American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull is a descendent from dogs bred for bull-baiting, a British sport in which dogs either tried to disable an enraged bull or tried to bite an enraged bull on the nose. This practice was banned in England in 1835 when Parliament enacted the Cruelty to Animals Act.

Researchers suspect that the Irish brought American Pit Bull Terriers to the US during the 1850s. These dogs were bred to be heavier and have a more powerful head than their predecessors. In 1898, the United Kennel Club officially dubbed this dog breed as the American Pit Bull Terrier.

American Pit Bull Terriers were prized and popular during this period of time. As a result, they were commonly used to advertise the product of the day. Two famous American Pit Bull Terriers of the time included Nipper, the Pit Bull Terrier used by RCA, and Tige, the Pit Bull Terrier used by Buster Brown shoes.

In addition, the American pit bull was featured in World War I artwork and was a loved character in the “Our Gang ” movie series. In 1936, the American Kennel Club allowed Pit Bull Terriers to be registered under the name of Staffordshire Terriers.

American Pit Bull Terriers: Temperament

The American Pit Bull Terrier is known to be:

  • comical
  • courageous
  • energetic
  • intelligent
  • loyal
  • people friendly
  • stable
  • strong minded.

In general, Pit Bull Terriers tend to be naturally aggressive towards other animals, such as other dogs, but not to human beings.

Because American Pit Bull Terriers can mature later than other dog breeds, the real temperament of these dogs may not be apparent until the dog is two to four years old.

American Pit Bull Terrier: Training

As a puppy, an American Pit Bull Terrier can be socialized to live with other dogs and with small children. If you are choosing this dog breed to be your family dog, be sure too start training it when it is a puppy to help control any natural aggressive tendencies.

Pit Bull Terrier: Appearance

The American Pit Bull Terrier is characterized as being square with a muscular body and a deep chest. Similarly, the larger heads associated with this breed make these dogs look powerful and, at times, intimidating.

American Pit Bull Terriers usually run between 18 and 22 inches in height to the shoulders and weigh between 30 and 60 pounds. Their coats are short, thick and shiny. Pit Bull Terriers come in a variety of colors and may or may not have their ears cropped, depending on the breeder from which you get the dog.

American Pit Bull Terriers: Working Dogs

American Pit Bull Terriers are used as:

  • armed services dogs
  • police dogs
  • search and rescue dogs
  • therapy animals.

In addition, these dogs can work with livestock.

Life Span and Health of American Pit Bull TerriersAn American Pit Bull Terrier can live roughly 12 years. Some of the most common health problems associated with this pit bull breed include hip dysplasia (arthritis in the hip joint), heart murmurs and mange (a type of parasitic infection).

American Pit Bull Terriers and You

The American Pit Bull Terrier is not for everyone. Part of the problem with this breed today is that many dogs have not been bred carefully, have not been trained adequately or have been trained to enhance the breed”s aggressive characteristics.

If you are considering getting an American Pit Bull Terrier, make sure that you research the breed thoroughly and that you buy one from a reputable breeder.

Resources

Bulldog Breeds (n.d.). American Pit Bull Retriever. Retrieved January 24, 2008, from the Bulldog Breeds Web site: http://www.bulldogbreeds.com/americanpitbullterrier.html.

Bur, Michael (1996). History. Retrieved January 25, 2008, from the NYX.net Web site: http://www.nyx.net/~mbur/apbtfaqover.html#over.

Dog Breed Info Center (n.d.). American Pit Bull. Retrieved January 24, 2008, from the Dog Breed Info Center Web site: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/americanpitbull.htm.

Dog Owner”s Guide. (n.d.). The American Pit Bull Terrier. Retrieved January 25, 2008, from the CanisMajor.com Web site: http://www.canismajor.com/dog/amerpit.html.

Harwelik, Mary (n.d.). Temperament. Retrieved January 25, 2008, from the RealPitBull.com Web site: http://www.realpitbull.com/temperament.html.