Breed Info

Introduction

For anyone interested in acquiring a pit bull*, for those who already have one and would like to learn more about the breed, or for anyone who would simply like to understand these affectionate, extraordinary dogs a little better; you’ve come to the right place.

*”Pit bull” is NOT a breed. It’s a generic term often used to describe all dogs with similar traits and characteristics known to the public as “pit bulls.” When we use the term “pit bull” here, it should be understood to encompass American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

pit-bull-breed-history-infoSome of the most notable traits of pit-bull-type dogs include their great love for people and their potential for dog aggression. Pit bulls make wonderful and loyal family companions, and like all dogs they require intelligent, responsible, and dedicated ownership. Because of the breed’s undeserved negative media image, pit bull owners have to be even more careful and responsible than the average dog owner. They must also be aware of the myths (urban legends, really) surrounding their dogs. Owners must be well educated about bully breeds, because they will likely face comments from friends, families, and neighbors.

Unfortunately, some people obtain pit bulls for the wrong reasons; to boost their own image, for dog fighting, or for backyard breeding, which makes life difficult for responsible owners. The good news is that pit bulls are now more popular than ever, and each good owner has an opportunity to reshape the breed’s image in positive ways. When you adopt a pit bull, you adopt the most energetic, intelligent, and loyal friend you’ll ever have, but you also take up a responsibility to represent the entire breed.

It’s unfortunate that one of the original purposes of the pit bull was dog fighting, but it is a fact that cannot be denied or ignored. Even more unfortunate is the fact that they are still chosen for this purpose, even though it is illegal in all fifty states and, in certain instances, as the Michael Vick case illustrates, a federal crime. Adopting a pit bull, loving it, and training it as a breed ambassador are the most important things any of us civilians can do to combat people like Vick.

gray-pitWe are committed to educating current and potential pit bull owners so they have a better understanding of their dog and thus provide responsible and caring ownership. We do not wish to overemphasize the fighting aspect of the breed’s history, a history that does not negate their various positive traits or their scientifically proven gentleness toward humans. But we do acknowledge the importance of respecting the breed’s history. This is not to suggest that pit bulls are “different” or “unique” in a way that makes them dangerous. Those who claim that pit bulls are “different” fail to understand that all dog breeds are, in some way, different from each other. That’s what makes them dog breeds! (Besides, many breeds were historically bred to fight other animals. Pit bulls are not unique in this sense.) To put it simply, no matter what kind of dog you have, understanding its breed is the first step toward being a good dog owner. By nature, pit bulls are intelligent, fun loving, and affectionate. It’s our job to help them fulfill that potential.

 

Breed Overview

Pit bulls are wonderful, loving animals that deserve the chance to have a good life.

Pit bulls have superior physical and mental characteristics that make them excellent partners for responsible, active, and caring owners. These same outstanding qualities can, however, make them a little difficult to handle for people who don’t have a lot of experience with dog ownership or for those who don’t understand the breed well. Luckily, pit bulls are intelligent, very responsive to training, and, above all, eager to please. Therefore, pit bulls should be enrolled in obedience classes as soon as they are up-to-date on their shots. (Pit bulls are more susceptible to parvovirus, so it is important that they receive all their vaccinations before coming into contact with other dogs or entering areas of high canine traffic.) A well-behaved pit bull is the best ambassador for the breed. As we’ve already noted, this is the easiest way to fight breed prejudice and misconception.

pi-bull-all-american-dogPit bulls are quite resilient and can do well in an urban environment, provided they have enough exercise and other positive outlets for their energy. Many pit bulls are easygoing couch potatoes, but like all terriers, they can also be somewhat rambunctious until they mature. Maturity can come relatively late with this breed (two to three years old in some cases). Pit bulls remain playful throughout their lifespan (nine to fifteen years) and have a great sense of humor. True clowns at heart, these dogs will make you laugh like no other.

Pit bulls are energetic, agile, and strong. They are also very resourceful and driven. Determination is one of their most notable traits. They put their heart and soul into whatever they set out to do: whether it is escaping an inadequately fenced yard to explore the neighborhood, destroying your new couch when left home alone, or climbing into your lap to shower you with kisses!

As Stahlkuppe (1995) writes, “The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), or the AmStaff, is certainly not the right pet for everyone. Being a powerful dog, it will require sufficient and adequate control. Some prospective elderly owners or children will not be able to supply that control…An insecure person who wants only an aggressive dog to bolster some personal human inadequacy should never become an owner of one of these dogs. An uncaring or negligent person should not buy an AmStaff or an APBT (or any other dog for that matter).”

An All-American Dog Breed History

Humans have created dog breeds by emphasizing desirable traits and eliminating unwanted ones. It is no different with pit-bull-type dogs. In the same way that Labradors were bred to retrieve birds, pit bulls were originally bred for dog fighting and bull and bear baiting. This does not, however, mean that fighting is the sole purpose of these breeds or that this component of the breeds’ history.

Source: Pit Bull Rescue Central