"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you mad."
Pit bull advocates are fond of the misleading expression "they're just dogs". This erroneous claim is delivered with the intent to minimize the unique danger that fighting dogs present. The naive and the dishonest claim that pit bulls do not possess a distinctive bite style but honest and experienced dogmen know the truth, and that is why they recommend that all pit bull owners always have the proper tools close at hand in the event they need to disengage their pit bull from another dog.
It is a fact that pit bulls were bred to grip dogs, hogs and cattle and it is also a fact that they continue to be bred to grip dogs, hogs and cattle. Pit bulls are reluctant to release their prey, whether it is a rope, a hog, a dog or a person. They grab and hold, or in other words, they grab and lock.
On occasion you will see a more elaborate locking jaw myth, "Pit Bulls can hold on with their front teeth while chewing with their back teeth." I have not been able to track down the origin of this myth but I suspect it's author was a pit bull advocate trying to further bury the truth in the absurd.
There is no physical locking mechanism in the jaws of a pit bull, their jaw physiology is no different from any other breed. What is different about pit bulls is their psychology, which is why you can not train even the most biddable dogs like border collies or the easy peasy lab to hang on a rope. The jaws of a pit bull do not technically lock but pit bulls often grab hold of their target and refuse to let go - sometimes even after they have expired. They are hard-wired for this behavior.
The gripping reputation of the bulldog is as old as the bulldog. President Abraham Lincoln used the bulldog's tenacious grip to describe General Grant, "The greatest thing about him is cool persistency of purpose. He has the grip of a bulldog; when he once gets his teeth in, nothing can shake him off." Ralph Waldo Emerson " 'T is the bull-dog bite; you must cut off the head to loosen the teeth. " Jack London described the bulldog grip in White Fang as the "clinging death". And Oliver Wendell Holmes referenced the unique bulldog bite style in a poem.
Stick to your aim; the mongrel’s hold will slip,
But only crowbars loose the bull-dog’s grip;
Small though he looks, the jaw that never yields
Drags down the bellowing monarch of the fields!
Here is what pit bull breeder, expert, advocate Diane Jessup has to say on the unique bite style of bulldogs.
There are aspects of ring sport which put the bulldog at a disadvantage when competing against sheepdogs like shepherds and malinois. The sport requires the dog, at times, to bite and then quickly release and retreat - something no true bulldog is willing to do. Also, biting the leg, which is considered preferable, takes more training for a bulldog who will naturally shun the extremities in favor of the more "courageous" bites to the body. A bulldog is bred to grip the head of its prey - whereas a sheepdog nips the legs. Therefore sheepdog breeds have a natural advantage in this regard.It is not uncommon to have to resort to lethal means in order to stop a pit bull from attacking. Each month, the media reports one incident after another of pit bulls attacking other dogs, horses, livestock and people and refusing to let go even after being, kicked, beaten, stabbed, tased, pepper sprayed and shot. In October 2009, a pit bull had to be given a lethal injection after it killed one small dog, injured another small dog and then hung on to the owner's hand for 20 minutes. In August 2010, shelter staff were forced to give a pit bull a lethal injection when they could not stop it from attacking another shelter dog. In Alton, IL a pit bull was shot when it attacked a police officer serving a warrant. Its jaws had to be pried off of the officer's foot AFTER it was killed. In 1891, a bulldog redirected on a little boy and it had to be killed to stop the attack and loosen the grip. In May 2012, police fired 2 rounds into a pit bull during an attack on another dog. The pit bull was not fazed, the police fired another dozen rounds killing it. In Malaysia, a bull terrier bolted from a house and attacked a jogger. A good samaritan driving by saw the attack and stopped to assist the 74 yr old man. He beat the pit bull with an umbrella until it broke and still the animal remained undeterred and kept its jaw locked on Yip's neck. And the dead game little female pictured below had to be pried off of her opponent, after she died.
Those of us who have first hand experience of their locking jaws know the truth. Anyone who follows pit bull attacks in the media and still believes their jaws do NOT lock is lying to themselves. Anyone who tells you that pit bulls are "just dogs" is either lying to you or is ignorant of the true nature of gripping dogs.
If pit bulls are just like every other dog, why do they come with these special handling instructions and tools designed exclusively for pit bulls and with warnings against their use on normal dogs?
Demonstration of break stick
*Notice how this large, healthy, strong man struggles to disengage his own dog from a toy. Now imagine how difficult it is for the average person struggling with an unfamiliar pit bull who is latched onto their screaming beagle.
Advice on the proper use of the break stick use
Proper Break Stick Usage
Keep in mind that most dogs fight differently than pit bull dogs. A pit bull's inherent reaction in the heat of a fight is the one of a Terrier with a prey. The pit bull will work to get a solid grip and then hold and shake. This is quite different than most other types of dogs who do a lot of random biting, growling and barking but will most likely quit when their opponent shows signs of submission. In many cases, a non-pit bull fight will be a lot of noise and snapping jaws, usually resulting in little damage. Since a pit bull will firmly grip and hold its victim, break sticks have been designed to break their grip. This is the safest, easiest and most effective way to stop a pit bull fight. NO responsible owner should be without one.
The way fighting dogs should be separated depends on the individual dogs as well as their typical breed characteristics. For example, pit bull specialists advise use of a strong "breaking stick" inserted into the mouth of bull-breed dogs, but not for other kinds of dogs.
Remember that Pit Bulls do not have any special mechanism or enzym that allow them to "lock their jaw", but they were bred to have an unmatched determination and to never give up.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE A BREAKING STICK ON ANY OTHER BREED OF DOG
Do not attempt to use a break stick on other breeds of dogs.
Do not attempt to use a break stick on other dog breeds.
Do not use a break stick on breeds other than the Pit Bull.
Please do not attempt to use a break stick on other breeds of dogs.
This item is not for use on average cur dogs, doing so may cause serious harm to both you the user and the dog your trying to use it on.
Break sticks are for breeds that grab and hold.
Do not attempt to use a break stick on other dog breeds.
Attempting to use a break stick on other breeds could result in serious injury to the person using the stick. Since other breeds will unpredictably snap and bite instead of getting a grip, you are far more likely to be bitten. You also should not attempt to use a break stick with other terriers. While all terriers grab and hold, pit bulls are far less likely to redirect their bite on an intervening human than, say, a Jack Russell Terrier. For the same reason, you also need to be very careful when separating your pit bull from another breed. Your pit bull will probably not bite you, but you might get bitten by the other dog.
The American Pit Bull Terrier
Cynthia P Gallagher
Wayne Hunthausen, D.V.M. Consulting Veterinary Editor
customer reviews 4.5 stars
Chapter 6 Training and Behavior p 107
Tips on Break Stick Usage
The following are some tips on how to use a break stick appropriately, without causing injury to yourself or your dog.
* Keep break sticks in a handy place that you can access quickly in the event of a fight, such as by the door to the backyard.
* Familiarize yourself with the break stick and how to use it before you ever need to use it. A real dog fight is no time for on the job training.
* Realize that if the fight is between 2 APBTs, the break stick may not succeed in disengaging them. Have alternate methods available, such as a garden hose to douse them water.
* Don't use a break stick on breeds other than the APBT. Their anatomy is different, and you might inadvertently injure the dog while trying to invert the stick.
So, according to THIS pro-pit bull author of this highly rated pro-pit bull book, pit bull anatomy IS different from other dogs. It should be noted that this author consulted with a veterinarian. So much for experts.
You can view examples of locking jaws in action at Staffordshires online and on craven desires, but be warned, these videos are graphic.
bite force video