Who’s the ‘true’ pit bull?
The notion of “dangerous breeds” is not new. In previous decades, the German Shepherd Dog and the Bloodhound, for example, were breeds that often were believed to be innately dangerous, often because they were trained for military, police or sentry work. In fact, these breeds are often still included in breed-specific regulations and “dangerous breeds” legislation.
Targeting pit bulls in breed-specific legislation is extra tricky because “pit bull” isn’t actually a breed. A dog that some might identify as a “pit bull” could actually be any combination of a number of breeds, including but not limited to American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Bull Mastiff, English Bull Dog, and Labrador retriever, to name a few. Most “pits” are mutts, whose genetic history is undocumented, or limited to a single generation. The term “pit bull” describes a working category, a dog bred and trained for fighting.
Unfortunately, humaniac protests that pit bulls are “sweet companions” and “great family pets” rely on the same lame generalizations that drive misguided breed bans. A dog bred for strength and fighting stamina is nothing to trifle with, and not every pit bull who’s been fought or mistreated can be “rescued”.