Did you know that October 24th is National Pit Bull Awareness Month? Even if you don’t have a pit yourself, there’s a good chance you know someone who does. Pit bulls and pit bull mixes make up a whopping 20 percent of American dogs. They are also one of the breeds most commonly found in shelters. A vet discusses the pit bull below.
The term pit bull is actually an umbrella term for several dog breeds: the American Bully, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog. However, some breeders insist that the American Pit Bull Terrier is the only true pit bull. (We’ll leave that debate up to the AKC.)
Pit bulls were first bred in the 19th century, when the Old English Terrier, which is now extinct, was crossed with the Old English Bulldog. Those puppies became known as ‘bull and terrier’ dogs. They are the ancestors of today’s pit bull.
There are many misconceptions about pit bulls, and there are now also restrictions against them in many places. This is very sad, because many of these dogs are absolute cuddlebugs, that just want ear scritches and belly rubs. Pit bull mixes are also affected. That said, it is important to recognize that some pits do have a strong prey drive. The biggest thing is to be responsible with them. For one thing, these pups 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 crucial. We also strongly recommend spay/neuter surgery. Ask your vet for specific care tips.
Adopting a pit is a lifetime commitment, so think it over carefully before you proceed. You’ll need to consider your household and family. Pits aren’t always a great mix for a family with kitties or other small animals. Many of them will do best as only pets. Of course, every dog is unique, so a lot will depend on Fido’s personality and history.
There are many things you can do to 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 or volunteering. Of course, if you have a pit, treat Fido to a special snack or a new toy, and get that tail going!
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