Pit Bull

American Pit Bull Terrier American Pit Bull Terrier staffordshire bull terrier

A is not one breed but multiple breeds. It is very well known and notorious for being the most dangerous of dogs. The three dogs that are classed as Pit Bulls are the American Staffordshire Terrier, The Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. It should be noted though that any dog which has similar characteristics also gets lumped under the Pit bull name. Also some countries also classify other dogs as pit bull type dogs, for example in Singapore the American Bulldog is classed in this way. The three commonly recognized Pit bull breeds share their ancestors with the bulldog and various Terriers. These breeds tend to be quite popular though it should be noted that of the dogs euthanized in the USA in 2008 about 58% of the dogs were of pit bull type breeds. Note these numbers could have been party high due to the public outcry over this breed, as well as due to people getting the dog and finding it unsuited for a family environment.

American Pit Bull Terrier

This breed mixed together bulldogs and terriers. The dogs where used as catch dogs (dogs used to catch large animals. They were either hunting, taking care of livestock or baiting). Some dogs where also bred for their ability to perform in dog fights, they got so proficient in it that they started to replace the Bull terrier as the ideal fighting dog. Nowadays the pit bull tends to be used as a policy dog, or a therapy dog or even a companion dog. But it should be noted that these dogs tend to be quite aggressive, as would be expected from the way they have been bred. These dogs seem to be the dog of choice for example for when drug dealers want to defend their property. There have been various failed attempts to reliable this breed, which have failed due to the fact that the public were very opposed.

American Staffordshire Terrier

This breed is a mixture of Fox, White English and Black and Tan Terrier breeds. They were bred originally in England and made it to America where they were soon to be known as pit dogs. As can be surmised they were imported mainly for dog fights, specifically pit dog fight. The American in the name was added as they have diverged from the original Staffordshire Terrier as the American Staffordshire Terrier tends to be heavier than its Staffordshire Terrier relative.

Staffordshire bull Terrier

The Staffordshire bull Terriers heritage is a rough one. It comes from bulldogs and Mastiffs who were used for bull and bear baiting. This was popular in the Elizabethan era, originally the breeds which were involved were heavier but then the trend was for lighter dogs who were more quick. Then during the 19th century dog fighting became popular. This is where the "bulldog terrier" and "bull and terrier" names came from. In those times the bulldog was larger than its modern compatriot, and it was bred with a precursor of the Manchester terrier to make the Staffy. It should be noted that the "sport" of dog fighting was outlawed in Great Britain in the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835.

Pit bull aggression

In 2000 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC a USA watchdog) produced a study which was centered on fatalities which had dog bites involved. The study covered the years from 1979 to 1998. Over this period there were 238 reports of people dying by the bite of a dog. From this 32% of the killing were to be found to be done by pit bulls. The next most dangerous breed was the Rottweiler with about 18 percent of the fatalities. Both these breeds together accounted for 50% of deaths, but the breed made up a much smaller percentage of the overall population, from this it was concluded that it would appear that there is a breed specific problem with this dog. Note though that this leaves the door open for it also to be heavily influenced on the owner of the dogs to also be partly responsible. It should be noted though that the proportion of death that results from a dog bite is tiny. It is only 0.00001% of people who are bitten who die. To make this clearer, in American each Year approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs and from this 16 fatalities result.

The Clifton report sheds more light on what is occurring. Mr. Merrit Clifton compiled information from reports of dog attacks and dangerous bites which occurred in the USA and Canada from 1982 to 2009 it found that put bull terrier were reported to be responsible 46% of the time, then came the Rottweiler comes in at 20%. What Clifton concluded was that it was not that these dogs have an overly aggressive temperament, it is more that this temperament in combination with the strength of both these breeds. For example any dog can have a bad moment and nip an owner, but if it is a Chihuahua then the worst you could end up with is a small bit mark, but with a Rottweiler or a pit bull the result can be deadly.

Is this the dog breed type for you?

Taking on either the pit bull breed type or the Rottweiler must not be taken lightly. This is probably not the best dog for a first time owner. Nevertheless for the right owner and with appropriate socialisation and training this breed may be appropriate for the right owner.