MYTH BUSTED: Is It True That PitBulls Lock Their Jaws When They Bite & Grip?

Pitbull might be our favorite, but so is the Pitbull. One wins our hearts through raps, the other through the adorable puppy eyes!

Pitbull, the pure-breed American Terrier, has temperaments ranging the two poles: clownish and stubborn, friendly and strong-willed, obedient, and intelligent. While Pitbull is such a sensitive, affectionate and tolerant breed, it is often alleged for being that ferocious dog that can attack unprecedentedly. In fact, in 1991, the United Kingdom Government decided to pass a ban on the Bull Terrier breed following several incidents that involved vicious, often unprovoked attacks by the dog. Incidentally, several myths and misconceptions revolve around this breed.

A Pitbull yawning at the camera. MYTH BUSTED Is It True That PitBulls Lock Their Jaws When They Bite & Grip

A HANDFUL OF MYTHS

  • Pitbulls are inherently vicious: This is a stereotype that has emerged because of a generic evaluation. 
  • An aggressive Pitbull towards dogs is also aggressive towards humans: These are two distinctive traits towards two distinct species, which shouldn’t be confused. In fact, these are some of the most loyal and friendly companions one can have.
  • It is better to adopt a Pitbull puppy rather than a full-grown adult: It is just a decision solely based upon the owner. Both little pups and adults have their pros and cons.
  • Adopting a Pitbull from an unknown parentage or history from a shelter home is dangerous; adopting one from a breeder is suggested: Each dog should be judged by his current personality and behavior, and not because of genetics or history.

While these myths have been prevalent in the Pitbull fable book, another more popular misconception is the one that says pit bulls have locking jaws. Although the very idea of this assertion seems pretty bizarre, people have had this notion in their minds of this dog breed locking their jaws when they bite and get hold of someone or something. 

ORIGIN OF THE MYTH

As far as the creation of pit bulls is concerned, the history goes that Terriers and Bulldogs were crossbred to produce a dog that has the brawn and muscle of a bulldog and the agility and gritty gameness of a terrier. Check out this video for some ‘paw-some’ facts about bulldogs and increase your bulldog knowledge base!

As the quote says of there being no smoke without fire, every myth, misconception, and saying has one or the other origin. After all, where would a thing as uncanny as this come from?

To begin with, these dogs were used in blood sports like bear-baiting and bull-baiting. Later, when these sports were officially banned in 1835 in Britain, other games emerged. Dogfights replaced the initial blood sports as it was cheaper and easier to organize and conceal from the authorities. 

As years passed, Pitbulls were used as catch dogs in America for semi-wild cattle and hogs, for hunting and driving livestock and simply as family companions as well. 

Therefore, with the passage of time, conceptions like these began to get associated with the Pitbull. Somewhere from amid all this, it started to emerge the locking jaws of Pitbull myth.

BUSTING OF THE MYTH

A boy is hugging and kissing a black Pitbull puppy in his arms
Busting of the Myths about Pitbull’s Jaws or Bite.

As the myth ‘Pitbulls lock their jaws when they bite’, is such a popular one in the canine world, researches have been conducted in this field. Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia has busted the myth in high time. He says that no dog of any breed has any kind of anatomical structure that enables them to lock the jaws which can be a functioning lock and grip mechanism. Dr. Brisbin further added that there are no morphological differences or evidence that can prove this point of jaw locking.

Furthermore, as goes another conception in tandem with the aforementioned one that Pitbulls have a massive ‘biting power’. Learn more about dangerous dogs with this video that is measured in thousands of the measuring unit ‘pounds per square inch’; this too shall be put to rest. Research says that no dog of any breed is biologically equipped with any such unique biting mechanism that would be a differentiating factor for the dog breeds. No scientific claim exists which substantiates the claim.

This kind of gripping reputation of the Pitbull is quite old. But relating it with the bloody tendencies of the dog is wrong. One of the characteristic traits of the Pitbull is that whatever it does, it performs it with a great deal of enthusiasm. Thus, this attribute may look like and seem that they have that ‘locking jaw’ when they bite down something, but it is just their determination that compels it to not release the catch.

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