Perhaps because of their strength and build, or because of stories that have been told about poorly trained dogs that are not well cared-for, the pit bull is a breed that can come with a negative reputation in some circles.
National Pitbull Awareness Day is celebrated by lovers of these dogs to raise awareness about the delight and joy that pitbulls can bring to their owners through their many positive character traits, such as their deep loyalty and affection toward their humans.
History of National Pitbull Awareness Month
Originating in the United Kingdom as sporting dogs, the pitbull made its way to North America in the mid-19th century. Eventually recognized as a breed by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1898, the official name is the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Pitbull terrier dogs were so popular in the early 20th century that two former US Presidents were known to have owned one: Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt. Wilson’s pitbull terrier was officially named “Whitestock Service Man”, but they simply called him “Bruce”. Roosevelt, an avid animal lover, had a pitbull who went by the name of “Pete” and this one was said to be the favorite of his many dogs.
Unfortunately, several decades later, in the 1980s, it became a popular practice to breed pitbulls to become fighting dogs, even though this was illegal in all of the US states. Because nefarious people used and abused these dogs for their aggressive tendencies, the stories of pitbulls were told and the breed became associated with a bad reputation. Sadly, because of this, pitbulls are now the most euthanized breed of dog in the United States.
But even though they have been poorly branded, pit bulls really are lovely, enjoyable dogs. And that’s what National Pitbull Awareness Month hopes to show! In fact, according to the American Temperament Test Society, pitbulls pass temperament tests – conducted with a trainer – 87% of the time. This means they are ranked 4th out of 122 breeds, making them one of the most affectionate and least aggressive dog breeds around. In fact, they are so companionable that they have often been used as therapy dogs or police dogs.
The first National Pitbull Awareness Month was celebrated in 2007 when it was established by a rescue and education group in Tennessee called Bless the Bullys. The hope for the event is to increase education and awareness about the plight of this breed of dogs, helping to reveal truth and undo some of the negative connotations that have gone along with their reputation.
After the event was founded, National Pitbull Awareness Month spread throughout the state of Tennessee and eventually to other states in the nation. With more than 15 years of observance, this day acts as a siren call for pitbull lovers everywhere to share their stories and love for this remarkable dog!
How to Celebrate National Pitbull Awareness Month
Looking for ways to raise awareness and show how lovable pitbulls really are? Check out some of these ideas for events and activities that can be done in honor of National Pitbull Awareness Month:
Consider Adopting a Pitbull Dog
Those who are interested in owning a pitbull might want to consider that these dogs can be very friendly, affectionate and loyal – and many of them need homes! Instead of heading to a breeder (when there is already an overpopulation of pitbulls), why not consider heading over to a local animal shelter to find out if they have any pitbull dogs who need a happy and healthy home? The people at the shelter should be able to help potential adoptive pet owners to make a decision whether this breed, or one particular dog of the breed, would be a good fit for their family situation. It’s a great idea for celebrating National Pitbull Awareness Month!
Learn Some Fun Facts About Pitbulls
An excellent way to get involved with celebrating and enjoying National Pitbull Awareness Month might be to read some quick facts about them and then share with friends or family members to raise awareness for the event. Check out some of these interesting facts about pitbulls to get started:
Technically, a “pit bull” is not a breed of its own but this term is a catchall for three breeds. The official names of the breeds under this umbrella are the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Pit bull type dogs are not born or bred to be aggressive. While some of them have been used for aggressive sport, this is not in their nature and they can be trained to be well behaved and happy pets.
Many animal shelters note that they receive pitbulls more than any other breed. This may be due to overbreeding or ignorance about what it takes for an owner to train a very strong dog.
Play with a Pitbull
For those who have a friend with a pitbull, or for those lucky pitbull owners themselves, National Pitbull Awareness Month is a great time to show them some extra love and affection. Take them out to the dog park to show off how well behaved they can be around other pets, or just keep them at home and play with them because they love the attention. Or perhaps stop by the local pet supply store and pick up a special toy or treat to reward them for being such amazing canines!
Name Your Dog After a Famous Pitbull
Those who are considering adopting a dog, especially a pitbull terrier, may want to consider naming them after some famous dogs that have gone before. Check out the cute names of some of these famous pitbulls in honor of National Pitbull Awareness Month:
- Helen Keller’s family had a pitbull that went by the name of “Sir Thomas.”
- During WWI, a pitbull named “Sergeant Stubby” was credited with capturing a German spy.
- “Petey” was the famous pitbull on the Little Rascals in the 1920s, played by a dog named “Pal”.
National Pitbull Awareness Month FAQs
How long do pitbulls live?
Pit bulls tend to have a life span that averages from eight to fifteen years.
Are pitbulls dangerous?
Statistics show that pit bulls, when not trained or managed properly, can be more dangerous than other dogs due to their size, strength and character.
Do pitbulls shed?
Yes. Pit bulls are low to moderate shedders among dog breeds.
Are pitbulls good with kids?
Properly trained pit bulls can be loyal and affectionate dogs that are good with kids, but they are also rambunctious so care should be taken when introducing them.
Can pitbulls be service dogs?
If properly trained, yes, a pitbull with the right temperament could become a service dog.