Up until recently, I subscribed to the logic that many advocates and rescues use to bridge the gap between what the media terms a “pit bull” and what a Pit Bull truly is.
When speaking of BSL, we have to unite and to do that, we need to embrace both APBT folks and those that simply love “pit bull type” dogs. To be fair, the only “Pit Bull” is the American PIT BULL Terrier but very few people nowadays seem to know what that actually is.
As for “pit bull type”, it’s a term that simply means, “well it kinda looked what I think a pit bull looks like.” We have seen documented incidents where a dog was referred to as a Pit Bull only to find it was not an APBT at all.
Thus, some advocates chose to differentiate between the APBT and what others say is a Pit Bull but really isn’t by using “Pit Bull” in uppercase if it’s really an APBT and “pit bull” in lowercase if it’s one of the 2, 3, or 25 some-odd breeds that have been incorrectly identified as Pit Bulls.
Are ya still with me? Okay, let’s keep going.
What this essentially did was help the media with using “pit bull” as a generic term to describe dogs with a similar type, much the same as with “hound” or “retriever”.
Of course, hounds and retrievers aren’t killed by the millions based on how they look and public misconception.
Let’s break this down further.
Both of these dogs are Retrievers. One is a Labrador Retriever, one is a Golden Retriever. So although all Golden Retrievers are Retrievers, not all Retrievers are Golden Retrievers.
And with “pit bull” vs “Pit Bull”, what we have now is that all American Pit Bull Terriers are Pit Bulls, but not all pit bulls are American Pit Bull Terriers. I’ve actually used this sentence before. And yes, looking back, I’m ashamed of it.
Trouble was, I bought into the logic behind it. We have so many people who wave their Pit Bull Supporter flag proudly but so few of them know what a real APBT looks like and until we can educate each and every single one of them, we need a way to rally the troops while not alienating people that truly have good intentions but have just been duped by the media and some also well-meaning advocates to believe that this:
is an American Pit Bull Terrier when she is not.
Don’t get me wrong here, we love ALL DOGS and this is why we do what we do. In fact, we love them so much that we have devoted our lives into making sure that they stop dying needlessly due to misinformation, ignorance, hysteria, poor education, and media hype.
And this is why I am now proposing that we stop helping the media and animal rights groups by dropping the use of “Pit Bull” unless and only if we are speaking of the American Pit Bull Terrier. If you must use a catch-all term (and I agree that in some cases it’s necessary), then “bulldog” should fit the bill.
Director, Pit Bulls Against Misinformation
(originally written for California American Pit Bull Terrier Association on June 11, 2012 at: http://caliapbt.org/is-pit-bull-a-dirty-word/)
P.S. Since originally writing this I have come to use the term “Targeted Breed” when advocating against BSL to cover not only bulldogs but also Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, and any other breed or mix of breeds that finds itself caught in the cross hairs of Breed Specific Legislation or discrimination.