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Immigrants brought their dogs across the ocean along with their families and prized possessions. Because the earliest breeders were going for speed, stamina and attitude rather than looks, the general appearance of the purebreds can vary greatly. In 1909, Guy McCord founded an organization titled ADBA (American Dog Breeders Association). While large numbers of pit bull type dogs in this country live out their lives as cherished family companions, many not so fortunate suffer from man-made shortcomings, including unspeakable cruelties, the socio-economic pressures of under-resourced owners, and the relentless biases and discrimination of an ill-informed public.
Dogfighting is now a felony in all 50 states and arrests have increased, and many now work to restore the dogs' image to its rightful place as an American tradition. There are no greater contemporary examples of this resiliency and ability to bounce back from darkness than the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels. Since 1936, these two breeds have been bred to conform to slightly different breed standards.
If we again pursue a historical perspective, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and (English) Bull Terrier are each slightly removed from the core breeds. BoerboelBoerboel—The Boerboel is a very large mastiff-type dog from South Africa, used to guard farms and hunt large game. Presa Canario—The modern Presa Canario is in fact a reconstruction; by the 1970s, the original breed was virtually extinct. Dogue de BordeauxDogue de Bordeaux—This ancient French breed is a large mastiff-bulldog type that was used for hunting and guarding. In the case of mixed-breed dogs, appearance and characteristics are basically unpredictable and inconsistent. Most of the above breeds are medium or large size, have mastiff or terrier roots, have short fur, and have a strong or muscular appearance.
Animal shelters handle a large population of homeless dogs—usually stray dogs with unknown genetic make-up and history—and they must assign a breed label to each dog they take in. Because most dogs do not bring their pedigree (a written family tree) with them when they enter the shelter or animal control system, animal shelter workers assign breed labels upon intake by looking at the dog and guessing its breed or predominant breed.
Furthermore, the individuals who perform the breed labeling often do so without any real education or knowledge about the appearance of the 400+ dog breeds that exist.
Popular images of pit bulls often pair this type of dog with a similarly frightening owner. Breed-specific legislation (BSL) requires that all dogs be classified as a particular breed or type of dog. One of the major difficulties with the legal definition is that every dog’s breed or mix must be identified. Though their appearance is somewhat similar to pit bulls and they have similar ancestors, American Bulldogs are not fighting dogs and have minimal (if any) terrier ancestry.
The Bull Terrier is a bulldog-and-terrier cross but is not a fighting breed, regardless of how some misinformed individuals portray it.
Note: Because I do not want to provide free publicity to breeders—especially fad breeders—my source citations in this section will be rather vague. Not a single one of these traits is desirable per breed standard for any of the pit bull breeds. Since the activity began centuries ago, dog fighters have been talking tough about pit bulls. In most texts written by dog fighters, there is a very stereotypically masculine-oriented tone. It should be noted that the dog fighter’s definition is also the definition from which many legal and social definitions sprout.
Deputies responded to a 911 call about an aggressive dog that had bitten several people near Southwest 196th Avenue and Farmington Road. According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the dog attacked a 15-year-old boy who was walking on 196th Avenue. ALOHA, OR (KPTV) – An Aloha man says he had to jump on top of a car, bitten and bleeding, to escape an aggressive dog. The American Pit Bull Terrier has a history and bloodline deep rooted in the blood sports of animal baiting and dogfighting.
The term Bulldog is most commonly referring to the English Bulldog, although there are variations in the breed, such as the American Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge, and the French Bulldog.
This is a list of dog breeds that have a history of being potentially dangerous to people, especially children. 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. The USA admired this breed for qualities that it likened in itself; friendly, brave, hardworking, worthy of respect. This was created exclusively for APBTs and continues to be the lead registry for this breed.


But even the most responsible owners still struggle to keep their dogs safe from discrimination and harm. So many (38 and counting) have found success in new homes since the rescue that the media couldn't help but take a new look at pit bull type dogs when they emerged, and the public happily embraced their stories of recovery. Breed enthusiasts celebrated this historic issue and hailed it as a sign of a welcome change in the landscape.
It's not hard to see that the original Hero Dog is still alive and well in the show ring, in the various dog sport competitions, in law enforcement work, in our homes, and even in the saddest of places in our urban shelters. We hope to inspire others to take a second look at the breed that has so much to say to us about its strengths and qualities as well as who we are as a nation of doglovers.
A pit bull is a type of dog, just as retrievers, shepherds, and spaniels describe types of dogs. Show dogs like these are bred to meet a physical standard; they are not bred for performance.
Breeds used to recreate the Presa include multiple bulldog types (APBT, American Bulldog, English Bulldog), multiple mastiff types (Neapolitan Mastiff, Bullmastiff, and more), the Doberman, and many other breeds. Shelters use breed labels for tracking and identification purposes; their clients, who are people seeking their lost dog or looking for a new one, use the breed labels to predict certain traits and thereby narrow their choices.
The process of breed labeling is entirely appearance-based and has nothing to do with a dog’s temperament, behavior, or actual DNA. The specific breeds included in this technical definition are: American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It is important to note that none of the breed standards allow for viciousness or human-aggression. There is not a dog alive that fits this description, which is based primarily on sensationalism and mythology, not scientific data.
Most dogs do not come with a pedigree, and current DNA-based breed-id tests are expensive and not very accurate.
Their only relation to pit bulls may stem from crossbreeding with Old English Bulldogs (the ancestor of many bully breeds) in the 18th century.
Pit bulls do well in activities like weight pull, but so do many other types of dogs.This is one of many baseless claims made by dog fighters to build up the reputation of the pit bull as a super-tough dog. Consequently, the dog fighter’s definition of a pit bull is more of a stereotype than a reality. Furthermore, any owner’s definition may evolve over time based on their experiences and acquired knowledge about the breed-type. Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education and Awareness understands that any dog has the ability to bite or inflict serious harm to humans.
Victoria Voith and others has proven that dogs commonly identified as pit bulls are quite often a mix of multiple breeds, so breed identification by appearance alone is now considered to be inaccurate and misleading.
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.
In 1835 bull baiting was deemed inhumane and became illegal, and dog fighting became a popular replacement.
The media, including Sports Illustrated, shamefully capitalized on fears of a modern day werewolf by promoting stereotypical images like the one on this now infamous cover shot (right), and the reputation of the entire breed was dragged down with yet more sensationalistic headlines and damaging myths and untruths. The larger threats to the dogs are much more insidious and mainstream than even the threat of dog fighting, and result in an unforgivable prejudice that condemns countless pit bulls to homelessness and an early death.
Twenty years after the breed took its first major PR hit in the media, Sports Illustrated returned to show us a different face of the dog, one that invokes sympathy and even surprise from a re-educated public. Show dogs of all breeds are removed from the blood sports (fighting, ratting, baiting) of their past by many generations. Dogos have short white fur, though they may have a few small black or brown spots on the fur or skin. Upon intake, dogs are mentally compared against these trait templates and assigned the closest probable breed. A different person saw more Boston Terrier in this dog, and eventually the dogs’ records were changed to Boston Terrier mix. For this reason, the stereotypical pit bull can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those who are inclined to own a vicious dog are likely to do whatever they can to incite their dog to behave inappropriately.
It is important to note that not every fighting dog is a Bull-and-Terrier, and not every Bull-and-Terrier is a fighting dog. Bull Terriers are Bull-and-Terrier type dogs, but they were never used consistently for dog fighting, so they are not pit bulls. In the heat of a dog fight, handlers had to be very close to their dogs, sometimes with their face just inches from their dog’s face.
Because the term pit bull does not mean the same thing to everyone, a legal definition of pit bull is usually necessary in order to clarify exactly which dogs are affected by the legislation. Responsibilities and requirements for ownership are the same as with any other type of dog.


They are affectionate companions are often referred to as a “nanny dog”, which leads many families to believe that they are suitable companions for children.
They often to do not accept other animals, especially dogs, and can be extremely aggressive towards them. This list consists of several dog breeds that have a higher than average number of recorded human fatalities.
The conundrum is a good one though, because it frees us up to look at these incredibly popular dogs as a fascinating American phenomena rather than an identifiable item with fixed genetics, behaviors and definable features.
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. Soon, a new bulldog was created by crossing the Olde English Bulldog with terriers to create smaller, more agile dogs. As the pitdogs made their way to the working farms of America, larger characteristics were encouraged in breedings. Properly socialized dogs are quite affectionate and friendly, even with strangers, and therefore do not make good guard dogs.
Depending on who you talk to, AmStaffs and APBTs can be the exact same breed, or completely separate breeds. This set the stage for breed specific laws (BSL), which cropped up in select places as the dogs began to be used as a political platform by opportunistic politicians. Breeder James Hicks mixed this early bull terrier with a variety of breeds, including Dalmatian, Borzoi, Collie, Greyhound, and Foxhound. Individual dogs and mixes whose muzzles are not so foreshortened are easily seen as pit bulls.
Because the breed labeling process is highly subjective, different shelter workers inevitably notice different prominent traits. The three elements (Bulldog, Terrier, fighting dog) come together only in the pit bull type dog.
The Dogue de Bourdeux might be considered both a Bulldog breed and a fighting breed, but the Dogue de Bourdeux has Mastiff, not Terrier, in its ancestry. Dogs that redirected their aggression toward people were culled (killed), with very few exceptions. To turn a profit quickly, fad breeders must disregard breed standard, health and temperament testing, and all other costly and time consuming measures that responsible breeders undertake to produce quality representatives of the breed. Courts have also cited dog fighters’ exaggerated descriptions of the pit bull as evidence that the dogs are dangerous (see, for example, State of Ohio v. It is generally understood that the pit bull is neither an innocent angel nor a vicious beast; the pit bull is a dog and will behave like a dog. Early advertisements, posters, and magazines began to use the image of the All American Dog, including Buster Brown, whose companion was a Pit Bull.
Although the Boxer and the pit bull share a strikingly similar history, the Boxer is not commonly legislated against and does not carry the negative stereotype.
The Olde English Bulldogge is a recreation of the original bull-baiting, pit-fighting bulldog of Elizabethan days and is considered one of the Pit Bull breeds. Rental communities and homeowners insurance may restrict many of the dog breeds on this list due to the likelihood of a serious incident.
At the same time, bite inhibition towards humans was encouraged through selective breeding so gamblers could handle their dogs during staged fights.
The modern Bull Terrier, with its mixed heritage and changed appearance, is significantly removed from the bull terrier that was once associated with dog fighting. Some clubs admit them to agility and fly ball; others don’t because it is dangerous to have APBTs off leash near other dogs and the clubs don’t want to bear the liability in the event of an attack. Despite proper training and socialization, many dogs may be hard to manage and can still have unwanted behaviors. The American Bulldog is a mix of these original fighting bulldogs and a mastiff type, and is also considered a Pit Bull breed.
They excel in dog sports, search and rescue work, drug and bomb detection work, and as therapy dogs. As with all breeds, the traits needed for their original tasks remain in the dogs – in this case, the sudden explosive aggression that was necessary to survive in the fighting pit. Severe shyness, fearfulness or human-directed aggression is not characteristic of the breed and highly undesirable in any dog. Many American Pit Bull Terriers get calmer as they age and an older dog may work for a more reserved family.



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