October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month! Pit bulls and pit bull mixes make up a whopping 20 percent of American dogs. They are also one of the breeds most often found in shelters. A vet discusses the pit bull below.
The term pit bull is actually an umbrella term for several dog breeds: the American Bully, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog. However, there is some disagreement here. Some insist that the American Pit Bull Terrier is the only true pit bull. (We’ll leave that debate to the AKC.)
Pit bulls were first bred in the 19th century, originating as a combination of the Old English Terrier, which is now extinct, and the Old English Bulldog. Those pups became known as ‘bull and terrier’ dogs. They are the ancestors of today’s pit bull.
As you probably know, pit bulls have a pretty bad rap. This is very sad, because many of them are absolute cuddlebugs, and just want ear scritches and belly rubs. Pit bull mixes also suffer from that bad PR. That said, it is important to recognize that some pits do have a strong prey drive. It’s important to be responsible with them. These pups should never be allowed to run around off-leash. If you have a yard, make sure that your fencing is secure, so your canine companion can’t get out. Proper training is a must as well. We also strongly recommend spay/neuter surgery. Ask your vet for specific care tips.
As with any other dog, adopting a pit is a lifetime commitment, so think it over carefully before you proceed. You’ll need to consider your household and family. Pits aren’t always a great mix for a family with cats or other small animals. Some do best as only pets, while others enjoy having other canines around. Of course, every dog is unique, so a lot will depend on Fido’s personality and history.
There are many things you can do to raise awareness about pit bulls. Even just sharing posts on social media can help dispel harmful stereotypes. You can also support a pit bull rescue by donating or volunteering. Of course, if you have a pit, treat Fido to a special snack or a new toy.
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