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What Were Pitbulls Bred For? 7 Different Roles Throughout History

What Were Pitbulls Bred For? 7 Different Roles Throughout History

This is a question that has been on every dog lover’s mind for years. 

From cattle herding to hunting, service work to nanny duties, and even participating in war, Pit Bulls have worn many hats.

But, let’s not forget about the dark secrets of bull baiting, rat pitting, and dog fighting. 

It’s time to separate fact from fiction and discover what were Pit Bulls bred for!

Get ready to discover the dark secrets and the bright sides of this breed’s fascinating history.

What Were Pit Bulls Bred For? The Surprising Start

Champagne Pitbull puppy standing outside looking away

Step back in time to the early 1800s in Jolly Ol’ England, where the roots of the Pit Bull run deep!

These dogs first appeared in the early 1800s in England and Ireland by crossing Old English Bulldogs and Terriers. The goal was to create a strong, agile dog that could excel in cruel bull-baiting contests. 

They were bred to be the ultimate bull-baiting beasts, taking on bulls in a sport that was popular among the working class. Several different types of Bulldogs were crossed with Terriers to create a fearless, tough pup ready to face any bull, hence their fitting name.

As a result, there were several different types of Pit Bulls developed at the very beginning, including the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. 

And that’s just the start!

Dark Side Of Pit Bulls: The Not So Glamorous History

Champagne Pitbull looking away

Luckily, in 1835, the British government put a stop to the whole bull baiting fiasco. However, this caused folks to look for a new way to gamble and have fun. 

Enter: ratting. It was a competition to see whose dog could kill the most rats in the shortest amount of time. The “pit” in Pit Bull actually comes from the pit the rats were placed in to avoid escape. 

And as if that wasn’t enough excitement, people eventually moved on to the ultimate underground spectacle: dog fighting. Unfortunately, this cruel practice would last quite some time. This is also when the practice of Pit ear cropping began taking place.

Surprisingly, breeders and owners who were involved in gruesome dog fighting practices didn’t actually want their pups to be aggressive and mean to humans. They wanted them to be tough in the ring, but cuddly at home. 

Any puppies that showed too much bite were sadly separated from the pack and often met their end to keep their “feisty genes” from spreading.

And, let’s not forget about the cruel practice of using bait dogs. These innocent pups were often used as a warm-up for the main event, suffering brutal attacks to test the fighting dogs’ skills.

It’s a dark part of Pit Bull history and a reminder of why we must always advocate for responsible ownership and treat all animals with kindness and respect.

Born To Perform: The Original Breeding Purpose Of Pit Bulls

Pit Bulls may have gotten their start in the ring, but they were truly born to perform! 

Fast forward to the early 1900s and dogfighting was no longer the hottest ticket in town, these pups were originally bred to be multi-talented dogs, tackling tasks like herding cattle, guarding people’s homes, and even assisting hunters. 

They were the ultimate jack-of-all-trades, and proved their worth time and time again. 

From rounding up cows to bringing down game, Pit Bulls were the original do-it-all dogs – and they did it all with style and a wagging tail!

The Many Roles Pit Bulls Have Held

close shot of Red Nose Pitbull

You might be surprised to find out that Pit Bull pups have had a whirlwind of a life, from herding cattle in the countryside to even serving their human counterparts in wars! 

From being fierce hunters to gentle nannies, these dogs have done it all. And the best part, they’re always ready for their next adventure. 

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to explore the many roles these versatile canines have held (and still hold).

1. Herding Cattle

These hardworking hounds were a hit with British immigrants in the US, who brought them along to lend a paw on the farm. 

And boy, did they deliver! Herding cattle like pros, making all the hardworking cattle dog breeds envious! 

Pitties made sure no bovine went astray.

2. Guarding Families

Champagne Pitbull sitting by owner looking up

Pit Bulls would stop at nothing to keep their loved ones safe, and their bark was definitely worse than their bite (or so they wanted everyone to believe!). 

Whether it was scaring off robbers or keeping watch over the property, these faithful four-legged friends proved time and time again that they were the ultimate guardians of both people and properties.

3. Protecting The Nation

Americans were all about highlighting the Pit Bull’s good side. Even though they were not originally among American dog breeds, these pups were seen as hardworking hounds helping to build a booming nation. 

And in 1917, a Pittie named Stubby became a hero of sorts when the U.S. entered World War I. 

He was found wandering near a training camp and adopted by soldiers. Stubby quickly became the unit’s mascot and learned to salute and bark on command. He even went on to serve in 17 battles and was awarded several medals for his bravery. 

Stubby’s loyalty and courage made him a beloved member of the unit and a true symbol of this breed’s versatility and bravery.

4. Assisting Hunters

close shot of Pitbull with collar

Pit Bulls were more than just tough guys, they had skills! They were known for assisting hunters by tracking game, especially varmints like raccoons and squirrels. 

Their ratting instincts made them great at following scents and cornering their prey. Unlike Beagles, who were also great hunters, Pit Bulls were known for their super-fearless nature and tenacity, making them a popular choice among hunters. 

These pups weren’t afraid to take on bigger game, making them a valuable companion in the field.

5. Providing Service

Pitties weren’t just tough and strong, they also had hearts of gold! These sweeties became unstoppable forces as service dogs, lending their noses and paws to help those in need. 

From guiding the blind to comforting war veterans with PTSD, these loyal pups made sure no one had to go through life’s struggles alone. 

With their natural instinct to hunt and protect, they proved to be the ultimate canine superheroes in disguise!

6. Babysitting

Pitbull standing on grass

Inheriting a natural nurturing instinct, Pit Bulls were soon recognized as excellent nannies for children. 

That does not come as a surprise because they have a gentle, playful nature that kids love, and their playful energy helps them bond quickly with little ones.

In fact, Pitties tend to form strong bonds with their families and can become quite attached to their human babies! 

With their natural instincts to protect and play, they make great playmates and watchdogs all rolled into one.

7. Starring In Movies

Pit Bulls quickly became popular with audiences and soon, Hollywood took notice. 

These muscular, athletic dogs were perfect for the screen and they soon starred in silent films, comedies, and dramas. 

Their loyalty, courage, and trainability made them a hit with movie-goers, and they quickly became one of the most sought-after breeds for film roles. 

Hal Roach’s Pit named Pete was a true superstar, known for his roles in the Our Gang and Little Rascals shorts. This pup was so charming and talented that he soon became a fan favorite. 

Pit Bulls In The Modern Day: A New Era For The Breed

Pit Bull walking with owner

Pitties are back and better than ever! 

These furry friends have been stealing hearts left and right, with their cuddly nature and goofy grins. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) finally caught on to their charm, and the breed has undergone some changes as well. This has helped to dispel some of the myths surrounding the breed and has given them a new lease on life. 

Thanks to animal lovers everywhere, practices like ear cropping and tail docking have been kicked to the curb.

In the modern era, Pit Bulls are widely considered to be loyal and loving pets, and their popularity continues to grow.

Nowadays, some breeders have started producing new variations of Pit Bulls, such as the Gator Pitbull, the Razor Edge Pit, and the Gotti

Understanding The Current Status Of Pit Bulls

Pit Bulls are still often misunderstood and wrongly blamed for dog attacks, leading some states to enact breed-specific legislation. But these laws do more harm than good by unfairly targeting innocent dogs based on their appearance, not their behavior. 

It’s like blaming a person for their clothes, instead of their actions! 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) and other animal welfare organizations advocate for a more fair and effective approach to addressing dangerous dogs, which focuses on individual behavior and responsible ownership, not the breed. 

In Conclusion

Pitbull sitting by sea

What Pit Bulls were bred for seems to be guarding their loved ones and assisting them in daily tasks. 

This breeding purpose proved to be much better than the brutal beginning of this dog breed’s development. Nowadays, these pooches are loving and loyal family members that make each day a fun adventure.

Which Pittie role do you like the best? For me, it is the babysitting one!