Gabe: Superstar Cuddler! Over 2 Years Without Adoption. Merit Pitbull Foundation
The ASPCA said it best. “Pit Bulls make very sweet and loyal family dogs.” So, why are shelters filled to the brim with tens of thousands of homeless Pit Bull type dogs each year?
A Little Pibble History
Over the years, the standard Pit Bull has evolved from bear baiting and fighting to nanny dogs and family pets. When the breed was first created, English Bull-Baiting dogs were bred to bite and hold large animals around the face and head. Much like hunting dogs, they were trained as working animals, and served a purpose. However, in the 1800s, these forms of hunting were outlawed, and the English Bull-Baiting dog was bred with terriers to create the American Pit Bull Terrier, a much quicker and more agile animal. This was the birth of illegal dog fighting, and the Pit Bull’s nasty image.
Pit Bull type dogs were, and still are, acquired for their tough exterior, and often raised in the wrong hands. Most people assumed that their personality would reflect their looks, and were sorely mistaken. The average Pit Bull had no desire to fight not only other dogs, but people as well, due to their inherent kind nature, and eagerness to please. Many Pit Bulls failed as fighting dogs, and were dumped on the streets.
Roscoe Coltrane: Loves to Play! Over 1 Year Without Adoption. Merit Pitbull Foundation
Due to the media attention around dog fighting and irresponsible breeding, all Pit Bull type dogs were deemed “dangerous or aggressive.” Though some countries chose not to create Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), the dogs still wore the label, and continue to do so today. Now, any dog with a wide forehead, large mouth, and stocky stature can be labeled as a “Dangerous Dog,” and may even face a death penalty.
Where Does That Leave Us Now?
After years of misuse and abuse, they are still the number one breed found in shelters, on the streets, and in the headlines. Most countries have adopted BSL, even making Pit Bull type dogs illegal to own. Though most of these prisoners are kind and caring animals, thousands are killed on a daily basis, due to overpopulation and little to no room for “unadoptable dogs.”
For the ones lucky enough to end up in a No Kill Shelter or Rescue, the average Pit Bull will spend years in the system before finding a permanent home. Some are never adopted.
Rocky Balboa: Trick Master. Over 1 Year Without Adoption. Merit Pitbull Foundation
What We Can Do To Make A Difference
Anyone with experience raising or living with Pit Bull type dogs understands that the negative stereotype reflects nothing of the animal. The stigma behind “Bully Breeds” is an unfortunate result of the fear created by irresponsible ownership. However, despite the endless efforts to shed truthful light on the situation, most people are fooled by the media’s hatred towards the animals.
What Pit Bulls need is support from strangers to the breed, and a little benefit of the doubt. If more families adopted Pit Bulls instead of Golden Retrievers, they would not only be pleasantly surprised, but would save the life of a perfectly good companion. It is said that there are enough Pit Bulls in the shelter system to last 10 years of adoptions, and that number is growing every day.
Brutus Beefcake: Fetch Champion. Over 1 Year Without Adoption. Merit Pitbull Foundation
Things to Know Before You Adopt
Socialization and Exercise: Pit Bull type dogs are very social, fun loving critters, who want nothing more than to play with other dogs and people. The average Pit Bull needs a minimum of 60 minutes per day of exercise, and part of that time should be devoted to off-leash play.
Obedience: Pit Bulls love to learn! They thoroughly enjoy trick training, and many graduate at the top of their class in obedience. Pibbles are very eager to please their humans.
Adoption: Always, always, always adopt! There are tons of perfectly good dogs waiting in shelters for their forever homes. Purchasing Pit Bull type dogs from private sellers often promotes back yard breeding, and eventually puts more dogs into shelters.
Research: Like any breed, do your research before adopting. Make sure that your home or city has no BSL regulations against Pit Bull type dogs, and that they will be welcomed into a loving environment.
Set a good example for others!
“Become a proud parent – be sure to show your Pit Bull the love and care she deserves. And always let others know what great companions they make!” – ASPCA
Jimmy Fallon: Treat Magnet. Over 1 Year Without Adoption. Merit Pitbull Foundation