About a year ago it was pretty normal to see anywhere from two to ten French Bulldogs within a five block radius in the city, albeit an affluent five block radius. Clearly, those little stocky packages of cute were the preferred canine of the day.
New Yorkers are terrific consumers; a fact that is not lost on the many dog-related stores and services that dot the five boroughs. Sadly, when it comes to pet ownership, the fact that there is a desperately large number of shelter dogs in need of good homes does not usually dissuade people from their desire for the breed-du-jour.
Interestingly, however, a new canine trend has emerged, that although lemming-like and uncreative as most consumer trends are, this one has a happy beneficiary.
The long misunderstood champion of bad-rep dogs, the American Pit Bull Terrier has undoubtedly arrived as New York’s newest “IT DOG.” What’s really wonderful about this latest canine fad is that the dogs of choice are often “rescue” dogs. It’s rare that fashion and a really good cause actually meld naturally. But in this town known for the high and low, the couture-canines and the street fighting dogs, a detente has been reached at the dog-run.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Less of a new fad than a resurgence in popularity, once-upon-a-time in America, what is today called the American Pit Bull Terrier was everywhere amongst us. From the Little Rascals, to “Buster Brown,” to the most decorated military dog in history (Sergeant Stubby), the Pit Bull was synonymous with “DOG” in US culture for half of the twentieth century. Before the German Shepard, the Collie ,and finally the deluge of European and Asian breeds complicated what it meant to be an American dog, the Pit Bull reined supreme- “everyman’s best friend.”
These days everyone from Jessica Biel to John Stewart (who has three), from Bernadette Peters to Tom Brady is giving some love to this misunderstood breed. And just this month, for the first time ever, rescue dogs took to the runway to present Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2013 Accessories Collection in collaboration with the ASPCA; the ad-campaign which featured a fabulously red-check-scarf wearing white and black Pit.
ON THE STREET
While it is comical (and sometimes frightening) to watch the uninitiated manage this “explosive” breed, what anyone who owns a Pit Bull can tell you, these dogs are built for love. It is in their DNA to play rough with other dogs, so often, tolerance for other canines is on a learning curve; but if you want the most loyal lover of people, this breed is for you.
Having long been a “cat-person” myself, I have inherited two Pits of my very own this past year, and while I long for some “felinity” now and again, these beautiful and loving beasts have warmed their way into my heart and my home.
Go on, get yourself some Pit Bull love! And even if a Pit is not for you – please consider adopting. The following fabulous orgs will get you started on the road to adopting your very own bundle of Pit Bull love; all were recommended by the extraordinary people at Rock and Rawhide:
Featured image of DJ and Huey courtesy of New York Natives, Photographer: Laura Hill
*DJ is ready for adoption, please contact us for more info.