Saturday, June 5, 2010


I was going to write this post explaining about how wonderful pit bulls are, and why I went from being afraid of them to deciding they were my favorite breed of dog. But then I got sidetracked. Because a pit bull is not really a breed at all. And just explaining what a pit bull is will take up an entire post! So since I don't want to bore you too much, I will give you the short version, with pictures. I promise to be as accurate as possible, considering that even various experts on the breeds don't all agree. Some experts claim there are several breeds that make up the dogs called pit bulls. Others say three, and others say two. To make it more confusing, there may be several different names for one breed. So after several hours of research and scouring the Internet for information and photos of dogs who have won awards at dog shows for being the best of their breed, I came up with the following synopsis, which may or may not be accurate.

This is an American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). This is recognized by the United Kennel Club as a real breed, and is definitely one of the breeds that all experts can agree is really a "pit bull".  They have to, since the term "pit bull" is part of the breed name!

This is an American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff). These dogs are recognized by the American Kennel Club as a real breed, and is the only other breed that all the experts agree is really a "pit bull". The only difference between the APBT and the AmStaff is the AmStaff was bred more for conformation (dog shows) and the APBT was bred more for working ability. But to be really tricky, some AmStaffs are dual registered as both UKC APBT and AKC AmStaffs.

Chances are, you won't be able to tell the difference between an APBT and an AmStaff - I know I can't.

This is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier - also known as an English Staffordshire Terrier. Some experts do not consider them as "pit bulls". They are recognized by both the AKC and the UKC as a real breed, and they sure look like pit bulls to most people, including those who write up the Breed Specific Legislation laws.  They are generally smaller than APBTs and AmStaffs. 

I'm pretty sure that Momma Mia, one of the All Paws Rescue foster dogs currently available for adoption, is part Staffordshire Bull Terrier. 

This is a Bull Terrier, recognized by both the AKC and UKC. He is not a "pit bull" by most experts definition. It's possible that Noelle has some Bull Terrier in her. Several people have suggested this in the past, but she has only fully accepted the idea now that she learned her friend Mayzie has some Bull Terrier in her.

This is an American Bulldog. Recognized by the UKC, the American Bulldog should not be confused with their French or English counterparts. This is another breed that is considered a "pit bull" by only a few people.

And then of course there are the mixes. It's no wonder that no one really is clear on what exactly is a "pit bull". So when I take in a foster dog like Ziggy, I tend to call them a pit bull mix, and leave it at that. Because that way everyone either thinks they know exactly what that means, or they know that I'm as confused as the rest of the world, and either way, it's good. Most of you have probably seen this, but if you haven't, here is a fun game to play, to see if you can identify the pit bull in the group: Find The Pit Bull


Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! Great informational! Thanks for posting. I meet lots of Pit Bulldog in the park. You know what i find is its owners that are so concerned that they own a Pit Bulldog. They always feel that they have to explain why they own a Pitt Bulldog. Just like in my recent Dog-Dition. There was a Pitt Bulldog that the owner isolated it from the group. It was so sad. Happy Saturday! Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Lola said...

We've noticed that when you look on Petfinder there are tons and tons of pit bulls, but lots of them don't look anything like each other. It's gotten to the point where any mixed breed that doesn't specifically look like something else and is in a general size range is called a pittie. Not that there's anything wrong with being a pittie, but it doesn't seem to be terribly accurate.

wags, Lola

Ina in Alaska said...

Just stopping by to say hi and to say that Halle was most happy to read your kind words on our blog! Bless you for all the good you do for animals who need a good home!!

SwSmartie said...

That was a very informative post (and I'm not trying to be sarcastic!). NEAT-O!

3 doxies said...

Now that was VERY interesting. The American Pit Bull Terrior And the Staffrdshire don't look alike to me...could just be da pikture though. I had a friend that had a pibble and her vet told her to tells people it was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier so peoples wouldn't freak out...huh!
I thought that was weird.
Ain't that sweet, Noelle wants to be like Mayzie. You know hers does hves some doxie too...her poor mom.

The Two Country Poodles & Uncle Puppy said...

Very well written!

Wags and Licks,
Mollie Jo & Bobo

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a Most Interesting post. Sadly, most peoples can't tell the difference and decide that any doggie that has a short coat and a broad chest and a blocky head MUST be one of those "vicious" pit bulls. Peoples are just silly. It seems to me that it would be easier to identifys the bad owners than to say that ALL dogs that look a certain way are mean (when most obviously they're not).

I'm very much glad you luvs pit bulls and pit bull looking doggies. We sure needs all the luvs we can get when they're so much misunderstandings out there.

I would just luvs it if me and Noelle were related! I bet we are, don't you?

Wiggles & Wags,

PeeS. I hopes you don't mind but my mom put a linkie to this post on her Facebook page. Even lots of her furends are confused by this.

Jan's Funny Farm said...

The whole subject is very confusing because ... well, because so many are confused but spouting "facts" anyway. Unfortunately, many of those are in Animal Control so they only help spread misinformation and panic. It is sad canines even resembling pit bulls are so maligned, labeled "dangerous" and killed at shelters. They really need all the good publicity they can get. Nice post.

JackDaddy said...

I like pibbles too - it's some of their owners that give me a pain in the patootie!!

Lorenza said...

Thanks for all that info.
I think all of them are great doggies.
Kisses and hugs

Two Pitties in the City said...

I used to feel the same way as you; I was so scared of pitbulls, but when I met Miss M and did all the research they became our favorite type of dog. It's funny what ones they decide are really pitbulls. We think Mr. B is Am Staff, and Miss M is American Bulldog/ Boxer. We have been "encouraged" to write "boxer mix" when we register Miss M in case there are any breed descrimination problems in the future. What a great post!

BerniceK said...

I had a lady from Stray Rescue tell me a few weeks ago there is no such thing as a white pit bull so I think Ziggy and Noelle are something else - but I love them both nevertheless.

Dog Foster Mom said...

I think she probably meant that white is not a standard "accepted" color for pit bulls. But there are definitely white pit bulls. A high percentage of pit bulls (and Boxers, Great Danes, and others) that are congenitally deaf are white - there is a relationship between the loss of pigmentation in their coat color and the loss of hearing (due to the nerve endings dying in their inner ear). Ziggy most likely would have been brown, and Noelle would have been black, if they hadn't had the congenital issue that caused the lack of pigmentation in their coat (I'm guessing those colors based on the spots they each have on them.)

Anonymous said...

I've had people insist that my Boxer is a pitt bull, once because he is a brindle and they thought only pitts can be brindle. LOL

All of the bullies look similiar because they share a lot of common blood in their foundation breeding. Most people don't pay enough attention to the differences in them to be able to tell they are not the same.

havetailwillwag said...

hmm... but zigs looks soooo much prettier and more delicate than those other pitbulls doesn't he? he looks gentle and sweet.. the others look strong and like they could kick my ass if they wanted to.. zigs must be mixed with some pretty feminine breed.. LOL!! that must be why i love him so much