Posted on Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

A brief history of the Pit Bull


Pretty much without competition, Pit Bull Terriers – often just called Pit Bulls – are the most polarizing breed of dog in America. While reports concerning abused Pit Bulls who lashed out at owners or other people can be found, overwhelmingly, you’ll find stories about just how affectionate and friendly Pit Bulls really are. Dogster went out of its way to note that this is a happy breed of dog that’s gotten a bad reputation in the media. Like any other breed, Pit Bulls that are properly socialized and trained can make great family pets and loving companions.

Mixed origins

The history behind the American Pit Bull Terrier is a complicated one. In fact, BADRAP, a Pit Bull nonprofit rescue group, reported that there’s actually no proper definition for Pit Bulls as a breed. Recent research into DNA analysis has even indicated that most dogs commonly identified as Pit Bulls are usually a mix of numerous breeds. This can explain the variety of colorings and features that vary with most Pit Bulls, but makes their history a murky mess of unknowns.

What Pit Bull specialists do know, according to Dogster, is that this breed originated from mixing Bulldogs and Terriers in 19th-century England. Pit Bulls were used for a time as farm dogs and pets. Over the years, several organizations attempted to legitimize the breed, especially in the early 20th century. In 1936, the American Kennel Club registered Pit Bulls as American Staffordshire Terriers, with a genetic backstory as long and convoluted as one would expect.

According to BADRAP, Pit Bulls not only played a part in World War I, but these dogs were also popular pets in the early part of the 20th century, with several notable celebrities adopting their own loyal companions. Helen Keller and Theodore Roosevelt both had Pit Bulls as pets, and the breed was also made iconic on the early television show “Our Gang,” where the Little Rascals themselves counted a Pit Bull among their numbers.

Aspiring pet parents can find numerous Pit Bull rescue organizations to help them adopt a dog. Because so many Pit Bulls have been abused in some way by irresponsible owners, making one of these dogs a part of your family takes work and dedication. But a Pit Bull can be ready to pay back that loyalty and love 10 times over. You can also head to your local shelter and see what mixed breeds or Pit Bulls are there. This content post is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.