If you were to ask someone the question, “What is a Pit Bull” you would probably get a variety of different answers.
We will try to explain exactly what a Pit Bull breed is.
Even more importantly, we will try to explain what it is not.
A Word On Pit Bull Breed
The United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) refer to Pit Bulls as “American Pit Bull Terriers” and “American Staffordshire Terriers.”
In other words, the two terms are the same and interchangeable.
Both refer to the Pit Bull breed.
Why the interchangeable names?
Because in 1936, when the Pit Bull Terrier got added to the AKC registry, the registry decided that they wanted to remove the ‘pit’ reference.
In return, they changed the name of the Pit Bull to the Staffordshire Terrier.
In a nutshell…
“Pit Bull” is an umbrella term that typically refers to:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Bulldog
- American Bully
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier, or
- Mixes from the above breeds
Famous Pit Bulls
The first dog ever registered as a Staffordshire Terrier and recognized by the AKC was featured on the television show “The Little Rascals.”
His name was Petey, the dog. He was a happy-go-lucky dog often seen frolicking around with all of the Little Rascal Children. (You can see Petey’s Pit Bull dog pictures above).
Once the 1970’s hit, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was added to the AKC registry as a “recognized” dog breed.
They had already named the American Pit Bull Terrier the “Staffordshire Terrier” by then, so they officially changed the name to the “American Staffordshire Terrier.”
But it wasn’t just the Little Rascals that loved Pit Bulls. A Pit Bull was also featured on the WWII neutrality posters, Laura Ingalls Wilder traveled with her Bully named Jack, and Tige, the Pit Bull, became the focus of Buster Brown ads.
Hellen Keller also owned a pit bull who went by the name of Phiz,
Keanu Reeves’ John Wick movie has a pit bull named “Bubba.”
Sergeant Stubby was the most decorated canine officer in the history of the U.S. military. Sergeant Stubby was the first dog ever to be given rank in the U.S. Army.
The Problem With The Media
As we all know, we can’t trust everything we see in the media. And the media often confuses us when it comes to distinguishing this dog breed from other dogs.
Because it pretty much names any dog with short hair and a powerful build as a ‘pit bull’ (please note the lack of capital letters).
Over a dozen breeds of dog are commonly referred to as ‘pit bulls’ in media reports, breed legislation, and dog-related laws.
What Are The Different Breeds Of Pit Bulls?
All of the following are ‘types of pit bulls‘:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- American Bulldog, a.k.a. English Pit Bull
- Dogo Canario
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- Patterdale Terrier
- Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
- Catahoula Bulldog
- Cane Corso
- pit bull mix etc.
Pit Bull Dog Breed Description
A true Pit Bull is small to medium in size, athletic in build, intelligent, courageous, and powerful.
Although there have been a few exceptions, a Pit Bull weighing 65 pounds was always considered large.
Only dogs with conformation and working titles get bred when Pit Bull breeders are responsible. Unfortunately, responsible Pit Bull breeders are few and far between.
If you were to look at the history of the Pit Bull, you would hear tales of small, powerful, and agile fighting dogs.
You would rarely find an overbred dog that is stocky and has difficulty carrying its weight.
Now we’re not saying that dogs who do not fit the “standard” cannot be great – they absolutely can. All we’re saying is that you should not breed them.
The following are excerpts from the breed standards from the AKC, UKC, and American Dog Breeder’s Association (a Pit Bull registry).
The American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, short-coated dog with smooth, well-defined musculature. This breed is both powerful and athletic.
“This breed combines strength and athleticism with grace and agility and should never appear bulky or muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy.” – UKC Standard
The body is just slightly longer than tall, but bitches may be somewhat longer in body than dogs.
ADBA(Conforming to Type)
Type is the essence of the breed.
Breed type is that collection of specific characteristics that, when taken together, separate one breed from another.
- Athletic – (Solid front end, light, and springy back end.)
- Sturdy – not racy or frail
- Confident, secure, carries its territory with him.
- It should look like an American Pit Bull Terrier from across the ring.
What good is it to say your dogs were ‘purebred’ registered Pit Bulls when the dogs produced look NOTHING like the breed standard of your organization thinks they should look?
If you want to understand the Pit Bull fully, you must first know a little about the history of the Pit Bull dog breeds.
We now call the American Pit Bull Terrier originated as a butcher’s dog, a farm dog, and a stock dog in England. The working Bulldog guarded the shop and watched over livestock.
These dogs were seen as safe, capable, and intelligent companions who could also be strong guardians if the need arose.
Come the 1800’s, England made bull baiting a popular blood sport. For entertainment, people would set Bulldogs on mature Bulls.
True to their nature, the Bulldogs did not disappoint – frequently besting animals that were over ten times their size.
When Bull Baiting became illegal, humans devised an even more vicious animal contest for the faithful Bulldog – dogfighting.
It was now that the solid and sturdy Bulldog got bred with Terriers, resulting in a smaller Bulldog with the speed and stamina of a Terrier.
And with this, the ultimate fighting machine was born. People bred Pit Bulls to be small, fast, courageous, and strong. They were also taught never to give up, regardless of the odds.
To maintain their fighting capabilities, Dog aggression became a necessary breed characteristic.
But contrary to what the media may tell us, Pit Bulls were NEVER bred to be aggressive towards humans, and the Pit Bull dog breed was bred to fight other dogs.
And sadly, those fights usually resulted in extreme pain and injury.
Whenever fighting, there were always three people in the ring – each dog’s handler and the referee. All three men needed to remain safe from the dogs, so if a dog ever bit a human, it would be immediately killed off.
I’m sad to say that dogfighting isn’t necessarily a thing of the past. Unfortunately, there are still sick and cruel individuals who carry out this cruel sport.
This is true even though dogfighting has been illegal in the U.S. for many years. Even though Pit Bulls would happily compete in other, safer sports, it is also true. Any Pit Bull would be more than happy to test their skills in weight training, agility, flyball, etc.
It’s About Irresponsible Pit Bull Owners, Not the Breed
Before deciding whether or not you are ready for this amazing breed of dog, I would like to share some Pit Bull facts.
As the Pit Bull dog pictures above show, the American Pit Bulls’ behavior can be different from black and white.
Two different types of Pit Bulls Owners/Breeders:
(1) The first type of breeder is the one who understands how gentle, loving, and loyal Pit Bull can be. These breeders work to enhance the name of the American Pit Bull Terrier – not dirty it.
(2) The second type of breeder is the one whose greed and lust for the money destroy their soul and hardens their hearts. These are the types of breeders that give both themselves and the Pit Bull dog breed a bad name.
This second breeder sees the Pit Bull as excessively strong and agile. They use their Pit bulls to promote personal gain.
These people don’t see the Pit Bull for what it is – a perfect family dog that thrives on pleasing its owners and works diligently to be exactly what its owners expect them to be.
Is A Pit Bull A Good Family Dog?
Regardless of how one raises a pit bull, one thing always stands true – they are no natural bully. If they are a bully, it’s because an irresponsible owner raised them to be so.
In their heart, Pit Bulls crave the attention of others – regardless of species. Pit Bulls love being the center of attention, getting lots of love, and are always up for a good game of tug.
Unfortunately, this same love and craving can turn the Pit Bull into something extremely dangerous.
We cannot deny the fact that Pit Bulls can be potential killers. Any creature with a muscular build and powerful jaws like the Pit Bull could do a great deal of damage.
And unfortunately, Pit Bulls don’t always recognize their strength. Their love to playfully wrestle and chase. Unfortunately, their fun game can quickly turn into a very dangerous one.
When enjoying themselves, the Pit Bull dog breed sometimes gets caught up in the moment.
This is why you should never allow your Bully to run freely without supervision. This remains true regardless of how gentle or well-trained they may be.
On the flip side, the Pit Bull’s loving nature matches its amazing strength.
When bred and raised correctly, they can be as loyal and loving as strong.
Are you still thinking about getting a Pit Bull Puppy?
If you think you might still want one of our favorite dogs, there are a few more things we think you should know.
Here are a few Pit Bull issues that you could become confronted with:
1. The need to train your pit bull.
If you want to get a Pit Bull puppy, you’re going to need to devote a great deal of time to training. As a puppy, it demands time and attention.
If you do not have the time to give, please opt for a less demanding breed. The Pit Bull is extremely intelligent, willing to learn, and aims to please. You need to devote time to their training.
If you are willing to make an honest effort, we promise you great results.
But if left to their own accord, they can become destructive. And if we were to put an untrained Pit Bull through the Pit Bull Temperament Test, you will quickly see that they happily take on the role of Alpha in the family.
And believe me, that is not a good thing. Just as children must understand that their parents are in control, so must the Pit Bull.
What will happen if you don’t take control? Well, let’s say there will be trouble. And if you don’t train your Pit Bull not to nip, serious injuries can result.
Remember, even the most fun-loving Pit Bulls pack a great deal of power behind those jaws – so even if they don’t mean to, they could still cause an injury.
So if you want to own a Pit Bull breed, discipline is a must!
2. What will others think?
Now I’m sure, “who cares?” is the first response that comes to your mind. But can I suggest that you at least think about it?
Even though my dog passes the Pit Bull temperament test with flying colors, other people might not see her as the gentle and loving soul that she is.
On the complete flip side of things are the people that will steal Pit Bulls right out of your backyard.
When it comes to interesting facts about Pit Bulls, here is one: despite them being the most feared dog breed globally, they are also one of the top dog breeds to become stolen.
And unfortunately, when people steal Pit Bulls, it is not usually because they want them as loving household pets. And instead, they steal them to resell them and put them in the fighting pit.
Then you have the Pit Bull haters. Or, even worse, the fools that want to disprove the strength of a Pit Bull by pitting their dog against yours. Please, it’s not worth the price of finding out who is stronger!
3. Problems with your homeowner’s insurance!
Finally, before deciding whether the Pit Bull dog breed is right for you, consider the fact that they can increase your homeowner’s insurance. In some cases, you could have your insurance cut altogether.
I will be the first to say that the “Pit Bull” is the perfect family dog. And by reading this article, I hope I haven’t damped your desire for a beautiful companion.
When it comes to Pit Bull breed facts, I cannot deny that they have the uncanny ability to wiggle their way into your heart and cause you to think that you will never own another dog breed again.
But please, take the time to think before you bring these unique dog breeds into your home. Think for your own sake, as well as for the sake of the puppy.