History says the pit bull was primarily bred as a fighting dog, particularly used in the blood sport of bear-baiting or bull-baiting. This is a hideous and cruel sport where large animals such as bears or bulls were chained to a stake only to be harassed and attacked by pit bulls inside a small arena or pit.
But pit bulls are not only famous for agitating bears since the breed has a storied and colorful history. Here are the cutest, most courageous, and legendary pit bulls from history so you can see why this dog does not deserve to be stereotyped as a vicious and unforgiving canine.
1. Bud, the road-tripping pit bull
It’s a documented fact that Bud the pit bull was one of the passengers in a successful attempt to drive a motor car across the United States, particularly from San Francisco to New York City. The entire journey took 63 days, 12 hours, and 20 minutes. This was an amazing feat back in the days when concrete roads were pretty much non-existent.
The historical event was the brainchild of Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson. The funny thing is the drive was the result of a $50 bet that it is impossible to drive a car across the United States. Dr. Jackson, who was aged 31 at the time, didn’t even have a car, but it sure looks like he loves to respond to a handsome bet ($50 would be about $2000 in today’s money).
The drive commenced on May 23, 1903. The chosen car was a used Winton touring car that Dr. Jackson affectionately called the ‘Vermont’, which was named after his hometown. Along for the ride was mechanic and co-driver Sewall Crocker.
Bud the pit bull was picked-up in Idaho. The dog was given his own driving goggles to protect his eyes from dust and dirt as the journey lingered on. By the time the team arrived in Omaha, Nebraska on July 12, 1903, Bud instantly became a nationwide sensation.
But what many people don’t know is that Bud actually went missing somewhere in Chicago on July 19. This prompted a city-wide search for the missing pit bull. Luckily for them, Bud was eventually found and was able to complete the challenging and perilous journey.
Now you know the story of Bud, the first pit bull (or dog for that matter) to take a road trip across the United States. In fact, you can visit the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. to view the actual goggles that Bud wore during that historic journey.
For those of you wondering what eventually happened to Bud, the pit bull remained with the Jackson family until he died of old age.
2. RCA, the first hearing assistance dog of the state of Alaska
Back in the days, the owners of RCA the pit bull were having a difficult time finding a place to rent due to housing discrimination in Alabama. There was a pit bull hysteria during that time as the breed was considered dangerous to be kept in the premises of a housing community.
The owners of RCA had no choice but to turn her over to an animal shelter in Anchorage, Alaska. While housed with other dogs in the shelter, RCA was temperament tested and got the highest score among the herd of 170 canines. The result prompted John Ledum and local veterinarian, Dr. Joyce Murphy, to start a program designed to pair canines with hearing-impaired people, particularly children, with RCA the pit bull taking the lead.
During this time, the city council of Anchorage was actually planning to ban pit bulls due to the breed’s vicious and aggressive background. But RCA was able to live up to the expectations as she became Alaska’s first certified hearing dog.
RCA took a lot of trips across Alaska and to the other 48 states. She particularly loved visiting elementary schools to entertain the children. Her timid ways was proof that pit bulls are one of the smartest and most living dog breeds in the world.
And now, the sad part. RCA succumbed to cancer and died on June 29, 1997. She was 16 years old.
3. Cheyenne, Tahoe, and Dakota – pit bull rescue dogs
Among pit bull activist and retired pit bull trainer Kris Crawford’s three rescue dogs, the most popular would have to be Dakota. She was invited to join the team of the top 20 search and rescue dogs in the United States. What’s more impressive is the fact that Dakota was the only pit bull to be ever invited into this elite team.
Do you remember the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster back in 2003? Dakota was highly influential to NASA’s efforts in retrieving the debris when the aircraft exploded in midair shortly after launch.
Since then, Cheyenne, Tahoe, and Dakota have worked on other high-profile cases. This trio of adorable pit bulls also loves visiting nursing homes and hospitals while actively leading public safety classes when not participating in search and rescue missions.
4. Neville, the crime-busting pit bull
Neville is loyal, caring, gentle, and a workaholic, which makes her perfect for the role of crime fighter. Along with his partner, Dave Dixon of the Washington State Patrol and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Neville’s job is to patrol the ferry system in Seattle to sniff out bullets, guns, explosives, and fireworks.
Back in 2008, Neville was able to sniff a car that was carrying a huge load of fireworks in the trunk. There was so much pyrotechnics found that officers said there was enough of the explosive stuff to build a strong bomb.
Later on, the driver of the car was discovered to be previously arrested on charges of bomb-making. It seems Neville’s nose certainly has a knack for sniffing up the hot stuff since he constantly sniffs and checks out more than 300 cars per day while on duty.
This is proof that pit bulls love working around humans and are gifted with supreme intelligence along with a keen sense of smell, making them the perfect crime busters!
Bud, RCA, Dakota, and Neville are just a few of the cutest and most courageous pit bulls in history. Thinking about adopting or buying a dog? Maybe a pit bull is the right dog for you.