You've read So You Want a Pit Bull, and you definitely want to grace your home with the joy that is a pit bull. Your next step consists of deciding whether to purchase a dog from a reputable breeder or adopt a rescue.
The Benefits of Adoption
While there are certainly valid reasons for selecting your new companion from a reputable breeder, there are also plenty of excellent reasons to choose a shelter or rescue dog instead.
- Save a life. When you adopt a pit bull, you save a pit bull. Pit bulls are overbred and frequently fall into the hands of humans ill-suited to care for them (and sometimes get stuck with humans who shouldn't own any dog, period). As a result, they are the most numerous breed in shelters. Hundreds of pit bulls die in shelters every day. Others are stuck in no-kill shelters for years, living out their lives in a tiny space with minimal attention from anyone. When you adopt a pit bull from either kind of shelter, you've truly given him a second chance at life.
- Cost. By adopting, you save hundreds of dollars. Adopting a dog typically costs $90-150 and also includes vaccinations and a spay/neuter operation. These services could easily cost more than the adoption price if you purchased them separately. Meanwhile, the price of a pup from a reputable breeder usually runs $500 at a minimum, and in some cases, can soar to a thousand dollars or more.
- Pet Appreciation. As anyone who's ever owned a rescue can tell you, these dogs know what you did for them and they are grateful. Unlike dogs that have been treated well from birth, rescues have previously been lost, abandoned or mistreated and don't take a happy life for granted. They will usually go out of their way to learn the rules of your household and show you how much they adore their new home.
Adult Dogs vs. Puppies
There are plenty of puppies in need of a new home, but don't rule out adopting an adult dog. Advantages of choosing an adult pit bull include:
- Housetraining issues: An adult dog is more likely to already be housetrained. Even if they aren't housetrained, adults can hold it longer, which makes housetraining easier. They can make it until you get home from work, and you'll be able to sleep through the night without having to get up to let them out.
- Temperament around other animals: No matter how adorable a puppy, you can't predict all of the behavioral changes that will occur as he matures. Many dogs become more dominant and less forgiving of other dogs around the age of two. Same-sex dog aggression is of particular concern with many terrier and working breeds. Even the most friendly puppy may become less tolerant of other dogs as she reaches social maturity. On the other hand, if you adopt a dog-friendly adult of at least 2 or 3, you can feel reasonably confident that she will remain that way. Obviously this issue is particularly important if you already have a dog and need the new arrival to get along with your existing companion.
- Overall predictability: Even besides dog aggression issues, when you adopt an adult dog, you know for sure what to expect with regard to temperament, behavior, and energy levels. This is not always possible to predict with a puppy. In addition, all adult pit bulls put up for adoption are temperament tested to a degree no other breed is subjected to. When adopting an adult pit bull, you are assured of getting an exceptionally patient, tolerant, human-friendly animal.
Anything Pedigreed Dogs Can Do, Rescues Can Too
Okay, rescues are usually ineligible in most show rings, though there are some dog shows for non-pedigreed dogs. But otherwise, it's a case of "anything you can do, we can do better." Or at least as well. Rescue pits routinely win obedience titles and weight pulling championships, earn agility titles, and even compete in herding trials. Rescued pit bulls work as therapy dogs, and rescues are the pits most often used in search and rescue. Police departments usually choose pit bulls from shelters and rescue groups to work as bomb and drug sniffing dogs. And, as with all breeds, anyone can tell you that rescue dogs make the most wonderful companions you could ever wish for.
So, when it comes time to choosing your new American Pit Bull Terrier, please consider choosing a rescue.