What is a “bully-breed”? Namely, dogs that fall under the “bully-breed” signature are American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire and Staffordshire Terriers, American Bull Dogs, and other bull dog types. An easy way to describe a “bully” is to describe their typical characteristics: “bullies” are notorious for their bull-headed way, they are tenacious with a tendency for stubbornness, they are intelligent and goofy, loyal and playful. These characteristics, although endearing to bully owners, can be difficult for new owners caught unaware. Because Underdog Rescue is committed to the successful placement of “bully-breed” dogs we would like to offer potential adopters educational materials so they will be prepared for their new pet.
The following article names only the Pit Bull, however, the information relates to all “bully-breeds.”
if you’re thinking of adopting a pitbull
by Jacque Lynn Schultz
- Many pit bulls are extremely social dogs with humans and especially delight in children. However, due to strength and exuberance, in most circumstances they are generally best with older children.
- Hardy, tenacious dogs, pit bulls are moderately active indoors and extremely energetic when outdoors. Be prepared to spend a minimum of 20-30 minutes twice a day engaged in aerobic level activities such as Frisbee tossing, bicycle road-working or agility coursework with your dog. Without suitable exercise, they are more likely to be destructive.
- Enthusiastic learners, pits enjoy trick training and many graduate at the head of their obedience classes.
- Dog-to-dog aggression is a serious issue with this breed. While early socialization is important for all puppies, it is essential for pit puppies. But your best efforts cannot override a dog’s genetics. Some pits will become dog-aggressive when they reach social maturity (2-3 years of age) regardless of early experience. A pit bull that doesn’t like other dogs cannot be let loose to exercise in dog runs or other public areas. Unless fenced in, they must always be on lead and under the control of a responsible adult. If engaged in a fight, they are capable of severely injuring or killing another dog. Some are also dangerous around cats. Choose carefully if you have other pets at home.
- As a pit bull owner, you are likely to experience breed discrimination. Legislation will prohibit you from living in certain communities. Landlords may bar you from their buildings; neighbors will shoot you disdainful looks and homeowners insurance will be harder to find. However, don’t let this discourage you from adopting the dog described by more than one owner as “eager to please, loves to work, and only wants to make us happy” if a pit bull is a good fit for your family.
This piece is part of a larger feature, “The Pit Bull Dilemma” by Jacque Lynn Schultz, which appeared in the Fall 2000 issue of ASPCA ANIMAL WATCH. © 2000 ASPCA
Whatever breed of dog you decide to adopt, please keep in mind every dog needs exercise, discipline, and affection. Your job as a responsible pet owner is to know your breed, its specific needs, etc.
We believe so strongly in creating successful adoptions that we have dedicated a section of our website to focus on training, both for humans and for canine companions. Check it out!
For more information on training, feeding, and other concerns, please check out Diane Jessup’s website “Official Pit Bull Informational Site of Diane Jessup.“