Breed Lexicon

Please keep checking back as we update the
Lexicon.  Our goal is to get all Pit Bull advocates on the
same page when it comes to language, how we use terms,
and talk about the breed. Unity means success.

For more on language, 
please see this blog posting.

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.” —Buddha


American Bulldog (AB)–Typically larger than the Pit Bull, this is a breed that was created from bulldogs brought over to America from England early in the 1900’s. Generally this breed is mostly white, with or without solid or brindle patches, and should have uncropped ears. Fanciers of this breed often claim this is the “orignal” bulldog. While it may very well be a close representation of the “breed that started it all”, the AmBull is actually a relatively new breed, and should be considered a “recreation” of the APBT’s very close ancestor.

American Bully–(Workin’ on it! Check back soon.)

American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT)–The full, correct name for the breed commonly referred to by its nick name, “Pit Bull”. This is a purebred breed of dog, recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA).

American Staffordshire Terrier (AST)–Also known as AmStaff. A purebred breed of dog recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). All AmStaffs are direct descendants of American Pit Bull Terriers. No other breed was used in the establishment of the AmStaff. Some people still consider AmStaffs and Pit Bulls to be one and the same.

Bloodline–A bloodline is a fairly recognizable, related “family tree” of dogs, usually produced by a specific kennel, or “foundation dog” from which it has its origins. A specific bloodline should produce offspring that have fairly predictable and somewhat unique conformation and temperament traits, within the scope of what is normal for the breed. Bloodlines are named, sometimes after specific dogs from which the foundation was started, other times from the kennel of origin. Examples: the Jeep bloodline, from which the famous pit dog Garrett’s/Crenshaw’s
Champion Jeep is the foundation, or White Rock, which is a kennel
based out of Texas with a recognizable “family tree” of dogs.

Breaking stick–A smoothed out piece of wood with a flat end used to pry open the jaws of a dog that is gripping something. This tool is
typically associated with dog fighters, but possession of a breaking stick is by no means an automatic indication of illegal activity. Responsible Pit Bull owners would do well to keep one handy at all times, “just in case”.

Bulldog, (English)–Capitalized. This is the breed registered with the AKC as simply “Bulldog”. It is a very old breed, and in its original form, this was the dog that helped largely create the APBT. However, the modern day Bulldog is so radically different from the original version, that it is virtually a completely new breed, barely resembling the old time bulldog of English bull-baiting fame. For more information on the Bulldog, click here.

Bulldog–Not capitalized Some breed fanciers tend to refer to their
APBTs as “bulldogs”. Realize that “bulldog” is more a classification than any sort of official name or even a nick-name. Just as there are many “types” of retrievers, hounds, or terriers, there are a number of breeds that fall under the heading of “bulldog”. Also, many people believe that the APBT is the closest living replica of the original bulldog, and feel that the breed got “cheated” when the name was officially given to that OTHER bulldog, the English version recognized by the AKC. In casual conversation, the name still gets used quite frequently in reference to the APBT.

Bull Terrier (BT)–The “Budweiser dog”, very often mistaken for a Pit Bull. This breed was developed by crossing Pit Bulls with the Dalmatian, Pointer and white English terriers. It is similar in build and close in size to the Pit Bull, but its head–being egg-shaped–is the feature that sets it apart from other similar breeds. The Bull Terrier is recognized by the AKC. For more information on the breed, go here.

Gamedog/Gamebred–A dog/bloodline that has been proven in the pit to be “game”. Use of this term without dogs in the first few generations and beyond having been fought is erroneous and/or fraudulent.   Beware breeders that boast “gamebred” dogs – they are either lying/uninformed, or involved in dog fighting.  

Gameness–The exact definition of “gameness” varies greatly
depending upon whom you ask. However, most Pit Bull fanciers can
agree that this is the single most important trait the APBT possesses,
and without the gameness, the dog is just a shell of what it should be. In the most general sense of the term, gameness can be described as “an unwillingness to give up, even under the most difficult of
circumstances and despite the threat of death.” Good breeders strive to preserve this trait in their dogs through some sort of working activity, be it stock work, bite sports, weight pulling, Iron Dog trials, etc. While some fanciers insist that the only way to preserve “real” gameness is in the fighting pit, modern society and humane attitudes dictate that we look to other ways to preserve the stable, tenacious, working temperament of the breed. Hot debates have raged as to whether or not this is even possible. However in a society in which dog fighting is not only illegal but morally objectionable, fanciers/breeders would do well to come together and unite in common agreement as to what can be done LEGALLY to preserve this most noble of breeds before it is too late and the true working Pit Bulldog is just a memory of the past. (It should be noted that gameness does NOT equal dog-aggression.)

Pit Bull–Capitalized. The nick name of the breed known as the
American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). The only breed that can rightfully be called a Pit Bull is the APBT. Any other use of the name is in fact erroneous.

Pit bull (pit bull type dog)–Not capitalized. Used  to describe Pit Bulls and any other similar, related, or look-a-like breed, mix or dog of unknown ancestry. Also sometimes used to describe any type of dog used for pit fighting. Although it is technically incorrect to call anything but a purebred APBT a Pit Bull, use of the term “pit bull” to describe a specific group of dogs has become so commonplace in certain circles that we felt the need to include it in the list of definitions. Breeds that are typically referred to as pit bulls or pit bull type dogs (including in breed-specific legislation): American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers and American Bulldogs, also any mix of the above mentioned breeds, or dogs that look similar to the above mentioned breeds.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT)–A close relative of the Pit Bull and AmStaff. When the bull-and-terrier crosses were being made in the 1800’s, certain strains that stayed in England developed into the SBT. Eventually, the SBT made its way to America where it was later recognized by the AKC. This breed is a bit smaller than the Pit Bull and AmStaff, never has cropped ears, and as a rule tends to be much less dog-aggressive (although some strains have retained that traditional combat-dog nature). For more information on the SBT, check out The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America