Given our propensity to shorten some breed names, such as Yorkshire Terrier to Yorkie and West Highland Terrier to Westie, I guess you could make the case that the American Pit Bull Terrier is in fact the true Pit Bull. But most people use the term to reference any and all of these fine breeds and many people probably cannot really distinguish the differences in these breeds. In fact, the American Staffordshire Terrier, which has neither 'pit' nor 'bull' in its name, is most frequently referred to as the 'pit bull.' And - by the way - there is also not a breed called the "Pit Terrier.' This is just a nickname for the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Unfortunately all of these breeds have the misfortune of being categorized by the generic terms 'Pit Bulls' and 'bully breeds.' And these breeds are now often covered by breed specific legislation (BSL). According to Wikipedia "Breed-specific legislation is a law or ordinance passed by a legislative body pertaining to a specific breed or breeds of domesticated animals. In practice, it generally refers to laws or ordinances pertaining to a specific dog breed or breeds . . . This legislation ranges from outright bans on the possession of these dogs to restrictions and conditions on ownership, and often establishes a legal presumption that these dogs are prima facie legally dangerous or vicious."
I don't dispute that these are powerful, and in some circumstances, aggressive or protective animals. But it also cannot be disputed that these dogs are courageous, loyal and heroic in many of those same circumstances. But compare them to other legal dangers. Guns, automobiles and alcohol probably kill more people each year than all of the bully breeds put together. That's because, like guns, automobiles and alcohol they are dangerous in the hands of the wrong people.
And if you couldn't name the breeds pictured above they are, from left to right:
- The American Pit Bull Terrier
- The American Staffordshire Terrier
- The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- The Bull Terrier
Stay tuned. later this week I will blog the complete list of bully breeds - and you will flabbergasted by that list. Then I will blog the 10 most dangerous breeds as of 2011. Wait until you see how many bully breeds made that list!