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Perceptions of Pit Bulls and Other Canine Breeds

By Mallary A. Paoli

Category Theses

The purpose of this study is to research people’s attitudes towards pit bull breeds compared to other dog breeds. The term “pit bull” refers to a type of dog with certain physical features including a muscular and stocky build, short coats, and a large skull with a square jaw. Over 20 different breeds can be classified as pit bulls and many people (including legislation) do not recognize this. Breed specific legislation often targets pit bull breed dogs, leading to breed stereotyping and an increase of pit bulls in animal shelters. In order to better understand peoples’ views about behaviors of pit bull breed dogs, this survey asked questions about eight different dog breeds – four pit bull breeds and four non-pit bull breeds. The survey found significant differences in the way that people view dog breeds and their behaviors. Overall, the majority of pit bull breeds (except Boxers) were rated lower in behavior characteristics than non-pit bull breeds (with the exception of the Rottweiler). Respondents were 80% accurate at categorizing breeds as pit bulls or non-pit bulls. There were no correlation between any human factor (age, gender, etc) and a person’s perceptions of dog breeds.


Katie Carroll

Date 2012
Publisher Oregon State University
Degree Honors Baccalaureate of Science
Language English
Notes View Associated Presentation and Poster
University Oregon State University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Attitudes about animals
  3. Breed differences
  4. Canine
  5. Dogs
  6. Mammals
  7. perceptions
  8. Pet ownership
  9. Pets and companion animals