We usually misunderstand Pitbulls as a singular breed but they actually refer to a small family of breeds like the American Pitbull Terrier, the American Bulldog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier.
The three breeds mentioned above have something in common. Their ancestors were bred with terriers and bulldogs. The idea was to combine the speed of the terriers and the strength of the Bulldogs. After decades of breeding and perfecting, we had the Pitbull.
They were initially bred to herd cattle. But back then, they weren’t given an official name. The breed was known for its sturdy built and it was made for outdoors, for long hours. The looks were just a by-product of having such a powerful dog.
That is perhaps why their tails were cropped and ears docked. It reduced the chances of injuries and made work easier for both the farmers and the dog.
It didn’t take long for people to notice them for their fierce looks and include them in bloodshed sports. These beautiful animals were pitted against bulls or bears (hence the name ‘Pitbull’). It was a sad part of history that continues to maim their image in the present.
Bloodshed sports were officially banned in 1835 in Great Britain, however, this did not stop people from pitting bulls against each other. It is an illegal practice but is still done to this day! Dogfighting has gone underground but their image hasn’t.
It wasn’t the dogs’ fault that they were pitted against each other and forced to fight, but people instantly started treating Pitbulls as aggressive dogs and a threat to human society.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) had briefly registered some Pitbull Breeds only to remove them later as they did not want to represent ‘aggressive’ dogs on their list of breeds.
It has been more than a century since there has been a ban on dog fights but their notorious reputation remains. Many are afraid to adopt/buy a Pitbull and some only buy them to continue illegal dog fights with them.
The modern-day Pitbull faces a new calamity enforced by man. They are sensitive, intelligent, loving, dogs but since we have used them in dog fights for centuries, they hold a bad reputation for no real reason. So many countries have banned Pitbulls and in places where they aren’t banned, Pitbull owners struggle to rent apartments, walk their dogs and are often exposed to harsh treatment just for owning a Pittie.