A synopsis of pit bulls. Some history on the breed along with some facts. Myths about these dogs are debunked.

Most people shy away and cringe when you say the words “pit bull.” They often relate this dog with aggression, dog fighting, and vicious attacks. Very few actually know the true facts on this misunderstood dog. Although it is true that many of these dogs are used for fighting, the breed is not to blame for humans’ stupidity. These dogs were bred in England, Ireland, and Scotland to incorporate the eagerness of a terrier with the strength of a bulldog and are part of the terrier group. They may also be labeled as an American Staffordshire Terrier. They became known as pit bulls because they were thrown into rat pits to kill rats. Pits were very popular until the end of World War II. They vary in color and are easy to groom and generally are healthy.

Pit bulls are actually very loyal dogs. Most pits are friendly toward strangers. The American Temperament Testing Society shows that 84% of pits pass the temperament tests. The phrase “there is no such thing as a bad dog only bad owners” definitively applies to this breed. These dogs do have a high prey drive and need lots of exercise; this is usually why the pitties get a bad name. One of the best things about this breed is that this dog can take a lot of abuse then, rescued from that environment, trust man again and be friendly. If the dog is socialized the American pit bull terrier can be a great family dog.

Pit bulls are often associated with bites. However these dogs do not hold the record for the breed with the most bites. Golden retrievers actually have bitten more times than the pit. Theodore Roosevelt owned a pit bull. Petey, the mascot on The Little Rascals, was a pit bull. This breed was also a mascot for the U.S. military until the end of WW II. After that the popularity began to decline slowly until people now unjustly fear the breed. Remember it is not the dog’s fault for his behavior; a human made the dog that way.

With recent television shows like Pit Boss on Animal Planet, popularity and compassion for this breed has risen. However more needs to be done to help protect this breed. Pit bulls are very beautiful, intelligent, and loyal. Unfortunately these dogs have been given a bad reputation over the years. It is true that many of these dogs were used for dog fighting, but this is not the dog’s fault. The pets only do what the human wants them to do.

As a mother and fellow pit bull owner, I researched the breed extensively before adopting my pittie Blackjack. I read articles from the American Dog Breeders Association as well as the American Kennel Club. I also talked with several local vets and a few pet groomers. I got Blackjack when he was 9 months old, and my two young children, ages 5 and 3, play with him on a daily basis. All of the information in this article is from my research on the breed.