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Pitbulls Fighting: A Historical Component to Their Bad Rap

Aug 17, 2007
Pitbull dogs are one of the most intelligent breeds. They make an assertive and active spirit. Sadly, they are portrayed as aggressive, which is a virtual opposite of their character. There is more to their personality and unique temperament than this.

Eventually I want to convey a historical component that has partly contributed to their bad reputation but let's first look at some facts about the Pitbull dog.

Pitbull dogs are brave, loyal, loving, obedient...hmmm almost like Boyscout. But seriously, they do have all these characteristics and therefore can be a good companion despite the unfair treatment that has come from the public and media.

They have a general height of 18 to 22 inches and weight of 30 to 80 pounds. They have an average life span of 10 to 12 years.

They usually have a superb strength and power while also having the tendency to please their owners. Their general appearance is very impressive as compared with their size. Their heads are like that of bricks. Their neck is very muscular, and they have a well formed chest profile. They have cropped ears, scissors-like bite, and eyes that appear in all shades of dog eye colors. They also appear in all colors common with dog, and their coats are normally thick, shiny, and short.

Pitbulls are good guard dogs because they are naturally protective of their owners and their properties. Also, they can be aggressive toward other dog breeds but this excessive aggressiveness can be eliminated with proper training.

Pitbulls do have a fighting history. Dating back to the times when the Greeks ruled the known world, the Molossi tribe is believed to have bred Pitbull dogs (appearance of early breed differs on what we know today). Thus, the official term for this breed being Canus Molossi.

The Molossi tribe of the ancient Greece loved warfare and they are noted to have employed muscular and fierce dogs during warfare to intimidate their enemies. Yet, Mollosian dogs such as the Pitbulls were not always used during war. Some historians noted that they were employed for other purposes. The early Phoenician traders in fact have used these dogs as commercial items in bargaining.

Not only did the Mollosians breed the Pitbull dogs, they also brought forth the Mastiffs, also used in fighting and warfare. These breeds were then exported to Rome where they were used for entertainment in the arenas and the coliseums.

Until 400 AD, the popularity of the breed significantly spread throughout the Roman Empire as being fighting dogs. During this period, the breed was mixed with other European dog breeds that eventually caused the creation of another type- the bulldog breed. This is the direct antecedent of the American Pitbull Terriers or what is better known as the Pitbull dogs.

But this cruel sport did not end with the decent of the Roman Empire from power. When the Normans invaded England in the early 11th century, the game of baiting was introduced.

Interestingly, this game originated with the Bullenbeisser, another dog breed employed by meat butchers to handle much larger bulls for slaughter in the market. The principle of this sport is that when the bulls show uncontrollable behavior, the dog will bite on the nose of the bull and hold tight to it unless the handler gains control.

This started only as a way for controlling the potentially dangerous animals. Through time however, because of the butcher's pride for their dogs and the need for entertainment, the activity was shown to the public in what was called as baiting events. Consequently, these events boasted the canines' abilities and appeased the public.

Majority of the towns in England by the 1600s had their own baiting rings. These were the glory days of baiting sport, which had attracted spectators from all levels of society.

Baiting events were eventually banned in the year 1835 with the passing of a Parliament Bill. The Bill prohibited any public display of this bloody sport. However, this did little to deter this sport. And with time, baiting developed into the dog fighting sport. The dog fighting that we hear about nowadays that is held in secrecy.

Even though a stained history exists and some current owners still encourage this Pitbull fighting portrayal through their own opportunistic actions, these dogs remain as being a very fine breed of dog. The human master in various instances is responsible for a ruined dog upbringing. Those select occurrences bode badly for those particular dogs but not across the whole Pitbull breed. These dogs definitely get a bad rap not due to the Pitbulls own doing but from select owners that are misguided. Among the majority of owners, the Pitbull bred dog has proven its ability to be the perfect dog for many potential owners.
About the Author
The author, Arland Kent, writes on various subject matter including dogs and health. He writes for http://www.pitbull-dogs.net and Puppies and Dogs.
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