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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just thought of something. I'm a big advocate for the fact that it's not the dog, it's the owner. Any dog can turn into a vicious animal. My question is, why pits? Why did the "bad people" chose them to be the "poster child" for vicious dogs. Essentially, can any dog be turned into a dog fighting dog? Or is there something about pits that make them more prone to that or something? (basically if they have some sort of aggression in their genes) I just don't understand why they are the ones that started this whole thing.
 

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Personally, I think their tolerance for rough handling is what made them so popular with "maliantes". For a while, thugs favored Rottweilers, but if you're cruel to a Rott you might lose an arm. . .so that didn't last long. Same with other breeds that were popular for a while but fell out of favor. Pit bull-type dogs have been bred for centuries to be game to fight with other animals, but to be very gentle towards humans. Which is kind of the perfect dog if you want to be a jerk and not have your dog turn on you.
 

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Personally, I think their tolerance for rough handling is what made them so popular with "maliantes". For a while, thugs favored Rottweilers, but if you're cruel to a Rott you might lose an arm. . .so that didn't last long. Same with other breeds that were popular for a while but fell out of favor. Pit bull-type dogs have been bred for centuries to be game to fight with other animals, but to be very gentle towards humans. Which is kind of the perfect dog if you want to be a jerk and not have your dog turn on you.
Ah, so they were bred to fight other dogs. I guess that makes sense. I know they're not all aggressive, as some of the nicest dogs I've met have been pit bulls, but I didn't think that they were specifically bred to do that, and that it was in their genes. I just thought they were trained to fight.
 

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Not just dogs, but bulls and hogs, too. They're still used as catch dogs for hog hunters now. Yes, it's just as instinctual as guarding is for livestock guardian dogs or herding is for herding breed dogs. But no matter what animals they were bred to fight, they were also specifically bred to be gentle to humans.
 

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Not just dogs, but bulls and hogs, too. They're still used as catch dogs for hog hunters now. Yes, it's just as instinctual as guarding is for livestock guardian dogs or herding is for herding breed dogs.
Which is why GSDs are protective of their families.. or why like corgis may nip at little kids heels, yes?
 

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Therefore, if you are interested in a pit, do your research. Know what you're getting into, know what to expect. There are a lot of people here who have worked with or owned pits, ask us anything!
 

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I just want to add that if you're thinking about a pit, (I'm not sure if this is related to your other thread about looking for a dog for yourself) make sure that if you are a renter, your landlord will allow pits. Some don't. Also there may be regulations in your local town that either prohibit you from owning one or making sure the dog is muzzled while in public.
 

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Not just dogs, but bulls and hogs, too. They're still used as catch dogs for hog hunters now. Yes, it's just as instinctual as guarding is for livestock guardian dogs or herding is for herding breed dogs. But no matter what animals they were bred to fight, they were also specifically bred to be gentle to humans.
I want to highlight this since I was just working with a trainer on Saturday (evaluating the foster pit for scent dog work) and she does a lot of work with Pits, including training them as service dogs and detection dogs. She was explaining how to deal with a Pit that was being aggressive towards another dog (in a foster home situation) and how to body block them from the other dog. She was saying that basically, no matter how much that Pit wants to attack the other dog, the Pit will do everything he can NOT to bite the human (although will also be doing everything he can to get past the human to the other dog) The lab or whatever he's going after will have no such self-restraint in trying to get to the Pit.

Because the fight-bred dogs had to be able to be pulled out of a fight by their handlers without redirecting onto the handler, any human aggressive dog was put down immediately.

The APBT ended up being so "tough" physically, that you can't look for signs of physical pain as a sign to stop training (like weight pulling or distance running etc) since the dog will go and go until he hurts himself trying to please you.

I think that anyone considering a multi-dog household should consider carefully about an APBT as there is the potential for DA, but that as people-friendly dogs, they tend to be total lovers. They just want to lick you and snuggle and wiggle their butts with happiness everytime someone pays attention to them. I am not yet experienced in working with Pits but am learning as much as possible and working with some knowledgable people.
 

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If you're interested, I recently read a good book about pits - http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Dogs-Michael-Rescue-Redemption/dp/159240667X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324307996&sr=8-1

Sorry about the mile-long link, but it's a link to The Lost Dogs - the story about Michael Vick's fighting dog operation (mostly made up of pits) and how they were rehabilitated and re-homed (many of them, anyway). Very interesting story and I learned a lot about pits from it.

ETA: Okay, so it doesn't come up as a mile-long. Interesting.
 

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There are several reasons, there are some other threads on the matter.

In part its just what attracts a certain type of people. It's not the dogs fault but clearly these people will be attracted to a "tough" looking dog with a potential for aggression vs a sweet lil fluffy dog.

Most of these dogs are not even Pits anyway, at least not real ones. They are a lot of times mixes, am bullies or poorly bred at best. Some are not aggressive but the owner wants to look tough, others bring out aggression towards humans.

It's then a cycle. A dog with a rep. So more of the wrong people are going to want them.

Yes the fighting is genetic. I have Pits and just as they may have fighting dogs 3 generations back they have em 23 generations back. You're going at least back to the 1800s.
You can bring aggression out of a dog, encourage it and train, but its a different ball game. You don't train the fighting style (its genetic from generation to generation) nor the gameness. You could get lots of dogs to fight, but the fighy different than Pit Bulls. Different style, shorter fights. Pits have "gameness" and determination. That is why they continue a fight until death or being picked up. So it could last for an hour or more. Even if one quits fighting it isn't always quick. It could be 30mins or an hour.

Shell has a very good post, except the part about HA. Not all were culled. It depends on the owner.
 

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Some of it is the look. They look muscular and the males especially have big heads. If you crop their ears they can look quite intimidating. That and the fact that dog fighting is still going on underground and it's a macho thing to own a dog that can kill another dog I guess.

One thing to remember though is that dog-dog aggression is not related to dog-human aggression, i.e. they don't go together necessarily. Pits have, at least in the old days, been bred to be dog-dog aggressive but human friendly. They were often owned by people who lived in cramped arrangements, plus the handlers (who weren't the owners often) didn't want to get bitten in the small fighting pits. So selection was always people friendly for all the bully breeds who fought their own kind.
 
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