Unfortunately, negative press in recent years and a deteriorating public perception of the American Pit Bull Terrier has caused the popularity of this breed to decline greatly. With proper dog training and socialization as puppies, this breed makes an excellent family pet and wonderful companion.
PIT BULLS HISTORY
The American Pit Bull Terrier, first bred in the 19th century by cross breeding a bulldog and terrier, was created for the popular sport of “bear baiting” (bears were chained to a pole and chased then attacked by a dog), which was very popular in Europe. Ireland, England and Scotland chose the two breeds in an attempt to create a breed with the exceptional gaming skills of the terrier and the great athleticism and strength of the bulldog. Finally considered cruel and inhumane, “bear baiting” became illegal and another sport known as “ratting” (where dogs were placed in pits with rats for a period of time) quickly became popular. This new breed, known as the Bull Terrier was used so often for this sport that its name was changed to Pit Bull Terrier. Eventually, this breed became officially known as the American Pit Bull Terrier.
In 1898, the American Dog Breeders Association and United Kennel Club were formed; the latter becoming the first to officially register and officially recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier. In fact, the owner of the United Kennel Club assigned the very first number to his own dog. Over time, the American Pit Bull Terrier became very domesticated because of their surprisingly sweet nature and loving devotion to their owners. The American Pit Bull Terrier became quite popular in America on ranches and farms for herding cattle and other livestock, as well as for protection. Sturdy and intelligent, this breed was also used during World War I and II to deliver messages on battlefields.
This medium-sized breed has a muscular body, but does not look stocky or bulky. The American Pit Bull Terrier has round; sometimes almond-shaped eyes and can have small-to-medium length ears. Its fur is smooth and short and somewhat stiff, and comes in a variety of colors. The height for American Pit Bull Terriers varies from 18 to 21 inches for males, and 17 to 18 inches for females; with weight ranging from 30 to 90 pounds.
A highly intelligent and active dog, this loving breed makes a good family pet, despite the negative press it has received in recent years. The use of American Pit Bull Terriers for dog fighting and over-aggressive training has caused people to unjustly fear and dislike the breed. As with any breed, if properly trained and socialized very young with exposure to many different sights, experiences and people, these dogs will grow to be well-rounded and friendly. Lots of love, care and interaction as puppies will reward you with a gentle and loyal companion and wonderful member of your family.
American Pit Bull Terriers form a very strong bond with their family and are quite courageous, which when coupled with their strength makes them eager and willing to sacrifice their own lives to defend their family. Always confident and alert, they are reliable and trustworthy watchdogs too. This breed loves children and they make great playmates. However, as with any breed, children, especially young children, should never be left with the dog unsupervised. Children need to learn which actions are dangerous around dogs, just as the dog needs to learn what behavior is unacceptable around children. Allowing children to help with the training of a young dog will help them understand what is expected, as well as nurture a mutual respect between the animal and the child.
American Pit Bull Terriers are energetic, so keeping them active is very important. As with many other breeds, they will get bored and look for ways to channel their energy that may be destructive, if they do not receive enough attention and interaction. Exercising them each day with a walk or running alongside a bicycle is something this breed enjoys with great enthusiasm. Some type of daily playtime will reward you with a happy, healthy and friendly pet.
Generally a healthy breed, the life expectancy of the American Pit Bull Terrier is between 12 to 14 years, which makes them one of the longer living breeds. Like most medium or large breed dogs, hip dysplasia is always a concern. Other health concerns include congenital heart defects and some thyroid dysfunction. Skin allergies are typical in the lighter-colored dogs. It should be noted that American Pit Bull Terriers do not do well in cold weather, so prolonged periods outdoors during winter months could be harmful.
The short, stiff coat of the American Pit Bull Terrier is easy to groom, requiring regular brushing with a bristle brush, and a simple bath when needed.
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