Article courtesy of PitBulls.org with my own comments and/or views in italics.
First of all, Pit Bull is not a breed. It is a generic term used to describe dogs with similar traits and characteristics. The breeds typically included are American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers. There are many breeds that are mistaken for “Pit Bulls”.
You are considering adopting or buying a dog, and one breed you are considering is a Pit Bull Terrier, or one of several breeds that are closely related to this breed. It is important that before you take any steps towards becoming an owner that you thoroughly research the breed so that you understand the challenges of owning this loyal, yet controversial breed.
99% of issues that arise with pit bulls have to do with owners who are uninformed. The truth is that this breed has many good traits. A super-dog, if you will. And although the media focuses on the negative aspects, in reality they can be awesome pets for the smart owner. Here are six reasons why:
1. Pit Bulls are Affectionate Companions
Pit bulls are wiggly, cuddly, affectionate dogs. If you don’t like dog kisses then consider another breed, because most pit bulls love licking. The same goes if you have children and you don’t want them to be a regular target for face washes. Pit bulls are not aloof – they like to remind you regularly of how they feel about you, and in general this means a lot of tail wagging and kissing.
2. Generally Healthy and Easy to Care For
Yes, pit bulls require a reasonable amount of attention. They do not, however, need a lot of care. They have short coats and are normal shedders, and only need to be brushed semi-regularly.
They don’t tend toward genetic disorders like some other breeds, although they should be inspected at puppyhood for signs of hip dysplasia, but this is a good idea for most medium to large breeds anyway. Most pit bulls do not get larger than 50 to 60 pounds, although there are some larger sub-breeds. And as long as you exercise the dog regularly, a pit bull can be very comfortable in a small dwelling.
3. People-Orientated, When Socialized Properly
Pit bulls love people. Although this breed frequently gets a bad rap in the media, if you have ever met a pit bull that was raised by a loving, conscientious family then you will understand how much they like to be with people.
The downside of this personality trait is that they can get over excited when they meet new people, which is something that needs to be addressed through training and positive reinforcement.
4. Pit Bulls are Loyal to their Owners
Your pit bull will be you and your family’s best friend from the day you take them home to the day they pass away. While they will be naturally protective of their family and their property, because pit bulls are so people-orientated they do not make good guard dogs. Unless you just want them to smother intruders with hugs and kisses.
5. Eager to Please
A pit bull will always do it’s best to make you happy, as long as you are clear about what you expect from them. Many people will mention the fact that this breed is notoriously stubborn, but once they realize that you are the boss, they will work hard to ensure that you were happy with them. This breed can be challenging, and is not recommended for first time dog owners as you need to be comfortable and confident that you can handle the breed, otherwise they will pick upon the fact that you are less than sure of yourself.
6. High Tolerance for Pain
Sometimes presented as a negative trait, the fact that pit bulls have a high pain tolerance makes them exceptional family dogs. They easily (and happily) put up with the rough play of children without reacting. At the same time, pit bull owners may have to invest in prong collars, as the shoulder and neck strength of the pit bull means that sometimes an average collar will not do. I do not agree with pinch or prong or choker collars for any breed or type of dog. Pitties are very strong, but with the proper training can be leash trained as any other dog without the use of pain!
It is important that when considering a pit bull as a pet that you carefully screen all puppies and adult dogs to ensure that they respond positively. Dogs of any breed that show fearfulness or aggression towards people or other dogs should be avoided, particularly as a family pet, unless you are willing to put in a lot of extra time and money into behavioral training.
When first meeting a dog, you must consider its background. Most dogs of any type will be anxious upon the first meeting. Take time to get to know the dog before judging harshly. And make sure you have the time and resources to work with a dog you like if it needs more training.
To be a successful and responsible pit bull owner you need to ALWAYS have your pet under control. Dogs should never be left unsupervised with other dogs or children, and should never be allowed to roam off leash except in controlled dog-friendly spaces. Remember that as a pit bull owner you are charged with showing the positive side of this breed, so make sure that you always have a friendly and well-behaved pet.
I cannot stress enough to be a responsible pittie owner. In a dog park situation the pittie will always be blamed for fighting with another dog regardless of whether the other dog started it or not! Pitties usually will not back down and hence a fight when approached by an aggressive dog. Owners please keep a close eye on your pittie and remove this stigma that has been attached to this loveable breed!