10 Surprisingly Believable Bits of Malarkey

Pit Bulls Are an Aggressive Breed
Pit bulls may have bites more likely to send you to the hospital, but they're not the most vicious breed on the block. Driendl Group/Photodisc/Getty Images

As far as information garnered from experience, the media, friends and animal control goes, there can be little doubt that pit bulls -- or more accurately, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, or some mix thereof -- are one of the most aggressive breeds around. Maybe even vicious. And born that way.

The strange truth is, while reported dog bites back that up, science does not. In 2008, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studied thousands of dogs representing 33 breeds for aggressive tendencies toward humans. Pit bulls (and Rottweilers) scored below Chihuahuas, Jack Russells, and, topping the aggression scale, dachshunds [source: Dobson].

Among the least aggressive were Labradors, greyhounds, and Bassett hounds.

What pit bulls do have in spades is prey instinct, which does increase the possibility of aggressive behavior toward other animals. They were originally bred in the 1800s to take down bulls by the nose [source: Guthrie]. They also have incredible strength, extraordinary owner loyalty and more than their share of terrible owners, all of which can contribute to dog-bite attacks. Why, then, do reports show far more pit bull attacks than dachshund attacks? Probably because dachshund bites are less likely to require a trip to the ER [source: Guthrie].

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