This is a two-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT).
Her name is Akamara.
This is a human baby.
His name is Siegmund.
Siegmund was born on November 26, 2014. He first met Akamara on the 27th. We NEVER leave Siegmund alone with Akamara — after all, she’s dangerous to him. She might quite literally snuggle him to death. Here’s what happens:
Akamara really can’t help but cuddle the baby. It’s her instinct! Little known to most people, but American Pit Bull Terriers — one of several breeds commonly referred to under the broad title “pit bulls” — are nanny dogs. As the United Kennel Club (UKC), which recognizes and classifies APBTs as a breed, states in their breed standard: “APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children.”
They make bad guard dogs, by the way — they’re too friendly. Friendlier than you’d believe. The American Temperament Test Society rates them higher than many common family breeds, such as golden retrievers! Here’s an interesting video by Animalist on pit bulls:
Dogfighting has existed probably since humans domesticated dogs, and has flourished during the last century as an underground sport. Pit bulls are favored for a number of reasons, but that’s not their fault, and it certainly isn’t due to their temperament. It’s because they bite hard, and when you factor in their size, they bite extremely hard.
You can take a territorial, defensive dog — a normal personality type across most breeds, which requires socialization and training as a pup to deter aggression — and turn them into a fighter. It’s criminal, but possible. And those dogs, if rescued, may suffer from PTSD or other mental trauma that increases the chances of an attack, especially if rescued by an inexperienced or unprepared owner. But it’s not the breed. It’s the choice by dog fighters to use the breed. Even if you restrict the breed, they’ll find another.
If it came down to it, dogfighters would probably pit chihuahuas against each other. It’s the sport and the blood. It’s the breeders and fighters, not the dogs. We don’t put city-wide bans on cars that can go over 50 mph because a few people are souping them up and racing them. We arrest the racers and take their misused cars away.
Akamara is a rescue, but a victim of only neglect. I got her at six months old with mange, no inoculations, and a desperate need for attention. Her immune system was extremely deficient due to mange and allergies, and she’s struggled with secondary ear infections her entire young life. I would not advise rescuing an adult dog with unknown history in a house with children.
Just remember, this isn’t what most pit bulls look like: