Understanding Pit Bulls

Sadly, pitbulls are the dogs who most often lose their lives in animal shelters. At Nevada Humane Society, we strive to judge each dog as an individual while at the same time, understanding specific breed characteristics.

It’s helpful to know that the term, pit bull, is a generic term commonly used to describe dogs with similar traits and characteristics. The term “pit bull,” as it is used here, enompasses American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

To provide an overview of the breed characteristics of pit bulls we often refer pople to the Pit Bull Rescue Central website. Here are excerpts from their postings:

It’s unfortunate that one of the original purposes of the pit bull was dog fighting, but it is a fact that cannot be denied or ignored. Even more unfortunate is the fact that they are still chosen for this purpose, even though it is illegal in all fifty states and in certain instances, as the Michael Vick case illustrates, a federal crime.

To provide an overview of the breed characteristics of pit bulls we often refer pople to the Pit Bull Rescue Central website. Here are excerpts from their postings:

It’s unfortunate that one of the original purposes of the pit bull was dog fighting, but it is a fact that cannot be denied or ignored. Even more unfortunate is the fact that they are still chosen for this purpose, even though it is illegal in all fifty states and in certain instances, as the Michael Vick case illustrates, a federal crime.

Pit bulls have superior physical and mental characteristics that make them excellent partners for responsible, active, and caring owners. These same outstanding qualities can also make them a little difficult to handle for people who don’t have a lot of experience with dog ownership or for those who don’t understand the breed well.

Pit bulls are intelligent, very responsive to training, and, above all, eager to please. Therefore, pit bulls should be enrolled in obedience classes as soon as they are up-to-date on their shots. (Pit bulls are more susceptible to parvovirus, so it is important that they receive all their vaccinations.) A well-behaved pit bull is the best ambassador for the breed.

Many pit bulls are easygoing couch potatoes, but like all terriers, they can also be somewhat rambunctious until they mature. Maturity can come relatively late with this breed (two to three years old). They are energetic, agile, and strong. They are also very resourceful and driven – which is why training is so critical.

Perhaps the most important characteristic of pit bulls is their amazing love of people. Many people are surprised by the loving personality of these dogs the first time they meet one. Pit bulls are remarkably affectionate and truly enjoy human attention. In fact, most pit bulls think they are lap dogs!

Humans have created dog breeds by emphasizing desirable traits and eliminating unwanted ones. It is no different with pit-bull-type dogs. In the same way that Labrador Retrievers were bred to retrieve birds, pit bulls were originally bred for dog fighting and bull and bear baiting. This does not, however, mean that fighting is the sole purpose of these breeds.

Throughout their history in America, pit bull dogs have been valued as beloved members of the family. Their negative media image developed only recently. In fact, pit bulls have fulfilled important roles throughout the last 160-plus years of American history. In the nineteenth century, pit bulls were family pets of settlers crossing the United States. They were trusted to watch the children while the adults worked in the fields. As the years passed, pit bulls achieved a position of reverence among Americans, and they appeared in advertising campaigns such as Buster Brown and Pup Brand. A classic children’s television show, The Little Rascals, featured Petey the Pit Bull. The pit bull is the only breed to have graced the cover of Life magazine three times.

In the early twentieth century, pit bulls were so respected for their loyalty, determination, and bravery that they were chosen to represent America in WWI posters. The first decorated canine war hero was a pit bull named Sergeant Stubby. He was, until his death, a guest of every White House administration.

Pit bull type dogs can be wonderful, loving, and very loyal companions just as much as retrievers, shepherds, or terriers. However, it is important to understand the breed’s nature, to provide a structured environment, and to establish a positive leadership role. In order to do so, pit bull owners must understand the original purpose of the breed, respect its limits, and help their dog fulfill its tremendous potential. This is sound advice for dog owners of any breed.

For more information on pit bull type dogs, please check out the following websites:

• Pit Bull Rescue Central – http://www.pbrc.net

• BAD RAP, Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls – http://www.badrap.org

Nevada Humane Society has a variety of lovable pit bulls, as well as many other breeds, available for adoption. Come meet our many dogs and cats at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno – all any of them want is a loving home and family.

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One Response to “Understanding Pit Bulls”

  1. DontBullyMyPit Says:

    Check out my Pit Bull blog, I started if for a class and have found that I love hearing other peoples Pit stories!!
    http://dontbullymypit.wordpress.com/


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