Bold, headstrong, people-pleasers, rowdy, and clownish — these are just some of the words that people use to describe the beloved pit bulls.
But some long-time pit bull parents have opened up about how jealous their dogs can become, from throwing tantrums when all eyes aren’t on them to being ice-cold towards new pets.
First thing’s first: there’s no doubt about the fact that dogs can exhibit signs of jealousy.
Like in humans, jealousy is not an inherent but learned trait in dogs. While some breed-specific traits of pit bulls can amplify into intense jealousy, it ultimately comes down to the circumstances surrounding the dog’s upbringing and environment.
Are pit bulls more prone to jealousy than other dog breeds? The answer is somewhat nuanced which needs a detailed answer.
What Are the Personality Traits of Pit Bulls?
Anyone who’s had the pleasure of a pit bull’s company knows they are nothing like the picture the anti-pitbull smear campaign paints. In fact, pit bulls have left the notoriously easy-going Golden Retrievers in the dust in temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society.
Here are the most common personality traits pit bulls exhibit:
- Intelligent: pit bulls are notoriously intelligent and can easily pick up on new commands and process new information. These intuitive and high-energy dogs thrive on constant mental stimulation and tackling new physical challenges.
- Stubborn and headstrong: pit bulls have a mind of their own and like to live on their own terms. This means that, while they learn new commands easily, most pit bulls pick and choose when they want to follow them.
- People pleasers: Though their stubborn nature may get in the way sometimes, pit bulls are always eager to please their humans. This trait goes hand-in-hand with their fierce loyalty and devotion to their caretakers.
- Clownish: There is never a dull moment with pit bulls, from their goofy grins and child-like antics.
Nothing in this list of traits suggests that pit bulls are inherently jealous. But their strong-headed, intuitive, and eager-to-please nature can and often does take a turn for the worse and manifest as jealous behavior.
To understand and contextualize this further, a discussion on the breed’s history and current predicament is important.
The Tragic History of Pit Bulls
Pit bulls are descendants of the now-extinct British bull-and-terriers. Bull-and-terriers came to America in the 19th century when blood sports, particularly dog fighting, became a common pastime for nobles and commoners alike.
Eventually, dog-fighting was illegalized in many countries. Much to people’s surprise, though, it turned out that these infamously “aggressive” dogs were extremely sweet-natured and family-oriented if they weren’t egged to fight.
There are countless historical photos of pit bulls lounging around with toddlers and helping around the family farm. At one point during World War II, pit bulls actually became the national symbol of strength and fearlessness.
Unfortunately, class prejudice and sensationalist reporting have led to the pit bull’s fall from grace. American shelters report that pit bulls are the most common breeds to end up in shelters or out on the streets. At the same time, pit bulls are also the most commonly adopted shelter breeds.
So what does all of this say about a pitbull’s jealous tendencies?
Breed-Specific Reasons for Pit Bull Jealousy
According to the research, the green-eyed monster can strike when our dogs don’t get the attention they want from their owners.
Putting it all together, here are some ways that environmental factors can worsen a pitbull’s temperament and turn them green with jealousy:
- History of abuse and neglect: if you adopted your pit bull from a shelter, it’s safe to assume that the dog has had a rough life. From neglectful owners to insecure living situations, your adopted pit bull will need a lot of reassurance that they have found their forever homes. In the meantime, you can expect some wary and jealous behavior from these dogs, who are still getting used to the safety and comfort of their new family.
- Weariness towards other animals: pit bulls are insanely affectionate towards their owners, unbothered by strangers, and extremely wary of other animals. Keep in mind that, for centuries, pit bulls were often pitted against bulls and even other dogs but would never attack their handlers. Hence, your pit bull will not take kindly to you giving all your attention to the new pet addition to your family.
- A strong bond with human parents: pit bulls thrive on the attention they get from their owners. If you and your pit bulls are in the same vicinity and you don’t acknowledge their presence, it’s enough to trigger a tantrum. Combine this with their stubbornness, and it will take a lot of reassurance to pacify your huffy pit bulls.
- High energy: pit bulls are insanely athletic and need constant physical and mental stimulation. Otherwise, they will turn their high energy reserves towards you and demand constant attention, which can appear as jealous behavior.
How to Stop Jealousy in Pit Bulls
If your pit bull displays signs of jealousy, it’s most likely to do with their environment or history of neglectful behavior. Luckily, this means that you can address this behavior and train it out of them.
The first thing you should do is get an evaluation done by a dog behaviorist. These experts can help pinpoint any triggers and offer solutions to help your green-eyed pit bulls cope with their insecurities. This is especially important for adopted pit bulls who might have a traumatic past and need help with rehabilitation.
But most importantly, they will instruct you to address the underlying causes of your pitbull’s jealous behavior. For example, maybe there’s a sudden change in their environment due to moving houses or getting a new pet.
Conclusion – Pit Bulls Aren’t Jealous by Nature
Pit bulls are many things: loyal, affectionate, goofy, stubborn, high-energy, and intelligent. But their tragic past has rendered them some of the most neglected, abused, and abandoned dog breeds in the world.
Indeed, pit bulls aren’t jealous by nature. However, they are extremely affectionate, devoted, headstrong, and require constant stimulation. In other words, pit bulls want to be as involved in the household as anyone else.
Moreover, a history of abuse and neglect may render some pit bulls warier than others. If your pitbull is adopted, bear in mind that they will need proper rehabilitation and ample time to realize that they are finally safe and secure and have nothing to worry about.