The word "pit bull" is one of the most debated words among dog owners, dog enthusiasts, advocates, politicians and law enforcement.
Breeders and owners of pedigreed, and genetically coherent purebred American Pit Bull Terriers often called their dogs "pit bull" for short.
However, over the years the word "pit bull" is no longer a nickname for American Pit Bull Terriers (APBT). It has become a household term that is now used to describe any dog that has physical characteristics such as short hair, a muscular body structure, defined jaw lines and a larger head.
The shift in the meaning of the word "pit bull" has went from a nickname to a label that can have serious consequences for any dog carrying the label of "pit bull".
The word "pit bull" has become one of this centuries most bastardized terms, and sadly means something different to each person who uses the term.
The "pit bull" label comes with serious consequences such as discrimination, breed specific legislation, lower adoption rates, longer waiting periods for finding adopters, euthanasia based off a label, discrimination and segregation for owners of dogs who carry this label. Owners face stereotypes, being outcast from the dog community and or their community entirely, different laws, difficult times finding pet friendly housing, difficult times finding training/grooming/daycare facilities etc.
The lingering stigma that remains with dogs labelled as "pit bulls" will often last their entire life. It is time to break away from the labels that hold back dogs of certain physical appearances. It is time that we stop guessing and assuming breeds on dogs who come from shelters, rescues and back yard breeders. It is time that we embrace the individual dogs we have in front of us and focus on the one thing we know for certain, that they are DOGS.
Instead of focusing on labels lets focus on the individual dogs in front of us and educating people on the consequences that labels have.
If you have the pedigree to prove your dog is indeed a purebred, call them by their breed name, but otherwise please stop with the labels.