Often judged unfairly, pit bull puppies can grow up to be wonderful pets.
With their sturdy muscular bodies, squared heads and beady eyes, pit bull puppies capture attention wherever they go. They’re loyal, loving and manageable, despite their notorious history and misconceptions about their breed.
Pit bull puppies’ ancestors are fighting dogs, descending back to ancient Greece, where they were used by the Molossi tribe in warfare. Their ancestors fought each other in Roman coliseums and later, battled bulls in “baiting” contests in 11th century England. Still illegally fought today, pit bulls arrived in America with English immigrants, becoming all-purpose herding and guard dogs on the western frontier.
Pit bull puppies may not be true pit bulls at all. Media, legislators and laypeople often mislabel pit bulls, including similar-looking crossbreeds and various similar purebreds (Staffordshire bull terrier, bull terrier and American bulldog) in this category. The purebred American pit bull terrier is recognized by the United Kennel Club and American Dog Breeders Association. These same dogs are registered as American Staffordshire terriers by the American Kennel Club.
Pit bull puppies are not born with “locking jaws” nor are their jaws the strongest of dog breeds. According to Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia, there’s no evidence of a locking mechanism in the pit bull jaw. Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic compared bite pressure per square inch (PSI) between a pit bull, a rottweiler and a German shepherd. The pit bull had the lowest PSI while the rottweiler had the highest on record for any domestic canine.
“Norton,” a 5-year-old American Staffordshire terrier, was inducted into the Purina Hall of Fame in 1999 after saving the life of his owner, waking her husband when she went into shock after a spider bite. Pit bulls work as police dogs, customs dogs, drug-enforcement dogs and rescue dogs. When raised and socialized properly, most pit bull puppies grow to be loyal and loving pets, getting along well with children and other animals.
With the right training and conditioning, pit bull puppies grow up to be remarkable athletes. Pit bulls reach 8,000 lbs. in weight-pulling contests and excel in agility and flyball sports. Using the spring pole is one of their favorite activities. Leaping into the air and clamping their jaws around hanging objects, they wrestle and play. Some have been noted to hang for hours!
Diane Jessup, creator of “Fully Bully” magazine and author of numerous books including “The Working Pit Bull,” says “Typical American pit bulls are tough and intelligent animals, historically bred for a willingness to test their mettle against larger and stronger animals and against each other….Some dog-on-dog aggression, intelligently handled, is a small price to pay for the attributes of a well-bred bulldog.”
“Sergeant Stubby” died a hero in1926 and was the most decorated dog in military history. Fighting alongside French soldiers in World War One, he was responsible for the capture of a German spy. “Popsicle” retired from U.S. Customs Service in 2002. His biggest seizure was nearly 140 million dollars worth of cocaine. “Petey” from “Our Gang” and “The Little Rascals,” died of old age in 1946. The black ring around his left eye was such an oddity that it was certified by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.