American Pit Bull Terrier: History and Appearance
Though one of the first breeds registered with the United Kennel Club in 1898, the American Pit Bull Terrier is not recognized by several of the purebred breed clubs.
The American Pit Bull Terrier, known more familiarly as simply the Pit Bull, was bred from a crossing of the old style English Bulldogs and several terriers in 19th century England. While the exact mix of breeds is unknown, it is believed that the Black and Tan Terrier, the Fox Terrier, and several other terriers contributed to the breed. Known back then as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the breed was mostly used for blood sports such as bull baiting and dog fighting.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier crossed over to America in the 1800’s. There is a part of the breed’s history that gets somewhat confusing in regards to its name and origin. During its time in America, the breed became heavier and larger than the original Staffordshire Terrier of England. It also became known by a variety of other names, including American Bull Terrier, Yankee Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and its original moniker, Staffordshire Terrier. The breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1898 as the American Pit Bull Terrier. In 1936, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club as the Staffordshire Terrier, which was later changed to the American Staffordshire Terrier. Though it was essentially the same breed at the time, it became split by the names.
In modern times, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Pit Bull Terrier are bred separately from each other, though many would argue that the breeds are quite similar. Though considered to be very close “cousins,” the American Staffordshire Terrier enjoys the prestige of AKC recognition, while the American Pit Bull Terrier faces a very unfortunate modern history and misunderstood reputation because of it.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Pit Bull was valued as a working farm dog and as a family pet, which was what led breed fanciers to work towards legitimizing it with the various kennel clubs and purebred organizations. The breed experienced a resurgence of popularity after World War II, and is still considered to be a popular, if misunderstood, breed in modern times.
The American Pit Bull Terrier, or Pit Bull, is a breed valued by many as a faithful companion dog, though the breed seems to be at a crossroads. The modern American Pit Bull Terrier, though still considered a loving, loyal, and excellent family pet by many, has earned the unfortunate reputation of being violent, aggressive, and unpredictable.
It would appear that the breed’s fighting dog ancestry has caught up to it. Within the last decade or so, the breed has fallen victim to unscrupulous breeders, and a rash of illegal dog fighting rings. The breed name, “Pit Bull,” now has a stigma attached to it due to the many news reports highlighting stories of “Pit Bull Attacks” or aggressive Pit Bull behavior.
Any dog, if placed in the wrong hands and treated or trained in a negative way, can become aggressive or vicious. American Pit Bull Terriers that are bred for fighting are starved, mistreated, and forced to fight against other violent dogs until their survival instinct and natural aggression kicks in. The same is reported of American Pit Bull Terriers that are bred to be guard dogs, or that are neglected or left alone. In these cases, traits such as aggression and possessiveness are encouraged through breeding, rather than bred out of the dog. It is this kind of treatment and poor breeding practices that give the breed a bad name. Shelters are overrun with abandoned or abused American Pit Bull Terriers, and several cities have developed ordinances banning or restricting ownership of the breed based on its reputation.
However, there are still many American families and pet owners that love the American Pit Bull Terrier. Recently, the breed has begun participating in strength and agility contests. A natural worker and a powerful dog, the Pit Bull excels in strength, weight, pushing, and pulling competitions. They are also beginning to work as search and rescue dogs. Loving, loyal, and actually quite playful, properly bred, socialized and trained Pitbulls make wonderful pets. They do well with people with active lifestyles, and love to go for walks, runs, and rides in the car.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium to large, solidly built dog growing up to 24 inches in height and weighing up to 65 lbs. The breed possesses a large, wedge shaped head featuring some slight wrinkling on the forehead. The faces is broad between the cheeks and the eyes are round and dark colored. The ears are small to medium, triangular and hang over slightly, though they may be cropped. They are raised when the dog is alert. The muzzle is of wide and deep, with a broad nose. The dog has powerful jaws and teeth that meet in a scissors bite. The dog has a thick, muscular neck that slopes into a broad chest and strong back, lending the dog its stocky, yet robust appearance. The legs are straight and strong, and the feet are oval. The body is slightly longer than it is tall, and should be smooth and well defined. The tail is low set and tapered.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has a very short, smooth, and shiny coat that lies close the skin. American Pit Bull Terriers can come in any color and pattern except merle. While most American Pit Bull Terriers are solid colored, some are known to have white patches or other markings.
Showing an American Pit Bull Terrier
The United Kennel Club focuses on the dog’s structure and strength when it is showing. The dog should appear both graceful and athletic, though it should not be overly muscled or fine featured. The dog must show excellent working ability, and be able to push, pull, and demonstrate strength.
1$ soldfor sale in: Pennsylvania