The American Staffordshire Terrier (also known as Pit Bull) is believed to be a man-eating beast. But is this breed all it’s made out to be? The Pit Bull started in the Unites States; it has been developed since the early 1800’s as a result of crosses between the bulldogs of that time and game terriers. Although the early ancestors of this breed came from England, the development of the American Staffordshire Terrier is the story of a truly American breed. This type of dog was instrumental in the success of farmers and settlers who developed this country. They were used for general farm work, hunting wild pigs, bears, and other large game, guarding the homestead, and general companionship. A number of the early ancestors were also developed for the “sport” of dog fighting.
The extraordinary vitality of this breed is a direct result of breeding for successful fighting dogs. This now illegal activity is, unfortunately, more often cited as the early purpose of the dogs rather than the general farm work. Although ancestors of the American Staffordshire were fighting dogs, the selective breeding since the 1930’s has been away from the fighting heritage. The American Staffordshire Terrier of today is a companion and show dog, rather than a gladiator. Although more rarely used on the farm now, the talents that made him a good all-purpose dog are still to be found in the breed.
Later on, In the early 1900s people began to fight dog against dog in a pit, or dog against bull in a pit which is why the dog was later named the Pit Bull. Unfortunately in today’s society there have been many cases of over breeding for this dog which has created temperament problems in their bloodlines, leading to inconsistent behavior. Pit Bulls over bred today are usually used to fight illegally in run down urban areas or are kept outside and are used to guard junkyards, people’s houses or private property. The over breeding of these dogs led to people housing them that were not qualified to handle this breed.
Though they do not get overly large they have a body mass that can weigh up to 90 pounds, and a lockjaw with 800 pounds of pressure. These dogs are very smart, but require a lot of care and attention. The Pit Bull will also learn to imitate the behavior of its owner. People who neglect these dogs or use aggressive force to train them will often have an aggressive dog likely to turn and attack. When kept in safe living conditions and trained properly these dogs are excellent family pets with a natural guard dog instinct to protect its family.
Many of the dog attacks to take place in the past 10 years have been by Pit Bulls, but what about 10 years before that when the feared breed was the Doberman Pinscher. Now Dobermans are recognized as an extraordinary breed while the Pit Bull has now gained the reputation of “Man eater.” To stop the over breeding, inbreeding and sales to unfit owners, it is encouraged to buy your American Staffordshire Terrier from a registered and reputable breeder. It is also advised to see the papers and bloodlines to the parents to make sure they have been Temperament Tested (TT).
When a responsible owner goes to these lengths to get a pedigree Pit Bull, they will end up with a companion for life that will be loyal and protect your every step. American Staffordshire Terriers tend to take to their main owner the most. They will follow them everywhere and protect them against danger at all times. Though very gentle, if the Pit Bull senses that their owner is in danger or at risk, they will put their own lives at stake for the well being and safety of their family.
For the past 3 years precautions have been taken to ward off Pit Bulls becoming turned into attack dogs and the number of Pit Bull attacks have decreased. Now, because of the ever growing popularity of Labrador and Golden Retrievers, their inbreeding have caused these examples of “Man’s Best Friend” to attack as well. So before you judge every Pit Bull that you see please be aware that a majority of the time it is the inability of the owner, and not the aggressiveness of the dog. Any dog can attack if not properly bred or cared for!