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Friday, July 07, 2006

What is a Pit Bull?

Someone lost their dog so they posted notices all over the neighborhood - "Lost Dog, Female Boxer Missing." I noticed them, and, of course, hoped that they would find their dog.

A couple of days later, Honey and I walked by one of the neighbor's houses and the owner called out, "I saw the signs and thought it was your dog that was lost." I said I had seen the signs, too, but, no, it wasn't about Honey. And, then, mumbled a kind of thank you because it seemed nice he had thought of us.

What I didn't say to him is that Honey isn't a boxer, that she's a pit bull. He is the owner of the cute little Yorkie that attacked Honey twice - each time with Honey backing away in confusion - which he never acknowledged during or after. In fact, last week, when I quickly put Honey on leash because he was walking up with his Yorkie, he said something about understanding because his dog was likely to attack, TOO.

Honey has been good as could be and he thinks she'll attack. Well, that's okay, I guess, because he's judging all dog behavior by his dog but...if he knew she was a pit bull I'm sure he would think the worst.

When people do ask me what kind of dog Honey is, they're often surprised to hear she is a pit bull. More than one person has said "But she's so friendly - she's a mix, right?" Other people have gone further and told me she is not like most pits and then will describe something they've heard about pit bulls.

As far as I know, she's a purebred - both in looks and in actions, judging by other pits we've met. I do know that some dogs - identified as pits - have been involved in horrible situations. I don't know anything about the dogs (Were they unneutered males locked in a room their whole life? Were they trained to fight? Were they raised to be tough so their insecure owner could feel tough?) Whatever the situation, I believe when you have a dog as strong as a pit, you have a serious responsibility toward any person or pet they come in contact with. But, you also have a responsibility toward your dog (or any other pet you have). That would include humane treatment (at the least), training and protecting them in uncertain situations so they don't get in trouble.

But, getting back on track -- what is a pit? Honey is an American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). That is the closest breed name to pit bull but many other breeds are identified as pit bulls. Just looking at these pictures of purebreds (not even getting into mixes here): Which of these would you say is the APBT?

Now, what does that mean when someone identifies a dog as a pit bull?



Anonymous catbird said...

What it means is that Americans are, by-and-large, ignorant, uninformed, highly-opinionated blow-hards, that's what.
And I'm not even going to tell you how many clicks it took me to get to the APBT. Apparently I fit the description above. (wink.)

7:23 PM  

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