The Temperament of the APBT is THE MOST important aspect of the breed.
American Pit Bull Terrier moves with a jaunty, confident attitude, conveying the impression that he/she expects any minute to see something new and exciting.
THE STANDARD SAYS: The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life.
Judges: Temperament is fundamental and the most important aspect of the breed. The above line from the standard uses the word ESSENTIAL. This means the essence of the breed is its temperament and outgoing enjoyment of every moment not its substance, head size or movement.
Confidence is a must! Puppies may be nervous and wide eyed but should never avoid the judge. Adults that show any type of fear or HUMAN aggression should be disqualified and judges should follow through on signing the book on it.
Judges for the sake of our breed do not hesitate to dismiss a dog and certainly never pick a dog (even a 6-12 month puppy) that is fearful or aggressive toward humans. Our breed is in mortal danger because too many dogs with fear and human aggression are being bred. People do not realize that temperament is 80% (some say more) genetic in dogs.
Regarding aggression in the breed:
DOG toward DOG aggression IS a characteristic of most terriers, including the APBT.
DOG toward HUMAN aggression IS NOT a characteristic of the APBT at all in any form.
Any APBT that displays dog toward human aggression in any form, unless saving the life of their owners, should be euthanized. The APBT is not a guardian breed and should never act like one.
While various degrees of dog to dog aggression are to be expected. Handlers at all times MUST and are expected to maintain control of their dogs at all times and dogs must be trained and socialized around other dogs enough that they can be moved through crowded show venues without danger to other dogs. If a dog is out of control excuse the competitor.
Any dog showing aggression toward a human I don't care what the breed or reason the dog should be euthanized. (working sports such as Schutzhund exhibit controlled aggression toward a padded suit not toward a human)
This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm.
Judges a dog brimming over with enthusiasm should bean automatic PLUS!!!! A dog with this type of joy that has a fault in conformation should win over a dog with no personality that does not have a fault. That is how vital the temperament is to the future of this breed!
Do not put up dead head, no personality dogs. These are terriers and should act like terriers.
Bottom line: The Standard notes that the essential characteristic of the breed are courage and a zest for life. The APBT should be ALIVE and NEVER NEVER NEVER FEARFUL!!!!
An APBT should always have a happy smile when meeting new people and should wag their tails enthusiastically especially as puppies.
Older more experienced dogs are less outwardly bubbling over with enthusiasm they will typically be calm but alert and will respond to the judge or other interesting distraction.
APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children.
"Right after my dog finished barking at a handsome young Akita that was WAY out of control with a careless obviously newby owner (My female likes other dogs to behave appropriately at shows). We turned around and introduced her to a friends baby boy who was in a play pen. She jumped up immediately tail flying all over the place and gave the baby a full-on face wash and then did not want to leave the baby. Probably for fear the Akita would come back. A "media savvy" spectator (ok a brainwashed moron) yelled at our friend "How can you let that vicious dog near your baby?" To which they (knowing the breed and my dog) replied "I'd let this dog near my baby anytime and anywhere, but if you come near me or my child again I'm calling the police!".
Because SOME APBTs can exhibit a level of dog toward other dogs aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog.
-BSL (Breed (APBT) Specific Legislation)-
This is a warning to all you newby APBT owners out there. (Activist groups (such as PETA) are actively trying to make it so that no one on earth can have a pet). They are out to destroy the reputation of our breed. This is a breed that 50 yrs ago was synonymous with family friend.
Respect your neighbors... Protect the breed!
The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers.
We have high tech security systems because it would take torture and abuse to turn a TRUE APBT into a watch dog.
Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.
DISQUALIFICATION!!! Some dogs will nervously bark at a person who is acting strange or in a threatening or in a fearful manner. They will in EXTREME situations protect their humans better than any other breed. There are more stories of the APBT saving lives than there are of pure bred APBTs taking lives.
They do not show unprovoked aggressive behavior in ANY form to any person. If a judge even suspects that a dog is fearful or aggressive they should be safe and dismiss the dog. Wagging tail is a must at least in the class dog rings!!!!
Older more mature or bored competitors can take the GR CH class very seriously but an alert and friendly dog that is alive and reacts to their environment should always to be expected by the judge.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ON TEMPERAMENT? Visit the Forum!