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American Pitbul History
During part one of our brief
history of the Pit Bull we touched up on the origins of the fighting
arena which included this dog. From Rome to Britain, these dogs were
used as fighting sport dogs which ranged in battles with other Pit
Bulls, to lions, to animals as fierce as cage bulls, in which this dog
invariably got its name.
In order to understand the influence that created the Pit Bull of today
and what could be a dire future for the Pit Bull of tomorrow, you
should be aware of its roots and origin. This remarkable and yet
controversial dog is a mixture of strength and softness, between fun
and serious business, all wrapped up in loyalty and love.
Where did Pit Bulls come from and why were they branded as the most
vicious dogs that were ever to walk the planet?
During the sixteenth century, the cruel practice of bull-baiting was
the favorite pastime of the British. Bull-baiting is a spectator sport
in which one or two dogs were released and would try to grab a bull
(which was chained to a stake) by the nose. This exhibit of tormenting
the bull often lasted for hours for the purpose of entertainment. The
British also had a misguided belief that torturing the animal before
killing it made its meat more tender. For these reasons, bull-baiting
became very popular to everyone from all walks of life.
This atrocious sport finally became illegal in England at around 1835,
but that only forced the dog fighting fans and gamblers to conduct
their own covert matches underground. And although organizing an
underground bull-baiting event would have been a difficult task,
setting up a dog fight in a barn or back room without being caught was
The sport favored a somewhat smaller and swifter dog than the ones that
were used at baiting bulls and other large animals. Many historians
believe that the stocky bull-baiting dogs were crossed with the more
swift and alert terriers to create a small, strong, and agile breed
that was named Bull and Terrier. Other historians think that the
Bulldog of the time was very similar to today’s Pit Bull and it was a
simple process of choosing and breeding the most successful fighters.
As the Bull and Terriers or Bulldogs became less recognized for their
bull-baiting ability and began to be more popular for their fighting
skills in the pits, these breeds became known as Pit Bulldogs, or as we
call them today, Pit Bulls.
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