Home » Pit bulls were once known as “Nanny Dogs.” Is it true?

Pit bulls were once known as “Nanny Dogs.” Is it true?

Pit bulls were once known as Nanny Dogs.
Pit bulls were once known as Nanny Dogs. Image Source Pixabay.

Pit bulls are nanny dogs; they are also monsters! Both are big lies!

This Pit Bull debate has been going for ages! Many believe they were once known as nanny dogs. While there are far too many more people, who say these dogs are born monsters.

If I assume that you want to adopt a Pit Bull dog and searching for information to justify your intention, then you are in the right place.

I will take a neutral stance showing no love and no hatred for Pit Bulls. This is important not to hurt the sentiments of the people who own these dogs and the people who have seen them getting aggressive.

To truly understand this breed, we need to know their origin, the media propagation and the myths related to this topic. I can only say after all this research; a dog is just a dog. It’s never better than humans and will never get worse than them.

Let’s start with their breed identification and history.

Pit Bull breed identification.

Pit Bull is not a breed in any sense. It’s rather a name associated with any dogs that have big brick-like faces and long or curled up ears with body proportions almost equal. American Stafford-shire Terriers, Bull terriers, and all other terriers mixes are often categorized as Pit Bulls.

So, if you get across any dog that resembles the Pit Bull characteristics terming them as Pit Bulls can be overly wrong. Because you never know how that dog was bred and with which breeds.

The breed is extremely loving towards their owners and many complain about their overly attached behavior. That can be a problem for may, might not be for you. To know all about them you can read our article “What is Pit Bulls?”

A Short History of Pit Bulls.

The earliest Health and growth contribution:

It can be traced back to Greece and Rome. The Greeks started using them as Shepherds and guard dogs, but modern Pit Bulls are not which they used. It was known as Molossus breed that came to be known as Mastiff in Great Britain.

Then Romans got hands on it using them as war dogs. With 400 years of spreading and mixing, the modern pit Bulls came into existence.

Bloodsports are significant in the breeding of these dogs. It all started in Great Britain when such dogs were put in pits to fight Bulls. Initially, the purpose was to take down to the Bulls, so that they can be slaughtered for food. But that transformed into a money-making game where people started betting.

The bull-baiting game was transformed by British immigrants when they went to the U.S.

You can certainly guess the amount of breed mixing that may have gone over those years without any regulation. Because these dog owners were looking for dogs that looked intimidating, acted intelligently and were aggressive at fullest.

Along with this path of history, many families and individuals also kept these dogs as pets. With proper care and training, they were also seen as loveable and loyal companions.

Whether they were aggressive or human-friendly, it’s hard to tell. But we certainly did the digging for you. Their nature totally transformed with years depending on the way people bred Pit bulldogs.

If we go down a little further, we can find Pit Bulls were regarded as American heroes. Many of these types of dogs went on to fight battles alongside American soldiers.

Some of them even made posters and advertisements. People and the owners used them in various roles from criminal acts, PR stunts to being home pets.

More recently many states issued bans on these animals, and that’s what Pit Bulls have gone through in a nutshell.

Media turned Pit Bulls into monsters.

It has 114 years since the American Pit Bull terrier got recognized by United Kennel Club. During this period discreet incidents almost created a villain image of this type of dog.

But what people forget is that they have been loyal and friendly with human beings too. According to ASPCA, Pit Bulls are non-aggressive to dogs. But that depends on how you keep them.

Today many parents just get too scared if they see a Pit Bull type dog walking around in the street or just next door. They are more concerned about their children sighting such dogs as werewolf or vampire of any sort.

The media successfully villainized this type of dog and framing them as bloodthirsty monsters. Many have also reported them as more dangerous and strong than other dog breeds.

Since the 1980s there have been numerous occasions when media falsely propagated negative emotions about these creatures. Though from the genetic point of view, there is no factual evident present to prove this. But this image alone inspired evil dog owners to get hands-on Pit Bull type dogs and trained them to fight dogs, commit murder and guard marijuana crops.

As more and more fear got attached to the breed name, this gave criminals the opportunity to this breed further. Yes, one fact is true, Pit Bulls are the most popular pets among criminals and drug dealers.

The present circumstance has led to Pit Bull bans in many U.S states. It’s more commonly known as BSL (Breed Specific legislation). Below I have a list of 10 states that have strict prohibitions on this dog type. This will help you to avoid any undue circumstance if you happen to travel or go to live there with your dog.

List of 10 states:

  1. Kentucky.
  2. Lowa.
  3. Louisiana.
  4. Kansas.
  5. Arkansas.
  6. Ohio.
  7. Mississippi.
  8. Missouri.
  9. Wisconsin.
  10. Michigan.

I am not against media as to how they have portrayed these dogs. Rather awareness campaigns that could teach people how to treat these dogs could have made a more significant impact.

Pit Bull, the Nanny dog myth.

Pit Bulls were once nanny dogs. It’s a statement once too often that dog lovers make. As far as my research on this subject I can say this is a bit overstatement. I can only find a few sources to stick with this.

First, there are few vintage images of Pit Bull type dogs with children. Pictures don’t convey the whole picture. Because agree or not there are instances when such dogs attacked children, and I can even put on a list of children under the age of 3 who got killed by their pets.

Second, there are few stories that focus on families that transported their children along with such dogs in the same pram. And third, the peter pan story where the dog ‘nana’ used to protect the children. All of this is not enough to say Pit Bulls were nanny dogs.

If you search more as far as 18th-century publications of British, American or Canadian newspapers, you will hardly find any mention of Pit Bulls as well deserved nanny dogs.

The term nanny dog was coined in 1987 through the article ‘Move to Outlaw Pit Bulls Under Study in Several Cities.’ The article illustrates fighting dogs coming from fighting pits and snuggling their child owners.

Yes, I cannot disagree that Pit Bulls have shown superior loyalty and affection to owners and their children on many occasions and hence some even called them ‘nursemaid’ dogs.

What proves is that Pit Bulls and no dogs were ever nanny dogs. It’s just the way they were bred. They are one of the best dog companions for human beings but a nanny dog? That’s hard to accept.

Nanny dog vs. aggressive dog debate.

Pit Bulls are not genetically aggressive dogs. But their breeding over the years that included dog fighting created a sort of hatred for other dogs. Yes, on this point we all should agree. There are certain incidents where Pit Bulls attacked next-door dogs and random dogs on the street.

This being true”.

Another truth is they are great human companions. Their loyalty to the pack they are raised in and especially to the owner has greatly led to their demise. It’s a big reason why criminals and dogfighting ring masters continue breeding them.

It’s always how you use your things. On the contrary, the owners who trained them and socialized them saw their better side. Dogs nor their nature changed, what changed is their purpose.

The American temperament test society found 86.8% passing rate of these dogs in temperament tests. That is a testimony of its own to speak for their stability, friendliness, and protectiveness.

They are not nanny dogs either. With lots of unfortunate child-killing incidents, a lot of people can testify for this. The truth is no dogs are nanny dogs. They are just domesticated apex predators which without proper training can hurt your child. Because children, when left alone, may trigger dogs to act aggressively. This can happen when stepping on their tails or trying to pluck a finger in their mouth.

What I believe is that Pit Bulls can be wonderful pets if trained socialized in a positive way. Every individual dog might have different levels of temperament and trustworthiness. So, if any dog breed is considered nanny dogs, then I see no reason for enlisting these dogs.

Never leave your child alone with your dogs and that no dogs are nanny dogs although they can be good companions with proper supervision.

So are Pit Bulls good dogs? That’s totally up to you to decide. But based on the breed’s personality and the way they interact with their owners we are sure they make great pets. One smile from this pet and your day will become joyful.

Worried what to feed your Pit Bulls? Here are all the best Pit Bulldog foods you can get.

About the author


I am Jhumon .My Favorite animal is Dog. I love my dog from very young age.Now I am 36 and I am sharing my Experience in this Blog and have some review about dog food and dog bed etc.