The way I was taught is, the breed pit bull is not technically a "breed". It supposedly can be any dog containing a bully breed in it, especially Staffordshire terrier. The American Pit Bull Terrier are not recognized by The AKC.
That being said, I own one and love the "breed". And I personally do consider it one. I've done a lot of research on them. Between all of us, you've come to a great place.
They are a very loving and loyal breed. But also tend to have high prey drive, some have moderate to high energy and need regular exercise and play to release that energy. (Which is why they tend to escape and get into trouble, especially without training and socialization) and you must have it trained to listen to you, especially "leave it" and you have to socialize it to all kinds of people, pets, sounds, places, items. As well have bite inhibition (being gentle when using jaws.) When my boy was a puppy, as soon as he'd bite to hard, I'd stop him and grab his muzzle gently and say easy. I'd keep doing this until he was only has rough as I'd allowed during play. Now he's so gentle his jaw shakes when he takes treats from our hands. They can be a very great part of your family if you raise them well and put in a lot of time for training and socialization, given how protective they are it's very important.
Choose a breeder that has been breeding for a very long time (at least near 10 yrs in my opinion), they'll know where their bloodlines have come from. And have stated lineage available for you. There are a lot of backyard pit bull breeders but they don't always choose the best lines. I will say a lot of users of this breed in the past have inbred them to get certain colors and attitude (especially blue and red nose) to be sold for more or have more aggression. So some of these dogs have mental issues if the lineage is not paid attention to. Choosing an actual breeder and a good one is a big deal.
I'm excited for you though, they're good, loving dogs.
Wanted to add a little to this discussion. You are correct in that "pit bull" or "pitbull" is not technically a breed in the way that it is commonly used, but it is instead a term that society uses to describe a grouping of various dog breeds and mixes which share a set of general physical characteristics. Personally, I really despise the use of the term for this purpose, as it is also the same phrasing that is used in dog-discriminatory laws which unfairly deem all "pitbulls" vicious from birth [i.e. "BSL" or Breed Specific Legislation
] and also by news / media outlets who merely perpetuate fear-related breed stereotypes for click-bait.
I also tend to take issue with this use of the term "pitbull" or "pit bull," because it confuses the general public about breed-specific statistics and characteristics - and, for instance, generalizes the deeds of a Dogo Argentino or American Bulldog or any dog slightly mixed with any of the numerous "pitbull" breeds as actions of the collective "pitbull." IMHO, the American Pit Bull Terrier is the ONLY dog who should ever be called pit bull
(as this is the only breed with the words Pit Bull
in its actual name), but this is just a personal opinion.
BTW, I wanted to say that I love that you used the term "Bully breeds" in your post... this is what today's generalized "pitbull" group used to be called about 15 years ago when my interest in this subject first began (I had an American Bulldog at the time) and I still find it to be much more appropriate terminology.
As far as the "American Pit Bull Terrier" goes as a breed
, you are correct to say that it is not in the AKC's breed registry - however, it is
a registered breed with both the UKC and ADBA. The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is also listed as a distinct breed in Embark's breed database (independent of the American Staffordshire Terrier and other bully breeds
) - which says a lot, as it is the only dog DNA comany with academic affiliation (i.e. higher standards for research and results are apparently based on over 220,000 genetic markers)... If APBT's were not a genetically distinct breed, this would be impossible to identify and inaccurate to report. Long story short: American Pit Bull Terrier is definitely a breed.
To be accurate, the AKC does
actually acknowledge the APBT as an existing breed, however, they did decline breed registration
of APBT's (at least, under that particular name) due to it's association with use in dog fighting. Technically, the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier were originally of the same stock - however, they developed differences over time due to the AKC's acceptance (and then closing) of entry of "pit bull" dogs into the stud registry, limiting the infusion of new DNA and thus creating the standardized appearance of the dogs who now represent the American Staffordshire Terrier breed. (See American Staffordshire Terrier History: How the AmStaff Separated From the "Pit Bull" – American Kennel Club
for some great info on this!)
I, like you, also love the breed (regardless of name)... and I am nothing if not an ambassador for it! I do, however, disagree that genetics and pedigree are major components for predicting expressed aggression. Neither of my dogs come from any established line or pedigree... heck, we got them as babies without any firsthand history and had to do DNA testing just to know for sure what they were - but they are the most well-behaved, lovable, and cuddly dogs a person could own (seriously, their behavior earns them many compliments when we're out in public). While genetics can contribute to the potential of a dog's demeanor, most of a dog's behavior will have to do with how well it is trained and socialized; likewise - as is true of any kind of dog - people do need to be aware of their dog's unique personality and triggers, ensuring that safety of the dog and others is at the forefront of their priority list when deciding upon activities and / or interactions.
Personally, I find that positive reinforcement is a must when training these pups, as well as ensuring that rules, boundaries, and expectations are clearly defined for them (and set as early as possible). For instance - with a young APBT pup - we can't just tell them "no" when they try to chew on our hands or sofas and expect them to know what to do... we must tell them "no" and then hand them something that they can
chew on, so they realize that "ok, I can chew on this but not that"
. I also find that correct tone, body language,
and emotional vibes
have been more important in training my APBTs than they have been when training other types of dogs that I've had... the approach must be calm, confident, and relaxed... loving, yet firm. My dogs know the difference between my (now rarely used) "mom voice" and my normal voice... there is hardly a difference - and most of the change is non-verbal and in calm loving vibes of confident expectation that the will do what I tell them (mom vibes, lol) - but they know it when they hear it and always comply.
However well-trained they may be, these are not dogs for people who like to off-leash,
or who are either lazy
or lack the motivation / time
for training... not because you'll actually encounter the behaviors which are stereotypical the dog's breed, but because of the rediculous hurdle created by the of bias within today's society. You don't hear news about Labradors who bite people (though they absolutely do!) or see them with breed bans or restrictions... if a do is mostly boxer and only 20% APBT, they don't call it boxer or boxer-pit mix, they call it a pitbull.
The means by which this stereotype is perpetuated is flawed and certainly skewed - and, clearly, is not doing the breed's reputation any favors. To keep these dogs safe, they have to be impeccably trained, socialized, and controlled - regardless of how comparable to those of other breeds, indiscretions of these dogs are not tolerated well by society and the result can often be devastating to both dog and family (regardless of how minor the infraction). I, myself, am very protective of my dogs and will never knowingly put them in situations in which I am not confident of the outcome. Trust me... when it comes to my dogs, it's not the pibbles that people will need to worry about.
My pups are the sweetest, most loving dogs that I have ever owned. I have always loved dogs, but I have never felt the kind of love for a dog like I do for my pitties... it seriously feels like they are my kids and I would literally do anything for them. Long story short: owning a "pitbull
" is not the easiest path a person can take, but it is absolutely worth it!
Darn it! I warned you all that any of my responses to this particular subject could start turning into a book... sorry for the endless ramblings! 😆