Are Pit Bulls Human Aggressive By Nature?

No dog breed is human aggressive by nature. Pit bulls pass the American Temperament Testing Society’s test at a rate similar to, if not higher than, many other medium-to-large, powerful breeds. The American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier pass at rates of 86.4%, 84.2%, and 89.7% respectively. Compare this to Golden Retrievers (84.9%), Great Danes (79.9%), Weimaraners (80.5%), and Standard Poodles (86.3%), to name just four common breeds. They also do extremely well when compared to small breeds: Chihuahuas (71.1%), Pomeranians (75.8%), and Papillions (80.2%).

An independent, non-profit organization, the ATTS has been collecting data based on a series of evaluations resembling the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test since 1977. These numbers, which anyone can access at, are our best available indicators of temperament. The point is not that pit bulls have better disposition than Poodles or Weimaraners, but that most breeds fall within an acceptable range of temperamental soundness. Pit bulls are no different from your average dog when it comes to human interaction. (2011 statistics). Carl Herkstroeter, the president of the ATTS, has commented on these results: “We have tested somewhere around a thousand pit-bull-type dogs […] I’ve tested half of them. And of the number I’ve tested I have disqualified one pit bull because of aggressive tendencies. They have done extremely well. They have a good temperament. They are very good with children.”