The most confused terms in relation to Pit Bulls is probably "gameness." Most people misconstrue the term as representing the dog's courage, fight ability, or endurance in the pit, but it is the never quit attitude and fight-to-the-death personality. ("Fight-to-the-death" does not necessarily mean in the pit, either.)
Game bred dogs were not necessarily the beest in the pit, but they were the ones with the most fight in them. Gameness makes a small dog able to take on a much alrger dog and ultimately win.
Gameness is the willingness to continue and persevere in any activity, whether fighting, hunting, herding, pulling a cart, or defending its owner, while being put through great stress and/or intense pain until he has won or until death.
Gameness has nothing to do with ability or bravery; it has to do with heart.
Game Bred Dogs
I'm not saying that game-bred dogs are for everyone because it's an all-around great trait... Because that's not what I'm saying at all. A person with little to no experience with the breed or any bully breed should not have a game-bred dog by any means what-so-ever.
Gameness is a very extreme trait... A trait that is the primary characteristic in bully breed dogs, especially that of the American Pit Bull Terrier; although, throughout the years, it has been deemphasized. Yes, other dog breeds can be very determined to complete their job or skill, but gameness is not necessary for them to survive retrieving the duck or pulling the sled. Gameness is the trait that is basically the determination to complete a task through pain and stress even if it means death.
Game-bred dogs do not submit. These dogs are dominant (not necessarily aggressive). Game-bred dogs never give up.
Joseph Colby and Pit Dog Gameness
According to Joseph Colby, the son of the man who started the Colby bloodline, speaks about gameness and the Pit Dog in "The American Pit Bull Terrier," a book he wrote in 1936.
Colby says in his book that Pit Dogs of the day are not as game as traditional dogs "because most of the present day dog-men who breed and fight dogs, do not give them a hard test to prove the gameness of the dog. Most of the present day dogs are bred too loosely and if a man does have a proven game dog or bitch, he doesn't retrain the blood for many generations, because he breeds out, therefore losing the gameness."
I took that statement as if in the 1930s, the American Pit Bull was losing his gameness, in today's world the general trait has dissipated in the average Pit Bull that you see walked in the park.
Colby references two game dogs.
- "One of the gamest dogs that ever crossed a pit, roamed the streets until he was three years old and until that time never had a fight. This dog fought in the hands of three different prominent dogmen and never lost a fight. He proved himself game and beat the best dogs in the country at that time."
- "Another example of a game dog is the one that the dog was old, weak and ready to die. His collar and chain were unattached so that he might die. As soon as the old dog knew he was loose he crawled over to a young promising pit prospect and it took twenty minutes to separate them."
Please remember that the dogs that Colby speaks of were pit fighting dogs. Generally, the trait of gameness is not the aggression but the will to fight and the determination to win under stress and pain. Gameness can describe the willingness and determination to protect his owner when in danger of another person or dog.
Books about Pit Bulls
Pit Bull References
- Dog Fighting
You hear the nasty events and stories about busted fighting rings, but do you know the truths about dog fighting, in terms of tradition?
- Pit Bull Rehabilitation
Should dogs rescued from dog fighting scenes be rehabilitated or just put down?
- Severe Dog Attacks and Pit Bull- Type Dogs
You hear about dog attacks and "pit bulls" all the time, but do you know the dirty truths about these reports?
- Books for a Pit Bull Lover
These are my favorite books about the American Pit Bull Terrier.
- Pit Bull Videos
My favorite movies and documentaries about the American Pit Bull.
- Good Dog - American Pit Bull
Pit Bulls have been bred to be friendly towards humans, despite their breeding for dog aggression.
Tyrone on March 21, 2012:
Pitbulls are loving animals and deserve to live like any other dog its not the dog its the owners
enteng on June 22, 2011:
because true gameness can only be seen in a situation where a dog is basically fighting for its life.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on June 25, 2008:
belief713 from Earth on June 25, 2008:
So training a dog is much like raising kids (as far as withstanding stubborness)... ;-)
Whitney (author) from Georgia on June 25, 2008:
Pretty much training a Pit Bull is the same with training any other dog breed. You just have to keep on it and be able to withstand their stubborness. It's really not that hard. ;-)
People fight for ego and money. That's just my opinion. I couldn't imagine what a real fighter had to say, as they are heartless anyway.
belief713 from Earth on June 24, 2008:
Whitney, I agree. I think he is undertrained because I didn't know (at the time) what was needed to train a pit. Now I've realized he's different from most other breeds and am now understanding the need for pack dominance.
I understand about game now. It's what I thought. I just got confused.
Doug - maybe you can answer this for me...why fight dogs, or any animal? Since you seem to be a fighter, I thought maybe you could provide some insight.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on June 23, 2008:
Belief, Pit dogs are game, but that does not mean that every dog that is game is a fighting dog. Personally, I think your dog is just undertrained and lacking pack dominance from you, but it's not impossible that you've adopted a game dog. My definition comes from various sources, to include as several professional dog trainers.
Mind, you belief, my APBT is very persistent in games of tug of war, as well as other games of the like, but that doesn't mean she's game.
belief713 from Earth on June 22, 2008:
Whitney, just out of curiosity, where are you getting your definition of game from? I thought it was combo of what both you and doug are saying, but now I'm confused. I'm used to the term being used for fighting dogs as that's the only way I've ever heard it referenced before.
I kind of understand what doug is saying about testing gameness with "tug of war" - for example: I beleive my dog is a game dog because of how hardheaded and persistent he is. He has a "no quit" attitude, but I've never tested it in a fight or ring and never plan on it. I have family members who want me to "test" him, but a) I disagree with it strongly and b) I'm not willing to put our dog, myself, my kids, or any one who comes to my house in jeopardy.
Doug: I currently don't have any pics of him anywhere on the net right now. I'm going to throw up a hub real quick in the next day or two and then go back and edit it later, but it will have pics of him and his pups (we bread him once) and some of his dad (I have to wait for someone to send them to me though). So check back...
Whitney (author) from Georgia on June 22, 2008:
belief, I'm not saying that game in barely in existent. What I'm saying is that game is not bred for as much, not is game as common as it used to be. Not all Pit Bulls are game by any means; although there are some breeders who still breed for game Pit Bulls (not necessarily fighting Pit Bulls, but game), but not all do. More breeders breed for family pets, and not gameness. Remember gameness is the determination and will to complete any task no matter how much pain or stress the dog is under. I can tell you my APBT is nowhere new game; I've actually only met one or two game Pit Bulls, and I've met and worked with many. Game is not dominance, either (in reference to the post on the other hub about your Pit Bull/ Staffordshire mix being dominant).
belief713 from Earth on June 21, 2008:
I don't understand what pleasure people get out of fighting dogs, or any animal for that matter. It's unimaginable to me. I understand animals fight in the wild for territorial and other reasons, but doing it for sport is grotesque to me. I don't necessarily believe in kharma - but more or less, remember you reap what you sow.
Whitney - I'm a bit confused. Are you saying that you believe game is no longer or barely existent? Because, based on your definition, I kind of believe all pits (regardless of breed) have "game".
ahmu on May 19, 2008:
thanks for share this hub