According to the ASPCA, the term "pit bull" refers to just two breeds―the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff). Some people include the Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog in this group owing to their identical head shapes and body types. However, these are recognizably different from the APBT and the AmStaff.
Most of the several write-ups on pits tend to begin on an apologetic note. They almost always tend to harp on the pit bull's ability to make a loving companion, despite the obvious "aggression". It has been a tragic turn of events for what once used to be America's favorite breed, featuring on everything, from Army recruitment posters to children's TV shows.
Being trained by humans to be a part of horrific bloodsports, the ABPT has not had a glorious past like the Labradors and the Retrievers. Nevertheless, it does not interfere with the fact that pits can be extremely loyal, friendly, and nurturing companions a family could ever wish for.
And since we're on the very interesting topic of pit bulls, let's get to know them better―blue-nosed, red-nosed, and all.
Blue nose/Red nose? What does it signify?
At the risk of sounding rude, it is highly inappropriate to be choosing a pet on the basis of the color of their muzzle. Just like the hounds, pit bulls encompass various breeds, as mentioned at the beginning of this article. Although each breed does have its individual characteristics, these are not dependent on their color. For instance, a Labrador being chocolate, white, or black has no bearing on its behavior.
Their looks are deceiving.
How often have you heard of people complaining about pit bulls having "that look". You know what they're referring to―the big head, the wide jaw, the stocky, muscular body; all the trappings of a scary, vicious creature. But really, I mean really, shouldn't we, as humans be expected to not judge anyone on the basis of their looks? And as far as beauty is concerned, it surely lies in the eyes of the beholder. A good guess tells us that you are on this page because you aren't affected by the looks of a pit bull terrier.
They aren't the best guard dogs.
Surprisingly, pitties do not make the best guard dogs out there. These guys are inherently friendly with humans, and intensely loyal to their owners. Unless they are specifically trained otherwise, your pit would be ever too happy to welcome a stranger into the house. If you're planning to train her as a guard dog, it is recommended to do so professionally, as pits are stubborn. This will ensure that your dog backs off with a single command.
They are surprisingly agile.
Well, especially for a dog, they certainly are. Pit bulls can jump over a regular 4 ft dog fence with ease, so you will have to fence it at least up to 6 ft. A privacy fence is recommended, rather than a chain link fence, especially if your home is close to a busy street. An ideal home for a pibble ought to be clamor-free and spacious, as it takes up a lot of space, and is at its happiest in open areas.
Source: American Temperament Test Society
They need to be obedience-trained since a young age.
Obedience training is an absolute must for this dog. We've been harping on their stubbornness throughout this piece, which ought to tell you why these dogs are so misunderstood. Even if your pit bull puppy seems docile, the dogged determination is a part of his genetic makeup, and you need to simply channel his energies at will. A well-trained dog is a pet parent's pride, and attending these sessions together will bring you closer like nothing else can. Puppy Kindergarten will work wonders for young pit bulls. After this, your pittie will need continued gentle guidance throughout his life.
They need loads and loads of exercise, physical and mental.
Agile, strong, and athletic are words that best describe a pittie. If you're the outdoorsy type who likes to run, cycle, trek, or hike, a pit bull can provide perfect company. Tug-of-war and fetch are excellent ways to exercise your pit, and you may even arrange play dates with his dog friends. These dogs need aerobic exercises every day in order to let out their spurts of energy. Along with these, you need to keep him busy indoors as well, providing chew toys and food puzzles to exercise his mental faculties. Remember, this is not a dog who likes staying cooped up inside the house for long hours.
They must be socialized with other animals.
For a puppy aged between 7 and 16 weeks, this is a crucial time for development. Socialization of your pit takes prime precedence during these days. This is the time when you should slowly and carefully begin introducing her to more people, along with other dogs and animals. This is extremely beneficial for your pet's development and social skills. Remember, a pit bull's socialization continues through adulthood, as they grow to become loving and friendly dogs.
Source: Nat Geo Wild
They do not have locking jaws!
There is no such thing as a pit bull terrier with locking jaws! The fact is that your pet comes from a family of dogs who were bred with the specific purpose of hunting and bull-baiting, which explains their determined, headstrong temperament. Yes, when excited (as they often are), pits tend to go over the top with their bite, thanks to their strong and wide jaws, but they can let go of things on command. Which is why, we cannot crow enough about the importance of obedience training for them, as it trains them to let go with an immediate command.
You must consider neutering/spaying them.
Neutering/spaying comes with a lot of health as well as behavioral benefits, as your vet is sure to tell you. But even otherwise, this is the best way to prevent more pit bulls ending up in shelters, owing to neglect or misfortune.
Breed-Specific Legislation is the tragic reality of our times. Pit bulls and pit bull mixes are banned in certain American cities, along with some foreign countries. There are places where landlords do not let spaces to pittie parents, which is a challenge if your occupation demands constant change of cities/countries. If this applies to you, ensure that you do your research before moving to a new place, or even reconsider getting a pit bull.
In some cases, insurance companies have refused to offer coverage to pit bull keepers. It always helps to have an authorized 'good behavior' certificate from trainers and vets to help your chances with a doubting person. It may go a long way in changing their perceptions.
Being a pit bull parent is as much a privilege as it is a responsibility. And as fellow parents are bound to tell you, you can accept this responsibility only and only if you're ready to be assaulted with the love of the most loving, crazy, and misunderstood dog there is.