People have a fear of Pitbulls based on their appearance and their so-called reputation. As more research has been done, Animal Science Researchers claim that fatalities caused by Pitbulls are incredibly rare.
New research has proven that the chance of being killed by any type of dog in the United States in any one year is one in ten million. For cases where a fatality has happened the breed has been inaccurate due to the definition of a Pitbull.
The History of the Pitbull:
Pitbulls originated from the United Kingdom and they were initially bred from Old English Bulldogs. These dogs gained their popularity for a dangerous sport called “bull baiting”.
The act of “bull bating” was when two bulldogs were but in a ring with a bull and the bulldog would harass the bull until the animal collapsed. “Bull baiting” was an activity held for the lower class.
This was a form of entertainment and it was said that it relieved the mind of the lower-class struggles. In 1835 this was outlawed, and the British Parliament enacted the Cruelty to Animals act.
Once this was outlawed people focused on “ratting” this was a practice where a group of people would train their dogs to kill rats. The dog that killed the most rats in the least amount of time would win.
This is how the Pitbull got the “pit” in their name. The rats would be placed in a pit where they could not escape. At this point the British were breeding Bull Terriers with Bulldogs, creating the Pit Bull Terrier.
The “American” Pit Bull was brought to the United States when the Immigrants from the British Isles came to the US before the Civil War. These became the frontier dogs of America. They were responsible for herding cattle, sheep, and guarding livestock and families.
The public turned their attention away from dog fighting and the Pit Bull became a prominent part of American Culture. The Pitbull was the American Mascot during WWI and WWII. They quickly took on the name of “The American Sweetheart”.
What Happened to the Pitbull Reputation?
In 1976 the Supreme Court passed the Animal Welfare Act of 1976 and this made dogfighting illegal. Unfortunately, this did not get rid of dog fighting and the fad emerged in the 1980’s.
In order to combat this up rise in fighting animal advocates put a focus on how cruel the sport was by using Pitbulls for advertising purposes. The biggest side effect of this movement was that people began to seek Pitbulls for underground fighting rings.
The demand for Pitbulls was high and breeders began to breed for profit rather then responsibility.