Not All Scary Dogs Are Pit Bulls, Often Confused with Other Breeds

St. Louis County Animal Control and Care points out how hard it is to tell a true pit bull from many other similar breeds.

It’s hard to be a pit bull these days—the breed has been labeled as inherently dangerous by states, courts, insurance companies and public opinion. Recently a Town and Country couple found out how much pit bulls are hated when a neighbor called the police three times because their mix breed dog was “scary looking.”

Dr. Kenneth Bentley and his wife Kathleen decided to , who they said is not a pit bull. They hired a lawyer and asked Town and Country to remove pit bulls (and dogs that look like pit bulls) from the definition of “vicious dogs.”  The city will vote on the new wording August 6, and are expected to remove their long standing pit bull ban.

Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Lenz said that a presentation from St. Louis County Animal Control and Care was very persuasive. The presentation showed a poster of 20 similar looking dogs and the aldermen were asked to pick out the pit bull.


“We killed five dogs before we found a pit bull,” Lenz joked. He said that Town and Country’s police are not trained to identify dog breeds and shouldn’t be asked to do so.

Julie Jordan, the Volunteer Coordinator of the St. Louis County Animal Control and Care, said that few people are trained to determine a dog’s breed just on appearance. She added that even experts at animal shelters have a hard time determining the breed of strays that enter their care.

“There are 25 breeds of dog that are commonly mistaken to be pit bulls,” she told Patch. The posters she used to test the aldermen are in this article--see if you can find the pit bull.

Unless a dog is from a reputable breeder and has a registered pedigree, they only way to truly determine its breed is with a DNA test. Home DNA tests can be purchased at PetSmart, but at $89, they aren’t cheap.

To further complicate matters, the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as an official breed. The AKC only recognizes the Staffordshire Terrier breeds that make up the genetics found in a pit bull. Both pit bulls and Staffordshire Terriers were developed by mixing terriers and bulldogs during the 19th century. The two breeds are essentially the same, which is why bans on pit bulls include the Staffordshire Terrier.

The pit bull wasn’t always maligned. According to Bull Dog Breeds, in the early 20th century pit bulls were a popular all American breed. Both the RCA and Buster Brown dog mascots were pit bulls. The Little Rascals dog, Pettie, was also a pit bull.

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K S July 25, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I feel the real take-away from this article should be that regardless of whether or not a dog is proven to be a "pit bull" or a Staffordshire doesn't mean the dog is aggressive or vicious. BSL needs to end everywhere. Its nothing more than a bullying tactic and has no real merit.


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