American Pit Bull Terrier
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
|Other names||Pit Bull|
|Nicknames||APBT, Pit, Pitty, Pibble|
|Country of origin||United States
United Kingdom 
|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 AKC, and American Pit Bull Terriers by UKC. The real difference between the two breeds is 6–8" in height and 25–35 lb in weight; the American Staffordshire 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.
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.
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.
The dog was bred first to bait bulls and bears. 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.
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. 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 Staffordshire Bull Terrier, having fewer bulldog traits in the face and body. The American Pit Bull 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 thick and tapers to a point. The coat is glossy, smooth, short, and slightly stiff and can be any color. The breed ranges from a height of about 17 to 22 in (43 to 56 cm) at shoulders, females weigh between 30 and 50 lb (14 and 23 kg) and males weigh between 30 and 60 lb (14 and 27 kg).
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.
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 was known. The study was surmised to covered approximately 72% of known dog bite related fatalities during that period. Over a 20 year period, "pit bull-type dogs" were involved with more dog bite related fatalities than any other breed. However in the later half of the study Rottweilers accounted for more dog bite related fatalites than pit bulls.
"Despite these limitations and concerns, the data indicate 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 Prevention, Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998
|This section requires expansion. (November 2009)|
The breed tends to have a higher than average incidence of hip dysplasia. They may also suffer from patella problems, thyroid dysfunction and congenital heart defects. American Pit Bull Terriers with dilute coat colors have a higher occurrence of skin allergies. As a breed they are more susceptible to parvovirus than others, especially as puppies, so vaccination is imperative beginning at 6 weeks and continuing onwards through their lifespan.
They are very prone to Demodex Mange due to their short coat. 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. 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.
Old Family Red Nose
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.
In the middle of the 19th century, there was a family of pit dogs in Ireland that were known as the "Old Family." At that time, all the strains were closely inbred. Closed genetic pools of that type were likely to have a slide toward the recessive traits because the dominants, once discarded, were never recaptured. Since red is recessive to all colors but white, the "Old Family" eventually became the "Old Family Reds." When the dogs began coming to America, they were beginning to show the red nose.
The "Old Family" dogs found their way to America mainly via Irish immigrants. The term "Family dogs" was used in two ways: It could mean a strain of dogs that was a family unto itself that was kept by a number of unrelated people in Ireland, or it could refer to a strain of dogs that was kept and preserved through the years by a family group. It is believed, that the Old Family Reds are of the first category.
Many strains have been crossed with the Old Family Reds at some time in their existence. 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 red noses produce their share of bad ones as well as good ones-just as all strains do.
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, Menefee, 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."
Being intelligent, athletic dogs, American Pit Bull Terriers excel in many dog sports, including weight pulling, dog agility, flyball, lure coursing, and advanced obedience competition. Out of the 66 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. 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, police dogs performing narcotics and explosives detection, 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.
Australia, Ecuador, Malaysia, New Zealand, the territory of Puerto Rico, Singapore, Venezuela Denmark, France, German, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain 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. The state of New South Wales in Australia places restrictions on the breed, including mandatory sterilization.
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. American Pit Bull Terriers are also on a list of four breeds that are banned in the UK.
- List of dog fighting breeds
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- American Bulldog
- Breed-specific legislation
- Bull and Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- Pit Boss (TV series)
- Pit Bulls and Parolees (TV series)
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to American Pit Bull Terrier.|
- American Pit Bull Terrier Breed Standard by the National Kennel Club