Dogfighting is a violent blood sport in which dogs are trained to fight one other to the death for the owner’s financial gain. Most fighting dog breeds are medium in size, with sturdy bodies, strong jaws, and bite force; some dogs were created expressly for this sport.
While you may be aware of some of the breeds commonly associated with this activity, you might be surprised to learn that some of the most popular fighting dogs are also utilized in this heinous sport.
Dogfighting goes back centuries
Today, dogfighting is illegal in most developed countries and is considered animal cruelty with huge penalties and even jail time for the owner.
Where it remains legal, the blood sport of dogfighting is divided into categories:
- Street fighting
Dog fighting is still sanctioned as a sport in some regions of Russia and Japan.
While it may be against the law in some places, such as the United States, dogfighting events are often held with little to no repercussions in Latin America, Pakistan, and some parts of Eastern Europe.
Even in the United States and the United Kingdom, it can be seen quite seldom.
NPR reports that the ancient Romans may have been the first to stage bloody dogfights in the style of the human gladiators.
These brawls continue until one of the dogs is either killed, escapes, or gives up scratching.
Historically, the owner of the losing dog would either shoot the dog, torment it, or beat it brutally.
Dogfighting is not only for show; there are serious sums of money at stake. We make money from stud fees and ticket sales.
This leads us to a format typical of gambling. It’s possible to win some extra cash by placing a wager on a specific fighting dog.
Thankfully, modern society views the concept of pitting two canines against each other for entertainment purposes as abhorrent and immoral.
In truth, dog fighting is illegal in many nations across the world, as well as all 50 states in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
The Mexican government has repeatedly stated “no” to dogfighting in the past year.
A Dog in the Fight and Bait Animals
While many dogs were and sadly still are used for fighting in different parts of the world, these modern fighting dogs we know of today can all be traced back to five distinct breeds:
- Tibetan Mastiff
- Great Dane
- Saint Bernard
- Danish Mastiff
Today, none of the above five make the list of popular fighting dogs.
A long time ago, people admired fighting dog breeds because of their massive stature, strong jaws, and athleticism. To be effective, their bark needed to be deep and resounding.
However, today’s dog fighting handlers look for medium-sized, strong canines.
Another often overlooked or forgotten terrible facet of dogfighting is the use of animals as bait.
Any fighting dog’s mettle may be gauged by its performance against bait animals. It is common practice to bind them together and then release the fighting dog.
Killing and torturing other animals is also used as part of the training process to gauge the fighting dog’s mettle.
According to statistics, most bait animals are obtained through dog adoption scams, pet theft, falsely adopting animals from shelters, and responding to “free to good home” advertisements.
There have been reports of scams involving the selling of puppies to unsuspecting Americans online. Therefore, you should never sell your pet online, where you can’t check up on them.
Dogfighting is still popular in many countries despite being widely condemned and illegal in the United States and other developed nations.
Dogfighting is a serious issue in South Africa, but particularly in more rural regions like Western Cape.
Even though it’s against the law, fewer people are assigned to enforce it there.
The SPCA tries extremely hard to abolish the unlawful sport, but because to its clandestine nature, it is difficult to contact everyone and convey awareness.
Here is a list of some of the most well-known fighting dog breeds from throughout history.
Some of these fighting dogs were developed specifically for this purpose, while it was discovered only later that other, similar canines may also perform well in the pit.
Top 10 Most Popular Fighting Dog Breeds
1. American Pit Bull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier, the most well-known fighting dog, is, as you would guess, one of the first on the list.
There’s a good reason why everyone expected the Pittie to be included in the top ten list of fighting dog breeds. Many decades of negative stigma have built up against them in the West.
As a result of selective breeding for aggression, Pit Bulls have become the canine of choice for dog fighting because they are hardy, loyal, and possess a high level of natural aggression.
What sets them apart as the ideal combat dog is their indomitable will to fight, even when severely hurt or on the verge of death.
2. American Bulldog
This breed performs very well in the pit since it does not get along with other animals. True particularly if the two dogs are the same breed and gender.
Never one to back away from a fight, American Bulldogs always show their true colors. Due to their tremendous prey drive, they are highly sought after in the dogfighting industry and continue to be one of the most popular fighting dog breeds outside of the United States.
3. Bull Terrier
This breed, like the American Pit Bull Terrier, has a long history of being recognized as a fighting canine.
Historically, dog fighting was so important to the Romans that they created the Bull Terrier to be even more aggressive than the Pit Bull. It is a common motif in depictions of the Roman Empire (if you browse your history books).
The name “canine gladiator” has stuck with this breed throughout history. Nonetheless, in spite of appearances, their disposition is better than that of certain other canines on this list of fighting dog breeds.
4. Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is another well-known powerful and sturdy breed that is often included on lists of dogs to avoid because of its intimidating appearance.
The Romans really employed the Italian Mastiff as a fighting dog, therefore this has historical significance. When you first lay eyes on one, it will be a very sobering experience.
These canines have powerful jaws and an intense desire to hunt.
This breed is among the greatest fighting dog breeds because of its massive size and stamina in the ring.
Currently, they are a prominent dog breed in the police force and are also utilized by the military.
Since more dog bite incidents have been linked to Rottweilers than any other breed, data show that they are the most fearsome of all dogs.
The popular fighting dog breed is fearless, brave, and confident, and can take on any task.
As with Pit Bulls, the Rottweiler is one of the most popular fighting dog breeds because it is strong, has a powerful bite, and is very aggressive.
6. American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier is another well-known dog species utilized in illegal dog fighting sports because to its agility, athleticism, speed, and relentlessness.
Commonly referred to as “AmStaff,” these canines are notoriously hostile towards all other species. They will not stop until one of them is dead.
However, you shouldn’t automatically label them as simply another fighting dog breed.
Most doting dog owners will find the AmStaff, with early and consistent training and socialization, to be a quiet and obedient companion.
7. German Shepherd
To some extent, German Shepherds make the cut for fighting dog breeds since they may be readily conditioned to engage in aggressive behavior.
Among fighting dogs, they are neither the strongest or sturdiest, and they do not have a particularly potent dog bite; rather, it is their intelligence that has made them so popular.
German Shepherds are naturally aggressive and devoted, and these traits may be sharpened further via early socialization and training.
While they remain one of the most intelligent canine breeds, they lack the physical prowess of most dedicated combat dogs.
The Akita’s intense hunting drive and naturally violent demeanor have earned them a place on the list of dog breeds most suited for fighting.
Even though this dog was never intended for combat, it has been employed as a fighting breed in contemporary times (particularly in the UK) in dog fighting pits.
The Japanese are the ones who first developed this breed. In their homeland, they were developed specifically to protect the royal family.
They were also excellent hunting dogs, and their owners employed them to track bears and wild boars.
The Boerboel is a large, powerful breed of dog that is often employed as a fighting dog in countries like South Africa.
In order to protect farms and their livestock from predators, the South African Mastiff dog breed was developed.
They are among the most potent canine breeds.
The Boerboel is often utilized as a fighting dog breed due to its big size, powerful jaws, and teeth.
10. Tosa Inu
The Tosa Inu is a huge dog breed that is uncommon in the United States.
One of the few dog breeds whose ancestors bred them solely for the purpose of fighting, this breed has a long and storied history of doing so.
As a result, Tosa Inus are very aggressive, skillful at fighting other dogs, and are extremely powerful.
This dog breed originated in Japan and remains mostly in that region, sadly still often used specifically in dogfighting events.
As far as fighting dog breeds go, these handful are only the tip of the iceberg.
Just a quick Google search will return hundreds of images and videos of dogs fighting, including many unusual species that have been pushed into this horrible sport.
Dogfighting is still very popular in certain regions. Disappointingly, this terrible, primitive pastime is still practiced today.
While more and more people are becoming aware of dogfighting, more and more governments are coming to terms with their values and outlawing the practice.
All of the aforementioned dog fighting breeds may become fantastic household pets with the right amount of training and socialization.
They become hostile solely as a result of their training and ownership, and when that isn’t their job, they make wonderful pets.