I must say, when I got a pit I hadn't thought much about it. I seen a pup, knew my man was dying for another one (since he had an older one) and basically told myself: why not? When I introduced him to the rest of my family, they were so against it that they initially barred him from ever stepping foot in their homes. However, they knew the dog was coming with me and soon laxed the rules a bit, though they still make very clear of their disdain of my dog. So why in the world would I want to have such a controversial breed intertwined in my hobby, and maybe my future business? Well... let me tell you and explain a bit about who Ruger is. This dog is by far one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met. He loves people and dog alike and LOVES to play. He's very intelligent and is what I would describe as an "old soul." I've never encountered a 4 month puppy that constantly stays mellow the way he does. There's things, such as getting in the back of the car when the vehicle is moving and waiting to eat his food until it's poured and I back away, that we've not trained him to do, but that he just does. It's astounding to watch as he loves to chase the other dogs around the dog park, yet he'll let them do most the work and stop about half-way and let them run back to him. It's extraordinary! I've grown to absolutely adore this dog, when originally I didn't care a single thing about pits.
Having a pit is a total different ballgame than I imagined as well... there's some people that completely fawn over him while others give looks and whisper "that's a pit" and make an abundantly clear message that they want nothing to do with him by crossing to the other side of the street. So, besides the obvious fear of pits bred for dog fights... I've gotten more and more intrigued by the total social disdain for pits, and decided to look into why the public changed their minds in regards to this breed.
What I've come to find was that they were dogs bred for boar hunting in about the 1500's and come the 1800's they were set out in packs against bears and bulls which is honestly why they were originally dubbed as "Bull dogs." This type of "blood sport" became illegal more towards the 1830's and they were turned on to dog fighting and ratting.
With dog fighting came the need to tend to their wounds, and for the dogs that were aggressive towards humans, they were typically killed and never bred...which is what I've come to find out is how they became family dogs since this type of breeding was how the dogs became exceptionally friendly with people while still maintaining a strong prey drive. This aspect was important come the 19th century when immigrants were coming to America, because by then they were viewed as a popular family dog as they were great with kids and were able to be kept as guard dogs, cattle dogs, and hunting dogs. They were viewed as "faithful, loving and loyal," according to PetHelpful, which is how they grew in their fame as the "nanny dog," where they were also used as herding dogs and simply as companions. The website, pitbulls.org, states it perfectly by elaborating how well they were able to be trained, and how they had the impeccable and necessary ability to coexist with their families to fulfill their traditional roles. As a wonderful example, the first people that cross-country travelled non-stop by car in 1903 brought their American Pit bull, Bud, with them on their trip and he became so popular that cities all across the Untied states featured him wearing goggles.
By the 20th century they were all but a nationalized dog breed and were owned by some of the most important and influential icons in history, of which includes Hellen Keller and Theodore Roosevelt. This is surprising because now they're a breed much looked down upon in today's society as opposed to when they had become so popular in the past that they were basically adopted as the mascot of the US by being posted in propaganda posters in both the world wars. In fact, America's most decorated American war dog was in World War 1 that went by the name of Sgt. Stubby, who was an AmStaff whom three different United States presidents greatly admired.
I looked up current records of the pit bull breed and came to find out that interestingly enough, they're the second ranked most-tolerant breed directly behind golden retrievers. According to a researched article in the National Geographic, the most attacks by a pit bull was due to the combined factors of: owner negligence to properly socialize their dog, was neither spayed nor neutered, and had no relationship with the one who had been attacked. Interestingly enough, there's an inequivalence in bully breeds because according to the Nat. Geo. article I found, the original breed of the American Pit Bull Terrier was the only breed that was specifically designed for dog fighting, though the other three that are often lumped into the same category due to the way they appear even though they have no affiliation with that history. The reason the breed is disputed over so intensely is the lingering effects of not only the unfortunate instances of poor ownership, but also because an ill-fated attempt in the 1970's to disperse the last of the illegal dog-fighting rings. Though they had meant well, the humane movement instigated an uproar that encouraged poorly researched (based off no scientific findings or researched in any form), and highly exaggerated headlines all across America.
Which leads me to my next questions, for those that keep up with Furocious and my blog... what have your experiences been with them? Do you advocate or dismiss the breed? What arguments do you use in order to prove your point........Does my use of Ruger (the pit-lab mix of mine) deter you from supporting my cause to help with the animal rehabilitations, rescues and shelter's I intend to support? Does it encourage you? Please let me know, I'm quite curious to hear back from those that found all this as interesting as I have.