What Were Pit Bulls Originally Bred For?

 Table Of Contents
Is the “Pit Bull” an Official Dog Breed?
Pit Bulls in Modern Times

Pit Bulls originated from the United Kingdom. The breed descended from old English bulldogs that were famously bred for blood sports like bear or bull-baiting, ratting, and for dogfighting. Since the bloody game needs more agility and speed for the dog to win, the old English bulldogs were crossed with various terrier breeds; hence the Pit Bull Terrier was born. Thankfully, those blood sports were banned in the UK in the 1800s and converted the Put Bulls into an all-purpose dog.

When British immigrants fled to the United States due to the imminent threat of civil war, they brought along with their Pit Bull pets. During that time, these dogs took on multi-purpose roles such as herding cattle and sheep, guarding livestock against wild animals and thieves. They also helped their owners to hunt and catch hogs.

In the 1970s to 80s, dogfighting started to become popular once again, but this time it took place in the US and it went unnoticed by the general public. For fighting purposes, the owners groomed their Pit Bulls to look more intimidating, and they even encouraged aggressive behaviors. Due to those reasons, Pit Bulls get an unjust reputation of being violent and dangerous even till today.

Despite the ban on dogfighting in the United States since 1978, some owners today are still training their Pit Bulls for illegal fighting activities. These unlawful owners only represent a very small sample size, however, they have tarnished the Pit Bulls reputation to the general public.

However, according to the temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), Pit Bulls are naturally gentle. These dogs have almost the same temperament rating as Golden Retrievers and even scored better than Chihuahuas. Unlike their ancestors, Pit Bulls nowadays are rather goofy, playful, lovable, and affectionate dogs. These dogs pose no danger whatsoever, making them also perfect for a family pet.

Is the “Pit Bull” an Official Dog Breed?

Currently, Pit bulls don’t have official breed standards and can go by one of many names, and the most popular among them is the American Pit Bull Terrier. The other similar breeds are the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog.

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), according to historians, was used as a symbol for American courage and strength during the first World War. They are well-known for their incredible strength, intelligence, and loyalty. They are also famous as multi-purpose farm dogs helping farmers in herding cattles and pulling carriages.

Even today, the American Kennel Club (AKC) still doesn’t recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as an official dog breed all because of the fighting stigma. Thankfully, Chauncy Bennet formed the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1898 for the sole purpose of registering and recognizing the American Pit Bull Terrier as part of the terrier group. However, sometime in the 1930s, the AKC finally registered the Pit Bull but under the name Staffordshire Terrier.

These dogs’ physical traits are very muscular, making them lively and active. They are also highly intelligent and curious. This is why early obedience training is very important for Pit Bull reeds.

Aside from their athletic prowess, American Pit Bull Terriers are loyal and loving dogs. They are always eager to please their owners. Also, these dogs are too friendly to become guard dogs at home (unless trained to become aggressive to someone they are not familiar with). While they are usually gentle with people and children, it is still always best practice to have them leashed when in outdoor un-controlled environments.

Pit Bulls in Modern Times

Thankfully, dogfighting, bull-baiting, and any other blood sport that involves dogs are no longer allowed and considered illegal sports. In fact, dogfighting is now a felony in all 50 states. Through careful breeding, these dogs have become more friendly and affectionate compared to their ancestors. In fact, these dogs are often featured on dog shows wearing stylish dog chains and hoodies.

Nowadays, people breed Pit Bulls to become farm dogs or police dogs. Also, aside from dog shows, the American Pit Bull Terrier actively participates in canine sporting activities across the United States. In fact, they remain undefeated in weight pulling competitions and even continue to excel in the obedience category.

When it comes to law enforcement, Pit Bulls are naturally protective. Since they possess excellent biting force, they can easily stop bad people from fleeing. In fact, the state of New York has recognized ‘Kiah’ by becoming the first Pit Bull that entered the K9 service. She will be assigned to the Narcotics Department.

While most of them are bred to become farm dogs or police dogs, some lucky owners find them as a perfect addition to their family. According to some owners, the more time they spend with their Pit Bulls, the more they become close to one another. Pit Bulls will give their loyalty and show their devotion. These dogs are great with children since they don’t get easily annoyed. In fact, you can see them constantly begging to cuddle with your little ones.

Moreover, Pit Bulls can also quickly get along with other pets in your home. They love to cuddle with cats and can even easily get along with other creatures like rabbits. These dogs can never get enough hugs and kisses.


Pit Bulls are not monsters or the villains that the media portrays them to be. They are just unfortunate victims of mistreatment and human cruelty. With proper training, enough socialization, and lots of daily outdoor activities, Pit Bulls can become an excellent family pet and companion.