Ireland's Pit Bull Terrier Association (IPBTA)
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[Information gleaned from the ADBA phamplet titled "Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier]

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[Information gleaned from the ADBA phamplet titled "Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier]

Post by celticpitbulls on Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:53 pm

Do APBT's really have 1600 psi biting pressure and locking jaws?

No, they do not have either. Dr. I Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, "To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparision to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs. There are, moreover, compelling technical reasons why such data describing biting power in terms of 'pounds per square inch' can never be collected in a meaningful way. All figures describing biting power in such terms can be traced to either unfounded rumor or, in some cases, to newspaper articles with no foundation in factual data."

Futhermore, Dr. Brisbin states, "The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of 'locking mechanism' unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier."


My Vet said the APBT and American Staffordshire Terrier are the same thing. Are they?
Well, yes and no. How's that for straightforward? As stated in the introduction, there are several different "breeds" of dogs that are refered to as "Pit Bulls" by the general public. Primarily, these are the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. There are two general schools of thought pertaining to this issue. The first is that these dogs come from the same English/Irish pit fighting stock of over 100 years ago but have been subsequently bred to differing standards and are now different breeds. The second is that these dogs are just different "strains" (working vs. show) of the same breed. It all really comes down to how one defines what constitutes a breed. In general, however, ASTs have lost most of the gameness of their pit fighting ancestors, while at least some well-bred lines of APBTs have maintained this quality unaltered. Dogs of both breeds, if well-bred, have similar human- friendly dispositions.


My Uncle's Friend's Wife's step-brother said that APBT's are born mean and can't be trusted. Is this true?
No, this couldn't be further from the truth. Most people who think or say that "Pit Bulls" are inherently mean, have most likely never met one and rely on the inaccurate media hyped portryal of "Pit Bulls" as the basis of their opinions. Like any other breed of dog, the key areas of focus for ensuring a happy, well adjusted American Pit Bull Terrier as a pet are: owner education, proper breeding, socialization, and training. A break down in any one or more of these areas could lead to problems down the road.

The APBT is, contrary to popular belief, very human-friendly and will not naturally be aggressive towards humans. The APBT is, however, very loyal and eagar to please, so that if an owner wants a dog to be aggressive toward humans and reinforces this behaviour from an early age, the dog will most likely be aggressive towards humans as an adult.

Many people equate or confuse aggressivness towards other dogs with aggressivness towards humans. I have seen newspaper reports in which "concerned neighbors" are quoted saying things like, "This time it killed a stray cat; tomorrow it may be my children." Yet animal-aggressiveness is an entirely different thing from human-aggressiveness. There is no reason to infer from its killing a cat that a dog--any dog, not just an APBT--will ever show aggression toward human beings. Dogs can and do discriminate, even if irate neighbors cannot.

One of the most enduring urban legends involving dogs is the one about Doberman Pinscher's supposed tendency to suddenly "turn on" their loving owners. This violent change in behavior is said to be precipitated by a natural swelling of the dog's brain at a certain age (the exact age differs according to the retelling). Of course this legend has no basis at all in fact. The "pit bull" has replaced the Doberman Pinscher as the stereotypical "vicious breed," but the same human ignorance and credulity is behind the persistence of such legends.


Did Hellen Keller really own a "Pit Bull"?
Yes, she did. So have other famous people such as Fred Astaire, President Theodore Roosevelt, and General George Patton. Currently, people such as Michael J. Fox, Stephany Kramer, Jan Michael Vincent, and Jeremy Miller own or have owned an APBT.

The APBT was once considered to be a wonderful family pet by the general public. During World War I, an APBT was used to represent the United States on a propaganda poster. During the 1930's and 40's, every kid who watched the Lil' Rascals wanted a dog just like "Pete the pup" who was an APBT.

What are some activities that I can do with my APBT?
Well, just about anything you want to do. The APBT is by nature very athletic and eager to please. Given proper guidence and training, an APBT can excell in just about any activity you could imagine.

Due to the incredible strength and stamina of the APBT, one activity that has gained in popularity with APBT owners in weight pulling. Dogs compete against other dogs of the same weight in pulling a weighted cart a certain distance. The weight of the cart is incresed until a winner is determined. Currently, APBT's hold world records in several weight classes.

What exactly is "gameness"?
[The following is an exchange that occured on bulldog-l between Scott Bradwell and Wilf LeBlanc. The passages offset with ">"'s are questions posed by Wilf.]

Gameness in APBT's is a canine virtue that is most akin to the human virtue of unflagging courage. It is a determination to master any situation and never back down out of fear. It was developed in pit bulls by many generations of selective breeding. It is what allows a pit bull to keep fighting non-stop for two or more hours, in spite of broken bones, torn muscles, blood loss, dehydration, and exhaustion. But it is also valued by APBT owners who would never think of fighting their dogs. It is manifested in the can-do attitude of pit bulls toward any type of challenge, whether agility competitions, climbing up trees, or protecting their family etc.

Generally speaking, a game dog is an emotionally stable, easy-going dog, especially good with kids. Gameness should not be confused with aggressiveness. There are plenty of aggressive dogs that are not game, and there are game pit bulls who are not aggressive toward other types of dogs. Aggressiveness will propell a dog into a fight but will only sustain him for the first few minutes. Gameness, on the other hand, will not necessarily make a dog fight-happy; but if the dog has no other choice but to fight, a game dog will fight until it wins or dies trying, and will keep going as long as necessary. Gameness is an inner quality of pit bulls. There is no way you can tell by looking at a pit bull whether it is deeply game or not. The only test--and for many years the main criterion for selecting a dog for breeding purposes--is actually fighting the dog to see how it stands up to other dogs that have likewise already proven their gameness in the pit. Dogs that are emotionally unstable, or that fear-bite human beings are generally not game.

Many APBT owners like myself have no interest whatever in fighting our dogs, yet we appreciate the quality of gameness in our breed. I am quite content to know that just about any APBT, even one with only mediocre gameness as far as APBT's go, is still going to be far more game--that is, far more courageous and determined to succeed against any challenge he may confront--than the gamest individuals of just about any other breed. Thus, without ever having to match your dog against another, you can be confident that your dog is game simply by virtue of the fact of being an American Pit Bull Terrier. Of course not all pit bulls are equally game. It has been pointed out in a previous posts that there is a range in the variation in the *DEGREE* of gameness among individual pit bulls. If you plotted a distribution graph, you would get a classic bell curve, with a handful of dogs exhibiting dead gameness, another handful of dogs who are afraid of their own shadow, and the bulk of the dogs concentrated around the average in between these two extremes. If you then plotted the bell curves of gameness for other breeds, you would find that there is little overlap between the APBT's bell curve and those of all the rest. Your second question, Wilf, relates to whether the degree of a particular pit bull's gameness can be assessed by some test other than fighting; I'll return to this question below.

All dog owners think there is something unique and superlative about their own dog's breed. Gameness is what I, as an APBT chauvanist, think is so special about pit bulls. Actually, let me modify that. What I love best about my own dog is how cute and cuddly and friendly she is with everyone. She's a dog I am proud to bring anywhere. She makes everyone laugh with her insane kissing compulsion. But these two qualities are not unrelated. As I mentioned in my prvious post, gameness seems to go hand in hand with a lovable, outgoing, licky disposition toward people. I have to say that I don't know and don't really care exactly *how* game my dog is relative to others of her breed. I imagine she's no great shakes, since her parents were weight-pullers, not fighters, and you'd have to go back to her great-grandparents to find dogs that were game-tested. But I can tell you that she is known, among more than a few neighborhood dog owners, as "the friendliest dog in Hyde Park." She is beside herself with happiness--literally leaping up and down for joy--whenever a passerby so much as smiles at her. It's important for people to understand the paradoxical truth that she, like all the other nice, human-loving pit bulls out there, is the way she is BECAUSE OF--NOT IN SPITE OF--her breed's history of selective breeding for fighting purposes.

Until about 15 years ago, there were only a small handful of dedicated breeders who maintained this breed, and I would guess that nearly all of these breeders bred for gameness and game-tested their dogs in order to choose the ones to be bred. During all that time, you never heard of pit bulls mauling 5-year old kids. It was only when the breed became immensely popular in the 1980s--i.e., when lots of ignoramuses suddenly became backyard breeders--that you began to read stories (at least some of them must have been true) about man-eating pit bulls. These monster dogs were not "fighting dogs," but just the opposite. The scrupulous criteria that old-time breeders had used for selecting or culling dogs in breeding programs were thrown out the window--along with plain common sense. The backyard breeders didn't know the difference between gameness and aggressiveness. Many of them didn't grasp the fact that a champion fighting dog is born, not made; so they tried to make their dogs into "fighting dogs." How?

Through abuse, teasing, "practice" on non-fighting dogs, etc.--all sorts of things that knowledgeable pit enthusiasts would find cruel and abhorrent--and counterproductive as preparation for pit contests. I read a story not long ago that was enough to turn my stomach; it was about the arrest of an 18-year old kid in Philadelphia on charges of animal abuse; he was keeping his wretched pit bull isolated in a tiny feces-covered kennel. The dog's only contact with the outside world was when this jerk would "feed" it live cats and dogs that he had stolen from neighobrs' homes. He thought he was preparing the dog to be a good fighter. Needless to say, it is this sort of person, rather than the old-time dedicated breeders, that the public--thanks to the mass media--associates with the breed. Speaking of the mass media, I wouldn't be surprised if this particular jerk got his bizarre ideas about schooling a pit dog from watching the sort of distorted, sensationalistic news coverage that purports to "expose" what pit fighting is all about.

In the hands of ignorant breeders, the gentle, affectionate qualities that were so crucial to the old-time breeders also went out the window. You began to see idiotic ads in the classified section announcing "Pitbull pups for sale. Big-boned. Big heads. Excellent attack dogs. No papers. $250" From the old-time breeders' point of view, the gentle qualities were an absolutely indispensable safety precaution to be bred into a fighting dog, since no dog could be fought if it couldn't be safely handled by its owner during a pit contest. These breeders bred for a type that was extremely easy-going and docile around people and would NEVER think of biting a friendly hand, even amid the fury of a fight. A well-bred pit bull is so reliable in this respect that even if he is badly hurt in an automobile accident and is in extreme pain, he won't snap at his owner who tries to pick him up--unlike most dogs in that situation. Well-bred pit bulls are like labs in that they will never try to dominate their owners through threats, such as growling or baring teeth or snapping. Sure, they will try to dominate you--by outsmarting you, by doing something sneaky to get their way when they know you're not looking. But it is a very rare pit bull that will growl when you pick up his food dish or reach into his mouth to take a bone away. The analogy to labs is fitting because both of these breeds were selectively bred for tasks that demanded an extreme level of generosity toward people. Can you imagine a lab that snarled when you tried to take the duck from his mouth? Such a dog would have been culled from a serious performance-based breeding program. Likewise, any APBT that showed the least sign of aggression toward people was culled as unsuitable for breeding. Whether true or not, it was an article of faith among old-time breeders that a human-aggressive dog simply could not be dead game. In any case, such a dog would have been unsuitable for fighting purposes: no one would volunteer to be its handler or to referee the match. As a result of this careful breeding history, the APBT is an extremely easy-going, human-loving dog.

This isn't just a personal, impressionistic perspective of mine. The American Canine Temperament Testing Association is an organization that titles dogs for passing its temperament test. The test consists of putting the dog into a series of unexpected situations, some involving strangers. The dog fails the test if it shows any signs of unprovoked aggression or panic around people. Of all dogs that take the test, 77% on average pass. But among pit bulls who take the test, 95% on average pass--one of the highest passing rates of all breeds.

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Re: [Information gleaned from the ADBA phamplet titled "Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier]

Post by eamo s on Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:10 pm

This thread i found interesting which involves a number of topics. Famous people owning the American Pitbull Terrier, activities, Gameneness, old time breeders, aggression stats, behaviour and bite preassure Wink
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Re: [Information gleaned from the ADBA phamplet titled "Discover the American Pit Bull Terrier]

Post by celticpitbulls on Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:14 pm

yeah i enjoyed reading it too, i know its a long post but once you start reading its very interesting.

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