Somewhere along the passage of time, even though the breed was still being used heavily in dog fighting, the “Pit Bull” nickname for the Bull Terrier slowly peeled away in spite of the vicious public reputation it earned by being thrown into fighting pits by the real vicious culprits, humans. This was most likely related to the sudden popularity of the widely adored “Spuds McKenzy”, the Bull Terrier that Anheuser-Busch decided to elect their “Guru of Good Times” for Budweiser Beer.
Too bad the American Bull Terrier and the American Bull Dog didn’t fair as well, in fact, you can even find the American Bull Terrier listed as “American Pit Bull Terrier” in certain references. Once the most popular two breeds owned by American families in the 1930′s and 1940′s, and even though the infamous “Petey” from the Little Rascals series was played by, originally, an American Bull Terrier and also portrayed by additional American Bull Terriers and a few American Bull Dogs, the nickname “Pit Bull” still haunts both breeds. That’s probably because underground dog fighting unfortunately became popular again long after Petey’s frequency on television had faded into the past, and even though all four breeds were being used in full force again, only “Spuds” breached into limelight popularity and adoration enough to take his breed’s name off the “Pit” list. Did we ever thank you for that, Budweiser? Well, THANK you.
As for the Staffordshire Bull Terriers (also known as just Staffordshire Terriers) we have our beloved Cesar Millan to thank for getting the focus off the breed’s “Pit Bull” nickname, starting with “Daddy”, that lovable Staffy that charmed the American public (and the world) as he teamed with his pack leader, Cesar, to bring balance and harmony to aggressive, dominant and fearful behavior problem dogs all over the planet, from the tiniest toy breeds to the most gigantic power breeds. Since Daddy’s passing, Staffordshire Terrier “Junior” has now taken up Daddy’s torch as Cesar continues his work. GOD BLESS YOU, CESAR!
There are few things worse for destroying a reputation than being condemned by erroneous, bad press. Although the nicknamed “Pit Bull” breeds have been thrust by the media into the public stream spoken as if it’s a single breed, adding to the confusion, and being portrayed as the dog most prone to attacking and killing humans, it is not even on the top of the statistical list for such. In fact, the name “Pit Bull” is sloppily slapped on not just the four breeds that were used most in the fighting pits but on any breed someone decides to “allege” as being a Pit Bull or a Pit Bull mix. If someone even so much as speculates a dog that bit someone may have had some Pit Bull in it, it’s not even questioned and is reported as a “Pit Bull” to the Media and in all related Official Reports. I once went to consult with a client about an aggressively behaving dog they had referred to as a “Pit Mix”. Upon arriving I saw a dog that looked like a cross between a Beagle and a Sheltie, no kidding.
According to statistics, from 1982 to 2011, 68% of the dog bites resulting in fatalities were delivered by the larger more powerful breeds of dogs; that leaves 32% of dog attack fatalities being delivered by smaller dogs. Further, it’s reported that of all the infant and toddler deaths that have occurred from 1982 to 2011 due to dog bites, a remarkable 87% were inflicted by small to medium sized dogs. So we have to ask ourselves, WHY does the mainstream media keep this out of the mainstream? As the email circulating around states, “In the 70′s they blamed Dobermans, in the 80′s they blamed German Shepherds, in the 90′s they blamed Rottweilers, now they blame “Pit Bulls…when will they blame the humans?”.
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