The History of the American Pitbull Terrier

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The history of the American Pitbull Terrier is a true tale of rise and demise. This is a breed that has literally descended from a canine ambassador of our country to the black sheep of the dog world. The APBT is constantly reported in the media, most of which being negative press. Such horrible exposure has tarnished the breed reputation a great deal and may even lead to its dissolution due to Breed specific legislation. Although these creatures receive a most dreadful reputation, one must have a firm understanding of the breed’s historical background in order to place judgment upon the dogs in an adequate manner.

The birth of the breed dates roughly back to the mid 1700s. The sport of bull baiting was very popular any many regions of Europe, England and Ireland being the top contenders for the sport. Bull baiting is an event in which a ring is placed through a bull’s nostrils and the “catch dogs” or “baiters” are to take down the beast some two or three at a time. This was a popular sport for many Englishmen of the day and as it progressed, the need for a dog with a perfectly balanced amount of strength, agility, and pain tolerance became evident. Far too many of the bulldogs of the era were being killed in the ring this was beginning to cause irritation amongst dog men. As time progressed bll baiting became even more popular especially amongst butchers. They would use the dogs to pin the bull for slaughter. Bulldogs of the mid 1700s and 1800s fought with so much tenacity that the simple butchers catch dog became an opportunity for men rich and poor to place bets on the outcome. This also led to the demand for offspring off winning bulldogs. The following is an anecdote of a Bulldog bitch that appeared in a sporting magazine January,1824: A butcher brought a bitch accompanied by her litter of puppies to a bull-bait. Upon letting the bitch loose, the butcher exclaimed,“ Now gentlemen I will say nothing of the goodness of the breed; you will see.” Although...
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