Monday, January 14, 2013


At present, the most prolific and victimized dog filling shelters to the brim is the Pit Bull.  While many pit bull type dogs live as cherished family members, many suffer from cruelty, neglect, haphazard breeding and the discrimination of an ill-informed public.  Fabricated stories have displayed these dogs as being vicious and highly unpredictable.  In addition, they are often misjudged because of their physical attributes.  However, many dogs such as Boxers, Cane Corsos, Bullmastiffs, and English Bulldogs with similar appearance are not held with the same disdain.

A Pit Bull is defined as an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier and any cross between the three mentioned breeds.  In some regions, the American Bulldog is also cataloged as 'Pit Bull'-type dog.

Pit Bulls excel in practically every canine task including herding, guarding, hunting and ratting.  A Pit Bull named Banddog Dread holds more canine working titles than any other breed.  In years past, used as working farm dogs, they were often referred to as "the poor man’s horse.”  Strength, confidence and enthusiasm are characteristics of this breed.  Some of these dogs can be low key, but most need activity to channel their energy.  They excel in sports; have become famous as soldiers, as search and rescue dogs, as actors and as therapy dogs.  Some notable pit bulls include “Nipper” and “Petey” from the Little Rascals, Helen Keller's dog "Sir Thomas", and President Theodore Roosevelt's Pit Bull terrier "Pete".  There is also "Jack Brutus" who served for Company K, the First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry during the civil war, and “Sgt. Stubby” who is the most decorated war dog of all time!  More recently, there are Weela, who helped save 32 people; Popsicle, a puppy found nearly dead in a freezer, who later became one of the nation's most important police dogs; and Norton, who was placed in the Purina Animal Hall of Fame after he saved his owner from a severe allergic reaction.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is intelligent and always eager to please its owner.  The dog is an extremely loyal, playful family pet that is excellent with children.  Many years ago Pit bulls were called “nanny dogs” because they were a child’s favorite companion.  Properly raised, they are the perfect breed to tolerate a child’s rough play.  However, young children should be taught how to properly relate to a dog and should never be left with any dog unsupervised.  Properly socialized, these dogs are quite affectionate and very friendly, even with strangers.  Severe fearfulness or human aggression is not a characteristic of the breed and a well socialized, responsibly owned pit bull should not display these behaviors.

They can form friendships with other pets when given proper introductions and supervision.  Pit bulls are terriers, and Jack Russell Terriers have wrestled badgers and other animals for farmers for years.  This terrier drive in pit bulls has been and continues to be exploited by unscrupulous entities against other dogs for gaming purposes.  Like any breed of dog, pit bulls can run the gamut from being very dog-aggressive to being exceptionally dog-friendly.  Any dog has the potential to fight another dog if mishandled.  Pit bulls are not recommended for any person, who does not understand terrier traits and principal canine behavior.  Ultimately, Pit bull temperament, like any other dog, is a result of not only genetic make-up but how the animal is raised and trained.
 A myth circulating is that pit bulls can “lock” their jaws.  There is no evidence of a "locking mechanism" in the teeth or jaws of these dogs.  Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, University of Georgia concluded, "We found that American Pit Bull Terriers did not have any unique mechanism that would allow these dogs to lock their jaws. . .”

The Pit Bull has been and continues to be a loyal, faithful companion.  They are superb working dogs, still employed as police and armed service dogs, search and rescuers and therapy animals.  They are loving pets not only for children, but for adults too.  So, when looking for a new addition to the family, why not consider one of the many Pit bulls that are residing in your local shelter.


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