Misconceptions on the notorious American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT)
When people hear American Pit Bull Terrier, a lot of them picture an aggressive, vicious and human attacker 60 pounds of dog. This pejorative misconception leads to a bad reputation of this lovable and protective companion. However, the truth is, American Pit Bull Terriers are intelligent, loyal, and fun loving animals that only got a strayed reputation because of irresponsible owners.
The history and bad reputation of the breed started in England in the year 1835. During these times, the violent and sadistic game of bull baiting was so popular that some breeders were inspired to breed bulldogs for dog fighting. They were impressed with the dogs' tenacity and fierceness that they mixed it with Terrier blood which resulted to the Bull Terrier.
The Bull Terrier became what the dog breeders wanted them to be; aggressive to its enemies, tenacious and brave, have a high pain threshold, fights till the end, and at the same time affectionate and sociable to people. These traits made the Bull Terrier a fierce warrior in dog fights. But although originally bred for a violent purpose, it had a natural ability to be caring and loyal to humans, which made all the difference.
Bull baiting was eventually outlawed in England and this forced some people to cease the breeding for dog fighting. In the middle of 1800's, immigrants brought the Bull Terrier to the United States but not for fighting anymore. During these times, the Bull Terrier was used as an all around farm dog and frontier guardian.
The Bull Terrier officially became the American Pit Bull Terrier in 1889. This time, it was becoming very popular among breeders and non-breeders alike. In fact, companies such as Buster Brown Shoe Company, RCA phonograph and Levi's used the APBT as their mascots, representing dependability, loyalty, toughness and bravery.
The American Pit Bull Terrier became America's beloved dog that even some famous individuals were known to own one. The likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Hellen Keller, and Little House books' Laura Ingals Wilder sported APBT as pets. In World War I, even a Pit Bull named Stubby became a decorated war hero.
Despite the popularity and recognition, however, the American Pit Bull Terrier did not get all praise and good fortune. Secret dog fights were discovered and controversial human attacks were reported that kennel clubs changed its name and standard quite a few times. From the Bull Terrier, it became American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier and now to American Pit Bull Terrier again.
Up to this day, there are still individuals who use APBTs for dog fighting and aggressiveness (read: watchdogs for drug dealers). The wrong and aggressive training that these dogs were exposed to naturally altered their supposedly sociable and affectionate characters. If there's someone to be blamed for the misconception, it is the heartless people who bred and raised the American Pit Bull Terriers to be violent and aggressive.