Thursday, February 3, 2011

What is a "Pit Bull"?

Debates rage on over "pit bulls" in the newspapers, political forums and other venues across the county on a daily basis. Most of the debate is based upon some incident reported in the news regarding a dog described as a pit bull. As I deal more and more with "pit bulls" and speak to many people regarding the issues involved with these dogs, I realize that many people do not even realize that "pit bull" is not a breed.

Most often, the term "pit bull", as it is commonly used, encompasses three different breeds of dog: the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. More accurately, the term "pit bull" describes a type of dog, not a breed. This is not a surprise or otherwise earth-shattering news to many people. However, it is news to many of the people charged with making laws, enforcing laws, and reporting incidents regarding these types of dogs.

Some laws which have been written to ban certain breeds, have enlarged the meaning of the term "pit bull" to include other bully breeds, such as the American Bulldog. Essentially, some people have created their own definition of "pit bull" in order to fit their agenda.

One of the biggest objections I have to the misuse of the term, is that even rescues and shelters use it to describe adoptable animals in their care. I have been in many a shelter where they have on a dog's cage card or description "Pit Bull" for breed.

I would look to those reading this post to comment regarding their experience in the use of this term and in the different ways they have seen it used. I certainly do not claim to be an expert, but if we are going to be using the term in government, media, and the like, let's at least know how to use the term properly.

1 comment:

  1. AMEN.
    Today, any unruly dog, cat, giraffe, ETC, might as well be referred to as a 'pit'....but seriously...
    In my vast experience of 20+ yrs in rescue, any dog with a "short brachycephalic" / round head / broad shoulders has been commonly referred to as a "pit bull" and quite frankly when it starts having an effect on the cost of your home-owners insurance and your neighbors outlook towards you and your babies (which could be negative, hateful/dangerous) - we have a HUGE problem as a whole....NOW we have areas - like Muskegon Township NOT wanting to implicate ppl w/"pits"BUT HAVING TO as "neighbors" complain.
    So where to go next?
    Since NOTHING happens overnight, this breed of dog has a LONG road ahead - and I wont be so ignorant as to believe it isn't gonna cost more lives than ever....and how extremely sad as a whole - AND shame on us for it.Sincerely, ChristineLea/Critter Cafe Rescue