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Why Are Pitbulls Known As “Nanny Dogs” + Weird Facts

There’s no dog that is as misunderstood as the Pitbull. From being termed the most aggressive dog breed to being blamed for most dog-related injuries and fatalities, Pit Bulls have garnered a really bad reputation. But is all this true about Pit Bulls?

Pit Bulls are actually so gentle that they are referred to as nanny dogs ever since the 1900s. Can you guess why they got this name? In addition, Pit Bulls are very tolerant dogs, and contrary to popular myths, Pit Bulls don’t have the strongest bite. There’s a lot more that’s unknown about Pit Bulls, which is what we are here to uncover.

12. Pitbulls Are Not A Specific Breed

Most people assume that the term Pit Bull refers to a specific dog breed. This is actually not true. The term Pit Bull is an umbrella term that refers to a group of dog breeds that have similar characteristics.

Some dog breeds in the Pit Bull group include American Bulldogs, American Pit Bull Terriers, English Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, with American Pit Bull Terriers being the most common.

11. Pit Bulls Were Immigrant Dogs

While Pit Bulls are considered today to be American icons, these dogs did not originate in America.

Pit Bulls were originally bred in England by crossing terriers with the English Bulldog. As English settlers came to the US, they brought Pit Bulls along with them. Life back then was a lot tougher than it is today, and people quickly fell in love with Pit Bulls because of their protective capabilities.

10. Pit Bulls Have Acted As Mascots For The US Army

In a bid to encourage Americans to enlist in the army during the two world wars, the US army used Pit Bulls as mascots. The army believed that Pit Bulls symbolized determination, loyalty, and bravery.

Aside from acting as mascots, some Pit Bulls even served in the war. A good example is Stubby, who was deployed to
France during WWI, where he rose to the rank of sergeant.

9. Pitbulls Are Famous

Various Pit Bulls have done many great things that have earned them great fame. One famous Pitbull is Sallie, who watched over wounded and dead soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg and had a Civil War monument built in her honor.

Other famous Pit Bulls include Nipper, the RCA mascot, and Petey from The Little Rascals. A Pit Bull named Bud was also the first dog to go on a cross-country drive across the US.

8. Many Celebrities Have Owned PitBulls

Aside from being famous themselves, Pit Bulls have also been owned by many famous people. The most notable is Theodore Roosevelt, who owned an American Pit Bull Terrier named Pete.

Other celebrities who have owned Pit Bulls include Alicia Silverstone, Dr. Phil, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Rachael Ray, Linda Blair, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Anniston, Marc Jacobs, Jon Stewart, Sophia Bush, Tom Brady, and so many others.

SPOTLIGHT: Check out your dog’s weight at with our very own puppy weight chart right here.

7. October Is National Pit Bull Awareness Month

If you didn’t think pitbulls were cool enough, what if I told you that these amazing dogs have a whole month dedicated to them?

Yes, there is a National Pit Bull Awareness Month, which is celebrated in October, with the last Saturday of every October marked as National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD). NPBAD was started in 2007 with the aim of raising awareness about Pit Bulls.

6. There Have Been Several Attempts To Change Their Name

Due to the negative reputation that Pit Bulls have gained, there have been several attempts by different groups to drop the name Pit Bull, with the hope that dropping the name would help clear the negative reputation of these dogs.

Some of the names put forward as replacement names include St. Francis Terriers and New Yorkies. However, none of these names stuck.

5. Pit Bulls Are Not The First Dog Breed To Be Considered Violent

Pit Bulls are not the first breed to be incorrectly labelled as violent and aggressive by the public. The first dog breed to be termed as violent was the Bloodhound, back in the 1800s.

Once bloodhounds overcame this perception, the label was transferred to German Shepherds, then Doberman Pinschers, and now Pit Bulls. Fortunately, this shows that the current perception of Pit Bulls will also fade away.

4. Pit Bulls Don’t Have Locking Jaws

There is a popular belief that once a Pit Bull bites on something, their jaws lock, making it impossible for the Pit Bull to let go of the object. This is nothing but a myth. There is no dog breed that has locking jaws.

This myth can be attributed to Pit Bulls, determination. When they bite, they are reluctant to let go, which can make it seem like their jaws are locked.

SPOTLIGHT: Check out your dog’s weight at with our very own puppy weight chart right here.

3. Pit Bulls Don’t Have The Strongest Bite

Many anti-Pitbull campaigners will also claim that Pit Bulls have the strongest bite in dogs. However, studies have shown that this is not true.

In a test conducted by National Geographic to find out the dog breeds with the strongest bite, the researcher compared the bite force generated by Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and German Shepherds. Among the three breeds, Pit Bulls generated the least bite force.

2. Pit Bulls Are Very Tolerant

Most people believe that Pit Bulls are inherently aggressive. Yet temperament tests show that there are several dog breeds that are more aggressive than Pit Bulls.

In a test carried out by the American Temperament Test Society, Pit Bulls ranked second in terms of temperament out of the 122 dog breeds tested. This means that Pit Bulls are among the most tolerant and least aggressive dog breeds.

1. Why Are Pitbulls Known As “Nanny Dogs”?

Despite the common misconception that Pit Bulls are violent and aggressive, Pit Bulls are so good and gentle with children that they have been nicknamed nanny dogs.

Pit Bulls are very loyal and loving, and will go to great lengths to protect children within their families, just like a nanny would. They are tolerant of children’s style of play and are very unlikely to injure a child.

In fact, due to their aggressiveness, coupled with their strong loyalty and sense of protection for the children in the family, Pitbulls were commonly used to guard children since the 1900s.

Related Questions

How Many Pit Bulls Have Killed Their Owners? 46 Pit Bulls have killed their owners in dog biting incidents. In a study conducted from 2005 to 2019, there were 341 dog bite fatalities caused by Pit Bulls. A mere 13% or 46 fatalities were found to be owner-directed attacks.

Why Are So Many Shelter Dogs Pit Bulls? There are many Pit Bulls in shelters because of the negative perception people have towards Pit Bulls. Owners are urged by their friends to give up their pitbulls because “they are dangerous”, which is not actually true. Pitbulls also have a hard time getting adopted for the same reasons. Unfortunately, this forces shelters to kill pitbulls.

Why Are Pitbulls The Most Abused Dogs? Pitbulls are the most abused dogs because they are highly misunderstood. In an attempt to train Pit Bulls into mean dogs, a lot of undeserving Pit Bull owners beat, starve, deprive these amazing pooches of attention. Many others are still tossed into fighting rings and punished heavily for losing fights.

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