Meet the Real Mr. Worldwide – The Truth Behind the Pitbull Name


Pitbulls refer to a group of dog breeds that originated in the UK in the mid-1800s. While the term “pitbull” is often used as an umbrella term for these breeds, it is not an officially recognized breed itself.[1] The most common pitbull breeds are the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.[1] Pitbulls were originally bred by crossing bulldogs and terriers to produce a dog that was athletic, strong, and had a high pain tolerance for use in dog fighting and bull baiting.[2] Today, while dog fighting is illegal, pitbulls are popular family pets and show dogs known for their affection, loyalty, and intelligence when properly trained and cared for.

Origins of the Pitbull

The history of the pitbull dates back to the early 1800s in England, where they were originally bred as “bull-baiting” dogs. Bull-baiting was a cruel blood sport where dogs were used to attack tethered bulls as a form of entertainment. Pitbulls were purposely bred to have very strong jaws and a tenacious temperament that would not back down from a fight.

pitbull dogs in a fighting pit historically

When bull-baiting was outlawed in England in 1835, these dogs were then used for dog fighting as “pit” dogs. Their job was to fight each other or other dogs in a fighting pit, which is how they got the name “pit bull terrier.” They were bred to be incredibly strong, athletic, and willing to fight. This is the unfortunate origin of how the pitbull breed came to be.

How Pitbulls Got Their Name

Originally, pitbulls were called “bull-and-terriers.” This was because they were bred from bulldogs and terriers. The goal was to create a dog that combined the strength and athleticism of the bulldog with the gameness and agility of the terrier. According to this reddit source, bull-and-terrier type dogs became known as “pit bulls” in the early 1800s when the sport of bull-baiting was outlawed and dog fighting in pits became popular.

Eventually, the official breed name became the American Pit Bull Terrier. But the term “pit bull” continues to be used today as a loose term referring to dogs descended from bulldogs and terriers bred for fighting in pits.

Pitbull vs Bulldog

Pitbulls and bulldogs are often confused with each other due to some similarities in their physical appearance. However, there are some key differences between the two breeds.

One of the main differences is their history and purpose. Pitbulls were originally bred for bull baiting and dog fighting, making them tenacious fighters. Bulldogs were bred for bull baiting, giving them strength and courage. However, bulldogs were not bred specifically for dog aggression like pitbulls.

In terms of appearance, pitbulls usually have a more muscular, athletic build compared to the stockier bulldogs. Pitbulls also typically have a broad, wedge-shaped head, whereas bulldogs have wrinkled skin on their shorter, boxier heads.

Temperament wise, bulldogs are known for being calm, friendly, and gentle, while pitbulls exhibit more energy, strength, agility and have a strong prey drive. However, pitbull temperament varies greatly depending on breeding, training and socialization.

It’s important to note that pitbull is not a specific breed, but rather a term used to describe certain breed types like the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Bulldog refers to breeds like the English Bulldog and French Bulldog.

pitbull breed info chart

Overall, bulldogs make better companion pets for families and homes with other pets. Pitbulls require extensive training and an experienced owner to handle their strength and energetic nature. Proper socialization can help curb any dog aggression in pitbulls.

Common Pitbull Breeds

There are several breeds that are commonly referred to as “pit bulls.” The most popular and well-known pitbull breeds are:

American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized dog breed known for its intelligence, strength, and loyalty. They were originally bred in England in the 19th century for the cruel sport of bull-baiting. After that was banned, they were used for dog fighting. Today, these dogs make excellent companions and working dogs due to their energetic and obedient nature. American Pitbull Terriers have a stocky, muscular build and a short, smooth coat that comes in many colors and patterns. They are powerful dogs but tend to be affectionate with people.

According to The Spruce Pets: “The American Pit Bull Terrier is a highly popular breed, especially for those looking for a bold and energetic companion.”

American Staffordshire Terrier

american staffordshire terrier dog portrait
The American Staffordshire Terrier is an affectionate, loyal, and smart companion breed of medium size and short coat. They were originally bred in the 19th century as a cross between bulldogs and terriers for dog fighting, before becoming beloved family pets. Today, Amstaffs, as they are nicknamed, are known for their courage, confidence, and good-natured attitude. Physically, they have a stocky, muscular build and a broad head. Their coat comes in almost any color and pattern. With proper socialization and training, these dogs make loyal and playful pets.

As stated by Petguin: “American Staffordshire Terriers have a heavier body and head compared to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.”

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a small to medium, stocky and muscular dog with a short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of colors. Originally bred for bull baiting in Staffordshire, England in the 19th century, they were later used for dog fighting before becoming beloved as companion dogs. These tenacious and courageous dogs are known for their loyalty and love of people. With proper training and socialization, they make excellent family pets that are energetic, playful, and affectionate. Though muscular, they are agile and graceful. Their head is broad with a medium-length muzzle.

According to Pinterest: “The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of the smallest pitbull dog breeds.”

Pitbull Appearance

Pitbulls are medium-sized dogs with a stocky, muscular build and square head. They have wide chests, short cropped ears, and a short glossy coat. According to Top Dog Tips, the Blue Nose Pitbull has an athletic body type and well-defined muscles. Pitbulls generally weigh between 30-65 pounds and stand around 17-21 inches tall. Their coat can come in a variety of colors like black, blue, fawn, red, brown, white or tan.

The blocky head of a Pitbull is a defining physical trait, with a wide skull, pronounced cheeks, and strong jaws. Pitbulls have broad, thick necks and sturdy limbs. Their tails are medium in length and taper to a point. Overall, the Pitbull is a powerful, agile dog bred for strength and athleticism.

Pitbull Temperament

Despite their muscular appearance and tough reputation, Pitbulls are extremely loyal, people-oriented and eager-to-please dogs. Some of the key attributes of a Pitbull’s loving temperament include:

Loyalty: Pitbulls are very devoted and affectionate to their owners and family. They aim to please their humans and form extremely close bonds. American Pitbull Terrier temperament – American Kennel Club

Eagerness to Please: Pitbulls love spending time with their families and thrive when given positive reinforcement through training and activities. They are sensitive dogs that feed off their owner’s energy. Pit bull dog characteristics

Affection: Despite their muscular appearance, Pitbulls are cuddle bugs at heart. They crave affection and physical touch from their family. Pitbull puppies are extremely loving and enjoy being around people. 27 Pitbull Facts All Bully Breed Lovers Should Know – Certapet

Gentleness: Properly trained and socialized Pitbulls interact very gently with children. Supervision is always recommended with any breed, but Pitbulls have consistently scored well on the American Temperament Test for sociability and friendliness. Pit Bull Dogs: Everything You Need to Know –

Pitbull Controversy and Bans

Pit bulls are one of the most controversial dog breeds. They have developed a reputation for being dangerous and aggressive dogs, mainly due to irresponsible breeders breeding pit bulls for dog fighting. This has led to many regions banning pit bull breeds entirely. According to the Human Rescue Alliance, “Pit Bull Bans Have No Place in a Humane Community”. They argue that breed bans are expensive and ineffective at reducing dog bites. Despite their reputation, pit bulls are not inherently aggressive. Their temperament will depend on how they are raised, trained, and socialized like any other dog breed.

sign about laws banning pitbulls

Many cities, counties, and even some states have enacted legislation that bans pit bulls or places severe restrictions on owning them. According to Hepper, in “Where Are Pitbulls Banned in The US?”, jurisdictions with bans include Denver, Miami-Dade County, and the state of Ohio. The restrictions vary but can include mandatory sterilization, muzzling in public, and mandatory insurance policies. Proponents argue these laws protect public safety, while critics say they are discriminatory and ineffective.

Pitbull Facts and Statistics

Despite their controversial reputation, pitbulls have many positive attributes according to the data.

Pitbulls pass the American Temperament Test Society’s test at a rate of 86%, compared to breeds like Chihuahuas (71%) and Golden Retrievers (85%). This indicates pitbulls do not display inherent aggression toward humans.

According to recent ASPCA research, pitbulls are not disproportionately dangerous compared to other breeds. Their behavior depends on how they are trained and treated, like any dog.

Pitbulls make excellent therapy dogs thanks to their affectionate nature. Many pitbull therapy dogs serve hospital patients and children with disabilities.

Pitbulls score better on temperament tests than many popular family dogs like Beagles, Border Collies, and Dachshunds according to the United Kennel Club.

Female pitbulls are one of the most affectionate, least aggressive dogs according to testing by the University of Pennsylvania.


In conclusion, pitbulls have a long and storied history going back over 150 years. Originally bred for bull baiting in England, pitbull-type dogs were later taken to America by immigrants who used them on farms for hunting, herding, and protecting livestock. The name “pit bull” derives from the fact that they were often used in fighting pits for spectator entertainment, which gave rise to their reputation as a dangerous and aggressive breed.

Today, pitbulls comprise several breds including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They are medium-sized, muscular dogs known for their loyalty, intelligence, and strength. Despite bans enacted against the breed in some areas, pitbull advocates argue that in the right hands and with proper training, these dogs can make excellent companions.

Some key points to remember about the history and facts around pitbulls:

– Originated in England then came to America in the 19th century
– Used as farm dogs and in competitive fighting pits, leading to vicious reputation
– “Pit bull” refers to several distinct breeds including American Pit Bull Terrier
– Powerful, strong dogs but not inherent aggressive or dangerous
– Subject to breed-specific legislation due to concerns about dangerously aggressive behavior
– With proper care and training pitbulls can be loving, loyal family pets

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