Why Are There So Many Pitbulls In Shelters?

Because of the reputation of Pitbulls, it comes as no surprise that they have a really difficult time of getting adopted.

The sad truth is, dogs that end up in shelters are often euthanized, with 40% of them being Pitbulls.

Why Are There Soo Many Pitbulls In Shelters

There are many reasons however why a Pitbull might end up in a shelter.

Even so, due to the terrible reputation of Pitbulls, some people are worried about taking one home. Though, this isn’t the only reason.

There are so many Pitbulls being bred, that there is a good chance that the demand isn’t as high as it used to be for the breed. 

In this article we shall take a look at why there are so many Pitbulls in shelters, and how they end up there.

Any positive change is welcome to help Pitbulls become rehomed so they do not end up dying in a shelter.

What Is A Pitbull?

Whilst commonly mistaken for a breed in itself, a Pitbull is actually a common term for a collective of breeds who descend from  both Terriers and those considered to be Bulldogs.

These include the American Bulldog, American Pitbull Terrier, Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Terrier.

They have a daunting appearance and are strong with an athletic build.

Originally bred for helping to protect livestock, they then were bred to take part in blood sports for fun.

This didn’t help them with their reputation, and they don’t seem to have lost it, even today.

Despite this, over time they have had their aggressive behavior bred out of them. Today they are great companion dogs who are easy to train, and love to socialize.

Just like all dogs, if they are not looked after properly and trained well, then of course they are going to be aggressive.

However, a Pitbull isn’t naturally aggressive, though the stigma still stands today. 

History Of The Pitbull

Originally, the Pitbull was bred to look after livestock and guard families. It is a strong and athletic dog, so they were perfect for the job.

Later on, the American Pitbull Terrier was used to fight for blood sport in the middle of a ring.

This is one of the reasons the dog gets such a bad reputation. People still do this today, though it is now illegal.

Pitbulls continued to work on farms and hunt, as well as protect animals and to become a companion.

Whilst it has been bred to become a wonderful family dog, the minds of many have become influenced by the time they were commonly bred to fight.

Despite this, those that own one know how much of a companion they are, and how great the dogs are around children and strangers.

Even so, the Kennel Club still notes that a number of American Pitbull Terriers have aggression within them due to it being a natural characteristic.

Good training and a great leader can ensure this doesn’t lead to dangerous behavior.

Why Is It Common For A Pitbull To Be In A Shelter?

Why Is It Common For A Pitbull To Be In A Shelter

The truth is, the most common dog to be in a shelter across the U.S. is a Pitbull. If you have already begun looking to rehome a dog, this probably isn’t a surprise to you.

Sadly, whilst shelters rescue dogs, they have a lot of laws to stick by when it comes to both the supply and demand of dogs.

This means that they need dogs which are going to become adopted, otherwise they will be overrun with dogs which are never going to find a forever home (You might also want to check out How To Adopt A Retired Police Dog).

So to make sure that the shelter isn’t overrun with dogs that nobody wants, the logical (yet upsetting) solution for them is to euthanize them.

This ensures that there is room to rescue more dogs.

Pitbulls are currently not as desirable as other dogs. This means that they are either becoming abandoned by their owners, or they are not being adopted into a new home. 

Why Is Mis-Identifying A Breed Deadly For A Dog?

Genetic testing isn’t used in every case when it comes to shelter dogs, and even when it is used, it isn’t always correct.

Because the American Pitbull Terrier isn’t recognized as a Pitbull to the American Kennel Club (AKC), they are usually recognized as an American Staffordshire Terrier on a genes test. 

Also, a lot of the time, a Pitbull mix can be wrongly identified. Without genetic testing (which we have stated isn’t always correct) a Pitbull is usually identified by the way they look. 

This means that more often than not a non-Pitbull is considered to be a Pitbull.

Those who don’t want a Pitbull will naturally ignore them, and those who believe the stigma of a Pitbull will ignore them too.

For this reason, they are highly overlooked and this puts them at risk of being euthanized.

Common Reasons Pitbulls Are Put Into A Shelter

Dogs end up in Shelters all the time, though as we have stated throughout this article, most of the breeds are Pitbulls.

There are many reasons why a Pitbull may end up in a shelter. Here are just some of them:

  • They have become aggressive due to lack of care and terrible training. This adds to the stigma of their personality.
  • The owner has died and nobody is around to take the dog in, or maybe they don’t want to.
  • A person cannot keep their Pitbull because the landlord won’t let them have a pet.
  • The cost of looking after their Pitbull is too high and they cannot afford it anymore.
  • The dog is considered to be a stray.

Final Thoughts

Due to the stigma of Pitbulls, many end up in dog shelters. In fact, there are likely to be too many to rehome, as not enough people want to own a Pitbull anymore. 

Sadly, the outcome for these Pitbulls who have become undesirable is death. The ones who  are left are put at risk of becoming euthanized. 

Emily Andrews
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