Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pit Bull Education 1

Let me ask you a question: Where have you obtained most of your information about 'pit bulls'? If you answered local or national news coverage, newspaper articles and/or word of mouth you may have been mis-informed. I know you've probably heard this before, but you can't believe everything you see on TV or read in a newspaper or magazine. In my experience, the best place to gain knowledge about any subject is to go to the source. Find some one with hands on experience, some one who lives and breathes the subject, not just read about it in a book. That is where you will gain accurate and enlightening information rather than sensationalism.
This will be the first instalment of my pit bull eduction blog. I hope that it will educate and inspire you to keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Find out the facts for yourselves and the truth will follow.

History of the Breed:
Large fighting or 'war' dogs have been around since ancient Greece, so their presence is nothing new. When these civilizations would fight, or battle, they would outfit the dogs with armor covered in spikes and send them out into the field. They could gut horses, or humans with their spikes, but were usually killed or captured. These captured dogs were then crossbred with other war dogs' counterparts giving rise to a bull dog/mastiff type dog. This created the genetic melting pot for all of today's bully breeds. (Staffordshire Bull Terrier, English Bull Dog, American Bull Dogs etc...)
Bull dogs got their name because they were once used to tend to butchers' bulls. These dogs had the ability to keep the bulls in check, which certainly speaks to the tenacity of the dogs.
It is important to remember that at this time the Bull Dog was not a recognized breed, but rather a dog possessing specific traits.
Bull Baiting became a very popular blood sport in England but was declared illegal in 1835. (Bull baiting consisted of sending out bull dogs to 'take down a bull'. The dog that could do it was declared the winner.) After the banning of bull baiting, the public turned to dogfighting as their new form of entertainment.
The pit bull was then selectively bred to become the ultimate canine gladiator. Gameness, tenacity and extreme tolerance were all taken into consideration.
In England they became the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, recognized by the EKC. In the US they became the American Staffordshire, recognized by the AKC but the American Pit Bull terrier is not recognized by the AKC, however it is recognized by the UKC. Confusing isn't' it? I couldn't agree more. The main difference between an "Am Staff" and a pit bull is blood line, however many are duel registered as an American Staffordshire terrier with the AKC and an American Pit Bull Terrier with the UKC, so is there really a difference?
The American Pit Bull Terrier came to America with early English immigrants and soon flourished into a beloved all purpose dog, who's image became a symbol of Americana.
Did you know that our nations first and most decorated war dog was a pit bull type dog named Sergent Stubby?!
Famous pit bull parents over the years have included: Mark Twain, Fred Astaire, Teddy Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Pink and Rachel Ray.
Images of pits have been used to sell shoes and electronics and even recruit for war. And who can forget perhaps the most famous pit bull icon ever? Petey from the Little Rascals show.
So what happened? How did this once beloved dog become so hated and feared? The answer to that and more coming up on my next blog: Pit Bull Education 2.
Thanks for listening...


  1. Thanks Diane for much needed education about the breed. It is such a daunting task when the media refuses to become educated about pit bulls.I would love it if you could get the local media (Sentinel, local news channels,as well as insurance executives,) into a pit bull education class. Knowledge is power,but sadly it is always easier and more sensational to perpetuate the "bad dog" myth.If we can educate one person and they educate one person,and so on.... it can have a ripple effect. Keep up being such a wonderful friend to all of the animals!i Happy Halloween!!! Susan

  2. No problem! It's my pleasure...
    Thanks for reading!