at a young age and avoiding inflicting fear and anxiety.

If properly trained and well-cared, Pit Bull Terriers are harmless and make one of the best human companions.