The breeds that are included in the term pitbull feature simply because of the broad definition that the term carries and general confusion on what a pitbull actually is. Basically, they are all members of the Molosser breed. The other breeds included in this categorization are Newfoundlands, Great Danes and Rottweilers. The ancestors of the modern pitbulls are the English bulldogs and terriers that have evolved over time. Terriers were once indispensable, trained to kill crop destroying vermin and the cause of the plague. The other ancestors, the bull dogs were used in battle and utilitarian purposes, like farm-work. The name comes from the service rendered to farmers in bringing the bulls in. They also protected the farmer from the bulls brought in for castration, breeding or slaughter, if they turned wild and attacked, by biting the bovine on the nose!
Bulldogs were crossed terriers to develop intelligent and generally non-aggressive canines. As a result, the fighting terriers soon developed stable temperaments in time. The American pitbull is the result of the immigration of the cross in the 1800s from Ireland. The canines were bred into larger and stockier animals to either work as farm dogs or fighting dogs. The resulting breed, also became popular as the family pet for the layman and even appeared in box-office grossers like Our Gang or The Little Rascals and Pete, The Pup. During the First World War, the terrier featured on pro-American posters.
The American Pitbull Terrier is probably the only canine to enjoy a homage by the Life magazine, on the cover, thrice! The dog is considered as the breed most often involved in attacking adults, almost as frequently as children. This stigma on the breed has resulted in many shelters across the United States being full of Pit bulls. However, proud owners vouch that with a little understanding and timely training, they do make wonderful family pets. The pitbull is among America's most popular dog breeds and enjoys a pass percentage of 84.1 by the American Temperament Testing Society.
This breed is synonymous with breed traits such as friendliness and tolerance towards humans. There are the odd instances where the tolerance is tried and the dogs turn dangerous. However, it is important to note that the onus is on the owner to remain in total control of the animal. Intentional mistreatment or neglect is bound to incur pit bull bites and attacks. It is also important to note that the media has wrongly categorized many attacks by other dog breeds as 'pitbull attacks'. The animal's disposition is in direct response to the training received. Harsh training methods and lack of adequate socialization can bring on aggressive tendencies.
There is a lot of misinformation doing the rounds with regards to the matching of dogs. The lack of correct information springs from both, those who enjoy matching the dogs and those who think it repugnant. The breed is at the receiving end of the media in negative light, in the attempt to give humans involved in the organization and viewing of pitbull fights a clean image. The illegal and underground activity only leads to distorted information about the breed in question. Sadly, the effort to disseminate inaccurate information that comes with the lack of knowledge has caught on and a lot of inaccuracy about the animals and activities is being made available.
The American Pitbull Terrier is an animal awaiting justice. The dogs could not only be refined to become the good human protectors they genetically are designed to function as, but also to make great pets. We humans are responsible for the terrible damage caused to the reputation of the breed, and now, it is up to us to get educated and correct that wrong.