Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

If you’re like most people, you may not know what a ‘pit bull’ is.  §

So as my beloved older dog ages into seniorhood, there has been a decent amount of veterinary activity lately. There have been scary, sad moments, and very happy ones, too. This post isn’t about that (directly), but it is about my two dogs in a way.

See, I keep getting the side-eye or the “Oh…” (meaning “My gosh, your poor children, I wonder if I ought to report you—”) when I tell people that I have two pit bulls, especially when they know that I have kids. This is, frankly, because of a whole bunch of shady breeders who lie through their teeth and because of panic, both amongst the general public and amongst the public servants that do dog attack reports (and who rarely know breeds accurately by sight, and who tend to take the word of witnesses verbatim—witnesses who know breeds even less accurately by sight).

It’s also the fault of the UKC, who often registers dogs as members of a breed sight-unseen, based on the word of said shady breeders. So let’s do this. Note the following two groups.

NOT American Pit Bull Terriers

These dogs are claimed to be ‘pit bulls.’ They are categorically not. I don’t know what they are. I don’t particularly care. They are what the public tends to imagine when they hear ‘pit bull’ and also what police tend to refer to, rather slanderously, as ‘pit bull type dogs.’ Let’s take a look:

ACTUAL American Pit Bull Terriers

The dogs below are actually the dogs known more briefly as ‘pit bulls.’ They measure 17 to 21 inches tall. They weigh between 30 and 60 pounds. They are not great hulking monsters and by the breed standard they are absolutely not aggressive.

They are athletic, bouncy, fast, clownish, spirited, and intelligent. They have one of the highest average scores for stable temperament from the ATTS (87 percent pass rate), ahead of cocker spaniels (81 percent pass rate), golden retrievers (85 percent pass rate), toy poodles (80 percent pass rate), collies (80 percent pass rate), and beagles (79 percent pass rate), to name just a few comparative examples.

They are not lumbering masses of bulk and slobbering jowls. See the difference?

Note that the one on the far right is one of my own dogs—the young one, Molly, at about four months old. She is, in fact, athletic, bouncy, fast, clownish, spirited, and intelligent. Now, nearly fully grown at a year old, she is around 18 inches and 45 pounds.

Nothing is more amusing than taking her for a walk and having people ask “Oh, what kind of dog is that?” then answering with “She’s a pit bull—” only to have them snicker and say, “Uh, she seems a little small for a pit bull—”

Um, no. She’s exactly the size of a pit bull. Exactly the size.

And she is the world’s most dedicated snuggler of children.