History Of Pitbulls

History Of Pitbulls

Pitbull history is often misrepresented and skewed towards the common misconceptions of the breed.  The truth is, there is not an actual definition for the term “Pitbull”.  Sure, you can look it up in Merriam-Webster and come away with an idea of the breed, but this definition is condemnatory.  What is meant by there not being an actual definition is that it is often a mixture of breeds that comprise a Pitbull. This has led to a variety of terms being used to refer to the breed.  This article will delve into Pitbull history by an investigation into the origination of the breed, its history in America, the ideal appearance and personality and a look at how the Pitbull got the bad reputation.

Origination of Term

The first recollection of a dog similar to today’s Pitbull was in the British Isles in the 1800’s.  At this point, the breed was comparable to an American Bulldog; fittingly, they were used to bait bulls.  Used as entertainment for lower economic classes, this practice was deemed inhumane and was replaced by dog fighting.  This new sport required a more agile, smaller dog which was accomplished by crossing the dogs with terriers.  Bred to be fighters, the dogs were taught to not bite humans so that the handlers could safely stage fights.  It is here that the reputation of the breed to be trustworthy with humans originated.

History in America

Pitbull history in American began as immigrants began coming to the country with these dogs in tow.  In America, fighting was not the only skill the Pitbulls were renowned for.  Other tasks delegated to the breed included being the protectors of property from predators and being an additional farmhand.  Hog catching was exceptionally easy for the breed along with being helpers on a variety of other hunts.  The dogs could also function as a nanny for children due to their protective nature.

As America developed, Pitbulls held their place of prominence in the American culture, likely due to the admiration for the qualities of the breed: welcoming, courageous, hardworking, and reputable.  These were qualities that Americans felt defined their culture and caused them to idolize Pitbulls as a concrete representation of these qualities.  This appreciation for the breed is evident in the literature of the times; it wasn’t uncommon to see the Pitbull pictured in a domestic scene with family members lovingly embracing the dog.  Even as recently as World World I, the Pitbull was used as a mascot of neutrality and bravery.  Many famous American figures had the breed as a pet, the most notable being Helen Keller and Teddy Roosevelt.  Odds are, a majority of readers have some familial link to Pitbulls.

History Of Pitbulls



Origination of Pitbull Appearance and Personality

According to documentation of Pitbull history, early breeders were not concerned with the looks of Pitbulls; they were more concerned with their physical prowess.  Due to this, physical appearances vary widely.  When the breed was first developed, the dogs tended to be smaller as this was an advantage when fighting.  As the role of the Pit Bull shifted to that of a farmhand, they were bred to be larger so to better withstand the nature of the work.  These days, both varieties and everything in between can be found.

The personality of the breed is often the most appealing feature to Pitbull lovers.  Specific markers for the breed include their strength, self-assurance, wit and abundance of energy.  You will find that these dogs are quite sensitive and will get their feelings hurt with little provocation.  It is essential to properly socialize Pitbulls in order to cultivate the affectionate nature.  This will allow others to see the intelligence and playfulness that society believes the breed is incapable of.  Furthermore, many of the negative characteristics often attributed to the breed such as human-directed aggression are absolutely not normal for the breed.  Pitbulls commonly are proficient in dog athletics, search and rescue teams, and bomb identification.  In a huge juxtaposition of the negative portrayal of the breed, Pitbull history also show them as exceptional therapy dogs.

Origination of Bad Connation

Considering all the wonderful things posed in this article regarding Pitbull history, one may have a hard time fully comprehending how the breed has such a bad reputation.  Unfortunately, human involvement is solely to blame for this.  Starting in the 80’s, greater numbers of dog fights involving Pitbulls were organized, particularly in areas stricken with poverty and crime.  This caused the media to draw on the public’s fear of werewolves by drawing parallels to the image of a fighting dog.  Sports Illustrated even went as far to put a ferocious looking Pitbull on the cover of their magazine with headlines proclaiming ferociousness and unpredictability.  This was only the tip of the iceburg; the media continued on with this negative portrayal via sensational headlines and misconstrued stories.   The public panicked and this led to breed specific laws as opportunistic politicians capitalized on this alarm for their own personal gain.  Thankfully, this has turned around.  Dogfighting has been made into a felony in each state and arrests have increased.  Unfortunately, dogfighting is not the only difficultly Pitbulls are facing.  The more pressing threat is the ill-informed public.  Sites such as this one are working tireless to irradiate this misperception, with goals of being able to report Pitbull history without having to mention the negative opinion of the breed.

Shift of the Tide

The plight of Pitbulls is starting to look less bleak.  One of the only positives that emerged from the Michael Vick dog fighting fiasco is that a majorly of the Pitbulls seized were successfully rehomed.  Sports Illustrated even covered the stories, providing a fresh view into the breed that promotes the true qualities while tugging on the heartstrings and sympathetic nature of readers.  This positive view into these dogs has helped in re-educating the public and hopefully will serve as a template for further positive press.

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