Today’s guest writer is Stacy Mantle. She is writing about Pit Bulls and the history of the breed.
National Pit Bull Awareness Day is October 27 and as the owner of two of these lovable dogs, that calls for celebration!
National Pit Bull Awareness Day was established in 2007 by a nonprofit animal rescue called “Bless the Bullys” in order to change harmful stereotypes about “bully breeds” and bring positive awareness and attention to the responsible owners of these dogs.
The truth is, “pit bulls” (and other “bully breeds”) are one of the most misunderstood types of dogs and thanks to a lot of bad press and a few very evil owners, they are often viewed as dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Here are a few facts about “pit bulls” that you may not know.
It’s National Pit Bull Awareness Day
“Pit Bull” Is A Type, Not A Breed
The American Kennel Club does not recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as a breed, but does acknowledge the Staffordshire terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the Miniature Bull Terrier. Pit bull is a name was earned after the British (and Americans) used these animals in pit fighting. Unfortunately, this has resulted in many breeds being classed as pit bull based solely on physical characteristics. This is just one reason breed bans are so dangerous, as they frequently include the beloved boxer, Rottweilers, and more. Sadly, “pit bull” is still used to describe a large number of “bully breeds”.
Pit Bull Origins Are British
The “American Pit Bull” was first acknowledged in 19th-century Britain. American Pit Bulls were created by breeding terriers (for their agility) and bulldogs (for their strength) to create a dog that would sadly be used for nefarious activities like “bear-baiting”. Soon after these events were outlawed, people discovered it was easier to sneak dogs into a fighting ring than bears, and dog-fighting became an ongoing activity. It wasn’t long before people discovered that these dogs were highly sensitive, very intelligent, courageous and above all, loyal.
Characteristics Of Bully Breeds (“Pit Bulls”)
The United States has had its fair share of well-known “pit bull” heroes. These loyal animals have been used extensively in the military. Sergeant Stubby is a well-known Staffordshire Terrier who was the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment. He was assigned to the 26th Division in World War I and served for eighteen months. He even participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front!
“Pit Bulls” Rank Lower Than Other Breeds In Aggression
In Temperament Tests, dogs are walked through a real or simulated neighborhood where they are exposed to a variety of unknown situations (e.g., another dog, a person, a car, etc). Dogs fail this test when they exhibit any of the following signs:
- Strong avoidance
- Panic, without recovery
- Unprovoked aggression
Bully breeds continually rank above nearly all other breeds as stable, gentle animals. Since they are highly sensitive, they want to please their owners. As long as the owners are gentle, the bully breeds are gentle.
“Pit Bulls” As Heroes
While there are countless records of “pit bulls” as heroes, here are several we love to share.
- During California’s widespread flood in 1993, Weela helped save thirty-two people, twenty-nine dogs, three horses, and one cat.
- Titan helped save his owner from an aneurysm.
- Bonnie pulled her owner, Kathryn Bales, from a rollover accident.
- Barbara Tollison and her sister were saved from a house fire by Buddy.
- Wheezie took three bullets while protecting her owner, Melissa Willis, from intruders.
- The list goes on and on and you can read these and more pit bill stories here .
It’s time to stop villainizing “pit bulls” and start recognizing them as the loyal, inspiring, and gentle dogs they are when they have responsible pet owners. Adopt one today and let them surprise you with their incredible personality!
Enrich your dog’s environment by turning on DOGTV when you leave the house or when you have work to do in the house and can’t entertain your pup. DOGTV is scientifically-developed programming that can calm your dog and keep him or her company while you’re away.