American Pit Bull Terrier
What is a pitbull? The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium sized breed with short hair and a strong build. This breed of dog stems from England and Ireland. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a member of the Molosser dog breed group. The Molosser group is a collection of large, strong bodied dogs that is made up of several different breeds. These breeds most likely derived from the same root stock, all very similar to the American Pit Bull Terrier.Experiments with crosses between Bulldogs and Terriers were starting to get popular during the 19th Century in England, Ireland, and Scotland. They were looking to create a breed that could combine the working talents of the Terrier breed with the muscular athleticism of the Bulldog breed. After this had been going on for a while, in the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century, the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association were created for the specific purpose of registering American Pit Bull Terriers. Specifically in 1898, the United Kennel Club was formed and was the first registry to recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier Breed. The owner of the club assigned his own American Pit Bull Terrier the first number of the registry.
The American Pit Bull Terrier breed was originally bred specifically to bait bulls and bears. However, at one point, baiting bulls became inhumane. Therefore, this breed started to get involved in dog fighting and ratting. Ratting is a sport where numerous rats are placed in a pit for a certain length of time with a dog. The success this breed had in the pit with the sport of ratting is what led to the word “pit” being used in their name. In America, the American Pit Bull Terrier was mainly used by farmers and ranchers for protection, as catch dogs for cattle and hogs, to drive livestock, and to hunt. During World War I and World War II, this breed of dog was used to deliver messages on the battlefield. However, over time, the American Pit Bull Terrier became more popularly used as house pets instead of fighting dogs due to their extreme amount of friendliness towards people. Yet, while they once were a tremendously common family dog in the United States, once World War II was over, the breed lost a lot of popularity due to families favoring other breeds.
The Appearance of the APBT.
The American Pit Bull Terrier’s appearance is well-defined. This breed has a medium sized body and its muscle structure is what it is known for most. This breed of dog has round or almond shaped eyes. Its ears tend to be small to medium in length and can either be cropped or stay their natural shape. The American Pit Bull Terrier has a thick tail that tapers to a point. This breed’s coat tends to be short, smooth, and glossy. It can even seem stiff at times. American Pit Bull Terriers can have a variety of any color coat besides merle. On average, this breed of dog has a height of about 14 to 24 inches at the shoulders and weighs in around 30 to 60 pounds.
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Temperament and behavior.
The temperament of the American Pit Bull Terrier is often misunderstood. Due to their appearance, many people believe American Pit Bull Terriers are mean, dangerous dogs. However, this breed of dog is actually an extremely loyal and friendly companion to friends, family, and strangers. Due to their origins, many American Pit Bull Terriers have a natural instinct to chase and capture fleeing animals like cats, deer, and livestock. However, as long as proper training and socialization is instilled early on, these instincts will fade. American Pit Bull Terriers tend to have a large amount of energy and therefore should engage in daily exercise and stimulation in order to not become bored, depressed, or destructive.
Lifespan of the breed.
The average life span of an American Pit Bull Terrier is around 12 to 14 years. This timeframe makes this dog one of the longest living breeds of large sized dogs. Overall, the health of the American Pit Bull Terrier also known as the APBT is generally good. This breed does tend to have a steeper chance of developing hip dysplasia compared to other breeds. This breed of dog also can experience patella problems, congenital heart defects, and thyroid dysfunctions. It has also been noted that American Pit Bull Terriers with dilute coat colors tend to have a great chance of developing skin allergies.
Pitbulls and dog sports.
As extremely athletic, strong, and smart dogs, American Pit Bull Terriers tend to participate and succeed in many dog sports such as weight pulling, flyball, and dog agility. Weight pulling is a dog sport that requires a dog to pull a cart or sled loaded with heavy weights across a short distance of dirt, gravel, carpet, snow, or grass. The dog is hooked up to the cart or sled with a specific kind of harness designed to evenly distribute the weight, thus minimizing the change of injury. A variety of dog breeds participate in this sport and are classified into separate groups by weight. Pit Bull breeds tend to excel within their individual weight classes, since their origins come from their historic working duties of pulling sleds and plows. Flyball is a dog sport that has dogs racing against each other from a start line, over a course of hurdles and obstacles, to get to a box that releases a tennis ball once the dog presses the spring loaded pad. The dogs then must bring the ball back to their handlers. The sport is run as a relay in teams of four dogs. The sport of dog agility is one in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race that is timed and scored based on accuracy. The dogs must run without a leash and without food or toys as incentives. The handler may not touch the dog or obstacles. All the handler can do is use his voice, movement, and body signals to guide the dog throughout the course.
Along with the dog sports of weight pulling, flyball, and dog agility, American Pit Bull Terriers are also known to be successful in the sport of Schutzhund, lure coursing, and advanced obedience competitions. In the United Kennel Club, 25 individual dogs are awarded with “super dog” status. This is determined by winning championship titles in conformation, obedience, weight pulling, and agility. Of these 25 dogs, 14 of them are American Pit Bull Terriers. This statistic proves that American Pit Bull Terriers are highly successful and enjoy a variety of different dog sports. Along with sports, this breed is also a hard working dog and is fit for a wide variety of working duties because of their intelligence, endurance, and great energy. American Pit Bull Terriers have been seen in the job titles of search and rescue dogs, police dogs, hearing dogs, border patrol dogs, and service dogs.
Overall, the American Pit Bull Terrier is one of the most well-rounded dog breeds of its time. This breed of dog is extremely intelligent, hard working, obedient, and loyal. While its appearance may fool you, the American Pit Bull Terrier is also one of the friendliest and caring dog breeds out there. With its unique characteristics as a hard working sport dog and friendly family pet, it is easy to see why so many people are drawn to this exceptional dog breed.