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The American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier differ slightly in their build and size, but are collectively called pit bulls. There is also a sub-breed called the red nose pit bull, which is prized by many breeders. This sub-breed is an American pit bull terrier that has a red, instead of black, nose and a solid red coat.
Pit bulls are very muscular dogs, ranging in weight from about 35 to 85 lbs (about 16 to 39 kg). They have very short hair that is seen in a variety of colors and markings. These dogs characteristically have a large square head with a very defined jaw. They naturally have short floppy ears, but they may be cut even shorter so that they stand straight and pointy. The practice of cutting the ears is unfortunately used by dog fighters to help prevent wounds if the ear happens to be bitten by another dog.
Over the years, pit bulls have acquired a bad reputation for being aggressive, vicious and dangerous to people and other animals. However, the temperament associated with dangerous dogs is the result of irresponsible ownership and the use of them in fighting rings. Because pit bulls are strong, easy to train and eager to please, they have become a favorite breed for illegal activities. Sadly, many fall victim to abuse by the training methods employed by dog fighters and in the fighting ring. Thousands of these dogs are discarded daily because they end up in the wrong hands, are not aggressive enough for their owners or lose dog fights, rendering them useless to dog fighters.
The myths and stereotypes that surround these animals and their owners make up a very small percentage of the millions of dogs that are called pit bulls. One commonly held belief is that they have locking jaws. This belief is always false &mash; it is physically impossible for a dog’s jaw to lock. However, these dogs do have very strong jaws that can be clenched stubbornly, making it difficult for a person or animal to free itself in the event of a bite.
By nature, pit bulls are very gentle, affectionate and trustworthy dogs. They follow commands willingly and are loyal, family dogs that love children. It is extremely rare for a well treated pit bull to attack without serious provocation. They are very intelligent and make great companions and guard dogs.
Despite their great temperament, pit bulls are not for everyone. They require a lot of exercise and they are very energetic. Someone considering owning one should be able to make a commitment to obedience training. An untrained dog can be strong, very energetic and mischievous, making it a difficult animal to handle.