Back to the Pits

Whatever happened to America’s favorite dog?

Lets talk about America’s Dog. What? “America’s Dog”? Yes, beginning in the 1900’s the Pit Bull was the mascot of America. It was prized for it loyalty and friendliness. You could find pit bulls emblazoned everywhere, even to sell war bonds. Let’s list some famous ones. “Sergeant Stubby” the most decorated dog in WWI, guess what. Pit bull. “Nipper” the cute dog from the RCA advertisements. Pit bull. How about “Petey” from the Little Rascals. Pit bull. “Chance” from Homeward Bound. Pit bull.

“But wait,” you might say, “those dogs don’t look like pit bulls.” To which I’d say: Yes, that’s a common misconception.

I am going to use the very specific breed designation American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) because this is the one and only “true” pit bull. Related breeds are the American Staffordshire Terrier, bred to be larger and stronger, and the so-called American Bully, which is the dog most misidentified as a pit bull. The American Bully blends traits from the APBT and the stout, broad Bulldog resulting in a bulky muscular dog shorter and wider than an APBT.

But the medium sized intelligent, athletic American Pit Bull Terrier was truly the unofficial national mascot for most of the twentieth century, including both WWI and WWII. Yet sometime in the 1980s when gangs and other miscreants decided they wanted to take the American Pit Bull Terrier and build a hybrid fighting dog that things went sideways.

What a tragedy for the breed. To go from the most beloved dog in the country, to being vilified by the over-hyped media as evil, vicious killers that eat babies for breakfast and other dogs for lunch and grown men for dinner. However the real a true fact of the matter is that these are all wrong.

Take an unsavory trip down logical lane with me for just a moment. If you were training a dog to fight another dog, it would have to be safe to handle by a human otherwise you’d be putting yourself at risk. If one of your dogs did get aggressive they wouldn’t be bred, or be put down altogether. The true fact of the matter is that the dogs used in illegal (and inhumane) dog fighting are not pit bulls, they are hybrid mongrels bred by degenerate scum.

Now that we’ve taken that little trip down logical lane put it out of your mind. I know illegal dog fighting still exists. However, let us next consider the actual breed standards. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed just like a Jack Russel Terrier and as such has a clear and well-defined standard for appearance, proportion, stance, musculature, disposition, same so forth. I’ll quote from the breed standard as defined by the UKC. [Emphasis mine]

The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work. Disqualifications: Viciousness or extreme shyness.”

They are smart, strong, friendly dogs. When trained and socialized properly, like all dogs should be, they are amazing family dogs. Yet, today they are hated by so many influential people that municipalities write legislation to ban any dog that might even look like a APBT. How did we get here? How did we go from the APBT being the dog of the president and the hero dog of the nation, to being the most maligned breed currently known by this writer.

I sure don’t know, but I wish it wasn’t this way. I love my dog. She loves me. She also loves my family and friends. She also loves the cable guy, that one guy who came to fix the garage door. She loves everyone. Even the police officer who picked her up when the gate got left open said she was the friendliest dog he’d picked up. She loves them one and all with great exuberance.

Why can’t lawmakers love her back?

Author: Phillip

Phillip is a dad of three boys and married to a beautiful dedicated woman. An aspiring artist and science fiction author. He has been an IT professional for the past 20+ years. He is currently working on a full-length sci-fi novel, but he also makes small drawings/watercolors for his school-age son's lunchbox and occasionally pretends to be a comedian. He also still struggles with putting two spaces at the end of sentences.

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