Monday, October 25, 2010

Pooches: The Unexpected Pit Bull

 In celebration of National Pit Bull Awareness day, we continued our "grassroots campaign" taking the pooches around the city to show people what pit bulls are really like. Most people are actually shocked to find out our dogs are 'types of pit bulls', then have a whole slew of questions about the breed. And this would happen even more often when we had Wilma who looked quite different from our pooches, but the term "pit bull" actually encompasses several types of dogs:
Miss M. is an American Bulldog mix. Some still debate whether American Bulldogs fall under the "pit bull umbrella", but they do have the same happy, goofy personality, plus the stubborn, bossy, bulldog attitude:
These dogs were originally breed for bull-baiting, and have "webbed" feet that can actually clasp things. When you shake hands with Miss M, she has a very firm grip:
American Bulldogs are also bigger and taller than the traditional pit bull, and tend to be a bit more lethargic:
Mr. B is an American Staffordshire Terrier. 'Am Staffs' are typically large-headed, wide-faced dogs with big smiles:
They tend to be shorter and have muscular bodies. Mr B is one of the only dogs I've met with a defined buttock:
They adore people and are extremely loyal. Being part of the terrier family, they also like rats:
Wilma was labeled as a pit bull terrier. Pit bull terriers tend to be on the shorter side. They can be smaller, and are typically more agile:
They are typically stockier with huge muscles. She still has a bit of filling out to do, but just check out the hocks on tiny, little Wilma:
Pit bull terriers are known for being very loyal to their people and easy to train; both reasons that they are so readily used in negative ways.
While pit bull was originally meant as a type of negative term focusing on dog-fighting, we are proud to have pit bulls and hope to show people what an amazing breed they really are.

33 comments:

bigalrlz said...

I appreciate that you guys so clearly explain (with great photo examples!) the differences between the 'breeds' of bullies. As a owner of an English 'Staffy' when people ask if she's a 'pitbull' I try to explain the difference between the breeds, but folks eyes glaze over. It's interesting because some people clearly think the term pitbull is negative and to others it's a quite positive. Fascinating how words can mean such different things to different people.

jet said...

I didn't know that about the grip. Bender has that bulldog grip with his paws, I never taught him to shake hands for that reason! hehe

Muchadoaboutnothing said...

Miss M looks pretty bossy in that picture on the deck. And Wilma looks like a boss-in-training. About their paws: Petey has a grip but Roxy prefers to use her paws to swat people (and her brothers) - I have been on the receiving end of many of those "love taps"!

Two Crazy Coaches said...

You guys do such an amazing job of being positive pittie promoters! :) YOu may never know whose minds you've changed, but I would have to think there have been many.

Laura and Hans said...

Miss M always looks so regal! Wilbur has those same long fingers and every morning while loving up his hedgehog, he kneads it with them (just like a cat!).

Maggie said...

Great post!! You guys are doing such a wonderful job with your grassroots, educational approach.

jen said...

I love reading about the breeds, to me that are all just amazing, their build, their good manners, their devotion, it all is just amazing.
You are doing a great job:)

PoochesForPeace said...

So I thought I was already following your blog, and then I forgot about your blog because I didnt see any updates, and then you comment on MY blog and I realized I wasnt following yours! So thanks for commenting, because now I AM following your blog, lol.

Mr. Pip said...

Wow, this is so interesting. I didn't know any of this ...
is one type more at risk for being abused, used for fighting, etc.?

And wow, on Miss M's webbed feet! Very cool! I have learned so much about pitties from your blog. Thanks!

Your pal, Pip

Mr. Pip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
badmuthafudruckers.com said...

Yay for you and your grassroots campaign!

I attended a National Pit Bull Awareness Day fair put on by a local pit bull rescue in Richmond, VA, and there were dogs of all shapes and sizes there, but all could be considered pit bulls or pit bull-mixes. It's crazy the variety of dog that falls into this category.

EmilyS said...

well, I'm going to disagree; I think applying the term "pit bull" to all those different breeds/types does the REAL thing a disservice. To me, a "pit bull" is only the American pit bull terrier (I wish you would use the whole name of this breed, one of the first truly American purebreds), its direct descendant, the American Staffordshire Terrier and (though some disagree), the American dog's immediate predecessor the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (which WAS a "pit" dog). Because the "pit bull" is a bulldog AND terrier mix, an American bulldog (which has no terrier component) cannot be a "pit bull" in my way of thinking. The "American bully", a random mix of bulldog, APBT and whatever the "breeder" decided to throw in there, is also not a "pit bull." Nor is any of the 30 or so shorthaired, blockyheaded breeds that the public may think is a "pit bull" and which will be banned/seized under anti-"pit bull" laws.

It's actually a two edged sword... on the one hand, calling every blocky headed shorthaired dog a "pit bull" shows how ludicrous the notion of "bred bans" is. On the other, wanting only the "real" thing to be called a pit bull might lead to even more draconian laws against the APBT, AST and SBT. And of course, no one knows the breed of a particular dog unless it has a pedigree from one of the 3 legitimate (ok, semi-legitimate) registries: AKC/UKC/ADBA.

I really enjoy your blog. I love that people are discovering how great these dogs are, and I love that people like you are showcasing and promoting them in such great ways. I just fear that we will lose the real breed.

Mango said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I can really see the differences amongst your little square headed selves in the last photo.

Slobbers,
Mango

ForPetsSake said...

Great pics and I've never thought about your pups (foster, too) being reps for all three lines of Pitties. Thanks for the info!

Benny and Lily said...

Interesting info about you guys. Mr. B being that I have a big fat head like yours, all muscle, wonder if I could pass for a Stafford terrier? You guys are the sweeties pittie we have ever seen. Several Pitts around here have those tiny chopped ears with huge chain collars. It makes them look very intimidating. Thanks for spreading the good word
Benny & Lily

Wyatt said...

That was really informative. I really didn't know there were so many differences. Love Ms. M's web feet. That is cool, the way she has a hold of that toy!

Wyatt

The Whitfields said...

Nice to know the different types ! I always wondered what type Miss M was. So informative!

brooke said...

I love that last picture with the 3 of them balancing cookies! Such smart doggies!

Levi Mac said...

Thanks for all the info! Even though I have the coloring of the rottie you can tell by my wide block head, short muscular body and personality that I have some "pitty" in me too! It's so much fun reading your blog!

rescuedinsanity.com said...

We've often been told our Shiva may be part pit bull. Frankly, I have no idea what she is, part everything maybe, but going by what you said about muscles, it may be true. Our Shiva has one fine butt.

bitt said...

We've had our pittie, Sienna's DNA tested and she was part staffie even though she was labeled as a pit bull terrier. There is no test for pit bull terrier so we don't know the percent of that. I suspect most pit bulls are mixes of different breeds; she has dachshund and mastiff in her too.

mayziegal said...

Love this post. When we first adopted Mayzie, I was SO confused about what was a pit bull and what wasn't. I was finally able to get my head around the concept that a "pit bull" is a type of dog in the same way the word "retriever" encompasses a lot of different breeds. But then there are other people like EmilyS who very firmly believe that the "pit bull" term should really only apply to APBT's and their close relatives. So I'm still confused about it. Ha!

Honestly, most of the time I just find it easier to avoid the whole debate by saying she's a "mutt" (which she is) or a boxer mix (which she is) or one-of-a-kind (which she most definitely is!). Sometimes I turn it around to people and ask them what THEY think she is and it's always fun to hear what they come up with. :-D

Amber

Corbin said...

hehe I love the title of this blog post... because, I was an unexpected pit bull!
-Corbin

Traci said...

Mr. B definitely has a big grin :) And stubborn is a common trait for bulldog breeds, that's for sure! When we lived in another state, a neighbor had an English bulldog. One morning I was getting in the car to go to work (I had already raised the garage door) and saw a flash of white go past me. It really startled me because I was wondering how in the world one of our dogs had gotten out of the house(we had a white & black greyhound at the time). Then I looked in the backseat and it was the neighbor's dog!! And stubborn as she was, she was not about to get out of the car - haha. I had to go get the neighbor to get her out!

Ettel, Charlie Poodle, and Emma Pitty said...

Emily, I'm behind you on that. The AKC actually refused to register APBTs because they wouldn't take a breed with reference to pit fighting in it's name, so the breed was registered as American Staffordshire Terrier - they began as the same breed, though today there are differences, as was noted in the blog, Am Staffs tend to be much larger than APBTs. But it's also exceedingly rare to find true APBTs (or Am Staffs) today. Most dogs are the result of generations of backyard breeding, and they're the ones who fill up the shelters and then find their way into homes with adopted parents. All these dogs fit a "type" that's labeled as pit bull. Who knows if they're actually American Bulldogs or some other similarly-featured breed? So in some ways the term "pit bull" does have a use, as these dogs don't come with pedigrees. Though I agree that BSL abuses the term to no end and gets really obnoxious with its use.

With all that said, I think Wilma looks frighteningly like my Emma, and Emma sends her wiggles and wags from NYC.

houndstooth said...

That was a great explanation of the differences between them! It's hard for me to see anything scary about any of the three of them. How is Wilma doing in her new home?

Liz said...

"Defined buttocks"--lol. I love that description. Bogart has a pretty shapely rear as well. He's a bully mix (EB, AB, and PB).

There's this one test out there of a bunch of photos of dogs. People are supposed to identify the "pit bull." Apparently, very few are able to identify it correctly.

Kari in WeHo said...

we love all types of bullies :)

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Sam said...

I think a good dog is a good dog, and you definately have good dogs with cute butts!

Sam

Roo said...

Miss M's paws shot is the bomb :)

I try very hard not to get my paws on my food when eating. Only when there is no other way to hold the bone and gnaw on it do I allow my feet to it. I know kinda weird but ?? what can I say :)

Thanks so much for putting the 'bully' breed in such a positive light. Humans should just look at themselves to see it's not the genes, it's the learned behavior that defines them.

Waggin at ya,
Roo (pointer/american pit bull terrier mutt) :)

road-dog-tales said...

This is good to know. Mom & Dad have a friend who is on a campaign to get people to stop saying "pit bull" and to say American Staffordshire instead. Even though Mom likes to argue details on occasion, she didn't bother to tell him that not all "pitties" are Am Staffs. Now she can explain :) Besides, we don't think "pit bull" is a bad word.

The Road Dogs

Rachel said...

I love watching Winston hold things with his webbed feet. But it's also why he learned to high five instead of shake. Very strong grip! Good for his tree climbing :)

Laura said...

Bravo for a wonderful, informative post. I never know what to say when people ask me if my Burma is a pit bull. Because people, and especially shelters (and they have their reasons) use the term "pit bull" to encompass an entire family of breeds I guess the short answer would be "yes". But we had her breed (DNA) tested. She's a quarter Miniature Bull Terrier, plus some Am Staff, Staffie (Staffordshire Bull Terrier), American Bulldog, French Bulldog, and Jack Russell. So rather than answering yes to their question of whether she's a pit bull, I generally say she's a bull terrier mutt. Then they look at me like I'm in denial. I guess I just can't win. :-) But I've got the love of a great dog and that's all that matters!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...