Pit Bull Popularity by State

Pit Bull breeds across the USA

Pit Bull breeds across the USA

In the last post, I looked at the Google trends regional interest for the AKC and UKC’s “Top 10″ breeds. The number 2 most popular breed registered with the UKC is the “American Pit Bull Terrier” but unlike many breeds which are wholly captured in one registry and which have very little variation, the politics and history of the bully breed landrace don’t settle nicely into a single search term.

So, here are few more interest maps for Bully Breeds. Remember that the data is normalized to factor out gross search volume (i.e. population).  In the case of “Pitbull” I added -lyrics to remove the error introduced by the rapper of that name, and for “bulldog” I added puppies to remove the error of popular sports franchises that biased the results away from actual interest in dogs.

Pit Bull, Pitbull, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, American Bulldog Johnson Type, American Bulldog Scott type, Bulldog, Bull Terrier:

The overwhelming conclusion of the data is just how South-centric the Pit Bull search terms are.  Save for the one Minnesota ping on the “American Staffordshire Terrier” search and Alaska for “Staffordshire Bull Terrier,” there is light representation outside the South.

It’s interesting to compare the above maps with the states that have enacted Breed Specific Legislation against Pit Bulls according to this anti-BSL site.  They are a veritable firewall around the South:

BSL Firewall

BSL Firewall

This find was initially very appealing to the hypothesis that “pit bull” culture as a whole is radiating out of the South and the backlash against the fighting and thuggish elements of that culture would most likely begin along the borders where local appeal and custom clashed with outside culture that would be offended enough into legislation: a border war.

Unfortunately I don’t believe the handful of cities that have BSL as represented in the above map are necessarily representative.  For example, the only city in Oklahoma that has BSL is a 2 square mile town with 2k people on the border with Arkansas called Spiro. The only ban in New York is the 1 square mile town of under 6k people called Larchmont.  Highlighting an entire state when one little municipality has an anti-Pit Bull law doesn’t really give the right impression. It turns out that there are over 700 cities in the USA with BSL and there are only 12 states that don’t include at least one municipal law banning, restricting, or declaring pit bulls vicious.

So until someone else takes the time to map out those 700+ cities, here’s a map of the 12 states that are BSL-free (Hawaii had a ban but it lapsed).

No BSL map

No BSL map

It’s not a big surprise that the three Whitest states in the Union {Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire}, two of which are also quite affluent, and all three which are low crime don’t have BSL.  But Virginia and Arizona stand out as two states that one would think would have at least one municipality with anti-pit bull legislation.  Virginia is a firewall state for much of the culture clash between the South and the Mid Atlantic states and it hosted the Michael Vick affair; while Arizona borders numerous California counties that have enacted mandatory sterilization laws for Pit Bulls (and even Chihuahuas) and itself is embroiled in the sort of culture, gang, race, and poverty conflicts which are fuel for BSL legislation.

Certainly more questions than answers, but the potential regional angle to the question of Pit Bull culture is interesting and appears to be worth further exploration.

* * *
Comments and disagreements are welcome, but be sure to read the Comment Policy. If this post made you think and you'd like to read more like it, consider a donation to my 4 Border Collies' Treat and Toy Fund. They'll be glad you did. You can subscribe to the feed or enter your e-mail in the field on the left to receive notice of new content. You can also like BorderWars on Facebook for more frequent musings and curiosities.
* * *

About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.