The American Pit Bull Terrier is a companion and family dog breed. Originally bred to “bait” bulls, the breed evolved into all-around farm dogs, and later moved into the house to become “nanny dogs” because they were so gentle around children. The American pit bull terrier may have a bad reputation, but under all that muscle is a heart of gold.
Pit bulls were bred for a brutal lifestyle in Great Britain. The bulldog was crossed with either the white English terrier or the black-and-tan terrier to create powerfully-built dogs for fighting. Blood sports such as bull and bear baiting were popular in England as early as the 1200s. Dogs would enter pits and fight the giant animals for entertainment (hence the name). When baiting became illegal in England in the 1800s, pit bulls were turned on each other and illegal dog fighting became prevalent.
Fortunately, the tide is changing for the misunderstood breed, and many cities are reconsidering their ban.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is one of the so-called bully breeds often labeled a pit bull. In fact, “pit bull” isn’t a breed, but a term used to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Some people say the American Pit Bull Terrier is the same as the American Staffordshire Terrier. Others, just as forcefully, say they’re entirely different breeds.
But all experts can agree that the confusion started with a decision by the AKC in the early 1930s to give it a new name, American Staffordshire Terrier, to separate it from its pit-fighting past. The American Pit Bull Terrier has not been recognized by the AKC, while the American Staffordshire Terrier, which is slightly smaller, has been.
The breed has been through a number of name changes.
The AKC wasn’t the only group to attempt a rebranding. In the ’90s, San Francisco tried to change the dogs’ name to St. Francis terriers.
In 2004, the New York City Animal Care and Control tried to rename the dogs “New Yorkies.” According to director Ed Boks, “New Yorkers, like pit bulls, are sometimes perceived as a standoffish and mean breed—but are actually some of the most generous and open-hearted people I’ve ever met.” Sadly, the plan was a flop.
Fun fact The army used the pit bull as a mascot.
World War I propaganda posters would adopt the images of dogs to symbolize different countries. Germany was represented by the dachshund, England by the bulldog, and the United States by the pit bull.
The best part They’re very loving. When properly socialized and trained, pits can be some of the friendliest dogs you’ll meet. While you should never say hello to a dog you don’t know without first asking its owner, pit bulls are naturally warm and kind-hearted canines.
Keep in mind that every generation has a dog that it has decided is dangerous. In the 1800s, it wasthe bloodhound. Often dogs with bad reputations are guilty of the most dog attacks because they are bought, and trained, for the purpose of being aggressive not because they’re inherently so. Any poorly trained dog can be violent; shower yours with love and attention, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a cuddly, loyal companion.