A Dog Breed Once Known as the Molossus.
The Pit Bull
When you hear the words “Pit Bull” your mind automatically zeroes in on a breed of dog that is associated with danger even though that isn’t always the case. The breed that often gets a bad rap is one of the most misunderstood dog breeds in the world. It’s also the first dog to be surrendered to shelters all across the United States. Pit Bulls have been banned from cities and military institutions all across the United States though the stereotype surrounding the dogs is beginning to change, and here is why:
20 states, including Arizona, have completely done away with laws that ban or regulate dogs by breed!
According to www.barkpost.com the regulations were put into place in 2016 when the governor of Arizona signed Senate Bill 1248 which forbids cities and counties in Arizona from enacting or enforcing breed based dog regulations. This came on the heels of pressure from organizations like the
ASPCA, the AKCand even the WhiteHouse.gov who said that banning Pit Bulls and other breeds was ineffective. Not only where BSL’s failing to the protect the public, they were both difficult and expensive to enforce. While the Pit Bull is usually the target of a BSL, the terms refers to dogs of any breed that have a block like head and a muscular body. This means that Rottweilers, Akitas and other similar dogs are also targets of BSL.
Pit Bull is the common name for a type of dog that also includes the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These dogs are strong willed and stubborn but they are also friendly, affectionate and loyal. It’s best to begin training a Pit Bull puppy early in life because once they grow up a bit, they begin to have a mind of their own which means they are often difficult to train.
They are members of the Terrier Group and they can weigh anywhere between 30 to 85 pounds. They are stocky and muscular and stand around one feet, five inches tall. If cared for properly, they can live to be 12 to 16 years of age.
While they are generally healthy, they can suffer from conditions such as Hip Dysplasia, allergies, and thyroid problems. They are also prone to heart disease. They shouldn’t be left outside for too long because they aren’t built to withstand cold temperatures. The Pit Bull will do best as a house dog and he will form a strong bond to the one who loves and cares for him, or her.
If you’re considering a Pit Bull as a pet, they need some exercise, but not a lot. They are happy with an hour of exercise a day, followed by a day of leisure.
The dogs were originally bred to “bait” bulls on farms but because they were so gentle, they were later moved to the inside of the home in order to watch over the children. In fact, did you know that the Pit Bull is often associated with children? There have been many Pit Bull breeds that have starred in films right beside children–the Our Gang series as well as advertisements for Buster Brown. When, then, did the Pit Bull become the subject of so much scrutiny? Here’s one theory:
In the beginning, the Pit Bull was known as the Molossus, a breed that is now extinct. The Molossus was used by the Greeks to protect the sheep and to serve as a watchdog over the soldiers. Over time the Molossus made its’ way to Britain where it was renamed the Mastiff. After a battle between Rome and Britain, the dogs began to take hold in the Roman Empire and for the next four hundred years they were used as war dogs. They were bred with local breeds throughout Europe, eventually becoming the modern Pit Bull we either love, or hate, today.
A second theory came to be when there was a ban on bull-baiting in the 19th Century in the United Kingdom and with that ban came an increase of illegal dog fighting. When immigrants from Britain came to the United States it was said that they brought their dog fighting, as well as their dogs, with them. As the Pit Bull was introduced to Americans’ however, the dogs weren’t used to fight, they were put back where they began, on the farm. Many farmers, once again, began using the dogs as both herding and working dogs.
Yes, they do have have a fighting history. They were bred to to fight and to hunt prey but they were also bred to be loyal companions. Their history is just one of the reasons that cause the American Kennel Club to hold off recognition of the breed until 1936. The AKC then defined the breed as the Staffordshire Terrier, instead of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
From the turn of the century to the 1980’s there was just one report of a Pit Bull attack that made the national news. According to Cesar’s Way | Official Site Of Dog Behaviorist Cesar Millan, the attack happened when a man sent a pack of 26 dogs to attack a young woman in St. Petersburg, Florida. were few and far between.
On January 1, 1986, that all changed when over thirty communities began considering BSL. Why, then, was the perception of the Pit Bull changed, once again?
It all began when dog fighting began to make a comeback in the 1980’s. Even though dog fighting was, and still is illegal in all fifty states, the dog of choice used for dog fighting was, you guessed it, the Pit Bull. And while the blame was placed on the dogs, it should have been placed on the owners of the dogs. Many of the attacks occurred for one of two reasons:
Poor Breeding Bad Training
Both of these, of course, are not the fault of the dog and one should take a look at the history of the breed before blaming the breed, itself. It’s the humans who own the dogs, the ones who misuse them, that should be blamed. Any dog, including the tiny Pomeranian, can be vicious if provoked. it’s not just limited to bully breeds.
For more than 100 years, those who owned a Pit Bull were responsible for the care and behavior of the animal—this is what prevented pit bull attacks–the dogs were once gentle enough to be around children and maybe with time and effort, the image of the Pit Bull may finally be restored.
Today we would like to thank BarkPost – BarkPostas well as Cesar’s Way | Official Site Of Dog Behaviorist Cesar Millan for helping us with this post.
Be sure to visit both websites to learn more about dogs, as well as dog health.
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