It’s National Pit Bull Awareness Month! This is a great time to raise awareness about this oft-misaligned breed. Pit bulls and pit bull mixes comprise a whopping 20 percent of America’s pet dogs. They’re also one of the breeds most likely to be found in shelters. A local vet discusses the pit bull below.
The name pit bull is actually an umbrella term for a few different dog breeds: the American Bully, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog. However, there is some ongoing disagreement here. Some breeders insist that the only true pit bull is the American Pit Bull Terrier. (We’ll leave that debate to the AKC.)
The first pit bulls were bred in the 19th century. These were a combination of the Old English Terrier, which is now extinct, and the Old English Bulldog. Those puppies became known as ‘bull and terrier’ dogs. They are the ancestors of the dogs we now know as pit bull.
You’re probably aware of the fact that pit bulls have a pretty bad rap. They are actually restricted in many areas. 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. The main thing is to be responsible with them. Pit bulls 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 also very important. We strongly recommend spay/neuter surgery as well. Your vet can give you more care tips.
Adopting any dog is a lifetime commitment, so think it over carefully before you proceed. You’ll need to consider your household and family. Pit bulls 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. Take time to get to know Fido, and don’t hesitate to ask questions about him.
Celebrating Awareness Day
There are many small things you can do to help 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, volunteering, or even fostering. Of course, if you have a pit of your own, treat Fido to a special snack or a new toy.
As your animal clinic, we’re here for you. Contact us anytime!