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Perceptions of Pit Bulls and Other Canine Breeds

By Mallary Paoli

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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’ view of behavior characteristics 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 that there are significant differences in the way that people view dog breeds. Overall, the majority of pit bull breeds behavioral characteristics (except Boxers) were rated lower than non-pit bull breeds (with the exception of the Rottweiler). Respondents’ 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 May 2012
Publisher Oregon State University
Size/Length 30 slides
Language English
Notes View Associated Thesis "Perceptions of Pit Bulls and Other Canine Breeds"
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Canine
  4. Dog Breeds
  5. Dogs
  6. Legislation
  7. Mammals
  8. perceptions
  9. Pet ownership
  10. Pets and companion animals