American Pit Bull Terrier

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American Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier - Seated.jpg
Nicknames APBT, Pit Bull
Country of origin United States

United Kingdom[1]

Traits
Weight Male: 16-27 kg (35–60 lb)
Female: 14-23 kg (30–50 lb)
Height 43-53 cm (17-21 in)
Coat smooth
Color any
Litter size 5–10
Life span 8-15 years
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is a medium-sized, solidly built, short haired dog whose early ancestors came from England and Ireland. It is a member of the molosser breed group. The American Staffordshire Terrier and The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) by breed are from the same lineage; Staffordshires was the name given by American Kennel Club (AKC), and American Pit Bull Terriers by United Kennel Club (UKC). The real difference between the two breeds is 6–8" in height and 25–35 lb in weight; the American Staffordshire Terrier being the larger of the two.

The dog was bred first to bait bulls and bears. When bear-baiting and bull-baiting were deemed inhumane, rat-baiting and dog fighting became more popular. The APBT Breed was used in both sports, and its prevalence in being put in pits with rats, or other dogs led to "pit" being added to its name.

The American Pit Bull is medium-sized, and has a short coat and smooth well-defined muscle structure. Its eyes are round to almond shaped, and its ears are small to medium in length and can be natural or cropped. The tail is slightly thick and tapers to a point. The coat is glossy, smooth, short, and stiff to the touch. The accepted coat color can vary widely, but, both the AKC and UKC do not recognize merle coloring.

Twelve countries in Europe, as well as Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Malaysia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and Venezuela have enacted some form of breed-specific legislation on pit bull-type dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, ranging from outright bans to restrictions and conditions on ownership. The state of New South Wales in Australia places restrictions on the breed, including mandatory sterilization. A few counties, and cities in the United States as well as the Province of Ontario in Canada, have outright banned ownership of the American Pit Bull terrier, and the breed is banned in the UK.

A comparison between an American Staffordshire Terrier (on left) and an American Pit Bull Terrier (on right)

History[edit]

An early predecessor to the American Pit Bull Terrier
World War I poster featuring a pit bull as representation of the U.S.

During the 19th century, England, Ireland, and Scotland began to experiment with crosses between bulldogs and terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness, speed, and agility of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the bulldog.[2]

In the late 19th century to early 20th century, two clubs were formed for the specific purpose of registering APBTs: the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association. The United Kennel Club was founded in 1898, and was the first registry to recognize the breed, with the owner assigning the first number to his own APBT.[3]

The dog was bred first to bait bulls and bears.[4] When baiting bulls was deemed inhumane, ratting (a sport where a number of rats were placed in a pit for a specified time with the dog) and dog fighting became more popular. The APBT was used in both sports, and its prevalence in being put in pits with rats or other dogs led to "pit" being added to its name.[5]

In America, farmers and ranchers used their APBTs for protection, as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, and to drive livestock.[6] The dog was used during World War I and World War II as a way of delivering messages on the battlefield.

Though of the same family, the American Pit Bull Terrier diverges in appearance from the many sporting dogs from Europe used in creating the American Pit Bull Terrier. APBT is medium sized, having a short coat and smooth well-defined muscle structure, but should never appear bulky or muscle-bound. Its eyes are round to almond shaped, and its ears are small to medium in length and can be natural or cropped. The tail is slightly thin (reference: rat tail) and tapers to a point. The coat is glossy, smooth, short, and slightly stiff and can be any color.[2] The breed ranges from a height of about 17 to 21 in (43 to 53 cm) at shoulders, females weigh between 30 and 50 lb (14 and 23 kg) and males weigh between 35 and 60 lb (16 and 27 kg).[3]

Temperament[edit]

The UKC gives this description of the characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier:

The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.[7]

In September 2000 a meta-analysis conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was published which examined dog bite related fatalities (human death caused by dog bite injuries) over a 20 year period from 1979-1998. The study examined 238 fatalities in which the breed of dog was known. The study was surmised to covered approximately 72% of known dog bite related fatalities during that period.[8] However in the later half of the study Rottweilers accounted for more dog bite related fatalities than pit bulls. Further, in tests of over 500 dogs, the American Pit Bull Terrier ranked as the second safest breed in the test.[9]

"Despite these limitations and concerns, the data indicates that Rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF (dog bite related fatality) in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities... However, breeds responsible for human DBRF have varied over time."

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionBreeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998

Health[edit]

An American Pit Bull Terrier puppy

The breed tends not to have a higher than average incidence of hip dysplasia.[10] Culling for performance has helped eliminate this problem and others such as patella problems, thyroid dysfunction and congenital heart defects.[11] American Pit Bull Terriers with dilute coat colors have not had a higher occurrence of skin allergies as other breeds.[12] As a breed they are more susceptible to parvovirus than others if not vaccinated, especially as puppies, so vaccination is imperative beginning at 39 days old and continuing every 2 weeks until 4 months old. Then again at 8 months. Once a year after that, as recommend for all breeds.[13]

They are not very prone to Demodex Mange due to culling for performance. There are two different types of Demodex Mange, namely Localized and Generalized Demodex. Although it is not contagious it is sometimes difficult to treat due to immunodeficiency in some puppies. The Localized symptoms are usually loss of hair in small patches on the head and feet of the puppies. This type will usually heal as the puppies grow and their immune systems grow stronger. The second type which is Generalized Demodex mange is a more severe form of the sickness. The symptoms are more severe and include loss of hair throughout the entire body and the skin may also be scabby and bloody. Generalized are usually hereditary due to immunodeficiency genes that are passed on from Sire and Dam to their puppies. This syndrome will only manifest its self from low quality feed and from being kept in a poor environment which will suppress the immune system. A simple skin scraping test will allow the vet to diagnose demodex mange. The most widely used method to treat Demodex Mange is ivermectin injections or oral medications. Since Demodex Mange lives in the hair follicles of the dog, Ivermectin will kill these mites at the source.[14]

Varieties[edit]

Old Family Red Nose[edit]

Old Family Red Nose (OFRN) is an old strain of American Pit Bull Terriers known for their specific reddish colorization. A dog of the red-nosed strain has a copper-red nose and coat, red lips, red toe nails, and red or amber eyes.[15]

History[edit]

In the middle of the 19th century, there was a breed of pit dogs in Ireland that were known as "Old Family." At that time, all the strains were closely inbred with each family Klan. Since red is recessive to all colors but white, the breed was known as "Irish Old Family Reds." When the dogs began coming to America, they were already showing the red nose.

The "Old Family Reds" dogs found their way to America mainly via Irish immigrants though many here in the United States did import the breed.

Many strains have been crossed with the Old Family Reds at some time in their existence. This is how the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier was created. Consequently, nearly any strain will occasionally throw a red-nosed pup. To many dog owners, these red-nosed individuals are Old Family Red Noses even though the great preponderance of their blood is that of other strains. Sometimes such individuals will fail to measure up and thereby reflect undeserved discredit on the red-nosed strain. However the Old Family Reds produced more than their share of good ones unlike other strains are known. Old Family Reds were sought after for their high percentage in ability to produced deep gameness.

Originally renowned for its gameness, it continues to be bred to maintain its unique reddish color. Some of the most reputable breeders in all Pit Bull history such as Lightner, McClintock, Hemphill, Williams, Menefee, Norrod and Wallace have contributed to the preservation and development of the strain. Finally, as McNolty said in his 30-30 Journal (1967) "Regardless of one's historical perspective, these old amber-eyed, red-nosed, red-toe-nailed, red-coated dogs represent some of the most significant pit bull history and tradition that stands on four legs today."

Activities[edit]

A one-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier in front of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Being intelligent, athletic dogs,[16] American Pit Bull Terriers excel in many dog sports, including weight pulling, dog agility, flyball, lure coursing, and advanced obedience competition. Out of the 36 dogs who have earned UKC "superdog" status (by gaining championship titles in conformation, obedience, agility, and weightpull), 23 have been American Pit Bull Terriers, and another 13 were American Staffordshire Terriers.[17] The American Pit Bull Terrier is a working dog, and is suitable for a wide range of working disciplines due to their intelligence, high energy, and endurance. In the United States they have been used as search and rescue dogs,[18] police dogs performing narcotics and explosives detection,[19][20] Border Patrol dogs, hearing dogs to provide services to the deaf, as well as general service dogs. In the South they are often a favorite dog for catching feral pigs.

Law[edit]

Australia,[21] Ecuador,[22] Malaysia,[23] New Zealand,[24] the territory of Puerto Rico,[25] Singapore,[26] Venezuela[27] Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain[28] have enacted some form of breed-specific legislation on pit bull-type dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, ranging from outright bans to restrictions on import and conditions on ownership.[28][29] The state of New South Wales in Australia places restrictions on the breed, including mandatory sterilization.[30][31]

Certain counties and cities in the United States have outright banned ownership of the American Pit Bull Terrier, as well as the province of Ontario in Canada.[28][32] American Pit Bull Terriers are also on a list of four breeds that are banned in the UK.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Origin of American Pitbull Terrier". November 1, 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "American Pit Bull Terrier breed standard". November 1, 2008. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "American Pit Bull Terrier (revised November 1, 2008)". United Kennel Club. Retrieved November 5, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Bad Rap: Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls". Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  5. ^ Colby, Louis B.; Diane Jessup (1997). Colby's Book of the American Pit Bull Terrier. T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0-7938-2091-X. 
  6. ^ APBTconformation.com
  7. ^ "American Pit Bull Terrier: Official UKC Breed Standard". United Kennel Club. December 1, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 1, 2008. Retrieved July 8, 2009. 
  9. ^ "American Temperament Test Society, Inc. | A sound mind in a sound body". Atts.org. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  10. ^ Stahlkuppe, Joe (2000). American pit bull terriers/American Staffordshire terriers. Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 0-7641-1052-7. 
  11. ^ "Statistics and Data – American Pit Bull Terrier". Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Retrieved November 5, 2009. 
  12. ^ Biomedcentral.com
  13. ^ "Parvovirus in Dogs -Signs - Diagnosis - Treatment of Parvovirus". Vetmedicine.about.com. 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-07-12. 
  14. ^ "Shelter Medicine – Cornell Veterinary Medicine". Sheltermedicine.vet.cornell.edu. January 15, 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  15. ^ Red Nose History, The Encyclopedia of the American Pit Bull Terrier
  16. ^ "ASPCA: Pet Care: Dog Care: Pit Bull Information". ASPCA. Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  17. ^ "UKC Superdog!". Retrieved December 13, 2011. 
  18. ^ "So That Others May Live...". Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Kool K-9 Popsicle retires". October 2002. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  20. ^ "LawDogsUSA // Detection Dogs Made In America". Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2008. 
  21. ^ "Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 No. 90, as amended – Schedule 1". Commonwealth of Australia. July 6, 2009. Archived from the original on June 19, 2009. Retrieved July 18, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Ecuador descalifica a perros pit bull y rottweiler como mascotas" (in Spanish). Ecuador: Diaro Hoy. February 4, 2009. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  23. ^ A.Hamid, Rashita (May 9, 2012). "Pit bull kills jogger". The Star (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Dog Control Amendment Act of 2003". New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs. July 2, 2009. Retrieved August 2, 2009. 
  25. ^ "H.B. 595 (Law 198) – Approved July 23, 1998". Puerto Rico Office of Legislative Services. July 23, 1998. Retrieved August 4, 2009. 
  26. ^ AVA.gov.sg
  27. ^ "Venezuela restringe tenencia de perros Pit Bull". La Prensa (in Spanish) (Managua, Nicaragua). January 6, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  28. ^ a b c Vancouver.ca
  29. ^ Dogbitelaw.com
  30. ^ Barlow, Karen (May 3, 2005). "NSW bans pit bull terrier breed". Sydney, Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  31. ^ Hughes, Gary (October 20, 2009). "Pit bull bite prompts call for national approach to dangerous dog breeds". The Australian (Sydney, Australia). Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Information on The Dog Owners' Liability Act and Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005". Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. Archived from the original on December 24, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  33. ^ James, David (September 29, 2006). "Are dangerous dogs out of control?". WalesOnline. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Capp, Dawn M. (2004). American Pit Bull Terriers: Fact or Fiction: The Truth Behind One of America's Most Popular Breeds. Doral Publishing. ISBN 0-9745407-1-4. 
  • Foster, Ken (2006). The Dogs Who Found Me: What I've Learned from Pets Who Were Left Behind. Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-749-2. 
  • Stahlkuppe, Joe (2000). American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook. Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 0-7641-1233-3. 

External links[edit]