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Know Your Breed: American Pit Bull Terrier

"Pit Bull"

What do you know about the breed? (Rachel Jones)

From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT]borderstan.com. She is  she is the owner of K-9 Divine and a professional dog trainer,

The Pit Bull is probably the most controversial breed of dog at present. Several states and countries have enacted legislation against the breed, believing that it is inherently dangerous.

The animal rights community believes that breed discrimination is wrong. Any breed of dog can become gentle or dangerous according to the genetic selection and training of the breeders and handlers.

Pit Bull Terriers were originally created for “sports” such as bull baiting, ratting and dog fighting. They can be very formidable fighters against other animals. The breed was also created to be incredibly docile with humans and wonderful with children.

During the 1950’s the Pit Bull Terrier was dubbed the “Nanny Dog” because they were so gentle and watchful over children. In fact, one of the reasons that Pit Bulls are predominantly used for dog fighting is that they are really the only breed that will tolerate the abuse and rough handling of the humans who engage in dog fighting.

Almost all Pit Bulls are wonderful family pets and are easy to train and gentle with humans. Because they have been historically bred for fighting with other animals, they aren’t great candidates for dog parks or households with cats. Pit Bull owners need to be aware of the high energy level and extreme athleticism of their dogs and provide them with good training and sufficient exercise.

Just as with people, dogs are individuals and need to be judged on their own specific temperaments. Pit Bulls that have been bred and trained for fighting can certainly be dangerous, but the majority of them are sweet and loving family members.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 19 posts on Borderstan.

A Borderstan resident for more than five years, Jones is the owner and head trainer of K-9 Divine. She began training professionally in April of 2003 after attending an internship program at the Animal Behavior Center of New York. Jones is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator with the American Kennel Club and a Community Training Partner with Best Friends Animal Society. She has been in DC since 1994 when she came to study Spanish at Georgetown University, and then spent six years as a Spanish-to-English translator. Email her at rjones[AT]borderstan.com.

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2 Responses to “Know Your Breed: American Pit Bull Terrier”

  1. Katie says:

    I am happy to see some positive coverage of pit bulls, but the overriding tone of this article is still that they are “Dangerous Dogs”. The author is doing a major disservice to the breed, to the individual dogs, and to all the groups that are working hard to educate the public. I’m disappointed that a professional dog trainer still holds such outdated and biased views — and that she is sharing them with the Borderstan community.

    I would encourage anyone interested in learning more to check out the fantastic work being done at Jasmine’s House: http://www.jasmineshouse.org

  2. Dianne says:

    Very nice article. Thanks to the Vick dogs we know now that dogs trained to be fighters can live in families. Several of Michael Vick’s dogs are therapy dogs that work in hospitals and elementary schools, including the dog with the worst scars, Hector. Even his prize winning fighting bitch Jane aka Georgia, has passed her canine good citizen test and is now living in a home (thanks, Best Friends).