Pit bull. The term evokes strong feelings in many. Despite recent findings by the American Temperament Test Society, passing the breed with an 86 percent success rate — higher than a beagle, golden retriever and Chihauhua — much of the media still sensationalizes the breed, labeling them as dangerous, aggressive and unpredictable.
In recent years, an online community of pit bull lovers, owners and advocates are fighting back against this stereotype. Taking to social media to form a community spanning far and wide, people are showcasing the breed for what they really have to offer: affection, loyalty and some straight up silly antics.
To celebrate National Pit Bull Awareness Month, we asked a few popular “pibbles” of Instagram what makes them so proud to be a member of this pack!
1. They face their haters with a smile.
For many pit bull-type breed owners, breed specific legislation is an unfortunate and unfair attempt at managing the presence of these dogs in many communities. When asked how Danielle, the mind behind @zeusagainstbsl, feels about those in favor of such legislation, she says “It’s really their loss. I’ve never felt a love like that Zeus has given me. It’s unconditional and everlasting. He can always put a smile on my face and I’ve never seen so much personality in one dog.”
2. They don’t require a lot to earn your trust.
Owner Sammi (@sammiimonkey) knows that, while her pit bull’s good looks don’t go unnoticed, it’s what’s on the inside that counts when it comes to this service-dog-in-training, Levi. “He is calm, smart, loyal and loves dogs and people so much! He is living proof that his breed is the biggest love bugs ever!” Sammi says. She is currently selling handmade, custom petwear to fund Levi’s training, but once he graduates he will work for cheap. “You scratch his butt and he’s your best friend!”
3. They are big mushes.
Known as “bullies” in their home country “where BSL is in full force” UK-based dogs Charlie and Nala of the Instagram account Rescued by My Rescues (@Rescuedbymyrescues) are anything but what the stereotype paints the breed to be. Though met with much resistance from the outside world, as soon as their human Maaria walks in the door, it’s all love, acceptance, wiggles and kisses. Of Charlie, Maaria says “I love how he greets me with the biggest wiggle bum every time I come home from work.” Newcomer Nala is determined to show her sweet side, too. “I love how loving she is, she loves to give kisses and if you try hiding your face she WILL try getting you!”
Recently the family has added a tiny new member to their pack, an orange tabby rescued kitten named Harry, who cannot understand the logic behind BSL and makes a compelling argument against anyone who dares talk smack about his siblings!
4. They are the perfect excuse not to make your bed in the morning.
When it comes to silly antics, it doesn’t get much sillier than the rescued pair that is Sookie and Ivy (@sookpit). A quick stroll through their Instagram page will introduce viewers to a few of their favorite things, including being in bed, lying in bed and basically just living in bed all the time! Also, dressing up as dinosaurs. They pretty much would make anyone smile. “They never fail to make my day brighter,” says their owner, Jannina. “They have the most unique personalities and are huge cuddle monsters!”
5. They prove you can never judge a book by its cover.
Alicia, the mom behind the @morileymoproblems Instagram account absolutely loves how much her boys love each other. “I think my boys are a great example of dispelling some myths and stigmas attached to them and instead of scaring people, making them smile,” she says of pit bull Riley, and his little friend Killer, a Chihuahua-miniature pinscher mix. “I think it’s so important to help spread positivity about this breed and others that have been inaccurately labeled by the media and society.”
6. They make great honor students.
Cathy, head coach and proudest cheerleader of @teamczr, is one proud mama of the bonded pair of Czr and Via. Despite medical issues, Czr has learned to nod that big bully noggin with a “yes” or “no” to communicate when asked questions he understands. “They are the easiest, most intelligent dogs to work with. Czr has achieved what most would think impossible,” says Cathy of Czr’s progress. Her recent adoptee, Via, has also come a long way from the Georgia shelter she was found in. “In just 16 short months with me, Via went from not even knowing “sit” to winning fourth place in an obedience competition!”
7. They are up for whatever, whenever.
Florida rescues and the dogs behind Instagram account @citypitties Maximus and Mia make life easy for the leader of their pack, Jules B. “They are so eager and willing to please and do so well in tuning into whatever vibe I am in, she says. “If I feel like going on a five-mile hike, they are more than ready and waiting for the adventure! But, on days when I feel like I want to spend five hours in bed, they are happy to come snuggle up with me without any complaints. Wouldn’t trade it for the world!”
8. They save lives.
When the duo behind @dogumantry met, times were tough for owner Josh. After meeting and rescuing pit bull Sonny Ray, he realized the rescue was mutual. “Sonny Ray saved my life. Meeting him led me to my destiny, and gives my life purpose every day,” he says of the sunglasses-wearing breed ambassador, who works daily to show people the soft side these snuggly creatures have to offer. “I put the shades on one day and he just never shook them off. I could see it bringing joy to people as we passed them on the street.”
9. They are total goofballs.
Hailing from Halifax, Canada the dynamic duo of Lennox and Capone of Instagram account @bully.bros face adversity every day, but that doesn’t stop them from sharing their silly side with the person in their pack. “Bully breeds are so unfortunately misunderstood,” says their owner Candice. “There are so many ignorant individuals out there missing out on their goofy charm!” This charming pair continues to make a bully lover out of this lucky lady. “I’ll always have bull breeds in my life.”
10. They are the best friends you can ask for.
For dog mama Caren, the trio of pibbles and one cat that make up @threepittiesandtwokitties are unmistakeably unique amongst themselves. “Red is my old man, he pretty much only wants attention when he wants it,” she says. “Remy is my only girl, and all she wants to do is cuddle all day. Rocky is the clown. He never fails to make me laugh at least a few times a day.” Always amazed by the level of acceptance they show incoming foster dogs (and cats!) Caren is especially grateful for the empathy they show her. “All they want to do is make me happy. If I’m sad, they comfort me, if I’m happy, they get excited with me. These dogs saved me.”