5 Myths About Bully Breeds

For the longest time, bully breeds have been feared due to the stereotypical belief that they are inherently dangerous. It is thought by many that these breeds are naturally aggressive because they are selectively bred for their fighting prowess. In the 1980s, the media coverage of dog bite incidents created a myth of bully breed unpredictability when they stopped reporting triggers or events that precipitated the attacks. This has put the bully breeds in an undeserved bad light. Bully breeds often face prejudice and misunderstanding due to misconceptions about their nature and temperament. These dogs are frequently labeled as aggressive or dangerous. 

Let’s address some common misconceptions about bully dogs and provide evidence-based information to dispel these myths, helping you better understand the truth about these loyal and affectionate breeds.

1. Myth: “Pitbulls are Aggressive and Dangerous”

are pitbulls agressive

One of the most pervasive misconceptions about pitbulls is that they are inherently aggressive and pose a danger to humans. However, this belief is unfounded and not supported by scientific evidence.

Fact: Studies have shown that aggressiveness in dogs is not breed-specific, but rather influenced by various factors such as genetics, upbringing, and socialization. In fact, the American Temperament Test Society, which tests dog breeds’ temperaments, consistently shows that many bully breeds score higher in terms of stability and friendliness than some other popular breeds.


(See the ATTS breed statistics here.)

2. Myth: “Bully Dogs Have Locking Jaws”

pitbulls don't lock their jaws

Another common myth is that bully breeds have “locking jaws,” meaning that once they bite, their jaws lock into place, making it impossible to release their grip.

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support the existence of “locking jaws” in any dog breed. Bully breeds, like all dogs, have powerful jaw muscles, but their anatomy does not differ significantly from other breeds in terms of jaw structure or function.

3. Myth: “Bully Breeds Are Unpredictable”

are bullies unpredictable

Some people believe that bully breeds are unpredictable and can suddenly become aggressive without warning.

Fact: Like any dog, bully breeds can exhibit aggressive behavior if they feel threatened or provoked, but this is not unique to these breeds. Proper socialization and training from an early age can help ensure that bully breeds become well-adjusted and well-behaved pets.

(Related: Can you take your pit bull to a dog park?)

4. Myth: “Bully Dogs Are Not Good with Children”

bully breeds are good with children

There is a misconception that bully breeds are not suitable for families with children due to their perceived aggressiveness.

Fact: Many bully breeds, such as the Boxer and American Staffordshire Terrier, are known for their affectionate, gentle nature and can make excellent family pets. When properly socialized and supervised, bully breeds can form strong bonds with children and become loyal, protective companions.

5. Myth: “Bully Breeds Are Only Suitable for Experienced Dog Owners”

bullies are good for first time owners

Some people believe that bully breeds are only suitable for experienced dog owners due to their strength and potential for aggression.

Fact: While it is true that bully breeds require consistent training and socialization, they can be perfectly suitable pets for first-time dog owners who are committed to investing the time and effort needed to raise a well-adjusted dog. Many bully breeds are intelligent, eager to please, and highly trainable, making them excellent companions for dedicated owners.

Misconceptions about bully dogs have led to unfair stereotypes and breed-specific legislation in some areas. By understanding the truth about these breeds and sharing evidence-based information, we can help dispel these myths and promote a more accurate, compassionate view of these loyal, affectionate dogs.


Bully breeds have faced a lot of criticism due to the stereotypes they have been linked with over the past decades. The unfair depiction of these breeds has led to disappointing repercussions such as breed bans, increased abandonment rates, and even mass euthanasia. It is important to issue a strong call to action to share the truths highlighted and help affect change. 

One of the best things bully breed-owners can do is to become breed ambassadors. It can start with doing everything necessary to be responsible dog owners. This small step can help change the public’s perception about bully breeds and aid the end of this breed discrimination.


Are you a bully breed dog owner? Support this call by leaving us a comment below.

About The Author

Dr. Irah Pearl Acierto

Veterinarian, Freelance Contributor

Dr. Irah Pearl Acierto is a companion animal veterinarian and a freelance writer from the Philippines. She is trained in the fields of preventive medicine, internal medicine, animal nutrition, animal welfare and veterinary public health.

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Mary Kiggins on May 17, 2024

I was a single mother of 5 children and one American staffordshire terrier. I got “Penelope” when she was 3 months old and she was with my kids ages ranging from newborns through early adulthood. I have NEVER had a better family dog than Penelope. she house-broke after peeing on the floor ONE time, she NEVER ONCE got into the garbage, NEVER chewed anything other than her bones/treats, and was NEVER aggressive with any of my kids, their friends or even strangers. she was 13 when we put her down from stomach cancer. we miss her terribly. she was an absolute perfect dog in every way. pitbull breeds are the ONLY dogs I will EVER own. I just rescued a pitbull/American bully mix and a pitbull/mastiff/corso mix, requiring much time and work but are very rewarding!

Lizette M Huerta on Apr 18, 2024

I think it is very important to continue to keep people aware of these FACTS! Because they are just that… FACTS! 🌞🌻

EDWIN LARREA on Jan 31, 2024

Love these facts people think they know breeds when they really are misinformed about bully breeds.

Erika Amparan on Jan 31, 2024

We have a 2 years old pit bull which has been the best addition to our family. He is loving, caring, playful, loyal and has become the best companion friend to each member of our family. My boys find on him a playful buddy to play rough games but gentle. My husband has a loyal buddy and active companion for long walks and fitness sessions. For me, he’s just a giant baby to cuddle with. Specially those days feeling down, he provides me love and support just by being by my side. 💙

philip shelly on Jan 26, 2024

pit bulls are the best dog for any family