October 23rd is designated as National Pit Bull Awareness Day! A whopping 20 percent of American dogs are Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes. And unfortunately, they’re also one of the breeds most often found in shelters. A vet discusses the Pit Bull below.
The Pit Bull name is actually an umbrella term for several dog breeds: the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the American Bulldog. However, there is some disagreement here. Some insist that the only true Pit Bull is the American Pit Bull Terrier. (We’ll leave that debate to the AKC.)
First bred in the 19th century, Pit Bulls originated as a combination of the Old English Bulldog and the Old English Terrier, which is now extinct. Those pups became known as ‘bull and terrier’ dogs. These dogs are the ancestors of today’s Pit Bull.
It’s no secret that Pit Bulls have a pretty bad rap. This is truly sad, since many of them are absolute lovebugs, and just want belly rubs and ear scratches. Pit Bull mixes also suffer from that bad PR. Even so, it’s important to recognize that some pits have a strong prey drive. This means it’s important to be responsible with them. Pit Bull pups should never be allowed to run around freely or off-leash. If you have a yard, make sure that your fencing is secure, so your canine companion can’t roam the neighborhood. Proper training is a must as well. Spay/neuter surgery is also strongly recommended. Ask your vet for specific care tips.
Adopting a Pit is a lifetime commitment, just like with any other dog. So think it over carefully before you proceed. You’ll want to consider your household and family. Pits don’t always mix well in a family with cats or other small animals. Some enjoy having other canines around, while others do best as only pets. Of course, every dog is unique, so a lot will depend on Fido’s personality and history.
Celebrating Awareness Day
There’s a whole bunch of things you can do to raise awareness about Pit Bulls. Something as simple as sharing posts on social media can help dispel harmful stereotypes. You can also support a Pit Bull rescue by donating or volunteering. And of course, if you already have a Pit, treat Fido to a new toy or a special snack.
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