“The ‘pit bulls’ you meet may be shelter dogs of indeterminate origin or they may have pedigree as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers (APBT) or more recently, American Bullies. Whichever definition or registry you prefer, fanciers and animal lovers alike can agree that the dogs that fall under this label are as well-loved as they are maligned in this society, with a history that’s as blended as their genetics. While we puzzle over what a pit bull is, we should all take note that the dogs have been dutifully helping us learn what it means to be human. With unfailing optimism, the dogs that fill our shelters and homes seem to want to remind us that they are what we’ve made them to be, either victims of human cruelty, neglected sentries in lonely yards, or cherished family companions in our homes. Slowly, society is starting to recognize these lessons and accept responsibility for their station in life.”
Source: badrap.org: Breed History
What is a “pit bull”?
That is an excellent question! Since there is no actual breed named “pit bull”, it tends to be a catch-all term applied to any dog with short fur and a wrinkly forehead. There are three actual breeds that are referred to as “pit bulls”: American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier. However, usually when people refer to a “pit bull” they aren’t talking about a purebred dog – they saw a dog that fit their mental image of what a “pit bull” looks like. Usually, these dogs are actually mixed breeds, and may not have any of those three breeds in them at all! Can you tell the difference between a Boxer mixed with a Labrador, and an American Pit Bull Terrier mixed with a Labrador? There are also many breeds who are confused with pit bulls, or are considered “pit-bull-type” or “bully” breeds. These breeds often suffer the same discrimination as the true “pit bull” breeds: American Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, Cane Corsos, Presa Canarios, Dogo Argentinos, just to name a few. Since Jasmine’s House is a pit bull rescue, we take in dogs who would be described (and discriminated against) as pit bulls by most people.
But, if a “pit bull” might actually be a mixed breed, how can you know what to expect?
Breed descriptions are generalizations – every dog is an individual. Generally, Labs love water, Jack Russells are high energy, and German Shepherds are protective. However, there are many Labs who hate water, lazy Jack Russells, and German Shepherds who would welcome a burglar and kiss them on the face. Knowing about the breed means you can narrow down what types of dogs to look for, but you should *always* judge a dog as an individual, no matter what breed or breeds they might be. For example, if you’re looking for a swimming partner, the Lab who hates water is going to be quite a disappointment!
Ok, so what are “pit bulls” like, generally speaking?
In general, pit bulls are very people oriented – they tend to think they are lap dogs! They love nothing more than to be with you. They are very fast learners, and tend to be very athletic. They tend to be very tolerant, without personal space issues, making them good dogs for families with children. Check out info on kid-dog safety here. They are pros at giving kisses, snuggling on the couch, playing a rousing game of tug, and competing in doggy sports. Courageous, tenacious, sense of humor. Learn more on our pros and cons page.