October is not only National Pit Bull Awareness Month, but October 28 is also National Pit Bull Awareness Day. To celebrate, we are sharing some lesser-known facts about pit bulls in the hopes that everyone can see them for what they truly are—normal, loving animals.
- The Label “Pit bull” Generally Refers to a Cross Breed
Dogs identified as pit bulls are actually a combination of bulldogs and terriers. There are five breeds that are typically referred to as pit bulls:
American pit bull terriers
American Staffordshire terriers
Staffordshire bull terriers
English bulldog terriers
2.The Lineage of Pit Bulls Can Be Traced Back to England in the 1600s
Pit bulls descend from bulldogs. Bulldogs were used as early as the 1600s for bull and bear baiting (their name descends from their use as bull baiters). In the mid-1800s, some very aware people realized that such blood sports were very cruel and made bull baiting illegal. For those who found this decision less than obvious, they replaced bull baiting with dog fighting. To make it more entertaining, they crossbred bulldogs with terriers. The result was the animal that we know and love today.
3.Pit Bulls Played a Vital Role for Early American Immigrants
Pit bulls made their way to America on ships alongside immigrants seeking a new life opportunity. Of course, early America was a tad more rustic than it is today, and survival was often a daily struggle. Because of their protective nature, pit bulls were considered very valuable.
They helped their owners by protecting them.
They also defended livestock from predators and intruders.
They assisted hunts by acting as hog catchers.
Finally, they served as companions to young children, which is how they evolved into family pets.
So, without pit bulls, some early American families and communities may have struggled with a lack of food or protection.
4.Pit Bulls Make Exceptional Family Pets
Throughout the years, pit bulls have continued to be outstanding family pets. Despite the negative perceptions surrounding these typically muscular, square-headed dogs, pit bulls were ranked as the second most tolerant breed in a test by the American Temperament Test Society, Inc., American Humane Association, ASPCA. The results were originally shared by The Huffington Post.
The results also revealed that in the vast majority of cases where pit bulls were involved in attacks on people or other animals, the dog had been neglected or abused. Conditions where dogs are trained to be aggressive or are not socialized properly are also circumstances that can cause a dog to behave negatively in certain situations. The key factor is that pit bulls are as good as their upbringing. With love and proper training, pit bulls can become loving and loyal pets.
5.Pit Bulls Generally Have a Good Health Profile
Typically, pit bulls have a good lifespan and can live for 13-15 years with few health complications (they’re a hardy breed). The most common health issues affecting them are bone diseases, skin allergies, thyroid problems and congenital heart defects.
6.Pit Bulls Require Plenty of Exercise
Pit bulls are strong and energetic and therefore need daily exercise to prevent them from becoming bored. Walks are great for socializing pit bulls. It is always recommended that pit bulls—like any dog—be walked on a leash.
7.Pit Bulls Benefit from Small Meals Multiple Times a Day
Some people assume that a big, strong dog has a big, strong appetite; however, pit bulls do better when they are fed 2-4 small meals throughout the day. These meals should not be served within a half hour of exercise, either. For pit bulls, we recommend a high-protein, grain-free diet.
When fed, loved and trained well, pit bulls are some of the best dogs to have as pets.