- PBRC is against the cruel “sport” of dog fighting, past and present. There is NO justifiable reason to throw two dogs in a pit and watch them tear each other apart.
- PBRC does not support any form of breed specific legislation (BSL), which targets specific breed(s) for restrictions or bans. See PBRC’s position statement on BSL for more information.
The following pages describe basic breed information for anyone interested in acquiring a pit bull*, for those who already have one or more and would like to learn more about the breed, or for anyone who would simply like to understand these affectionate, extraordinary dogs a little better.
We will discuss the traits common to pit bulls, from their great love for people to their potential for dog aggression and what that means. You will learn that pit bulls make wonderful and loyal family companions. Like all dogs, they require intelligent, responsible and dedicated ownership.
This is not to suggest that pit bulls are “different” or “unique” in a way that makes them dangerous. Each breed, by definition, has its own traits, and pit bulls were not the only ones historically bred to fight other animals. No matter what kind of dog you have, understanding its breed is the first step toward being a good dog owner. By nature, pit bulls are intelligent, fun loving, and affectionate.
It’s our job to help them fulfill that potential. Adopting a pit bull, loving it, and training it as a breed ambassador are the most important things any of us can do to combat people who still want to use these dogs for their own cruel purposes.
PBRC hopes this article will help people understand why so many of us are deeply dedicated to these wonderful dogs. Pit bull dogs need more help, compassion, and understanding than many other breeds, but they will pay you back with more love, loyalty and fun than you ever thought possible.
*”Pit bull” is NOT a breed. It's a generic term often used to describe all dogs with similar traits and characteristics known to the public as "pit bulls." When we use the term “pit bull” here, it should be understood to encompass American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and mixes of those breeds.
Remember: In most cases, we usually know little about the background of rescue dogs. Since there is no way to know for sure, we recommend following the advice offered by PBRC for any pit bull-type dog. Most of our guidelines are simply basic rules of dog ownership.
See PBRC'sFAQ for more information.
Basic Breed Overview
Pit bulls are wonderful, loving animals that deserve the chance to have a good life.
Pit bulls have physical and mental characteristics that make them excellent partners for responsible, active and caring owners. These same outstanding qualities can, however, be challenging for people who don't have a lot of experience with dog ownership or have limited understanding of the breed. Luckily, pit bulls are intelligent, very responsive to training, and, above all, eager to please. Therefore, pit bulls should be enrolled in obedience classes as soon as they are up-to-date on their shots. (Pit bulls are susceptible to parvovirus, so it is important that they receive all their vaccinations before coming into contact with other dogs or entering areas of high canine traffic.) A well-behaved pit bull is the best way to fight breed prejudice and misconceptions.
Pit bulls can do well in an urban environment, provided they have enough exercise and other positive outlets for their energy. Many pit bulls are easygoing couch potatoes, but like all terriers, they can also be somewhat rambunctious until they mature. Maturity can come relatively late with this breed (two to three years old in some cases). Pit bulls remain playful throughout their lives and have a great sense of humor. True clowns at heart, these dogs will make you laugh like no other.
Pit bulls are energetic, agile, and strong. They are also very resourceful and driven. Determination is one of their most notable traits: They put their heart and soul into whatever they set out to do, whether it is escaping an inadequately fenced yard to explore the neighborhood, destroying your new couch if left home alone without a proper outlet to combat boredom, or climbing into your lap to shower you with kisses!
As Stahlkuppe (1995) writes: "The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), or the AmStaff, is certainly not the right pet for everyone. Being a powerful dog, it will require sufficient and adequate control. Some prospective elderly owners or children will not be able to supply that control...
“An insecure person who wants only an aggressive dog to bolster some personal human inadequacy should never become an owner of one of these dogs. An uncaring or negligent person should not buy an AmStaff or an APBT (or any other dog for that matter)."
Basic Breed Overview | An All-American Dog: Breed History
Pit Bulls and People | Pit Bulls and Other Dogs