The following is basic breed information for anyone who is interested in acquiring a Pit Bull, for those who already have one and would like to learn more about the breed, or simply for anyone who would like to understand these great dogs. This section discusses the most notable traits of Pit Bull type dogs, including the potential for dog aggression. You will learn here that while Pit Bulls make great family companions in the right hands and living situation, they require intelligent, responsible, and dedicated ownership. Unfortunately, too many people obtain these dogs for the wrong reasons, or have little understanding about the inherent traits this breed possesses. It is unfortunate that one of the original purposes of the APBT was (and still is for many) dog-to-dog combat, but itís a fact that canít be denied or ignored.Itís very important that every potential Pit Bull owner understands the selective breeding that took place to make the Pit Bulls of today, and the inherited characteristics that are potentially within this wonderful breed.
Keep in mind that often little is known about the background of rescued dogs. Some may be game-bred (from fighting lines), some may be registered show dogs, some may be Am. Staffs, some may look like APBTís but are mixed with other breeds, etc. Since there is no way to know for sure about the dog's lineage unless you have its pedigree in hand, we recommend the following PBRC guidelines for any type of ďPit BullĒ...
Pit Bulls are wonderful animals that deserve a chance to have a good life like any other dog. However, itís important to remember that Pit Bulls are not just any other dog. They are a little more of everything a dog can be.
Pit Bulls have great physical and mental characteristics that make them excellent partners for responsible, active, and caring owners. On the other hand, these same outstanding qualities can make them a little difficult to handle for people who donít have a lot of experience with dog ownership or for those who donít understand the breed very well. Luckily, Pit Bulls are very responsive to training and eager to please. It is therefore strongly recommended to take them to obedience classes as soon as they are up to date with their shots. (Pit Bulls are prone to Distemper and Parvo, so it is important that they receive all their vaccinations before coming into contact with other dogs or going places that other dogs frequent). A well-behaved and obedient Pit Bull will be a great ambassador for the breed and help fight prejudice and misconceptions.
Pit Bulls are very adaptable and will even do well in urban living, provided they have enough exercise or other positive outlets for their energy. Many Pit Bulls are easy going couch potatoes, but can also be quite rambunctious until they mature. Maturity can come pretty late with this breed (2 to 3 years old in some cases). Pit Bulls remain playful al their life and have a great sense of humor. These dogs will make you laugh like no other.
Pit Bulls are strong, energetic, agile and powerful dogs. They are also very resourceful and driven. ďDeterminationĒ is one of their most notable traits. Whatever they set out to do, they will put their heart and soul into it. Whether itís escaping out of an inadequately fenced yard to explore the neighborhood or destroying your new couch when left home alone or climbing into your lap to shower you with kisses Ė they just donít give up easily.
Stahlkuppe (1995) writes: ďThe American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) or the Am Staff, is certainly not the right pet for everyone. Being a powerful dog, it will require sufficient and adequate control. Some prospective elderly owners or children, will not be able to supply that control. A first time dog owner, in the minds of many experienced dog breeders, should not buy an APBT or an Am Staff. An insecure person who wants only an aggressive dog to bolster some personal human inadequacy should never become an owner of one of these dogs.Ē
Another very important characteristic of Pit Bulls is their amazing love of people. These dogs are remarkably affectionate, and crave human attention. They are wonderful snugglers and nothing beats a belly rub. In fact, most Pit Bulls think they are lap dogs!
Like any other breed, Pit Bulls can develop behavior problems if mishandled, abused, poorly bred, unsocialized, etc. that could result in inappropriate aggression. Any large, strong and powerful dog that attacks can do a lot of damage. This is why serious temperament evaluation is so important when dealing with dogs of certain size. Unlike the myth propagated by the media, human aggression is not a problem specific to the Pit Bull breed. In fact, Pit Bulls tend to do better than average in temperament tests.
Pit Bulls make wonderful, loving and very loyal companions. It is important however, to understand the breedís nature, to provide a structured environment and to establish a positive leadership role. In order to do so, Pit Bull owners must understand the original purpose of the breed and respect its limits and potential.