Are Pitbulls Good with Kids? A Complete Guide from Experts & Parents

Adopting dogs is great for kids as they can be their friends and help them learn how to be responsible. But when it comes to controversial dog breeds like Pitbulls, there are a lot of concerns from parents about whether these intimidating-looking dogs should be allowed around kids.

So, are Pitbulls good with kids? Pitbulls are good with kids as long as they have been socialized and trained properly from a young age. They can be affectionate but they are also territorial and might become aggressive if they sense a threat. So, it’s important to take precautions and supervise interactions between your pitbull and kids to keep them safe.

Keep reading to learn more about the history of pitbull’s aggressive reputation and how to make sure they’re safe to have around your kids.

The Truth Behind The Pitbull’s Reputation

pitbull with baby to show why are pitbulls good with kids

Pitbulls are known to have a reputation for being aggressive and it’s very common to see alarming news articles warning against adopting them.

The main reason behind their bad reputation is that they were originally bred to bait bulls in bits, which is how they got their name. They also became very popular at illegal dog-fighting rings. All of this caused them to develop an aggressive nature against other animals.

Another reason is that they have a very strong bite which has reportedly caused more fatalities than any other dog breed.  According to statistics in the past sixteen years, Pitbulls are responsible for about 72% of deaths due to dog bites in the United States.

Due to their bad reputation, many owners tend to avoid adopting Pitbulls or even abandon them as they fear the dog will become aggressive toward them and bite them. However, many advocates of pitbull ownership believe that the bad reputation of Pitbulls is very much undeserved.

Are Pitbulls Really Aggressive?

Pitbulls, like any other dog breed, are a product of their environment. Over generations, these dogs were bred for fighting, so their aggressive behavior is mostly a result of irresponsible ownership as there are many who actively train Pitbulls to be aggressive and force them to fight other animals.

However, you can overcome the pitbull’s aggressive nature toward other animals with proper training and socialization.

I discuss this in a bit more detail in this article on why are Pitbulls good with babies.

Can Pitbulls Become Aggressive Towards Humans?

Pitbulls were never bred to be aggressive toward humans, however, they might show signs of aggressive behavior if they were severely abused or if they sensed a threat toward their territory.

The tendency of your pitbull to become aggressive or act out toward humans will mainly depend on how well you train your dog and whether you provide it with suitable living conditions.

Health issues can also lead to aggressive behavior in older pitbulls with conditions such as dementia and canine cognitive dysfunction.

Are Pitbulls Safe to Have Around Kids?

Pitbulls that are socialized and trained are safe to have around kids of any age and they even can be delightful companions to them. However, you still need to be aware of the risks that come with leaving your kid with a dog and take proper precautions.

What Makes Pitbulls Good Companions?

There are many reasons why pitbulls are good companions for families, especially if they have kids. Let’s take a look at some of those reasons:

  • They are social creatures and easy to train as they are always looking forward to pleasing their pet parents.
  • If pitbulls were trained and socialized properly, they would be very obedient and loyal to their family.
  • They are great as playmates for kids as they are very energetic and they can even be very affectionate and cuddly.
  • They are also great guards as they’re very protective of their territory and family members.
  • They do not require a lot of maintenance when it comes to grooming as they have shorter hair compared to other dog breeds. This will reduce the time it takes to clean them and make them more hygienic to have around kids.
  • They are generally a healthy breed so it’s safe to have them around without any fear of disease transmission or health problems.

How to Make Sure Pitbulls Are Safe Around Kids?

While Pitbulls aren’t usually aggressive towards humans, they are still large, powerful dogs.

Like any large dog, you need to be very responsible with how you raise it and take proper precautions to keep your kids safe around it.

Here are some tips from experts and parents that will help you  create a safe space for your pitbull and kids so they can get along well with each other:

Train and Socialize Your Pitbull Properly

Pitbulls are social creatures by nature which makes them very easy to train. However, if you want the pitbull to grow as a companion to your kid, you need to train it from a young age.

You need to make sure your pitbull is socialized early on to prevent it from becoming aggressive and help it establish a healthy relationship with others. You can socialize your dog by allowing it to interact with a wide variety of environments and situations as well as exposing it to different scents, sounds, animals, and people.

It’s very important to be patient and consistent with your pitbull throughout the training process.

You need to teach your dog some basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and down early on in its training. Also, make sure to always reward your dog with praise and treats when it does something good so that it will continue to display that specific behavior. Avoid harsh punishment by all means as it might provoke the dog to attack in self-defense.

Teach Your Children How to Behave around the Pitbull

As your kids grow, their curiosity will increase which could lead them to unknowingly mistreat their pitbull which could cause the dog to develop some aggression towards them over time

That’s why it’s very important to teach kids at a young age how to love and respect their dog to prevent any harm coming to either of them

You need to make sure your kids are not playing too roughly with the dog by kicking it, tugging on its tail, or throwing things at it. You also need to make sure your kids won’t startle or disturb the pitbull while its resting as it might scare the dog and cause it to lash out.

Allow Your Dog Time to Get Used to Being Around Kids and Other Family Members

If you’ve just adopted the pitbull into your family, make sure to introduce it to your kids and family members gradually by letting them sniff out some of their belongings and surroundings first.

Allow the pitbull some time to get used to being close to the kids and make sure it doesn’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated. If you sense that your dog is in a situation it doesn’t feel comfortable in, allow it to walk away to a safe area to prevent the discomfort from escalating to aggression.

Supervise All Interactions Between the Pitbull and Your Kids

Even with proper training and socializing, accidents can still happen.

Pitbulls are never aware of their large size or strength and they often play by taking objects in their mouths to chew on them. It’s very possible that your pitbull might get too excited while playing with your kids and inflict serious bites without realizing they’re actually hurting them.

So, it’s very important to never leave your kids alone with your pitbulls and to supervise all their interactions either in person or using a monitor. Make sure to be on the lookout for any signs that your dog might be becoming aggressive toward your kids or that your kids are unknowingly harming their dog.

Signs of aggression in pitbulls include retracing their lips and showing their teeth which is often accompanied by growling as well as pulling their ears back completely, and raising their tails in a rigid position while moving it back and forth.

Testimonies from Real Parents

If you’re still feeling skeptical about the dangers of having your kids around pitbulls, check the following testimonials from some pitbull parents.

“My brother’s dog, a pitbull, was 3 years old when me and my sister were born. Everyone warned my mother about having a dog like him around with two brand new babies, and I don’t blame them.

He was a strong, muscular, intimidating dog to anyone who didn’t know him. Here’s the thing – he never hurt anyone. He never bit anyone, never attacked anyone, never even growled at anyone as far as I can remember.

I vividly remember playing tug of rope with him at the age of like 10 and not feeling the least bit in danger. He wasn’t aggressive towards dogs, big or small.”

Maria Arevalo

“I have 2 kids, and I have a 6-year-old pit that we adopted. He is a wonderful pet and loves everyone in the family dearly now.

He spent 4 months in the shelter, and because he is a little older, he needed about 6 months to really fully acclimate to us.

At first, he was jumpy, lunged a lot, and reacted with suspicion to strangers and other dogs. None of that is unusual for a shelter dog though.”

James Brawley

Conclusion: Are Pitbulls Good To Have Around Kids?

Pitbulls are good to have around kids as long as you teach them both how to behave around each other. You also need to understand that having pitbulls, or any other dog breed, around your kids without proper supervision will never be completely safe, so you’ll always need to keep an eye on them.

If you still are not convinced about getting a Pit Bull and are not sure if they are going to be the best dog to have around kids but still want the benefits of getting a strong guard dog, you may want to consider the Bull Terrier instead. Bull Terriers are excellent with kids (as explained here) and are generally tamer than Pit Bulls so they are easier to handle.

Related Questions

How Big Are Pitbulls?

Pitbulls can reach between 18 and 21 inches in height. They also weigh between 35 to 60 pounds, with the males usually being heavier than the females. In addition to their large size, they also have a muscular body which gives them a very intimidating appearance

How Strong Are Pitbull Bites?

Pitbull bites are very strong and often considered the strongest bite of any domestic dog. Their bite force is known to measure up to 235 PSI. Even though their teeth are not sharp, their bite is strong enough to hold on to their prey due to the strength of their jaws.

Can Pitbulls Feel Emotions?

Pitbulls can feel a wide range of other emotions. They might feel overwhelmed at times and neglected at other times. These emotions can cause your dog to start acting out. So, it’s important to be aware of how your dog is feeling and provide it with the needed care at all times.

Are Rescue Pitbulls More Dangerous to Adopt?

Rescue dogs might be considered more dangerous to adopt. That is because these dogs often have an unknown history and are more likely to have been involved in dog fights causing them to be more aggressive and harder to train. So, it’s very important to be aware of the state of your dog before you decide to adopt it.

Where Are Pitbulls Banned?

Pitbulls are banned in various places around the world including Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Belgium, France, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. In some places, it’s only illegal to breed them. In others, the breed is completely banned and any dogs found are immediately terminated.

Helpful Resources 

Top 10 Tips for Childproofing a Dog

How to Introduce a Puppy or Adult Dog to Your Children

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