Can my Pit Bull be a Service Dog?
Pit Bull breeds, which include the American Pit Bull, Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully and the Stafforsordshire Bull Terrier, are one of the most common dogs in North America. Approximately 20% of dogs in the U.S. alone are Pit Bull breeds, so it is not surprising that one of the most common questions we are asked about breeds is “Can my Pit Bull be a service dog?”
The simple answer is yes, a pit bull can be a service dog. According to the ADA, any breed can be registered as a service dog, provided that it is trained to assist its owner with a specific task to help with a disability.
Pit Bulls are often discriminated against for being “dangerous” dogs, let alone have a pit bull be a service dog. This myth has spread through the media due to isolated incidents service dog certification involving Pit Bulls. In reality, Pit Bulls are no more dangerous than any other dog. A peer-reviewed study analyzed 10 years of dog bite-related fatalities and found that there was no correlation between breed and bite related-fatalities. In addition, they determined that in over 40% of media reports, dog breeds were misclassified.
There is also a common misconception that Pit Bulls have the strongest jaw of any breed and that a Pit Bull’s jaw “locks” when it bites. This is simply not true. In fact, Pit Bulls do not even rank in the top 5 as having the strongest bite.
Is it Hard For a Pit Bull Be a Service Dog?
Pit Bulls can be a service dog, in fact they make excellent service dogs. Pit Bulls are generally loyal, fun loving and gentle. They also exhibit physical strength making them ideal to assist with pulling wheelchairs, or providing assistance to those with mobility issues. Their dedication and intuition also makes Pit Bulls ideal for those with social anxiety, depression or PTSD.
In addition, these characteristics also make Pit Bulls excellent emotional support animals. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against both service dogs and emotional support animals. This includes Pit Bulls, even if a municipality or building has “banned” Pit Bull breeds.
Is Any Special Training Required for Pit Bulls To Be Service Dogs?
As with any service dog, it is critical that for your pit bull to be a service dog that it is trained to perform a specific task to assist with a disability. However, no specialized training is required for Pit Bulls. The ADA specifically states that no professional training is required, and that people have the right to train their service dogs themselves.