I think it is safe to say that we all have or will have that one special dog that touches our lives forever. For me, that dog was my childhood dog Sacha(yes it should be Sasha, but I was 10 when I named her, and that’s how I wanted to spell it). She was a labrador/ springer spaniel mix, and she was adorable, sweet, intelligent, the list could go on and on.
My brother, her and I were like the three musketeers growing up. I had her in my life from the age of 10 to 24. I grew up with her; 14 years is a long time but not nearly enough when you have a dog. You want them to live forever. Along with her, I had two cocker spaniels, but Sasha was my special girl.
Fast-forward two years (2006). My then boyfriend, now husband, decided we should get a dog together. He wanted a small dog, but I am more of a large dog kind of gal. We were in a little disagreement about that, so the dog situation got put on hold. All of my dogs so far I happen upon or rescue.
One day we get a call from my husband’s cousin saying he has a six-week old puppy who is a half pit bull and half black Labrador. It was the result of an unintended breeding….spay and neuter your animals, please! But I digress, I will talk about that another day. We say we are interested if he is indeed giving it away. I remember it all these years later. It was a Monday night, and we stopped off at the pet store to get all of the things we may need, and then we head to pick her up.
There she was entirely underneath a blanket in my husband’s cousin’s lap (whoa that’s a mouthful). We took her home, and I fell in love! We decided to name her Abigail Rose (as you get to know me you will realize all of my animals get middle names…haha) or just Abby for short. To this day she still loves to be extra, extra warm.
Owning a Pit Bull-Labrador mix
I always educate my students and others that when looking into any pet you should always do your research. Really it’s always good practice to research anything you are interested in, a car, a trip; you get the idea. When looking for a dog knowing your breeds is a good thing. Owning a mixed breed dog is great. I had always known about pit bulls and upon hearing that Abby was a pit bull/lab mix it didn’t deter us from getting her. What it did do, however, was quickly make me fall in love with pit bulls and bully breeds!
Pitbulls are a beloved and hated breed; just as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds were at one time. Pit bull owners will give you a slew of adjectives to describe their dog. They include, “loyal, compassionate, devoted, affectionate, heroic, kissy-faced, lovebug, bed hog, pansy, soul mate, family (Foster, 2012). Pit bull is not really a breed per se. It is an umbrella term for a lot of the “bully breeds” or breeds to be perceived that way, such as American bulldogs, bull terriers, Staffordshire terriers etc. The American Pitbull Terrier is not even a breed recognized by the AKC
The American Staffordshire Terrier is recognized and is described as “smart, confident good natured companions” (“American Staffordshire Terrier,” n.d.). My experiences with terriers of any kind have also made me understand that they can be hard-headed and can take advantage of inexperienced owners. So, make sure you are prepared to train your “pit bull” and spend time socializing them. Unfortunately, many people live in areas that ban pit bulls and pitbull type dogs, so just make sure you check with your town before you get a dog that could be a problem. Pit bulls have a lot of energy, and it is good to have outlets to channel that energy.
Even with my pit bull/lab, I found this to be true. In her younger days, she loved to dock jump and fetch sticks in the pond and was prone to the zoomies! American Pit Bull Terriers can be predisposed to some health issues.
Listed below are a few of them.
- Hip Dysplasia
- Knee Problems
- Thyroid Disease
As you can see in Abby’s pictures she does have physical traits of both breeds. However, I have often wondered if she is more than lab/pit bull. I would love to do a DNA test on her! These days she is looking more like a hound. But we believe her mother was a black Labrador.