April 20, 2023

Pit Bulls: Bad to the Bone?

by Science Vs

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Pit bulls have a dark reputation. And some people say the science backs this up: that they bite people more often and do more damage when they chomp down. But other people say, no way — these dogs don’t deserve their bad rap. And if a dog has a problem, it’s really the owner’s fault. So who’s right? To find out, we talk to animal behavior expert Anna MacNeil, statistician Dr. Isain Zapata, and researcher Dr. Anthony Herrel. 

Find our transcript here: https://bit.ly/ScienceVsPitbulls 

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Intro: The pit bull controversy

(05:55) Chapter 1: Do pit bulls bite more than other dogs?

(11:00) Chapter 2: Which dogs are most aggressive?

(19:53) Chapter 3: Do pit bulls bite harder than other dogs?

(28:08) Chapter 4: Are dog owners the problem?

(29:50) Chapter 5: Signs that a dog might bite

This episode was produced by Meryl Horn, with help from Wendy Zukerman, R.E. Natowicz, Joel Werner, Rose Rimler, and Michelle Dang. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Gimlet’s managing director is Nicole Beemsterboer. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Catherine Anderson. Music written by Bobby Lord, Peter Leonard, and Bumi Hidaka. Thanks to all the researchers we spoke to including Lawrence Grandpre, Dr. Carlos Alvarez, Dr. Elaine Ostrander, Dr. Elinor Karlsson, Professor James Serpell, and Dr. Kathryn Lord. And a big thanks to everyone who shared their stories about pit bulls - we really appreciate it. Special thanks to Chris Suter, Penelope Epsilon Suter, Mathilde Urfalino, Talia Rochmann, Pierce Singgih, the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson. 

Science Vs is a Spotify Original Podcast and a Gimlet production. Follow Science Vs on Spotify, and if you want to get notifications every time we put out a new episode, tap the bell icon in your app.