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Famous American Pit Bull Terriers

Updated on September 8, 2012

APBTs in History

Pit bulls were once a sign of dignity and strength to the United States and for the people therein. The never-quit attitude that they held was a statement towards the United States. They were once posted in advertisements, on magazines, and in movies.

Today, people fear the breed. They fear the myths surrounding the breed. They fear the bad reputation surrounding the breed.

They were once, highly dignified and loved.

Helen Keller and her pit bull- Sir Thomas

Helen Keller and her pit bull- Sir Thomas
Helen Keller and her pit bull- Sir Thomas

Sergeant Stubby

Other Famous Pit Bulls

Popsicle is the number one US customs dog. She was found in a freezer during a drug raid by Buffalo police in 1997. They found Popsicle as a 5 month old puppy, who quickly became a favorite. He graduated his training at the Canine Enforcement Training Center in Front Royal, Virginia, and went to work with his handler, J.J., in Texas.

RCA is a certified hearing dog in Alaska

Tahoe, Cheyenne, and Dakota are all search and rescue dogs in Sacramento, California. The three pit bulls worked none stop at the World Trade Center and Pentagon after 9/11.

Bud was the first dog to travel cross country in 1903.

Sergeant Stubby died on March 16, 1926, as a hero, yet today, many people do not know who he is. Sergeant Stubby is the most decorated dog in military history, and the only dog to have been promoted during battle. He fought for 18 months in the trenches for France during WW1 for 17 battles. Stubby warned his fellow soldiers of gas attacks, located wounded soldiers in No Man's Land, and listened for oncoming artillery rounds. He was also responsible for the capture of a German spy at Argonne. After his time in the war, Stubby met Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding. He was, also, made a life member of the American Legion, the Red Cross, and the YMCA.

Jack Brutus was another famous military dog. Although, he did not get nearly the publicity as Stubby, Jack Brutus was the the official mascot of Company K, First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. He was much larger than Stubby and was never smuggled anywhere with his troops (as Stubby had been). Jack Brutus died in 1898 of spinal troubles and constipation. He was much larger than the famous Sergeant Stubby but was definitely a pit bull type dog.

Celebrity Owned Pit Bulls

  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • General George Patton
  • Helen Keller
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Rachael Ray
  • Jon Stewart
  • Ken Howard
  • Jessica Biel
  • Jessica Alba
  • Kevin Federline
  • Pink
  • And a few other celebrities

In Movies, Advertisements, and TV

Pit bulls have come across the big screen as well as printed material with a BAM...

  • Petey from The Little Rascals
  • Tige- Buster Brown Shoe advertisements
  • Life magazine- Many people don't realize the the American pit bull terrier is the only breed that has been on the cover of Times for three issues.
  • Poster image for the U.S. during the 1900s. The American pit bull was the image people saw on various war posters, representing the country's strength and dignity

"Cover Girl," "Debonair Cover Boy," and "Dapper Dan Cover Boy" pit covers.
"Cover Girl," "Debonair Cover Boy," and "Dapper Dan Cover Boy" pit covers.
WW1 poster featuring a pit bull as representation of the U.S.
WW1 poster featuring a pit bull as representation of the U.S.

I just hope that the future of the great American pit bull terrier is as good as that before it. I hope that one day, we will again see the pit bull in advertisments not promoting BSL. I would like to see the pit bull in advertisments of strength, dignity, and loyalty, versus fury, terror, and rage.

Why can't we remember being kids and watching the "Little Rascals" and thinking how cute Petey is, and wanting a dog just like him? Versus run at the sight of a child playing with a pit bull...

Pictures can be found at and Yahoo.


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      Jimmy Nelms 2 years ago

      I have a smart dog that's very shy to say the least. Love the breed

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I actually found your hub via Pinterest and I see that you too care about the pit bull and want to dispel the bad reputation they have acquired. This is a very good hub and I would like to link to it in my hub on the Pit Bull dog. The Pit Bull dog is actually the second MOST tolerant dog as rated by the AKC. People need to realize that it is the owners that should have the bad reputation, not the dogs. Voting this up, awesome and sharing! Thanks for caring! :)

    • profile image

      jena 5 years ago

      Pits are a very smart, strong, loyal,and lovable breed. I believe that people now and days see and read the news and t.v about fighting pitbulls and how savage the attack pitbulls do. But what they don't read is what the dogs owners were putting these Dogs through. The owners trained them to be that way. If irresponsible people would just found some other way to entertain them self other than dragging down a living animals that can't speak for themselves. The public blames the breed inside of the owns lack of feeling for another living being. Here's an idea foe those jerk of people, fight each other to the death and stop putting animals to for your bid. It is those horriable people fault for making the breed look bad. I wish there was more ways to put out information out there yo people about how great the breed is and what people are turning this breed into a monster when in fact the people who train them to be aggressive are the really monsters.

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      Chris DeJoseph 5 years ago

      I have 2 pit mixes,one Jack Russell and Pit(Sid), the other Bull Mastiff and Pit(Bruce). Without a doubt they are a gift everyday. Sid is fearless and outgoing nd sure to lick your face off, while ironically, Bruce the bigger of the 2 is shy and sweet by comparison. They can be stubborn at times, but with proper training they are just as loving, loyal, and well-behaved as any other breed, if not more so. Neither of them would ever be aggressive to people or other dogs unless defending our pack and they both have limitless love to give. Sometimes when they play it sounds like a full on dog fight in my house, but they truly love each other as much as they love us. In time, I'd like to register them both as therapy dogs so they can help bring as much joy to others as they do to me. Pit bulls rule, but unfortunately their glorious past is now stained by irresponsible owners and the medias quest for ratings and not truth. If we all work together, in time we can restore the nanny dog to it's rightful title of America's first (and best) breed.

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      Jeffrey Lumanog 5 years ago

      I recently wrote an article about the true character of a pitbull on titled "Why punish the breed for man's deed" objective is to create awareness how wonderful this breed is and not to believe on the negative statements people say who haven't had any experience owning one. As of the moment we have two pitbulls namely Sasha and Halo. pitbulls are really great dogs. We love them like our kids.

    • LoyaltyOfDogs profile image

      LoyaltyOfDogs 5 years ago from Gettysburg, PA

      Enjoyed your article, especially the story of Sgt. Stubby and the photo of Helen Keller with her dog. I didn't know she had a pit bull. Sallie, the mascot of the 11th PA Volunteer Infantry, who is on the regiment's monument at Gettysburg (and was mentioned by one of the commenters below) is my favorite bulldog from history. The dogs who accompanied soldiers in the Civil War did much to help them withstand the hardships and horrors of war, much as military working dogs and even stray dogs help to raise the spirits of American soldiers today.

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      Lover of all dogs 5 years ago

      I do not get all the hype about pits being dangerous just recently I found a pit or should I say he found me he was just wandering around in the street this dog just ran up to me and started to lick me and I completely feel in love with him we tried to find his owners and nobody claimed him so he is now our dog! If the breed of pit bull was such a monster this stray would have attacked me on top of that I have 4 kids one that is under a year old and every time she cries he runs to her and licks her to calm her down. Yeah what a monster! P.S. for people who may come to this site who do not like pits he is a pure red nose pit so yeah what do you have to say about that?

    • derekburchfield profile image

      derekburchfield 5 years ago from Eugene, OR

      I have 2 male pits and they both are my babies. I believe pits have a bad rap because irresponsible people tend to get them for the image. Generally the people who go for the image do not use the proper training associated with the breed. The breed is powerful, and at times very stubborn as you all know. One of my pits is not small animal friendly. Knowing this, I don't take him to a dog park unmuzzled and unleashed. It is the duty of the owner to protect their pit because you know they would do the same for you. I love to have people come up to my dogs and love on them then ask what breed they are, and i say pitbull. It is so refreshing to read all these pro-pit comments. Happy New Years.

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      daved 5 years ago

      I am retired military and my family has owned three pitbulls in the last 28 years they are the most loving loyal and very protective of there owners. Like its been stated its all how you raise them. We always loved our pb like our family never yelled at them or abused them ever and what we got in return was a 95 pound loving part of our family that no money could buy our last pb teqiulla died after 13 human years it was extremely difficult after our friend died I felt our house was not the same so I bought another white female pb for my father now a year later we have a 75pound loving part of our family her name is friday I hope that people who are thinking about adding a pb to there family that it is a big responsibility it requires love affection spending time with your pb and regular visits to the vet. At least twice a year I will always own a pb and he or she will always be my friend best of luck remember TO ALWAYS TAKE THE TIME TO SPEND WITH YOUR PB SO THEY KNOW YOU LOVE THEM AND YOU KNOW THEY LOVE YOU ALL MY BEST DRILL

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      brittany, stewart,MS 5 years ago

      I'm 22 and all I've ever owned were Pits. I've had every kind of pet imanginable from a chinchilla to a bee but when it comes to dogs Pits are the best kind. They have a bad reputation because people give 'em one. I've NEVER had a Pit that hurt any person or animal. It's all in how you raise them. They are just like a child; just because the parents are a certain way doesn't mean the child will be. For instance I was raised on country music, but I'm a metal head. So same thing with Pits; just because Micheal Vick fought his Pit doesn't mean everyone that has a Pit fights them. DUH!!! I have a 11 year old sister, 10 year old nephew & 8 year old niece and when they come to visit I'll let him (Boss is his name) off of his chain (because we don't have a fenced in yard) and he will chase those kids & play fetch & roll over & play dead from sunup to sundown. The way I look at it is: a pitbull is a breed of dog, just like being white is a race of human. So isn't that just like being discriminatory or 'racist'.....? Just sayin.

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      Jessica Cash 5 years ago

      Thank you! We need more people spreading the truth about this amazing breed! My male actually just died of complicaions due to epilepsy but, I have a pit/rottie mix and a pit/cane corso mix puppy (both females) All three of them are the best dogs I've ever had and I will never own another breed!

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      John and Vitania Gonzales 5 years ago

      Thank you for the info!! We have a gorgeous, male, white pit. He is the most wonderful dog we have ever owned. He has all those wonderful qualities, we have heard about and more. It is so good to hear that our feelings about pits have been acknowledged with proof and given to so many millions through the internet. Please keep up the great work in educating the world with facts. Please keep bringing knowledge to others about the misconceptions of stereotyping this breed as a cruel and unfeeling.

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      ashley 5 years ago

      we have two apbt and we also have two young kids. my whole family always fights with me about having my dogs and having my kids around them. I think they are wonderful dogs and they are very well behaved when it comes to my kids. I really hope one day that ppl will come to see just how great they are. Most ppl that judge them haven't ever accually had one and that makes me so upset. You don't write a review on a product you've never used so why judge a dog you've never owned?

    • profile image

      teo 5 years ago

      pitbulls were once the symbol of the the usa for strengh and the will to never give up if people would educate the newer generation about pitbulls of the past maybe the pitbulls of now would have a chance

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      DuchessDuCaffeine 5 years ago from United States of America

      Our two pit bulls and two rottweiler-doberman mix dogs were not raised together from the beginning. We got each of the dogs singly at different times over a period of about five years. One of the pit bulls is a female, the other is a male, as are the two rotten-dobies (as my husband likes to call them!).

      The thing they all have in common is that we raised them within a set of standards that they could rely on as "the pack's little list of rules" which all them have to abide by and none get a pass. They were also raised in an environment of love and respect which we get back from them ten-fold. Great article, Whitney05, keep 'em coming :)

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      Uman 6 years ago

      Pitbulls are good dogs and this website helps people understand them more. Making people aware of what Pitbulls are like and what they did in the past helps a lot.

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      peppydivabell 6 years ago

      What a sweet story and another amazing testament to a dog so awesome that honestly there are no words to do them justice. And they certainly aren't just dogs by any means. Rest in Peace Buddy and I know you will all be reunited one day.

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      yabbie 6 years ago

      O.K. I didn't know enough to like or dislike the breed. I was just at the pound looking for a dog to replace the one my kids lost. Buddy was a 3 year old mix and seemed so well behaved with my 4 kids hanging on him. Little did I know how important he would become. He became my teenage sons for 3 years staying close by him as he navigated the ups and downs of Jr High and freshman year. As he moved on Buddy became my 8 year old sons companion as he struggled with Manic Depression. At times Buddy was the only one of us that he would go to and sit with for hours. As finally my son was diag and he became more social Buddy moved on once more. My husband became disabled at the age of 50. Going from the bread winner of our family to completely dependent on everyone around him Buddy kept him going. He felt that Buddy needed him. He struggled each day to take him for a walk even on his worst days. Buddy was struggling with old age at this point and they both would both sit on our patio watching the world go by. In our small complex of 90 homes everyone knew Bud. When it was finally time to let him go I believe he had changed the mind of many of our neighbors, friends and family of what a valuable asset he was to our family. What a loving dog. As 4 of my kids were raised and teen agers came and went through our doors Buddy never knew an enemy. He was always available to listen to whatever struggles you were going through. He was our family!!

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      angela 6 years ago

      i had a brindle pit she was the most incredable dog i have ever owned well behaved and good natured....i think that people just don't take the time to realise that pits are the most amazing family dogs ever owned...they are like humans if you mistreat them they will turn on you....they are smart,strong and well behaved...if all these idiots out here would stop breeding them to fight maybe they would become the greatest again...they need to have a home with lots of fun...if people would realise our history of great pitbulls maybe they would see that they can be the best of all breeds....all dogs will attack but the pitbull breed gets the most grusome word from this world...

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      James05 6 years ago

      This is a very informative webpage that I was able to learn something from. I can always appriciate good solid information. I was wondering, can anyone hit me with some solid facts about where a pit measures up (statistically) as far as "people friendly" goes. I need a viable source, so if you happen to know of a credible organization that have that sort of information, I would be very grateful.

      You see, I happen to have an APBT myself, as well as a Boxer. Both are crazy obeidient, and even more loving. But my family (I have a rather large family) always wants to argue with me about my dog (APBT) being outside when their kids are playing. We've debated several times about how pits are the spawn of satan's child-mudering demons, or the sweetest greatest child protectors known to man-kind. I want to lay down some facts so they can relax and scuff at the news...Can anyone help me?

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