It seems like October is National Awareness For Everything Month. There’s the most popular, and incredibly important, Breast Cancer Awareness, but there’s also a list about a mile long of other things to be “aware of” in the month of October. It’s also Pit Bull Awareness Month. So here are a few things to be aware of when it comes to Pit Bulls:
The first is that there are many breeds of dogs that can be mistaken for a Pit Bull. In fact, “pit bull” is not even a breed of dog. The three breeds most commonly associated with the label are the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff), and the Staffordshire Terrier (Staffie). Then there are dogs like Mastiffs and Boxers who also get lumped in to this category.
The next is that “Pit Bull’s” were NOT BRED TO BE AGGRESSIVE. Aggression in dogs comes in many different forms; towards other dogs, towards people, towards small animals (predatory), out of fear, being territorial, the list goes on and on. So making a blanket statement like “Pit Bull’s are dangerous and aggressive” is pretty ridiculous. Any dog, no matter the breed, can be aggressive. It’s true that it’s the way you raise and treat them. Them being dogs in general. Working with dogs has given me the opportunity to interact with a countless number of breeds, from the common to the rare (ever met a Jindo or a Bouvier Des Flandres?) The truth is, I’ve met more Labs who’ve had aggression issues than I have Pit Bulls; but I, nor anyone else, would ever say that Labs are aggressive. Pit Bull type dogs were originally bred to bait bulls…meaning that they had to be fearless. When the sport of bullbaiting was outlawed some cruel and ignorant people decided that having dogs fight each other would make for a good sport; which has made SOME pitties not get along so well with other dogs. But these dogs also needed to be fiercely loyal and obedient to their owners.
Which brings me to my next point. “Pit Bull’s” were once considered our National Dog. The loyalty and obedience that was bred to be a part of who these dogs are still remains. Sgt. Stubby, an APBT, was the most decorated war dog of WWI and his image graced countless propaganda posters. AmStaffs and Staffies have long had the nickname “Nanny Dog”because of their unwavering love of children. As I type this, my AmStaff is curled up asleep on the couch next to my six month old son who is continuously pulling on his ears. Something than happens quite often in our house. Poor Roo endures this constant torture and always has a smile on his face. Because he loves his family. Pitties are some of the best family dogs you’ll ever find.
Now here’s the most important thing to be aware of….PIT BULLS ARE JUST DOGS!!! They are just like any other dog. They need a good home with good owners who will shower them with treats and return the unconditional love that they give; just like all dogs. Pitties have been given a bad rep, and it’ll stay that way if we don’t use the voices that they can’t to dispel all the myths that have been spread about them.
Here’s one more fact for you…APBT’s and “Pit Bull Type” dogs are the least likely to get adopted, yet they are the most numerous of dogs in our shelters. Coincidentally, October is also Adopt a Shelter Dog Month so if you’re in the market for a new best friend please take a look at the Bully Breeds, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find about them.