The United Kennel Club was founded in 1898 by Chauncy Z. Bennett. The main reason was to have an official registry for his favorite breed: the American Pit Bull Terrier. The American Kennel Club had refused to recognize the breed; officials there referred to them as “pit fighting mongrels.” By forming his own registry, Bennett and the APBT represented the sort of rebellion against uptight aristocratic a-holes that made America great. So it is sad to visit the UKC website and witness the glossing over of the ABPT as the seminal breed in the forming of the UKC.
The United Kennel Club was the first registry to recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier. UKC founder C. Z. Bennett assigned UKC registration number 1 to his own APBT, Bennett’s Ring, in 1898.
This entry is only found by searching for the history of the APBT, and is not even included in the general history of the UKC section. The reason behind this must be an attempt at legitimizing the UKC in the eyes of the general public and, oh the horror, in the eyes of uptight aristocratic a-holes.
So then there is the AKC Registered American Staffordshire Terrier, whose owners will swear up and down this is a separate breed entirely – certainly not to be confused with that “pit fighting mongrel.” The only problem: Every Amstaff registered in the AKC is a direct descendant of a UKC registered APBT. You see, in 1935, the AKC opened up their registry to a small number of APBTs and named them the much friendlier sounding name “The American Staffordshire Terrier”. So although the Amstaff has been bred strictly for conformation in the AKC for 75 years, while the UKC APBT has been bred for both conformation and working ability, they are quite closely related. It becomes even more interesting considering the fact that the AKC opened up their books again in the 1970’s to increase the gene pool of their Amstaff. There are even some dual registered dogs, such as the APBT in the UKC and the Amstaff in the AKC – which are actually the same breed.
People not wanting their dog to be the wrong breed is understandable however, considering what is commonly referred to as “Breed specific legislation.” According to the Animal Legal And Historical Center:
In 1984, a New Mexico town completely banned pit bulls and allowed county officers to confiscate and euthanize the dogs.
Also that year, Cincinnati, Ohio enacted a regulation that “defined vicious dogs to include all pit bull terriers,” and put special restrictions on the confinement, sale, and control of those dogs which were not applicable to other breeds. In each of these situations, one breed of dog has been singled out as “inherently dangerous to society,” regardless of the individual dogs’ present or past behavior.
Much can be said about these draconian measures enacted in the name of public safety. Just imagine little Timmy playing in the front yard with his beloved family dog, when up comes the police officer to take him away and euthanize him.
I would like to take into consideration all the political, genetic/scientific, legal, racial and libertarian points of view. Therefore, this topic will require another posting.