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Friend Or Fiend? 'Pit Bull' Explores The History Of America's Most Feared Dog– Terry Gross, Fresh Air:

Pit bulls are probably the most feared dogs in the U.S. They're associated with dogfighting, attacking people and serving as guard dogs for drug dealers. Their bite is feared as being more dangerous than the bites of other dogs. Many cities and towns have passed laws making it illegal to own pit bulls. But in the new book "Pit Bull," my guest Bronwen Dickey says that a lot of the popular beliefs about pit bulls as predators are based on myth and misinformation.

Today's profiling of pit bulls contrast with the dogs' image in the first half of the 20th century when pit bulls were often cast in films as trick dogs and comic sidekick rolls. Luke the bull terrier performed tricks and comic stunts in Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Fatty Arbuckle films. A pit bull co-starred in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" film comedies. A pitbull starred in the Buster Brown comic strips and appeared in the logo for Buster Brown children's shoes.

Bronwen Dickey's book is a history of pit bulls and our changing preconceptions of them. She is the daughter of the late writer James Dickey, who is most famous for his novel "Deliverance," which was adapted into the film of the same name.

Pit bulls are just dogs. They're no different from other dogs except for in their appearance. Like all dogs, whether they're loving or vicious depends mostly on their upbringing.

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