It’s safe to say that the pit bull doesn’t have the best reputation due to misreporting and falsehoods pushed by a small group of breed profilers. Until the last decade they had been held in high regard for their loyalty and gentleness. Even the name pit bull implies that it’s only one breed, when in fact it’s more of a term for several of them. They all have different looks and backgrounds. What they have in common is that they’re all grouped together as dangerous. This false and sensationalized attitude causes untold pain to families and results in violence against owners and animals just like profiling does with all other species including human.
The issue of pit bulls is a divisive one; some are vehemently against them, others wholeheartedly support and advocate for this misunderstood breed. And some of those advocates are rather loud, with a particularly far reach ― celebrities. Those who have pit bulls tend to be outspoken about the lovelier sides of these dogs. They often take every opportunity to show off their loving, ever-smiling nature. Both in fiction and in real life, these wonderful dogs occasionally get a chance to shine.
From Star Trek to Spider-Man
An actor who’s known for his love for this breed is Patrick Stewart. He is perhaps best known as Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, or as Professor Xavier from the X-Men franchise. As pit bulls are illegal in his home country of England, he often fosters them in his Los Angeles home, helping them find forever families. He’s also fond of keeping his fans updated on his social media about it all. He’ll show himself and these lovely pups napping together, among other things. In the recent Star Trek sequel series, Picard, the titular character ― played by Stewart ― even has a pit bull of his own.
Another actor who often talks about his pit bull is Tom Holland. His fame has skyrocketed since he burst into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Spider-Man himself. His dog, Tessa, is almost a celebrity in her own right among his fans, and he often posts about her on his social media. He has even brought her along for red carpets and press junkets, on occasion. In a Buzzfeed puppy interview, adorably distracted by a flock of puppies, he talks about what nonsense it is that you can’t have these dogs back home in England. He holds up a pudgy pit bull puppy rescue, asking how anyone could think it’s dangerous. Which is definitely a good question.
Mainstream favorites with a pit bull
Other celebrities include Katherine Heigl of Grey’s Anatomy fame, whose family rescues pit bulls and has six of them. Jon Stewart strongly advocates for the breed, often seen walking his three-legged rescue, Champ. Meanwhile, the likes of Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, and Channing Tatum will gush over their pit bull pups. They’ll tell anyone who’ll listen how amazing they are. Alicia Silverstone talks about them on her website, Liam Hemsworth posts about his pittie on social media. Norman Reedus even wanted one for his character on The Walking Dead.
One thing in particular that sets these dog lovers apart from their peers is that they loudly vouch for their preferred breed. They often talk about their dogs, about the stigma around pit bulls, and do their best to raise awareness and support. They take it very seriously. The fact that such household names speak so highly of this misunderstood breed can have a huge positive impact on how it’s perceived.
When it comes to fiction, there are some well-represented pitties, as well. A well-known American Bulldog is Chance, from the Homeward Bound movies. There portrayed as a rambunctious teenager of a dog, Chance is the narrator of the story, and just as lovable as his “siblings”. The Little Rascals included a certain circle-eyed American Staffordshire Terrier companion, Pete the Pup. The Target mascot is a bull terrier. Historical icons such as Billie Holiday, Theodore Roosevelt, and Helen Keller all adored their pit bull companions.
Gaining some understanding
You can say what you want about celebrities, but it’s hard not to appreciate this kind of outspoken support. The words and opinions of people we admire carry weight, and can make all the difference in how things are perceived. When it comes to pit bulls, having someone influential in their corner could help change an entire generation’s idea of this misunderstood dog.