Can You Guess the Pit Bull?
Can you guess which one is the “Pit Bull” in this picture?
The term “Pit Bull” can invoke a sense of terror and intimidation in our communities today. Many believe that all Pit Bulls are dangerous and should be banned. Let’s be clear, the term “Pit Bull” actually has nothing to do with the dogs’ appearance, temperament or behavior, and everything to do with their origin and history. In fact, Pit Bull refers more to a general classification of dogs. The one dog with the Pit Bull in the name is the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and is a purebred dog breed recognized by the United Kennel Club and American Dog Breeders Association.
A Word About Doggie DNA
As it is with humans, dog DNA helps identify their ancestors. A dog’s genome has about 20,000 genes and a variation across 50 genes determines the breeds defining traits. And, a variation in only a few genes determines the dog’s head shape; a trait shelters and many people use to “label” a dog a Pit Bull.
If the DNA comes back and it says it is 12.5% Labrador, which part is it exactly – the head or the tail? Which genome determines how the dog will behave? There is no way to tell. Every dog must be treated as an individual.
Studies have shown that almost 90% of all shelter dogs visually identified as belonging to one particular breed have not been identified correctly. The best anyone can really do is to guess and still we get it wrong. Interesting fact: sperm, in dogs, can survive the reproductive tract for a week after mating meaning that puppies in one litter, can have different fathers.
The Pit Bull Today
Today, many dogs are labeled as Pit Bulls and carry similar characteristics. Pit Bulls are generally known to be loyal to people, eager to please, tenacious, friendly, intelligent, forgiving, have a strong nerve, are clownish, stubborn and affectionate. Because of all of this, they can also be prone to separation anxiety.
Their best traits also make them ideal candidates for illicit activities such as dog fighting. The media also helps to fuel the misconception by sensationalizing these stories and mislabeling dogs.
Every dog is an individual and should be treated as such. Adopting a dog, regardless if it is a Pit Bull or not, should only be done with thoughtful consideration and preparation. It is important not to generalize and assign a particular dog certain characteristics, and it is equally important to educate yourself to responsible dog ownership.
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NOTE:The only TRUE Pit Bull in the picture above is #14 – The American Pit Bull Terrier.