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Pit Bull Information


During the nineteenth century, early dog fanciers in England, Scotland, and Ireland began to test crosses between Bulldogs and Terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the Bulldog.  These early dogs were used in the infamous blood sports such as badger baiting and bear baiting and eventually dog fighting until it was illegalized in Europe.  The outcome was a dog that personified all of the virtues attributed to great warriors:  strength, unconquerable courage, tenacity and tenderness with family members.Pitbull Information!

Early immigrants brought these bull and terrier crosses with them to the United States.  These were the early ancestors to today's American Pit Bull Terriers.  The American Pit Bull Terrier's many talents did not go unnoticed by farmers and ranchers who used their APBTs for personal protection from man and beast, as catch dogs for dangerous semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt and help provide food for the family, to drive livestock, and as family companions.

The American Pit Bull Terrier of today has changed little as it continues to demonstrate its versatility, athletic ability and courage by successfully competing varied activities such as Schutzhund, French Ring Sport, Obedience, Tracking, Agility, Personal Protection, Catch Work and Weight Pulls, as well as Conformation.



Pit bulls are wonderful animals that deserve a chance to have a good life like any other dog. However, it is important to remember that pit bulls are not just any other dog - They are a little more of everything a dog can be.

Pit bulls have superior physical and mental characteristics that make them excellent partners for responsible, active, and caring owners.  On the other hand, these same outstanding qualities can make them a little difficult to handle for people who do not have a lot of experience with dog ownership, or for those who do not understand the breed very well.  Luckily, pit bulls are very responsive to training and eager to please.  It is therefore strongly recommended to take them to obedience classes as soon as they are up to date with their shots (Pit bulls are prone to parvovirus, so it is important that they receive all their vaccinations before coming into contact with other dogs or going places that other dogs frequent.).  A well-behaved and obedient pit bull will be a great ambassador for the breed and help fight prejudice and misconception.

Pit bulls are very adaptable and will even do well in urban living provided they have enough exercise or other positive outlets for their energy.  Many pit bulls are easygoing couch potatoes but can also be somewhat rambunctious until they mature. Maturity can come pretty late with this breed (2 to 3 years old in some cases).  Pit bulls remain playful all their life and have a great sense of humor.  Real clowns at heart, these dogs will make you laugh like no other.

Pit bulls are strong, energetic, agile, and powerful dogs.  They are also very resourceful and driven.  Determination is one of their most notable traits.  Whatever they set out to do, they put their heart and soul into it...Whether it is escaping an inadequately fenced yard to go explore the neighborhood, destroying your new couch when left home alone, or climbing into your lap to shower you with kisses!  They just do not give up easily.

Another very important characteristic of pit bull dogs is their amazing love of people.  Many people are surprised by the loving personality of these dogs the first time they meet one.  Pit bull dogs are indeed remarkably affectionate and truly enjoy human attention.  They are wonderful cuddlers, and nothing beats a belly rub.  In fact, most pit bulls think they are lap dogs!

Dunbar (1999) writes:  "Today, a properly bred pit bull is so exuberantly happy upon meeting her owner's friends (or even friendly strangers) that new owners sometimes worry that their dog is too Pit Bull Information!sweet and fun-loving to protect their home and family...A multi-talented companion, the well-trained pit bull is suited for a variety of exciting activities.  He excels at obedience, agility and weight-pulling competitions, events that showcase intelligence, trainability and strength.  In addition, the pit bull's pleasant nature makes him an ideal candidate for therapy work with people."

Human aggression, severe shyness, and instability are not traits typically found and accepted in the APBT breed.  Dogs with these traits are not good representatives of the breed and should not be placed into adoptive homes.


Like any other breed, pit bulls can develop behavior problems if poorly bred, mishandled, abused, unsocialized, etc., that could result in inappropriate aggression.  Any large, strong, and powerful dog that attacks can do a lot of damage.  This is why temperament evaluation is important when dealing with dogs of certain size and potential.

Unlike the myth propagated by the media however, human aggression is NOT a problem specific to pit bulls.  In fact, pit bulls tend to do better than average in temperament tests.
The American Temperament Test Society provides temperament testing around the country for dog breeds, and gives a passing score for the entire breed based on the percentage of passed over failed within total number of the particular breed tested.  As of December 2003, the American Pit Bull Terrier has a current passing rate of 83.9%, and the American Staffordshire Terrier passes at 83.2%.  In comparison, The Golden Retriever passing rate is 83.2%.

Pit bull type dogs are wonderful, loving, and very loyal companions.  It is important however, 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, and respect its limits and potential.

Never trust a pit bull not to fight.  It is not a hate of other dogs that causes pit bulls to fight, but rather an "urge" to do so that has been bred into the dogs for many generations.  Pit bulls may fight over hierarchic status, but external stimulus or excitement can also trigger a fight. Remember that any canine can fight, but pit bulls were bred specifically for their drive, intensity, and determination to win.

Pit bull owners must be aware of the remarkable fighting abilities these dogs posses and always keep in mind that pit bulls have the potential to inflict serious injury to other animals.  A pit bull may not even be the one starting a conflict, but he has the genetics to finish it.  Remember that pit bulls are almost always blamed no matter who initiated the hostilities, and often end up paying the does the owner!

That said, some pit bulls get along great with other pets and may live happily with other dogs without incident.  We just can't assume that this is true for all of them, or take for granted that pit bulls getting along with other pets today will do so tomorrow.  Pit bull owners must have common sense and make sure they do not set their dogs up for failure by putting them in inappropriate situations.

Every negative incident involving a pit bull adds to their reputation and jeopardizes our right to own these great dogs.  Keep your pit bull out of trouble!

Please remember that animal-aggression and people-aggression are two distinct traits and should never be confused.  Unless they have been very poorly bred and/or specifically "trained" to attack humans (often by undesirable individuals through abusive methods), pit bulls are, by nature, very good with people.  They are, in fact, one of the most loving, loyal, friendly and dedicated companions one can have.

PBRC hopes this article will help people understand why so many of us are deeply dedicated to these wonderful dogs.  Pit bull dogs need more help, compassion and understanding than many other breeds, but they will pay you back with more love and loyalty than you ever thought possible.

Copyright © 1997, 2004, 2006 Veronique Chesser Document may be reproduced as long as PBRC.NET is credited


Pit Bull Information!     Pit Bull Information!


10 Easy to Remember Tips for Responsible Pit Bull Owners

1. Exercise your dog everyday
Pit Bulls are high energy dogs that need some way of burning off that pent up energy.  Even a short 10-15 minute walk or game of fetch in the backyard will help burn off energy that can lead to behavior problems.

2. Never leave pit bulls alone with other dogs (or any animal)
Even if you're dog gets along great 99.9% of the time with other animals, the Pit Bull is known for animal aggression and it is possible something will happen.  A good piece of advice I received a long time ago was, "Never trust your Pit Bull not to fight".

3. Always have your dog on a leash in public
Most if not all towns, cities and states have leash laws.  Obey these laws.  This will help people see your dog in a positive light and keep accidents like getting hit by passing cars from occuring.

4. Always supervise your dogs and never allow them to roam free
Loose dogs are often hurt by cruel people and accidents can happen as well.  Always know where your dog is. 

5. Supervise your dog with small childrenPit Bull Information!
This is a must.  Small children are often hurt by dogs not out of angry, but because dogs can scratch them, step on them, and otherwise injure them.

6. Spay or Neuter your dog
Unless you plan on doing something where the dog can not be spayed or neutered get it done. This will reduce accidental breedings and stop roaming males from getting loose.

7. Train your dog
Take your dog to obedience classes or hire a private trainer to help you train your dog.  This is very important for Pit Bull owners.  If you cannot control your dog bad things will eventually happen.  Get your dog into training as soon as possible.

8. Avoid dog parks. Dog parks are a breeding ground for disaster
Young dogs have been killed in dog parks by bigger dogs and taking your dog to a dog park is simply not a good idea at all.  A better choice is to enroll your puppy into puppy socialization classes. If you have a rescue dog, I would also recommend these types of classes as well.  Some trainers do have them for older dogs.  Your dog will have a far better chance at proper socialization in one of these classes than at a dog park.

9. Socialize your dog
Take your dog to as many places as you can, meet new people and while they are young meet as many other dogs as possible.  Socializing your Pit Bull will help curb any future problems that might occur.

10. Keep your dog properly confined
Pit Bulls are known to be great escape artist.  Make sure you have the means to keep them in your yard and properly confined.  Installing a six-foot privacy fence is not a bad idea either.

Responsible ownership starts from the time your Pit Bull comes to live with you.  Irresponsible owners are one of the major causes for all the problems the breed faces today.  It is our hope here at Pit Bull Lovers we can spread the word and educate more owners to take responsibility for their dog's actions.  In order for things to change, we must change the way we look at our own actions and how they affect the world around us.  Until we do that, things will simply stay the way they are right now.



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