Always Faithful AmStaffs

An American Icon by S. Gallo

During WWI, which popular dog breed represented the USA in a propaganda poster depicting the strength, courage and loyalty of the American people? Honored as the main character in almost every political cartoon of that time, this highly favored breed graced the cover of Life Magazine on three separate occasions. A stray named Stubby was decorated as the most outstanding canine soldier, earning two medals and the rank of sergeant. Also embraced as a loving and amusing playmate of children, the breed entertained audiences in a comic strip about a mischievous boy named Buster Brown and his canine sidekick, Tige, and as Petey in the "The Little Rascals / Our Gang" TV show and movies of the 1920's & 30's.

Representing quality products and trustworthy services, this breed's appearance in advertisements was both desirable and constant. His outstanding devotion and unwavering stability earnestly won the hearts of the country and the status of an American Icon. Having been owned by Thomas Edison, Sir Walter Scott, Theodore Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Fred Astair, James Caan, Jack Dempsey and Michael J. Fox, the breed's reputation has disturbingly varied from famous to infamous in recent times. Has the recipient of all of these accolades, the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), truly become the pest that the media marvels in reporting or has its reputation suffered due to ill-intentioned individuals and incompetent breeding?

Originally developed to battle large wildlife, the Bull & Terrier breeds became the preferred gladiators in blood sports. Illegal dog fights were held secretly in basements and backrooms of pubs while the rings were referred to as pits. Hence, the name of Pit Bull arose. Since animal handlers were required to withdraw their competitors from an event without being bitten themselves, they never wanted or bred a human aggressive dog. In fact, if a Pit Bull ever harmed an owner/referee, at any time, it was instantly disqualified and later destroyed. A stable temperament was of upmost importance in the selection of breeding stock which ultimately created an extremely reliable companion.

Beaming with loyalty, the APBT wholeheartedly strives to please its master. This breed excels at whatever it is taught in likeness to an unswayable athlete equipped with great strength and determination (sometimes misinterpreted as aggression). As with many other breeds of dogs, a high prey drive is common in the APBT. Although humans often object to the instinctive behavior in domesticated animals, nature did not intend them to amicably convene outside of their own packs while it is normal for certain other species to be considered enemies or nourishment. 

Similar to other breeds of enormous power and will, an animal that is normally the most affectionate and dedicated of companions can become a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. To their detriment, the APBT's admired attributes have also led them to become the breed of choice in unethical individuals who purposely train and reproduce aggressive animals for illegal activities or seek them in an attempt to impress or frighten others. Just as one obtains sports cars or monster trucks to contrive a formidable presence, this splendid creature becomes an addition to their facade.

Numerous breeds retain uninviting dispositions and are much more likely to bite humans than the APBT. Just as one should not install an economy car braking system on a high performance vehicle, incompatible designs of certain breeds should not be unified. The sought-after traits perfected through precise selections in the breed's ancestry are declining due to unknowledgable/uncaring breeders. These unqualified perpetuators have little or no regard for the welfare of their breeding stock or the mutations they produce. The offspring of an APBT combined with any other breed is no longer an APBT just as the offspring of a Chihuahua and German Shepherd is no longer a Chihuahua. 

The existence of the once celebrated APBT is threatened while the reproduction of badly bred dogs, both temperament and health wise, continues to go unrestrained. Along with irresponsible dog owners that do not provide sufficient training, socialization, physical exercise or containment, behavior problems are intensified by untimely/excessive corrections, re-enforcing inappropriate conduct and tethering. Perversely, breed bans impose measures that will result in the dissolution of the Bull & Terrier breeds and ALL dogs resembling the APBT as the human malefactors proceed blameless in their corruption of another revered breed.

The well-bred APBT is still the ultimate canine companion that it was intended to be. Behavior problems are specific to individual dogs, not an entire breed, while it is the pet owner's sole responsibility to mold them into canine good citizens. Extensive research on healthcare and training should be accomplished before making the 10-15 year required commitment to a perspective pet. Obtaining puppies from stores and breeders that do not temperament or health screen is discouraged as these purchases only support the substandard reproduction of animals and the monetary endeavors of incompetent breeders.


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This site is intended to be informative and, somewhat, entertaining. 
Additionally, we take pleasure in sharing our fondness for this awesome breed. 
Your comments/constructive criticism are welcome and appreciated.
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Sandra Gallo Regnaert
Paw Tracks LLC

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