Even though this breed gets more press than almost any other, you may be surprised at how little you know about it. For example, do you know where the breed was developed originally or whether or not it belongs to a group of dog breeds called “Molossers”? Find out the answers to both of these questions and more below!
#1 – Not an AKC Recognized Breed
There is no “Pit Bull” breed in the AKC register. They do have the American Terrier, which many refer to as a pitty. However, The United Kennel Club does recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as a breed and allows them to register. The term pit bull or “pitty” is used for both of these dogs and it can be hard for non-enthusiasts to tell the difference.
Related: Best Durable Pit Bull Toys
#2 – European Origins
The beginnings of the pit bull were in 19th C. England, Ireland and (some sources say) Scotland. The farmers were experimenting with crossbreeding terriers and bullies to make a more versatile dog – one that could do everything from bear baiting and hunting to driving livestock and family pets. Today, the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier is small and more compact than their American cousins.
#3 – Catalyst for Registries
Since AKC wouldn’t accept them, two new dog registries were formed – the UKC and the American Dog Breeds Association. Both clubs were started by men who owned pit bulls themselves. In fact the dog that holds the Registry no. 1 with the UKC is the founder’s pit bull. (www.ukcdogs.com)
#4 – Eager to Please
Despite the bad rap the breed has received, owners of them know that the pit bull was actually bred to be loving of his family and to be eager to please – he will do anything his owners asks of him—making him perfect for any performance sport. A well-socialized pit bull has a very “lab-like” personality.
#5 – A Coat of Many Colors
Pit bulls can come in any color in the dog coat rainbow – except merle or albinism. The most commonly seen are red, blue, fawn and brindle.
#6 – Molosser Dog
The American Pit Bull Terrier is part of the “Molosser dog” category. This is a group of diverse breed that descended from the ancient “Moloss” stock of dogs from Eprius, Greece. Other breeds in the group include American Bulldog, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Great Dane, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Presa Canario, Rottweiler, and many more. (www.animalplanet.com)
#7 – Sergeant Stubby
The most decorated war dog of WWI was Stubby who is said to have had some pit bull terrier in him. There are many stories—almost legends by now—about his deeds during the war, which were front page news at the time. According to Wikipedia,
“He served for 18 months and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and once caught a German soldier by the seat of his pants, holding him there until American soldiers found him.”
After the war he was smuggled back to the U.S. by Cpl. James Robert Conroy, where he died in his sleep. Sergeant Stubby has his own brick at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, bearing the words,
HERO DOG OF WWI
A BRAVE STRAY
#8 – Pro-American Propaganda
Just as the doxies were associated with Germany, so the bully breeds were associated with the American Hero. There are several posters from the times that should the “All American Pit Bull” as the symbol of American courage and patriotism.
#9 – Nanny Dogs
The pit bull was given this nickname in the 50’s because they were so good with kids. You can find many images from that era showing kids and pit bulls together.
#10 – Mistaken Identity
Many dogs labeled at “pit bull” are actually breeds or mixes of other dogs from the Molosser group. These mistakes have fueled the anti-pit bull group, since any time a dog that looks like that does something, it’s labeled a pit bull and the breed is condemned.
#11 – Pal the Wonder Dog
Pal is best known for his role at “Petey,” the pit bull that followed The Little Rascals around and protected them. The ring around his way was partially his own, and was just completed by make-up. According to Animal Planet, “the ring was even recognized as an oddity by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” When he passed, his son Pete took over the roll in the show.
#12 – Locking Jaw Myth
Many people believe that the pit bull can lock their jaw – making it impossible to get them to release something they are holding. And while they do have strong jaws, studies have proved there is nothing different about it than other breeds; they cannot lock their jaw. (www.realpitbull.com)