|Barked: Thu Oct 11, '12 12:29pm PST |
|Pit bulls are primarily terriers. Their early breeding in the US relied heavily on the Staffordshire terrier and bull terriers. APBTs have even less bull dog in their breeding than the Staffies. People tend to forget that well-bred terriers are first and foremost high drive hunting dogs. They're not necessarily bred for aggression, but hunting drive. That is what got used by those breeding fighting dogs for human entertainment. Did they start selecting for it? Sure. But claiming they are inherently more aggressive than any other terrier breed isn't the whole story. At the same time, fighting dog breeders culled any dog that showed any sign of human aggression so that they wouldn't be bred. So pits actually wound up being exceedingly low on the HA scale. A correct pit temperament should disply no HA.
Most of the terrier breeds can have a tendency toward DA, they all need to be socialized and handled properly to avoid developing those tendencies. That's not finished in puppyhood, either, it should be ongoing throughout the dog's life. Not following through with that is a common mistake that inexperienced terrier owners make.
IMHO part of the problem is that the only large breed terrier that most people come in to contact with on a regular basis in the US tend to be pits. Kerry Blues can be even more DA, but few people see them out and about on a regular basis. Part of the reason why the pit has the reputation that it does is due to sheer numbers and overrepresentation in AC's and shelters. That speaks volumes about the current poor breeding practices leading to so much over breeding, lousy back yard breeders etc. that have contributed to so many temperament and health issues that we regularly see in pits. I'd be willing to bet that VERY few people have ever even seen a well-bred, correct APBT. Try finding a stellar breeder, it's not easy. They exist, but they're rare and so are their dogs.
Pits certainly do have the potential to be wonderful, safe and stable companions. I've been fortunate to know and care for several excellent pits. My family is full of pits and pit mixes. You couldn't ask for a more people-oriented dog, they can be such a pleasure to train. But they are a very powerful breed and unfortunately there are many people who own them that don't know how to handle them properly or even worse use it for nefarious purposes. IMHO wether it's poor breeding or poor handling/socializing, they're done a disservice by humans, more so than just about any breed I can think of (although the sheer use and abuse I've witnessed in racing greys over the years comes close. It's not a coincidence that their numbers in rescue are also very high.) Quite often it's ignorant humans who want to use a dog to look and act tough. That's where the bans start happening; they're meant to target the dogs misused by a certain sub-culture. I live in a very pit friendly area, that's largely because pits here are pets, not props.
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