- pit bull terrier
(also pit bull) n
a fierce breed of dog, originally bred in the US for fighting. In the 1980s a number of people were attacked and badly injured by pit bull terriers and other dogs. As a result a law was passed in Britain in 1991, the Dangerous Dogs Act, requiring owners to register them with a special government department.
* * *Dog breed developed in 19th-century Britain for fighting other dogs in pits.It was created by crossing the bulldog (which at the time was longer-legged and more agile) with a terrier, possibly the fox terrier. Once known by such names as bull-and-terrier and half-and-half, the pit bull is a stocky, muscular, unusually strong dog with powerful jaws, standing 17–19 in. (43–48 cm) tall and weighing 30–50 lb (14–23 kg). Its stiff, short coat may be any colour, solid or variegated. See also bull terrier.
* * *▪ dogfighting dog developed in 19th-century England from bulldog and terrier ancestry. The name is applied to several breeds of dogs, including the bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier (also called the American pit bull terrier) and Staffordshire bull terrier. Although these dogs were originally bred and trained to display aggression against other dogs, aggression against humans was not encouraged because, even while fighting, the dogs had to be handled by their trainers. Dogs displaying this trait were not selected for breeding. However, the resurgence of dogfighting—illegal in the United States, Great Britain, and many other countries—has led to irresponsible breeders encouraging such traits in their animals and mistreating them in order to induce a vicious temperament. Well-publicized attacks on people by dogs identified as pit bulls have led to the passing of legislation in some jurisdictions banning or restricting the keeping of the breeds. Some humane societies routinely euthanize pit bulls that come into their possession, deeming them unsuitable for adoption.
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