I'm sensitive to the issue of "right breed for the right person" for a very good reason. For over 20 years, part of my job as an animal control officer was euthanizing young, healthy dogs dumped at the shelter by their owners. Few people know that animal shelters take in MANY MORE "owned" animals than strays.
These dogs died because they were not a good match for their owners (and there are not enough good homes available). And that is certainly not the dog's fault! And EVERY owner dumping a dog at a shelter will tell you the same thing: "I never thought I would have to do this". No matter how poor their chose of breed was, they thought they could "work it out". The reality is, if you truly love dogs, you will do everything possible to make sure BEFORE YOU GET A DOG that it WILL work out.
And that includes understanding that dog breeds have specific traits; this is the definition of a "breed" - a group of dogs similar in appearance and character. But are dogs "individuals"? Sure, each dog represents a specific level of "breed type". Some, dogs I call "generic" show little type either in appearance or character, or sometimes both. Examples would be a Dalmatian that doesn't like to run and a Rottweiler afraid of its own shadow. These dogs may be members of a breed, but they are poorly bred and do not exhibit correct breed type.
Some rescue groups will try and minimalize breed characteristic - something that gets a LOT of dogs (and their owners) into unfortunate situations. But they do bring up a good point: to understand - truly understand - what dog is right for you, you need to understand the difference between "generic" and "typey" within dog breeds.
Some breeds are more "generic" than others. Many breeds have no real special requirements to be successfully owned by almost anyone in any situation. These are dogs which have no real specific "drives" (meaning inborn instincts) which have been intensified by humans through selective breeding. A Labrador, for instance, is bred only to be biddable to man, to retrieve, and to get along with other dogs in the hunting field. This makes them very successful as easy-care pet dogs. On the other hand, an Alaskan husky from the kennels of Lance Mackey is bred specifically to survive in harsh conditions and to have an inexhaustible desire to run mile after mile. It should be obvious that to be fair to the dog, while the Labrador may fit in any where, the husky would be unhappy and frustrated in an apartment or in a lifestyle which did not allow expression of its inborn drives. Could the dog be FORCED to live in an inappropriate situation? Sure, it happens all the time, but while not only being unfair to the dog it also often leads to a one way trip to the local shelter.
YOUR TYPE + YOUR SITUATION = THE BREED YOU NEED
The way to obtain the dog which will best match your needs, desires and your abilities to meet the dog's needs is to chose a dog breed, and then the individual dog best suited to you. This takes thought!
First - understand YOURSELF. Do you recognize yourself in any of the following characterizations?
* Do you consider yourself an "animal lover"? Do you call your pets "fur children"? Do you call yourself a "guardian" rather than a dog's owner? Do you think a dog should be kept in a shipping crate to keep it safe while you are at work? Do you dress your dog up? Do you think tethering is "cruel"? Do you support HSUS or PETA? Do you think a dog's behavior is "all how you raise it"? Do you like to go to the dog park?
* Are you very busy? Spend long hours at your job? Stop by the gym in the morning or evening? Like to go out to clubs or party in the evening a couple times a week? Like to spend your weekends at the lake, with friends? Have a hobby like fishing or boating that takes up a lot of your spare time?
* Is your family life active? Do you have little ones, and do the neighborhood kids come and go in and out of your house? Do you go camping with the kids several times a year?
* Are you or spouse active military? Is there a chance you will be moving as part of service? Is there a chance you will have to live on base housing? Is there a chance you will have to go over seas?
* Are you young and just starting out in life? Is there a chance you will have to rent, go to school, change jobs or otherwise be moving about and unsettled over the next few years?
The truth is, none of the situations above will make an ideal home for a authentic American pit bull. A generic pit bull? Some situations would work out for a generic dog, but some, like military service and having to rent will make ownership of ANY "pit bull" type dog difficult due to discrimination faced when finding housing.
As you read through this site, and come to understand and appreciate the authentic American pit bull, it WILL become clear to you why the above situations are likely to end up with a dissatisfied dog or owner - or both. Please take the time to do the research, as a dog lover you will be glad you did.
So who IS right for an authentic American pit bull? They are, when bred correctly for type, an intensely strong, determined, intelligent and loyal breed. Many folks don't know what "determined" means because they have not seen it in action. Determined means what the dog wants to do - it WILL do. If it wants through a fence, it will go THROUGH the fence. If it wants out of a kennel, it will GET OUT of the kennel. It is this determination that makes the breed unparalleled as a work and sport dog (they make fabulous narcotics and explosives detection dogs) but a challenge to live with and quite frankly, the wrong choice for the "casual dog owner". A person should be physically capable of handling a strong dog, understand and be able to provide appropriate housing for the dog and have a desire to spend a great deal of time meeting the needs of the dog's physical and mental stimulation. The authentic American pit bull is not a dog that does well in multi-dog households, as most are quarrelsome with other dogs. This is true of many breeds (especially terriers) as is NOT a "unique" trait in the breed. However, it can make them challenging to own.
So, I invite you to take advantage of my over 30 years experience with literally thousands of these dogs. This breed is my passion, and I want to see each and every one treated right. And I want you to have a great experience with this breed I love!