Did you know that Pit Bulls were once known as “America’s Dog”, in the 20th century? More so, a “Pit Bull” doesn’t refer to one specific breed. True breed names that fall under the category of Pit Bulls are: the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and the American Bully. All of those breeds fall under the category of “Pit Bulls” which is why there are a variety of shapes within the pit bull and it’s features.

So how can one breed once known as “America’s Dog” become a threatened breed with some completely against their existence? Breed labels are common connections between breeds that often allow a person to judge a dog by its breed. For example, golden retrievers are labeled as a family, friendly breed that’s easy to train and raise. But often, breed labeling can be inaccurate to a specific dog of that breed. Each and every dog is different, like humans, with different quirks, different personalities even.

The origin of Pit Bulls dates back to the 1800s when dogs were bred for bloodsports– cruel sports that usually had something to do with a bull, hence the name of the breed. Although they became illegal in 1835, Pit Bulls were brought over to America as cherished family dogs. Despite this breed’s intent to partake in bullfighting, the breed was also intended to be gentle with humans. A typical trait found in this breed today– whether you believe it or not.

During World War I and World War II, pit bulls were a breed that was used for advertising. As a trusted sign of fearlessness and bravery, Americans turned toward this breed in a time of war. With all of the positive attributions to pit bulls throughout decades in America, where did the pit bull reputation all go wrong?

From the early 1960s on through the 1980s, pit bulls were brought up in the streets of dogfighting. Through spiked collars and aggressive behaviors, Americans began to turn away from a breed that uncontrollably was connected with dog fighting. Even after dog fighting became illegal in 1978, the negative reputation of this breed carried on.

Although other breeds such as Dobermans, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and other breeds, have had their reputation threatened, Pit Bulls have had a long journey with a negative reputation. This is partially due to overbreeding and the underground world of dog fighting that still exists today. Another major cause for this is the amount of negative press Pit Bulls get.

Despite a widespread negative opinion of this breed, temperament tests prove the fear to be outdated. These statistics prove that Pit Bulls are an incredible breed with an unfortunate negative reputation. The American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS) measures various aspects of breeds and ranks them. Pit Bulls ranked 2nd in the test, showcasing what a great temperament this breed actually has.

Having made so many strides in recent years to showcase what great dogs Pit Bulls can be, it’s pretty clear that you can’t judge these dogs based on what fear has to say. So perhaps you should just a dog as an individual, rather than a breed.