Approximately 15% of the dogs rescued by FTF last year were pit bulls or pittie mixes, and this year to date we’ve taken in more than 30 so far. Why do we care so much about these dogs? Because if we didn’t, hundreds of dearly-loved family pets would never have had their chance at a happy life. Some of our pittie rescues are now dedicated couch potatoes, others have become obedience or agility stars, and many are simply someone’s best friend. But all deserved a forever home, and we made sure they found one.
The term “pit bull” is used to refer to a number of breeds, including American bulldog, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, and American or English pit bull terrier. Many combinations of mixed breed dogs with wide heads, muscular builds, and short coats are often labeled pit bulls. DNA testing is the only way to confirm heritage, however, and visual identification is often incorrect.
For many years, pit bulls were America’s canine darlings, featured in numerous ad campaigns and on magazine covers owing to their loyal and loving nature. But beginning in the 1980s, the popularity of pit bull types among irresponsible, often abusive dog owners (notably Michael Vick) led to sensationalized stories in the media and the incorrect belief among some people that the “breed” is physiologically and genetically different from other dogs. Media bias and misperceptions persist, but negative attitudes are shifting, thanks to advocates who love these dogs and objective evidence regarding the true nature of pitties. For example, the American Temperament Test Society, which has a national program for testing dogs’ temperament, has found that pit bull types passed the test at a higher rate than many other breeds, including golden retrievers and border collies. Bottom line, no breed is inherently bad or dangerous—all dogs are individuals.
So, what’s it like to share your life with a pittie? We asked some FTF fosters (and foster failures) for their thoughts:
Dan J: Opening our home to pitties has been very gratifying, as we know it makes a difference for the most misunderstood breed. Our favorite traits are their intelligence and affectionate personalities. Our most cuddly fosters over the years have been the pitties.
Sarah R: Pitties have to be where you are, love to make their people happy, and will do whatever they can to please. They are quick learners and do great in training. Also, pittie smiles/kisses are the best.
Brittany C (currently foster mom to Fella): Pitties love couch cuddles, and so do we. Because they are so food motivated, pitties have been the easiest to train of all our fosters. An often underestimated quality about pitties is their ease of maintenance—no daily brushing needed, and they don’t shed like shepherds, huskies, etc.
Deb K: Pitties are shadows that follow you everywhere. They are loyal, loving dogs with big personalities, and their entire body wiggles when they wag their tails.
Jason S: Pitties tend to be intelligent and inquisitive and like to explore. So walks, car rides, and other opportunities for exploration are important to challenge them mentally and physically. My pittie tells me when it’s time to go for a walk. If he’s extra excited, he grabs and carries his leash, as if to say, “I’m a big boy and can walk myself.” When playing with other dogs, he sometimes stands on his hind legs and holds his front paws up, seemingly giving his buddies high-fives.
Are you starting to think you just might have room in your life, heart, and home for a pit bull? Then please check out our adoption page and read about the pitties and pittie mixes eagerly waiting to meet you: www.fetchingtailsfoundation.org/dogs-to-adopt
Written By: Michele G.