PIT BULL 101

WHAT IS A PIT BULL?

First let me state that the name Pit Bull is a term now used to describe several types of breeds, it is not a breed. Originally it was meant to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but the ignorant media has changed that to any Terrier, Mastiff, Bulldog or mix that they feel will sell a story by naming it a 'Pit Bull'. Many people can not identify an American Pit Bull Terrier on this website. "Pit Bulls" are often mislabeled in shelters. Recent studies have proved that dogs commonly identified as "Pit Bulls" often are a mix of multiple breeds, so breed identification by appearance alone is considered inaccurate and misleading.

As far as dogs that have been categorized as "Pit Bulls", this would refer to the long list of "Bully" Breeds that you can see Here

The ancestors of modern pit bulls, English and French bulldogs, and other related breeds were powerful mastiffs bred for farm work. Specifically, these dogs accompanied farmers into the fields to assist with bringing bulls in for breeding, castration, or slaughter. The dogs, known generally as bulldogs, protected the farmer by subduing the bull if it attempted to gore him. Typically a dog would do this by biting the bull on the nose and holding on until the bull submitted. Because of the nature of their job, bulldogs were bred to have powerful jaws, muscular bodies, and the resolve to hold onto a violently-struggling bull, even when injured.

Eventually these dogs' purpose inspired the widespread practice of the bloody sports of bull-baiting and bear-baiting. In Bull-Baiting, Bulls brought to market were set upon by dogs as a way of tenderizing the meat and providing entertainment for the spectators; and dog fights with bears, bulls and other animals were often organized as entertainment for both royalty and commoners. Early Bull and Terriers were bred for the characteristic known as gameness. Breeders strive to produce a more muscular, compact, and agile dog for these competitions. The pitting of dogs against bear or bull tested the gameness, strength and skill of the dog. These early "proto-staffords" provided the ancestral foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. This common ancestor was known as the "Bull and Terrier".

These bloodsports were officially eliminated in 1835 as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. Since dogfights were cheaper to organize and far easier to conceal from the law than bull or bear baits, bloodsport proponents turned to pitting their dogs against each other instead. Dog fighting was used as both a bloodsport (often involving gambling) and a way to continue to test the quality of their stock. For decades afterwards, dog fighting clandestinely took place in pockets of working-class Britain and America. Dogs were released into a pit, and the last dog still fighting was recognized as the winner. The quality of pluckiness or "gameness" was still highly prized, and dogs that gave up during a fight were reviled as "curs". Dogs were bred for specific traits useful in the dog-fighting ring, refining the agility, gameness, and power already present in the bull-and-terrier breeds. They were also bred to be intelligent and level-headed during fights and non aggressive toward humans. Part of the standard for organized dog-fighting required judges to be able to handle a dog and that an owner be able to enter the ring, pick up his dog while it was engaged in a fight, and carry it out of the ring without being bitten. Dogs that bit their owners were culled. As a result, Victorian fighting dogs (Staffordshire Bull Terriers and, though less commonly used as fighters, English Bull Terriers) generally had stable temperaments and were commonly kept in the home by the gambling men who owned them.

During the mid-1800s, immigration to the United States from Ireland and England brought an influx of these dogs to America, where they were bred to be larger and stockier, working as farm dogs in the West as much as fighting dogs in the cities. In the US many Staffordshire Bull Terriers were imported by pit fighters and used in their breeding programs to produce the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. Many were imported by British nationals who brought their dogs with them or U.S. expatriates who fell in love with the breed in England and brought it home. The resulting breed, the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also called the American Pit Bull Terrier, became known as an "all-American" dog. Pit bull type dogs became popular as family pets for citizens who were not involved in dog-fighting or farming.

So, to say they were bred to be fighting dogs is true, but not all of them. It just depended on where they landed in America (City or Farm/West) After dog fighting was banned in the 1900's the breed again split. Now there were working dogs, fight dogs and show dogs and the most common trait that all 3 had bred into them was to be submissive to man. The dogs bred for show became the American Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. With this being fact, your "Pit Bull" could of come from any of these 3 backgrounds. Don't let people make a blanket statement about your dog in saying they were bred to fight.

Take a look at some of these "Classic Pits"

Where do "Blue" Pit bulls come from?

First thing to know about "Blue" Pit Bulls is they are not what some people call "Blue Nose". "Blue Nose" is a backyard breeder term that was made up to try and help sell dogs. They are just called "Blues". The only color pit bull that is used with the word nose is "Red Nose". That's it. Now as far as where the "Blue" color comes from, there is a recessive gene in dogs called a dilution gene. If both parents have the dilution gene, and it goes to the puppies, it dilutes (fades) colors. Brown dogs look fawn (red) colored while black dogs look (blue) gray. It is not a defect, just a gene pair that causes it. If your dog did not have a dilution gene, it would be black. Blue is NOT a skin deformity in any type of dog, it is simply a color. Blue is a recessive color, so the only way to get it is to breed two dogs that are carrying the gene. Since the easiest way to do this is to breed related dogs there is often a problem with health problems also being passed down the line along with the color in many breeds. As for where the "original" blue color came from in any breed of dog, it is a random genetic mutation. These can occur in any species at any time.

Where do Tri-Color Pit Bulls come from?

"Pit Bulls are aggressive"
This is rarely true, not only with Pit Bulls but with any dog. Dogs usually become aggressive when they are frightened or apprehensive and they give many signals when they are. Dogs have a very clear set of signals they use to indicate that they want to play or be left alone. If you ever watch a pack of feral dogs, they very rarely act aggressively towards each other. Because as pack animals it's in their DNA to live socially. Dogs do not respond to unbalanced energy, they are drawn to calm energy. When things become unbalanced they become frightened or apprehensive which can cause them to react aggressively.

You want statistics?

Although there are no accurate or even near accurate census records for dogs in the U.S., in some areas pit bulls are estimated to comprise some 30-40% of the dog population, making it by FAR the most popular breed. Considering that there are an estimated 53,000,000 dogs in the U.S., and assuming that pit bulls make up 20% of that population, there would be approximately 10,600,000 pit bulls in our society.

There are about 4.8 MILLION pits in the United States, alone, yet, over a period of about 20 YEARS, only a LITTLE OVER ONE HUNDRED people have been killed by them. You're probably thinking a little over one hundred is a big number, even over a period of 20 years, but consider this: 115 people die EVERY DAY in automobile accidents in the United States, alone. You should be far more afraid of automobiles than pit bulls.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • About 40 people (children) per year die by drowning in 5-gallon water pails. A person, during their lifetime, is 16 times more likely to drown in a 5-gallon water pail than to be killed by a Pit Bull.

  • Approximately 50 children in the US are killed every year because of their cribs - 25 times the number of children and adults killed by Pit Bulls.

  • Approximately 150 people are killed every year by falling coconuts. Therefore, you are more than 60 TIMES MORE LIKELY to be killed by a PALM TREE than a Pit Bull.

  • Each year, 350 people drown in their bathtubs. You are 151 times more likely to be killed by your bathtub than you are by a Pit Bull.

  • Every year, more than 2,000 children in the U.S. are killed by their parents or guardians either through abuse or neglect. A child is more than 800 times more likely to be killed by their caretaker than by a Pit Bull.

  • It is estimated that 5,000,000 dogs per year are killed in shelters. Since in many places pit bulls make up 30-50% of the shelter population and are less likely to be considered for placement than any other breed, and assuming shelters across the United States euthanized (conservatively) 25% of those pit bulls who were not placed or because the breed is not permitted in that area, then approximately 1,250,000 pit bulls are killed per year. Therefore - it is at least a HALF MILLION TIMES MORE LIKELY that a Pit Bull will be killed by a HUMAN than the other way around.

  • It can be estimated that for every Pit Bull who kills, there are 10.5 MILLION that DON'T!

If it bites, it must be a pit bull, right? by David S. Greene

Was The American Pit Bull Terrier really a Nanny Dog? In reference to the "Anti-Pit Bull people saying this is a Myth

After doing research on this for a while by reading some old books and talking to some older people from England to verify this (which is about the best source you can get). The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was indeed called the Nanny Dog and the older people still refer to them as that today. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is classified as a "Pit Bull" and can be linked to the American Pit Bull Terrier. Here is the weak argument from the "Haters" It is not documented that the American Pit Bull Terrier was called the Nanny Dog. However, they did watch after Children while the family was working. So essentially they were doing the job of a "Nanny".

INFO:

Sadly pit bulls have acquired a reputation as unpredictable, dangerous and vicious. Their sometimes intimidating appearance has made them attractive to the wrong kind of owner - people who are looking for a macho dog and who encourage aggressive behavior. In reality a well-bred, well socialized and well trained pit bull is one of the most delightful, intelligent and gentle dogs imaginable. Pit bulls are loyal and affectionate dogs and love to be with people. Most Pit Bulls are ambassadors for their breed that are loving companions in families. There are Pit Bulls that work in search and rescue, service dogs and as therapy dogs.

Unfortunately we usually hear more about the exceptions than of the rule. It is irresponsible people who take an innocent puppy and turn it into a "bad dog". And though it is true that some dogs have aggressive tendencies, these traits are not breed specific.So what can you do to not become one of those people? BE RESPONSIBLE! Owning a dog is a responsibility. What does that mean? Never allow your pit bull to roam around the neighborhood off-leash and unsupervised. While all dogs should be leashed and supervised when out in public, pit bulls, by virtue of their less-than favorable public image as well as their immense physical strength and tenacity, should always be closely supervised and under control. Even the most gentle, docile pit bull can inadvertently scratch someone during play or nip at a child who is being too rough or who doesn't know how to be behave around dogs, which can quickly turn into a giant problem!

Never keep your pit bull chained or tied up for long periods of time. Long hours spent restrained on a chain can turn a good dog into an aggressive, neurotic, anxious animal. It is a terrible way for a dog to live. If you can't give a dog a good life, maybe you shouldn't have one! Either keep your dog in the house, a well-gated back yard, or in a suitable size dog crate.

Be quick to reprimand or restrain your pit bull when exhibiting any aggressive, hostile behavior. Most dogs, including pit bulls, will find themselves in situations where they react aggressively or engage in fighting with other dogs. While not always an emergency situation or even an unjustified situation, pit bulls, once again, do not possess the same leeway that most other dog breeds possess; again, this is due to their public profile and, to a lesser extent, on their physical capabilities. So be smart. Be quick to remove your dog from any hostile or aggressive situations, and be quick to reprimand or scold your dog when clearly out of line or overstepping normal boundaries.

The name "Pit Bull" was a general name used to group related breeds together such as: American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, American Bully, Bull Terrier. It is not an actual breed. Now, the name "Pit Bull" is used for any dog who looks similar to any one of those breeds. These "Pit Bull" "look-a-likes", often get classified as Pit Bulls by people and the media, because of ignorance. When one of these other breeds of dogs does something negative, the "Pit Bull" name gets blamed. These breeds include: Perro de Presa Canario, Cane Corso, Dogo Argentino, Alano Espanol, Japanese Tosa, Dogue de Bordeaux, Cordoba Fighting Dog, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, Boxer, Valley Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge, Renascence Bulldogge, Banter Bulldogge. Do you think you can pick out an American Pit Bull Terrier if you saw one? Try it for yourself: FIND THE AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER For Those Who Fear Or Hate Pit Bulls...There are about 4.8 MILLION pits in the United States, alone, yet, over a period of about 20 YEARS, only a LITTLE OVER ONE HUNDRED people have been killed by them. You're probably thinking a little over one hundred is a big number, even over a period of 20 years, but consider this: 115 people die EVERY DAY in automobile accidents in the United States, alone. You should be far more afraid of automobiles than pit bulls. Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

IN DEFENSE OF...

There is no credible evidence to demonstrate that any particular breed or type is overrepresented among biting dogs. Professional animal expert organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, have found that no breed is more dangerous than another.

FACTS ABOUT THE "PIT BULL:

  • The American Pit Bull Terrier was bred to be submissive to man

  • Pit Bulls have a strong desire to please their owners, more then any other breed.

  • In England, Pit Bulls have such a widespread reputation for being great with children that they are nicknamed, "The Nanny Dog."

  • Pit Bulls do NOT have locking jaws

  • The American Staffordshire Terrier gained AKC recognition in 1936, but under the name Staffordshire Terrier. The AKC added the word "American" to the name in 1972 to differentiate the breed from AKC's newly recognized Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • In 1898, the United Kennel Club (UKC) formed for the purpose of providing registration and fighting guidelines for the American Pit Bull Terrier. Years later, Pit Bull owners wanting to distance themselves from the fighting aspect of the breed petitioned the American Kennel Club (AKC) for recognition of the Pit Bull so that the breed could compete in AKC dog shows and other performance events.

  • Nipper, the famous RCA dog, was a Pit Bull.

  • Dog Jack, a canine war hero during the Civil War, was a Pit Bull.

  • Alaska's first certified hearing dog was a Pit Bull

  • World War I and II posters feature Pit Bulls as mascots for the United States of America.

  • Stubby, America's First War Dog, was a Pit Bull and is one of the most highly decorated dogs in U.S. history.

  • Helen Keller owned a Pit Bull

  • Pete the Pup of the Little Rascals was a Pit Bull

  • The American Pit Bull Terrier is considered the strongest dog in the world for it's size.

  • The Pit Bull's intelligence, trainability and pleasant nature, make him an ideal canidate for therapy work with people.

IS A BULLY BREED RIGHT FOR YOU? (Ask yourself these questions)

  • Am I an experienced Dog Owner, or a Natural Leader?

  • Am I firmly committed to socializing and training my puppy for the rest of their life?

  • Do I tend to be calm and quiet rather then short fused and hyper?

  • Will I train my dog with kindness, consistency and patience?

  • Am I a physically active person? Can I match my dog's energy?

  • Am I willing to exercise this dog everyday?

  • Am I informed about the misconceptions and the biases against this breed?

  • Do I understand that this dog must be a part of the family?

  • Can I provide a warm home for this dog and not keep him chained outside?

  • Am I eager to convince the public that Bully Breeds make great Family Pets?

  • Am I up for fighting BSL and Negative Breed Profiling?

  • Do I want to rescue or go to a breeder? And what to look for in either one?

  • Am I aware of my community and know if I can have a Bully Breed in it?

RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS (want to get a dog from a breeder? Here are some main points that make a responsible breeder, ask all these questions when selecting a breeder)

  • Does the breeder breed several different types of dogs? This can often be a red flag and you should try to stick with breeders who only work with American Pit Bull Terriers.

  • A responsible Pit Bull breeder will be able to tell you the negative characteristics and health issues of his breeding line and also what he has done over the years to improve that aspect of his dogs.

  • Can the breeder thoroughly explain to you how he selects dogs for breeding and what characteristics they will most likely throw?

  • How often does the breeder have litters of puppies? Breeders who have many, many litters each year may not be a good choice.

  • Is the breeder involved with Pit Bulls on a larger scale than just breeding them?

  • Does the breeder keep in touch with those who have purchased puppies from him? Breeders who sell pups and then have no idea where they end up should be avoided.

  • Where does the breeder keep his puppies at before they are sold? Are they well socialized?

LEARN ABOUT:

EDUCATIONAL ARTICLES

PIT BULL ABUSE

BULLY BREEDS

  • Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog

  • American Bulldog

  • American Bully

  • American Pit Bull Terrier

  • American Staffordshire Terrier

  • Banter Bulldogge

  • Boston Terrier

  • Boxer

  • Bull Terrier

  • Bulldog

  • Bullmastiff

  • English Bulldog

  • French Bulldog

  • Olde English Bulldogge

  • Pug

  • Renascence Bulldog

  • Shorty Bull

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Valley Bulldog

  • Victorian Bulldog