Figured I might post a little info on APBTs since the other breeds have informational bits in their threads.
American Pit Bull Terrier
UKC (United Kennel Club) ADBA (American Dog Breeder's Association) Temperament:
An American Pit Bull Terrier is a confident dog with a zest for life. They portray strength, great athletic ability, and tenacity. They are very stable dogs that should not be fearful of their surroundings. The breed is a fantastic family dog, being as they are very tolerant of human contact and are very eager to please their owners. Dog aggression is not unusual in the breed and is not considered a fault. A responsible owner will take measures to properly socialize their dog and be ready to deal with the behavior if it arises. Adopting a fully matured dog with its temperament set in is a good choice to avoid the issue.
They do not
make good guard dogs due to the fact that they are so friendly with people. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. The breed is also known to have a high degree of prey drive, as with any terrier. Structure:
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, short-coated dog with smooth, well-defined musculature. The American Pit Bull Terrier comes in all colors and color patterns except Merle. This breed combines strength and athleticism with grace and agility and should never appear bulky or muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy. Above all else, the APBT must have the functional capability to be a catch dog that can hold, wrestle (push and pull) and breathe easily while doing its job. Balance and harmony of all parts are critical components of breed type.
Very Serious Fault: Any disproportionate overdone characteristic (such as short legs, excessive bone or massive head or body) that would interfere with working ability.
Above all, the American Pit Bull Terrier should appear to be an all around athlete. His body is called upon for speed, power, agility and stamina. He must be balanced in all directions. Too much of one thing, robs him of another. In his ideal form, he is a thing of beauty.
It's a common misconception that the breed was originally bred for bull baiting and ranch work. (Sometimes in an attempt to sugar coat things.)Bull baiting was a popular bloodsport with bulldogs back in the day when it was legal, and ratting was a popular bloodsport amongst terrier breeds.
Bull baiting soon became illegal and it was hard to put on events without officials knowing. So they went to a new blood sport that was easily kept from authorities, dog fighting. Bulldogs were powerful but they went in short bursts and weren't ideal, they started mixing in terrier blood to increase drive, stamina, and agility. These mixes became known as the Bull and Terriers.
Bull and Terrier mixes were imported to the US and people began breeding them for dog fighting in the US. In 1898 Chauncy Bennet formed the United Kennel Club (UKC) and it was solely aimed towards the registration of American Pit Bull Terriers. Chauncey’s own dog, “Ring,” was the first dog registered in the UKC. At that time, when Pit fighting was still widely accepted as a national pastime, the UKC provided registration and fighting guidelines for Pit fighting. Bennet sought to create an organization that would represent the breed as performance dogs. Thus, the American Pit Bull Terrier was born as a breed. At that time the UKC was an elite registry for the APBT. For a Pit Bull to be accepted into the UKC as an American Pit Bull Terrier, the dog had to have won three fights. Years later when dog fighting became illegal, the UKC quickly abandoned its past and became an all breed registry that focuses on the working aspects of dog breeds. The UKC is now the second largest purebred dog registry in the United States, complete with strict bylaws that ban anyone who is convicted of dog fighting.
For clarification on the breed's original purpose debate.
Their ancestors were bred for bull baiting, but they were not. The breed was created for dog fighting and it's standard based around it until it was outlawed. However obviously that has not fully hindered people from continuing to fight dogs.Definition of a breed
1. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Genetics) a group of organisms within a species, esp a group of domestic animals, originated and maintained by man and having a clearly defined set of characteristics
When a standard is formed and animals are showing specific characteristics of that standard then they become a breed. Not when they were just random mixes between two types of dogs.Characteristics bred for by dogmen back when dog fighting was popular:
Back in the day, there was little concern with maintaining a pedigree-based breeding program because dogmen were not so much interested in purebred dogs as they were in dogs with specific abilities. Dogmen would therefore breed accordingly to dogs that had proven game (tenacity), had wind (stamina), had talent (fighting style), had intelligence (pit artists), and could be handled no matter how fired up they were (high degree of human friendliness). This was the core selection process for the modern true and purebred APBT. Modern Usage:
Due to many years of being bred as top athletes the APBT became a very versatile breed. They've been successful in many sports including agility, dock jumping, weight pulling, obedience, tracking/nosework, lure sports, and much more! They've even been successful in bitesports such as Schutzhund and French Ring, however they have been reputed to not be as successful in protection sports due to them not wanting to bite a human.
Many APBTs have served in law enforcement as drug dogs, bomb dogs, and even search and rescue. They also make terrific service and therapy dogs.
In areas with hog overpopulation they are commonly used as catch dogs.
I would love to use visual representations of the breed in the past and how it has evolved however many of the pictures would be graphic so I'll use these but there will be some gabs in their evolution over the years.Pictures of dogs of old:
Colby's Pincher 1896
Colby's Jerry 1900
Maurice Carver with Wino around 1970
(Carver) Davis' GR CH Boomerang ROM (I can't find his birth date but around 1970s)
Gr Ch Tant's Yellow ROM Early 1980s
Modern Day dogs:
Gr Ch Gate Crusher (Aka Angus)
Gr Ch Goode's Isley
Blaizen's Ch Ruger