There is some confusion surrounding pit bulls and what they are. There are many bull and terrier mix breeds around today, but calling all of these dogs pit bulls is inaccurate and inadequate. With their lines traced back to the time of the Roman Empire, pit bulls are the often maligned product of the 19th century British fascination with dog fighting sports. But, despite the many types of bull and terrier breeds, there is only one kind of dog that can truly be called a pit bull and that is the American Pit Bull Terrier as recognized by the United Kennel Club. All pit bulls are the same type of dog. The biggest difference among pit bulls is their color. But their color does not make a difference in the quality of the dog. In other words, the description of a blue nosed pit bull is the same as the description of all pit bulls.
Pit bulls descend from a line of fighting dogs that can be traced to the Roman Empire if not further. In the 11th century, the British were introduced to the sport of baiting. In the 15th century, the British were using an ancestor of the pit bull as a baiting dog called a Aulant which had descended from Mastiffs. In the 19th century, baiting ( of bears and other animals) was made illegal in Great Britain, but the public's appetite for dog brutality did not end. Instead they began ratting, which was a race to see who's dog could kill the most rats in a certain time. This event took place in pits, and so the name pit bull. Pit bulls were made by crossing between the bulldogs that were used for baiting and the smaller feisty terriers to make a dog that was equipped to fight in small venues that people could hide from the law. So the pit bulls were made to fight, and soon their opponents were changed from rats to other dogs. Then began a brutal era of dog fighting. The dogs were isolated and trained to be deranged killing machines. The dogs were then forced to fight. When America was colonized, the British brought their pets with them and so the bull terriers made their way to the U.S. These dogs became all purpose dogs rather then fighting dogs as the settlers expanded westward. Done were they days of horrific dog fighting and a new era rose for the pit bull. The American Pit Bull Terrier was recognized as a breed by the United Kennel Club in 1898 and the pit bull was officially born.
Being bred for battle had its advantages for the pit bull. It is a medium sized dog 18- 22 inches tall and weighs 30 to 80 pounds. Pit bulls have a very wide chest and are uniquely muscular dogs. Their wide face and massive jaw give pit bulls a powerful and somewhat menacing presence.
Pit bulls come in all colors and patterns except for Merle. They have short hair and short tails. They can have either a red nose, a blue nose or a black nose. Color is unimportant in determining the quality of the dog. But there is a myth that suggests that blue nosed pit bulls are superior to the others. That is completely false. The quality of a pit bull is determined by its physical qualities and temperament and not its nose color.
Pit bulls are very loyal, happy and determined dogs. There is a lot of negative press about the violence of pit bulls and while it is not untrue that pit bulls can be very aggressive, there is a lack of proper blame placement. Pit bulls are often mistreated and abused by people who want to use them for fighting or security. In cases like these, the best qualities of a pit bull such as zeal or determination can become unrelenting attacks or aggressive violence. But when treated properly, pit bulls will be very loyal and courageous companions for their owners.