Every year, more than 1 million “Pit Bulls” are euthanized in American shelters – more than any other breed of dog. The reason is not because they are monsters, as many may have been lead to think; but there are just simply too many unwanted or homeless dogs, without capacity for them. Pit Bulls and other bully breed dogs are astronomically over-bred, resulting in too many dogs and not enough homes. This is why Beauty and the Bully is pro adoption. There are too many amazing dogs who already need forever homes; therefore, more dogs do not need to be bred to just increase the population in the shelters. To make matters worse, media manipulation against bully breeds plays a vital role in limiting potential adopters. Unfortunately, the picture that the media paints about these amazing breeds is not a pretty one and has created much ignorance among society.
The term “bully breeds” refers to Pit Bull type dogs as well as Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Bull Terriers, Cane Corsos, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Boxers and others. As you can see, there are numerous dogs that fall under this “bully breed” umbrella. Our current education mission focuses primarily on Pit Bull dogs, as they are the most targeted.
For website purposes, the label “Pit Bull” will be used but it should be known that it does not refer to a specific breed. “Pit Bull” is actually a general term that covers several breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, English Staffordshire Bull Terrier and others. Many mixed breed dogs are often mistakenly referred to as “Pit Bulls” because of certain physical traits, but many times do not have any kind of Pit Bull genetics in them at all. Since these dogs were bred for a “working” purpose (more on that later), and not for looks, there really is no official breed standard for the physical attributes of a Pit Bull. This results in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors being attributed to these breeds. For this reason, it is completely inaccurate to identify the breed of these dogs based on the way they look alone.
In order to fully understand these beautiful dogs, we must reflect on their beginnings. The Pit Bull originates from the Olde English Bulldog in the UK where they were literally used to bait bulls. This barbaric activity served no other purpose other than entertainment for the lower classes of society. Once baiting was finally deemed inhumane, people moved on to the sport of dog fighting (not that that’s any more humane). To make the dogs more agile for combat, the Olde English Bulldog was crossed with a terrier in order to increase agility. They were purposely and carefully created by humans to make excellent dog-to-dog warriors. This is the “work” that they were bred to perform. Although it is now illegal, dog fighting rings are still prevalent in our society. Many Pit Bulls, however, are thankfully no longer used for fighting; but, it is necessary for current or potential Pit Bull owners to understand the purpose for which they were bred and to respect their strength, as it is in their ancestor’s DNA. This does not mean that Pit Bulls will always be dog-aggressive though. In fact, with proper leadership and socialization, Pit Bulls will be the most social of dogs, and often will be the life of the party.
Aside from being used for fighting, it is also important to note that these dogs were bred specifically to be great with humans – yes, GREAT with humans – in order for the gamblers to handle their dogs without problems in the midst of the fights. In contrast to common perception, Pit Bulls generally do not make good guard dogs because of their innate mild temper and affectionate behavior toward humans. If a Pit Bull dog acts aggressively toward a human, they are the result of extremely poor breeding and/or having been very mistreated by a human. Pit Bulls are actually bred specifically to be extremely trustworthy and faithful to humans. After all, they were willing to die for their human when placed in the ring because they want nothing more than to do what their human asks in order to please them. Now THAT is a love like no other.
Early America caught onto the Pit Bull’s reputation for being so loyal to humans and many were brought overseas. They became a widespread family icon and a central fixture to a developing nation. Pit Bulls were entrusted to protect the family farms and even to take care of the children. As a matter of fact, Pit Bull dogs are the only dog to have ever been officially nicknamed “The Nanny Dog” because of their innate gentle character with kids. In addition to being the ultimate family dog, photos of Pit Bulls were plastered all over war posters as a positive icon to encourage our nation during the war. They even made the big screen in a positive way – everyone remembers Petey from “The Little Rascals.” They were publicly seen and represented as the true heroes and ideal companions that they really are.
Today, Pit Bull dogs are overly bred more than any other breed of dog. Irresponsible ownership has lead to their overpopulation and lack of wellness for these dogs due to poor breeding. Unfortunately for the Pit Bull, their intimidating appearance has also gained them popularity with the worst kind of owners. Pit Bulls are recognized widely by gang members and other outlaws for their “tough looks” and favor them for that alone. These powerful dogs are often acquired by such people to protect their property because of the illegal activity occurring within. The muscular and intense visual characteristics of Pit Bulls keep many people, including law enforcement, away. Sadly, Pit Bulls are also horrifically abused and neglected more than any other breed in America. The fact that they are still used for fighting rings and bait is enough in itself to see who the real monsters are, and it is not the dogs!
Just as we do, everyone else has an opinion, of course; but the bottom line is that facts do not lie. Everyone loves a good statistic as a part of the learning process so here is a good one: Every year, and still today, Pit Bull dogs score among the highest of all breeds of dogs on official temperament tests performed by the American Temperament Test Society (2015). Most recently, they were given an extremely high passing rate of 90.3 percent — up with the beloved Labrador Retriever and Pug and above the Golden Retriever — placing them within the top 5 breeds of dogs. The average passing rate for the other 121 breeds of dogs tested was only 77 percent. These official recordings and studies alone are enough to disprove media-developed statistics showing attacks by many dogs mistakenly identified as “Pit Bulls.”
Another important matter to bring awareness to are the newly ignorance-based BSL laws (Breed Specific Legislation) that ban certain breeds from particular buildings, properties, or even entire cities. It requires that the targeted dogs, based only on a certain look, be restricted from the premises of which the laws are placed. BSL laws only take into account the dogs appearance — not their temperament, how they were raised, their living conditions or any other factor that determines the behavior of any given dog. Basically, it overlooks the dog’s actual behavior entirely and judges solely on looks. These laws are not knowledge nor fact-based but quite the opposite. They are discriminatory and wrong.
The fact of the matter is, it is humans who bred Pit Bulls and other bully breeds specifically for a purpose and encouraged them to be a certain way. So how is it that we make them how we want then want to banish them for it? Another fact is that there are several aggressive dogs within every single breed — the breed does not matter. Every dog is a reflection of their owner. Almost any dog can be taught to be aggressive. A Pit Bull, and any other breed of dog, will be how their owners raise and make them to be. Like any other dog, they need exercise, discipline and then affection. Unfortunately, when a bully breed dog is in the hands of the wrong kind of owner and acts aggressively, they will do a lot more damage because they are a very strong breed. That is why they get more attention in the media. The facts simplify any confusion in that regard.
Finally, please know that the following are answers to myths: No, their jaws do not lock; no, they are not born killers; and no, they will not eat your babies. Instead, if given the opportunity, they will love you and your babies like no other dog, or human for that matter. It is both heart wrenching and amazing to see so many rescued Pit Bulls because even after the suffering and horror they have endured at the hand of a human, they are still so happy and thankful to be with you. Too forgiving and beyond unconditionally, lovingly affectionate are the only words that can accurately describe a Pit Bull. Anyone who has actually owned one will attest to that, guaranteed. To the rest of those who have not had the great privilege of having a Pit Bull, please take not of these wise words: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24
We are not asking everyone to be bully breed lovers as much as we are. We are simply asking you to be informed and remember this information the next time you have a choice whether to discriminate or not. These love-a-bull dogs will never judge you, and it is humans who do far worse than these dogs have done. Be a voice. Please educate, don’t discriminate. Please end BSL.