Are Pit Bulls Always a Walking Insurance Liability?

Michelle was talking to her friend about her dog, and how sweet she was. “I’ve had her since she was a puppy,” said the proud owner. Yet the men who were renovating her house recently were rather reticent to come into the home until she’d promised the pet had been locked in a room where she couldn’t escape. The reason: the animal was a pit bull, revealed the owner almost reluctantly. “But she’s not like what you hear about in the news–she has never been aggressive, she has never bitten or even snapped at any other person or other animal, and I really don’t believe that she represents any type of additional dog bite insurance liability to me,” said Michelle.

Pit bulls are often in the news today. Famous for the strength of their jaws and originally bred to fight, a study of data collected from 1982-2011 found pit bulls among the breeds most often responsible for human fatalities and injuries. However, some experts agree with Michelle–that it’s all in the breeding. Michelle purchased a pet that had been bred responsibly by a breeder with many years of experience in the business, who carefully selected sires and dams for a variety of desirable traits, including conformation, color and size but most importantly, disposition. Furthermore, the puppies from each litter were handled from birth, ensuring they would be familiar with human touch and smell from day one.

After several weeks with the breeder, it was time for the owner to take it from there. Armed with very clear instructions and a continuing relationship that encouraged continued communication, Michelle went home with her new puppy and began socializing her from the moment they got home. She showed her pup her new surroundings, enrolled her in puppy training so she would follow commands and understand that Michelle was the “alpha dog” in the house, and taught the pet to interact with friends and family. She introduced new things to the cute little dog carefully and intentionally, so the animal grew up feeling secure, loved, and unthreatened. She was much like the beloved animal in the old Little Rascals shorts decades ago, Petey–a fun-loving, long-suffering dog that was game to be part of any wild ride the kids had planned. With his signature ring around his eye drawn for comic effect, many folks have forgotten that Petey just happened to be a pit bull, said Michelle.

Accidents are no joke, and any responsible owner should realize that their animals, no matter how gentle, could potentially cause injury to another–so it’s still a good idea to have dog bite insurance. But when you meet a pit bull, don’t assume it’s going to be bad news–there are plenty of these dogs that are lovable friends, too.