Sadly, the pit bull has received a bad rap due to all the dog fighting and the media, specifically the Sports Illustrated issue released on July 27, 1987, which was chalk full of fear mongering. Let’s take a look at some of the real problems, a short history of the issue, and my own personal experience. My dog is a Pit Bull mix, therefore it doesn’t have all the characteristics you’d find in the specialty breed American Pit Bull Terrier.
Many people reflexively imagine a pit bull as a violent, scary dog. This thought is backed up by the countless amount of bad media attention. All dogs have this image or label we like to assign it. There are many issues. First: the media has conditioned us to believe pit bulls are ferocious dogs. Second: a high percent of the time, the owners of pit bulls don’t always look like your friendly neighbor next door. Too often I see a rebellious looking person who gets these dogs to look “cool.” Third: these owners like to do things like clip the dog’s ears to make them look more menacing. They’ll even go as far as buying supplements to make their dog more muscular. Think I’m joking? This is a real product. Don’t get me wrong, giving your dog supplements is great! Always feed your dog the highest quality food you can afford, and add supplements if possible.
Pit Bull is a reference to the American Pit Bull Terrier. It can be challenging to even identify a pit bull because of the sweeping range of breeds. The term “Pit bull” is a term that has been used by some to describe a variety of breeds, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bully’s, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers from England. These dogs have similarities and differences. It’s easy to get them mixed up. There are ways to help distinguish each breed, though. Let’s have a look!
American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT)
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, short-haired dog whose early ancestors came from England and Ireland. It’s a member of the molosser breed. The American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) were bred from the same lineage but received different names from the two American kennel clubs; Staffordshire was the name given by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and American Pit Bull Terrier by the United Kennel Club (UKC). When compared with the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier (another breed within the type commonly called pit bulls), the American Pit Bull Terrier is larger by margins of 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) in height and 25–35 pounds (11–16 kg) in weight.
The American Pit Bull is medium-sized, and has a short coat with a smooth, well-defined muscle structure. Its eyes are round to almond-shaped, and its ears are small to medium in length, typically half prick or rose in carriage. The tail is slightly thick and tapers to a point. The coat is glossy, smooth, short, and stiff to the touch. The accepted coat color can vary widely, but neither the AKC nor the UKC recognize merle coloring. Color patterns typical in the breed include spotted, brindled, solid, and with points. They also have sagging lips.
Twelve countries in Europe, as well as Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Malaysia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and Venezuela have enacted some form of breed-specific legislation on pit bull-type dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, ranging from outright bans to restrictions and conditions on ownership. The state of New South Wales in Australia places restrictions on the breed, including mandatory sterilization. The breed is banned in the United Kingdom, in the Canadian province of Ontario, and in many locations in the United States. (Wikipedia)
- Temperament: Craves attention. APBT are great companions. High energy. Known for fighting other dogs.
- APBT Size
- Their height is 17-19 inches tall
- Females weigh 30-60 lbs
- Males weigh 35-65 lbs
- APBT Size
Similar Breeds: Not To Get Mixed Up With The Pit Bull~
American Staffordshire Terrier (AMSTAFF)
The American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as AMSTAFF, is a medium-sized, short-coated American dog breed. It’s one of several breeds commonly known as pit bulls. In the early part of the twentieth century, the breed gained social stature and was accepted by the American Kennel Club as the American Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. The name was changed to reflect its difference from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England. (Wikipedia)
- Temperament: AMSTAFF is almost identical to APBT in temperament, though AMSTAFFs are known to be a little more friendly with kids.
° AMSTAFF Size
- 17-19 inches
- Females weigh 60-85 lbs
- Males weigh 60-90 lbs
The American Bully has a short coat. The head is of medium length, broad skull, with very pronounced cheek muscles. The ears can be cropped or uncropped. Eyes: all colors except albinism, round to oval shape, low down in skull and set far apart. Muzzle: medium length, rounded on upper side or slightly squared to fall away abruptly below eyes. Well-defined jaw. Under jaw to be strong and display biting power. Lips close and even, some looseness accepted, but not preferred. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front or scissor bite accepted. Nose: all colors acceptable. The neck is heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin. Medium length. Shoulders are strong and muscular with blades wide and sloping. The back is fairly short. The body has well-sprung ribs, deep in rear. All ribs close together. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. Chest deep and broad. The tail is short in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point; not curled. Not docked. Front legs should be straight. Dog Breed Info Center
NOTE: There are 5 categories of the American Bully—pocket, standard, extra-large (XL), extreme and classic. Weight and height vary greatly and are not considered important, however correct proportion of weight to height is.
- Temperament: The American Bully has the best characteristics of the AMSTAFF and the APBT. The American Pocket Bully said, “The American Bully possesses the loyalty and stability of the American Pit Bull Terrier while retaining the friendly and outgoing temperament of the American Staffordshire Terrier.
° Bully Size
• Height: 13 – 21 inches
• Weight: 70 – 120 pounds
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Temperament: Craves attention, and loves to chew. Make sure you have lots of chew toys for them. Due to its breeding, and history, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known for its character of fearlessness and loyalty. This, coupled with its affection for its friends, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, make it a foremost all-purpose dog. The breed is naturally muscular and may appear intimidating; however, because of their natural fondness for people, most Staffords are temperamentally ill-suited for guard or attack-dog training. Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies are very easy to house train.
- Temperament Differences- They are very similar to both APBT and AMSTAFF. Friendly dogs, but if a dog provokes, they do not back down
- Size- Smallest out of the bunch
° Staffordshire Bull Terrier Size
- Their height is 13-16 inches tall
- Females weight 22-35 lbs
- Males weight 24-37 lbs
These dogs are very loyal companions. They’re very active dogs (be prepared for a lot of walks). They will follow you around everywhere, and give you nothing but love. They get lonely, and if you’re away too long, they might let you know (My American Pit Bull sometimes likes to give me a little nibble to tell me that she’s upset with me for being gone.) If you don’t have the time for your dog, a pit bull isn’t a good choice; but in reality, no dog is a good choice if you don’t have time for it. HOW DARE YOU GET A DOG AND NOT GIVE IT ATTENTION! I’ve had people express their concern with me for getting a pit bull since I have a daughter. This isn’t a problem; these dogs love the attention they receive from children. My daughter sometimes gets a little too rough, but that’s the funny thing about these dogs, they take it. She’s given our dog baths, and our dog is surprisingly gentle with her.
Should You Own One?
They’re smart, loyal, and loving. For me, the answer is a definite yes! I adopted my pit bull mix. It’s unfortunate how many are in the pound or are up for adoption. If you’re interested, check out those two places first. My dog was already 2 years old when I adopted her. Yes, it may have been nice to have her from when she was a puppy, but I also didn’t have to go through potty training, etc. Those decisions are personal preferences you can decide for yourself.
There’s loads of information out there, so if you ignorantly claim a pit bull is a ferocious dog, it’s clear you’ve bought into all the fear mongering from the media. If the media has claimed an APBT has attacked a human, then the case simply is it wasn’t an APBT. APBTs were bred to not attack humans. It’s not in their nature to attack humans. Yes, it’s in their nature to go after other animals, but that’s a terrier for you. Pit bulls aren’t really good guard dogs for this reason. They’ll be territorial like any dog, but a better guard dog would be a German Sheppard, Doberman Pincer, or Rottweiler.
Real American Pit Bull Terrier
If you’re looking for a real APBT, then you’ll be looking for particular traits. You’ll want to do a lot of searching, and know what you’re looking for when looking through the papers (like birth certificate). APBT are very high energy, working dogs. They are a bit of a specialty breed, so it’s not advised to get one if you don’t know enough about the dog. To learn more about their traits, listen to this.
All dogs have their good and bad traits. The best thing you can do is check them out and see which fits your personality. For me, I’m a fan of Pit Bulls and they’ll be my dog of choice for life.