A pit bull is a member of any of a number of breeds of dogs developed from the Old English Bulldog. more...
Breeds recognized as pit bulls include the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier, although the name is also often used to refer to other breeds of similar characteristics, such as the American Bulldog and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and mixed breeds that include any of these breeds.
The pit bull is a descendant of bull- and bear-baiting dogs. The dogs left in Europe were bred along different lines, developing into a smaller, stockier dog. The dogs brought to America are larger, with longer legs. In no way should the pit bull be confused with the Bull Terrier, which is a cross between a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the extinct English White Terrier.
Pit bulls were long considered, by some, to be an ideal family pet and are recommended to this day by the American Kennel Club as an especially good dog for children. But, in the 1980s, a series of well-publicized attacks on humans by aggressive members of the breed occurred, making the ownership of pit bulls controversial.
Pit bulls are medium-sized (males range 45-85lbs, females 30-80lbs), solidly built, short-coated dogs that require little grooming. They have an affectionate disposition, and are noted for their attachment to their masters as well as for their confident and intelligent temperament. Pit bull breeds are typically devoted and sociable, and are happiest when in the company of their human companions.
Pit Bulls are extremely athletic and energetic dogs, and require a great deal of exercise if they are not to become destructive. Although they can be short, they have extremely high muscle density and are generally capable of executing a standing four-foot-vertical jump. Pit bulls have also been bred to have a very high tolerance for pain. For example, the United States Postal Service, which equips its letter carriers with a pepper spray, notes that many capsaicin-based dog-repellent sprays can have little or no effect on an attacking pit bull.
Pit bulls sometimes display dominance aggression toward other dogsâ€”a relic of the breed's dog fighting pastâ€”but should be friendly and tolerant towards people. A pit bull displaying the correct breed temperament is friendly towards others but at the same time protective over its territory and makes a good family pet/protector.
Supporters of pit bulls argue they can make good pets. A responsible pit bull breeder will actively select for proper temperament, but ignorant or irresponsible breeders sometimes breed dangerously territorial, aggressive dogs. It's recommended to get a pitbull as a puppy so you can socialize it, train away from harsh or unacceptable behaviors, and make the dog a part of the family at a young age.
Read more at Wikipedia.org