Pit Proud: History Of The Pit Bull

I’ve been working on Pit Proud: The History Of The Pit Bull for well over a year. But I believe that every second that went into it was worth it, because I knew then and I know now that Pit Proud is the single, most important Dog Files Episode yet.

It’s the story of what I believe to be, the most maligned and abused animal on Planet Earth.

The Pit Bull.

A dog that the media has made out to be the “great white shark” of the land. A monster waiting to jump out of the shadows and attack your children.

But you know what I’ve found out over the course of researching, writing and crafting this episode?

Pit Bulls… are just dogs. No more, no less.

And like all dogs, they are individuals with varied personalities and temperaments. But because of their intense loyalty and strong form, the pit bull has been singled out amongst lesser men to abuse and kill for their small-minded, cruel entertainment.

You see, the pit bull problem isn’t the dogs, by any means.

The pit bull problem is people.

The people that want to fight them. The people who want one so they feel tougher when they walk down the street. The people that keep them tied up in chains. The people who go about their days and weeks and months and years while ignoring the extremely social animal that’s locked up in their basement.

These are the irresponsible owners that should never own ANY dog. And these are the people that we should always have on our radar.

And the abused dogs?

Well, if the Vick case taught us anything, it’s that even fight dogs, when given a chance, would rather curl up on the couch next to it’s loving human.

And that says it all to me. Pit Bulls are dogs. Dogs are as individual as any human. And like humans, they shouldn’t be painted with a wide brush.

Unless that wide brush has peanut butter on it. I hear pittie’s LOVE peanut butter.

— Kenn Bell, Dog Files Creator

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  1. David Alexander says

    Wow, an extraordinary, smart and heartfelt piece on a lovable breed of dog that American’s can be proud of as well as get behind and support. Thanks for raising my awareness on their systematic banning. I didn’t realize any of this.

    • candy alexander says

      hello my name is candy alexander and i also own an american pit. he is what keeps me liveing,I love him more than i can say. he is a very loveing dog an very protective over my grandchildren an i the worst thing he would do to you is lick you to death, hes a grate dog. I would die for him.

      • says

        This is awesome work. I have read the article and it seems to me very
        innovative indeed. Want to really see some more update here. Keep it up

  2. EmilyS says

    really really excellent. I do have 2 “quibbles” There’s no evidence that the American pit bull terrier was ever called the “nanny” dog (as opposed to the English cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier). Also, there’s some underlying racism in the presentation of dogfighting as an outgrowth of inner city crime, and then the portrayal of Vick. Dogfighters are not limited by race: white southerners have been the foundation of this activity for generations.

    • WOLFSENT says

      Why is it everytime facts are presented about a “minority”, some loon calls it racism? The point the video is making is the fact that gangbangers and wannabes use pits as status symbols and for easy money. What needs to happen is for these knee jerk lawmakers to pull their heads out and make it a class A felony to abuse/use ANY dog in an illegal manner. Banning pitties for what a few do is like putting all white men in jail because most child molesting serial killers are white men.

      • Foxrivertollers says

        The problem is the PEOPLE not the breed. Whenever I write to legislators about bills to ban Pit Bulls (which I do often) I always point out that if they ban a breed of dog, do they honestly think the bad PEOPLE will stop having dogs? No – they’ll go get Rotties or Dogue de Bordeaux or any other “tough looking” breed and inflict the same fear, abuse and neglect on them to make them the next “scary” breed.

    • Anonymous says

      Take a Staffordshire Bull Terrier to Denver, and the police will confiscate it and kill it just like an American Pit.  The 2 are the same in the eyes of the law (also, I see many, many secondary sources citing calling the American a “Nanny dog” but no primary sources. If you have a good citation for your claim, please share!!)

    • SarahT says

      If you have ever taken the time to deal directly with dog fighting in the inner city, as go into the actual neighborhoods and speak to the people involved, you would understand exactly how this problem is laid out. It’s ridiculous to call something racist when it’s happening exactly the way it’s been described. Racist is your label.

  3. says

    What a great video, Kenn! As a volunteer at a local shelter where we see a lot of surrendered or stray Pitbulls-spreading the GOOD word is sometimes a challenge. People like to cling to old ways of thinking or just don’t do a very good job teaching their dogs manners so they come to us a mess. Thanks for helping me do some more educating!

  4. R.C.A. Pete Stubbs says

    Great video – Five Stars! It even talks about my boy Sgt. Stubby!! I wish we could run it at the start of American Idol for like 3 weeks straight!

  5. Sondra says

    I’ve been rescuing pitbulls (ok, really the dogs that are labeled as such) for almost 10 years!!! You really nailed this. I will be spreading this far and wide as an educational piece that is very succinct and easy to watch. Thank you for doing such a great job!!!

  6. Melspetpals says

    Another really wonderful video Kenn! I have to say I LOVED the mom in this story. She really made a point of educating people on who you should be worried about and I so agree. I walk dogs and there are 2 German Shepherds close to where I walk that are tied up in a garage most of the day. They get no human interaction (or very little) and they are kept outside in the garage all of the time. I worry a lot about whether or not they will hurt someone someday. Banning pitbulls won’t save someone from them will it?

  7. Rachel says

    Outstanding episode!!!! This will definately be shared on my Facebook for everyone to see. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

  8. says

    Amazing video! I love all the points that were brought up. I love the tidbit about the “Nanny-Dogs”. Everytime someone gives me a look when I’m out with my own two mutts (of the mutt persuasion w/ possible pittie/staffie ties) I let people know that the only thing they have to worry about is their tongues because they have this insatiable need to keep their tongues in someone else’s mouth other than their own. They love people and love life. When you get a smile from a pit bull it makes your whole day so much better. Great Job! I wish it could be aired on the news (maybe I would start watching it again) or even better – every channel at least once a week for a month. I so wish I could meet Hector. He’s great. Fantastic work. Thank you so much.
    Sam – KissBull Fanatic

  9. Ted says

    Excellent Video! You presented us with the truth, as painful as some may find it. Pit Bulls, whether APBT, SBT, AST make wonderful pets for people who love animals.


  10. Kathy says

    Absolutely amazing video!!! I have 3 pitties at home and they are all wonderful, gentle babies. I wish the media would air videos like these and not promote the ignorance and fear. Well done!!!

  11. Kphillips says

    This video was awesome. This breed is very lovable & loyal. They want to please you know matter what. I will never own another breed other than a Pit Bull. My Lance is the best dog I have ever owned.

  12. STACY BRUDON says


  13. Lorraine says

    Thanks for this inspiring video that tells the truth about pit bulls. These dogs’ intense loyalty and faithfulness has been exploited by cruel people who take advantage of pitties’ strong desire to please and obey.

    I know what it feels like to have people cross the street to avoid walking close to my dog–a boxer, another “bully” breed. It’s fear and prejudice–our Toby, was the gentlest, most patient and tolerant dog–especially with little children.

    We plan to adopt two rescue dogs soon–we’re hoping for a boxer and a pit bull.

  14. Tom Dolan says

    Hey Kenn,

    Terrific video. I’m a life long animal lover and I realize how partially informed I was about pit bulls. Video technicals are very good. For another reason, I’ve been talking to Guide Dogs for the Blind in Sylmar CA and your video easily eclipses their promo video. Dog videos of this quality looks like an excellent segment to pursue. I’ve been producing a video blog for about 7 months from in front of my iMac…your video makes me want to get out of the studio into the real world. Congrats!

  15. Erica says

    We love and miss you very much Smokey. Thank you for giving us 9 wonderful years with you and for giving the McNamara’s a bit of your life before you left this world

    • Anonymous says

      Erica, he was a great dog for us, but he was a great dog with you first. He’s a beach some where man, you know he is. A hui hou kakou.

  16. J. Maree says

    I rescued a wandering Pit 15 years ago. People in my neighborhood did not like it at all. The dog and I are still here some of the neighbors are not. I prayed that people would get the truth about this breed, I’m sad to think of the abuse some endure. I am now 59 years old, a small female and still have the most wonderful dog I have ever owned. Back then not any rescue would take him so I kept him and he has taught me so much. I’ll be lost when he gets his wings.

  17. PittieFan says

    What an amazing video, thank you for sharing such a heartfelt truth about these loyal and loving family members. I watched the video with my 50 pound lap dog pit bull while snuggling on the couch.
    RIP Smokey, run free.

  18. Sweetness_mdb says

    This was sooo well done!! I really enjoyed this. Great job Ken!! I love how you brought the history of the pitbull into the picture. I have posted this to my wall on facebook. I have a 9mnth old pitbull and I know alot of friends and family are still weary about meeting him. He’s a big suck! :) I hope to educate them with your video. I think when we understand things a little better sometimes we can let go of some of our fear. Hey, I had my face almost ripped off by a dog and it wasn’t a pitbull….it was a boxer! If there was anyone who should be afraid it would be me, but pits are my favorite dog.

    • says

      American Pit Bull Terrier tend to be bigger with longer legs. But at this point with interbreeding I couldn’t tell the difference. Plus, I believe that quite a few Pit Bull owners use “Staffordshire” to get away from the Pit Bull name. But, I’m not an expert.

    • says

      hi Carol yes there is a difference.
      it does have to do with size some what the pit bull is actuly SMALLER short legs shorter body length the only thing bigger on a bully babe is the width of there cheast(the deep chest that every one talks about) refers to the width.
      staffys have longer legs there also longer in the body nose to tail.
       the only other bigger thing in a pit is the head size.
      a staffy is also heavier can get to 100 lbs iam sitting here looking at my furkids a full breed red  bull  and a lab bull x.
      please keep in mind there are5 diffrent types of bullys ranging from the scott line to the smaller apbt.
      btw pit is a misnomer in the bully breed the pit got into the pit bull becuse of what they
      used them for history time.
      back in the when aprox 1600s in europe they use to dig animal pits to catch big game (bears big cats things like that) they then use to take the dog cut it to make it bleed but not kill it.
      they then would toss the dog in the pit the sound of the cry and smell of blood would attract the big game that would fall in the pit  with the dog.
      there was only one left alive HINT IT WASNT THE DOG!
      they say pibbles are mean?

  19. Spike Cutolo says

    The best 10 minutes anyone can spend watching a video is right here. Amazing job Kenn. It should be required “education” in my book. But I’m partial to the Pitties anyway..

  20. trio says

    loved the video, it bought tears to my eyes, the clips of dog fighting, and i just cant get my head around WHY people can be so cruel, these people need to be put down, i am on my second sfaffie, they are a fantastic breed and so full of love for everyone esp my 3 children, the dogs featured are fantastic and hector was like a big baby and i just wanted to get in there and have a squeeze, keep up the good work :)

  21. Paula says

    This is a wonderful video!! I hope it will do loads to educate skeptical people about the breed. I am the proud caregiver to my daughter’s pittie when she comes home from university each summer and holidays – her pittie Brixton was rescued by Bullies-in-Need when a puppie and adopted when she was six months old. She is the most loving and lovable doggie I’ve every known – and yes, there are skeptical nods in my family and neighborhood and for no other reason than the history made by bad PEOPLE!!! To all those who are doing sooooo much to help these beautiful dogs, tons of appreciation!!!

  22. Slangworthy93 says

    I have a pit bull and she is very loving and not mean I believe it is how they are raised

  23. Crazy dog lady says

    OMG!  I am in love with Hector! What a wonderful video! Thank you so much for making it.  I agree with everything the woman said, she is very smart and what she said is true, if your town can ban one breed nothing is keeping them from banning you dog as well.

  24. Kaleelconnie7 says

    I have never heard such truer words spoken. We have a Pit Terrier (black w/white spots) We have had him since a very, very small pup and he is our world. He is now a little over a year old and the most precious, loving, playful animal you would ever want to meet. Theres never a dull moment. He brings that little “extra” that every household needs to make it complete. They are very smart animals! It does my heart good to hear good about this breed. They sooo deserve it.

    Thanks for trying to educate the public about this extraordinary breed.
    Connie & “Diesel”

  25. Pam Pringle says

    Beautiful video. I do promo sales in East TX & Northwestern, LA. I have “met” many a pit bull, & love them all. In this part of the country, they are used as Catch Dogs, by sportsmen who hunt wild bore/ feral pigs. I have also seen them in action at weight pulling competitions. They have amazing strength. They can be dog aggressive, but most pits are gentle and make wonderful pets. One last thing. Some of the pit bulls in the video, I think, are actually Boston Terriers.

  26. says

    That was very informative. I’m sorry to hear that Smokey passed away:( It was a great video. My son and his girlfriend have a pit bull. She is a very sweet dog:)

  27. Cszar33 says

    I am a certified (certifiable!) dog lover!  I love any and every breed out there.  I happen to have 2 lab mixes, that were from the NE Humane Society, and that’s just who we ended up matched with.  I happen to feel very strongly about the pitbull, and their misconceptions!  I only don’t own one, because I would hate for my best friend to be judged, and treated poorly, for what their breed is.  I recently babysat a 5 yr old pit, who was the best behaved, out of the 3 dogs!  (Her only issue was that she licked, too much!  She’d sneak up on you, and lick you to death!)  But I feel like I get more result beating my head against the wall, than singing the praises of the pitbull!  I try and try, but people are more willing to shut you down, and dismiss you as crazy, for having anything to do with this brave, strong, loyal, noble breed!  Who else would fight to the death, or guard your house, or children, to the the death, than this dog?  As a child, I was attacked (by my own doing) by a black Lab, who was chained up to a doghouse, and was extremely aggressive.  Everyone is so willing to come up to my Lab-looking boys, and want to know them, which is ok, cuz I consider myself a great dog owner.  But, they could just as easily attack someone, as a pitbull!  Anyway, I digress…..  Just love pitbulls, and never met one, that wasn’t a cupcake!  Just seems ignorance overcomes common sense!  I will continue to sing their praises, no matter what!  Keep up the good work.  Any bad owner can make a bad dog!!!!  Sorry so long!

  28. Shawn M says

    Great Video!  A friend sent me the link lastnight as i am a amstaff owner and he know how much i try to educate people about bully breeds in general.  After watching it i immediately sent it to a coworker this morning who thinks all pitbulls are bad.  After she watched it, she came to me and said how she never knew the true story of the pitbull.  it’s amazing how one video like this can quickly change the outlook some people have on this beautiful, playful breed.  Thank you soo much for making this video!

  29. says

    Amazing video! I had a chance to meet you and attend your session at BlogPaws –  all of your tips were very helpful! Seeing your videos definitely inspires me to get out and start shooting.

    Thank you so much for creating a video that truly shows how wonderful APBTs really are.

  30. says

    I own a 200 lb english mastiff, who has a bark that would scare Satan. I get the same reaction as if I were walking  a pitbull.  People turn the other way, cross the street, and hide their kids.   Murph, is a gentle giant, who would drown in you in drool before he would bite.   He just barks to say hello, come pet me.  Nobody is taking my mastiff from me ever.  
    My daughter owns a pitbull, that she rescued after she saw a monster dump her from a car. Daisy is the sweetest dog in the world despite her horrendous beginnings.  She was starved, covered in pressure sores, anemic, flea bitten and parastic.   She is now spoiled and loved beyond measure and she returns that love ten fold.

  31. Luv2operate says

    Thank you for making this video for us all to share to help educate others about this lovable breed! I have been the proud parent of four pit bulls, two of them are deaf. They’re all wonderful, family pets.

  32. Bettyortiz123 says

    I own 3 of my own and I have a cat! The so called “vicious” dogs seem to be living in harmony together. Honestly, I can’t imagine my life without my babies!

  33. Angelsharley says

    This is exactly what I have told all who say’s Pits,Rottweilers,Dobermans,and more breeds are born mean. I have owned all these breeds, Not 1, has shown aggression to anyone who has stepped into my home, especially children. Its the people who raise then, Don’t socialize them, spend time with them and include them in their lives….. Thank you for this site

  34. says

    I love this— all comments that I would have said have already been said… but they really are amazing.  I just lost my pitmix on Friday… he came into our lives and completely changed it for the better.  The ‘Pitbull’ was unknown to us (for what it really is… a dog) before walking into the shelter to adopt our boy…but he changed our lives.  This is what I life for now.  Thanks for joining in the effort.  :)

  35. John f mayer says

    Really wish I could see this video. But there’s no video here, though there’s a large grey space where, presumably, it should be. I’ve tried two different browsers. I am able to view videos on other pages (though not in the latest versions of Flash, which my computer does not support). 

  36. Dream2much2day says

    It was a wonderful video, but I couldn’t continue Watching after the images of th dogs fighting. Perhaps you should just have a little warning in the beginning? I adopted a dog that spent 7 years in a fighting ring. She was rehabilitated and became the love of my life. She was wonderful, she was my Girl. When she became very old, and possibly began to suffer dementia, she attacked another family pet. It was devastating and I could not get her to release. It was almost as if she thought i would be proud of her. I witnessed my dogs killing each other and in my attempts to stop them, I was severely injured. The scars remind me every day of how a loving creature can be so torn up mentally as well as physically. I continue to rescue, foster and adopt Pitties. I know Lucy was only doing what she was trained to do so many years before I ever showed her what real love was. But I am shaken and traumatized by the images of dogs fighting and I can not stop crying. Please, all I ask is for a little warning in the beginning. Thank you.

    • says

      I’m sorry the images upset you, but that was my intention. As I made the video I realized that I wouldn’t be fair to the breed if I didn’t show how horrible they are mistreated by humans. I did make sure it was only for a few seconds. I can not tell you how many people have contacted me to tell me that that was the point in the video when they realized they were so wrong about their assumptions of Pit Bulls.
      Really wish you would watched the rest. The end really touches people’s hearts!

  37. Anonymous says

    Just had a neighbor shoot my beautiful blue pit bull because he came in his yard. He died in the arms of my son and wife. My son rescued this warm loving dog from people who had attempted to fight him. He did not have the fight in him and the owners would beat him. My son saw this and asked if he could buy the dog. He did. He brought this big dog home and at first I was a little afraid not knowing the dog. Within a couple of weeks I grew to the love this big hearted animal. All he needed was love and that is what he got.He played  in the yard with another pit bull pup we purchased. Never was there any aggresion. This dog would play in the yard with our 3 year old granddaughter and the dog loved her. Our plans were to let this big hearted dog, who had been so abused, live out the rest of his life in a warm loving home. It was not to be, he was shot by an ignorant individual, but the way he was shot, was made to suffer. My family and I are devistated.
    I have never owned a dog with so much love to give…….

    • Mcabral484 says

      people are disgusting and ignorant.  If someone did that to my baby they would never see daylight ever again!

  38. Junel1025 says

    Kenn, I volunteer at the spca and have found that the “staffy” is very gentle and sweet!  I love them and love what you are doing.  I would love a dvd copy so that I can present to the spca to help educate those who are coming in to adopt.  We always have too many pits, especially and only through education can we turn this around.  Thanks for all do and please let me know how I can purchase a dvd.

  39. Mcabral484 says

    Im trying to share this on facebook and it wont let me.  I have a couple people who ridicule me for having my 10 yr old pit in pictures with my nieces and nephew.

  40. Cjcw1017 says

    My heart bleeds for Lennox’s horrible fate, and for you, his dear family.
    What a horrible law. I pray there is justice for Lennox.

  41. memery says

    Interesting and beautiful piece. Lots of stuff I did not know about the Pit Bull’s history. I will share with everyone.

  42. says

    Great film Kenn! We adopted our first one a year ago and can’t imagine owning any other breed now. Very sad that the media has brainwashed so much of the public. Thank you for being such a dedicated advocate for them.

  43. Richard Jennings says

    I run a pit rescue. I use this amazing video daily to educate and inform others of this wonderful breed. Before I started my Unchained Love rescue I worked for other rescues. One of them had two Vic fight dogs. One of which I had the pleasure to help rehab. This breed embodies all that America stands for. This breed is so loving and resilient. No matter how cruel man is this breed just wants to please. I wish the media would stop posting pits in a bad light and start showing the bad owners. We fight BSL daily because of bad owners and news people who will use anything to promote their ratings. Thank you dog files for this amazing video.

  44. Megan says

    Awesome piece, I will be sharing on my site! I learned much of what I know about dog fighting during the Michael Vick case, being a native of Atlanta, huge dog lover and Falcons fan, it struck us hard…What .a cruel, barbaric activity. I find some personal satisfaction in that Hector’s dad looks a bit like Matt Ryan to me! 😉

  45. Scarlett says

    Wonderful message! When our 13 year old dog died last year, I knew I wanted to rescue another dog. I researched available dogs at the local animal shelter and was disappointed to discover most of the dogs were Pit bulls or mixed Pits. I’d always heard how vicious they were so I was a little leery. Instead of believing what I’d read in the media (they are always so reliable!), I did some research and discovered many sites which advocated strongly for the Pit breed. I did a LOT of research because I didn’t want to bring a potentially dangerous animal into our home. Well, we chose a Pit-mix and he is the most loving dog I’ve ever had and I’ve owned many, many, many dogs in my life. His name is Satchel Paige (Satch for short) and he is a wonderful addition to our home!! While we were at the shelter, we also fell in love with a kitten and we brought her home. Big brother and little sister get along famously.

  46. cghiotto says

    I have gone from a person who found Pits to be very frightening, to someone who has become an advocate for them. This change is due to organizations like yours, and the awesome Wallace (I loved seeing Roo in the video!), who touched my heart. I think this was a wonderful video, Thank you for the work you do for these lovely dogs, and ALL dogs.

  47. Jaclyn says

    I was one of the ignorant, until the Vick dogfighting ring was busted. Then, about two years ago, a friend of mine mentioned breeding her APBT. My fiance wanted a puppy, and that sparked extensive research into the breed. I found alot of what you mentioned, and much more that was left out. Pit Bulls and Parolees had a huge impact, as well. Seeing her working with dogs that came from less than ideal situations, and wanting nothing more than to lick her face or cuddle. Maybe play with a ball in the adoption area, while a potential family laughed at the goofiness.
    We’ve had Ella for a bit over a year, we got her in August last year, and she’s about 15 months old, and just wants to play and spend time with her family. and the only dangerous thing about her is her tail. My sister visited us a couple weeks ago, and I walked away with a 6 inch bruise starting at my ankle from hold the excited “puppy” so that she could see her “Auntie”. She’s not a perfect dog, she’s typical. She’s normal. She pulls on the leash, jumps on people, and eats some disgusting things. She also high-fives on command, and tries to get you to “shake” when you have something she wants. She sits politely when she smells food, and is scared of my older brother’s 5-pound cat. She takes me to the ground when my parents puppy-sit for the day while I’m out with my sister, and I think she would do anything I asked of her (certainly she takes her medicine without any arguments). She’s one of the best dogs I’ve ever had, and she’s managed to get quite a few “Maybe they’re not so bad” reactions from people. Including my parents. Maybe she won’t change minds, but that won’t stop me from trying.

  48. Kristie says

    Thank you for this wonderful piece that shows that it is the owner just as much as the breed of dog that makes them aggressive. They really are a lovable breed just like any other until they are mistreated and/or trained to fight.

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