Pitbull (Dog Training)

“The American Pit Bull Terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in the late 19th century. The UKC was the first registry to do so, with U.K.C. founder C.Z. Bennett assigning U.K.C. registration number 1 to his own APBT, Bennett’s Ring in 1898. It should be noted that the American Pit Bull Terrier was also the first breed to be registered by the organization.

In recent years, the American Pit Bull Terrier’s image has been tarnished by frequent media coverage concerning dog-fighting rings and attacks on humans. Advocates of the breed argue that irresponsible or neglectful owners as well as media sensationalism are largely to blame for this reputation.

History
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Although the exact history of the breed of dog known as the American Pit Bull Terrier is unknown it is generally agreed that they are descended from bull-and-terrier crosses brought to America from England and Ireland in the 1800s. The Bull and Terrier type dogs were created by crossing the English working Bulldog with English hunting Terriers. The Bulldog that is the ancestor of the APBT was used for many types of work including baiting, fighting, stock work, hunting, and as a farm dog. When bull-baiting was outlawed in England in by the Cruelty to Animals act in 1835 along with dogfighting, illegal dogfighting gained popularity since it is much easier to organize and conceal than a bull-baiting contest.

Fighting dogs were bred for strength, speed and gameness, or the willingness to see a task through to its conclusion regardless of serious threat of injury or death. While fighting dogs in England were not necessarily a singular breed of dog but rather a type of dog bred for gameness from different stock, in the USA the breed solidified and was named the American Pit Bull Terrier. Breeders knew that a dog like this could be dangerous to people and difficult to control if it were aggressive toward people, so breeders would look for the crucial trait of nonaggression towards humans. Fighting dogs that showed aggression towards its owner or handler were routinely killed and thus removed from the gene pool. This resulted a line of strong dogs that, while aggressive towards dogs and other animals, would be much gentler with people.

In the late 1800s to early 1900s, two clubs were formed for the specific purpose of registering APBTs: the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeder’s Association. The United Kennel Club was founded with the registration of an American Pit Bull Terrier and was the first registry to recognize the breed.

As dog fighting declined in popularity in the United States in the early 20th century, many dog owners wanted to legitimize the breed and distance it from its fighting roots. The name “Staffordshire Terrier” was adopted by some owners and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936. Later, the word “American” was added to reduce confusion with its smaller British cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Not all breeders, however, agreed with the standard adopted by the AKC, and continued to use the name American Pit Bull Terrier for their lines. Much confusion still remains in regards to the APBT, the AST, and the SBT. Once an extremely popular family dog in the United States (in fact, the dog in the Our Gang aka The Little Rascals movies and in Buster Brown was an APBT), the American Pit Bull Terrier’s popularity began to decline in the United States following World War II in favor of other breeds.

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