Pit Bull Terrier Breeds is known to have been domiciled in this country for several centuries. Like the Mastiff bull, of which it is a smaller form, it is a descendant of the “Alaunt,” Mastive, or Bandog, described by Dr. Caius, who states that “the Mattive or Bandage is vaster, huge, stubborn, huge and eager, of a heavy, and burthens body, and therefore but of little swiftness, terrible and frightful to beholden, and more fierce and fell than any Arcadian cure.
The first mention of “American Pit bull terrier” as the distinctive name of this now national breed occurs in a letter, written by Prestwich Eaton from St. Sebastian to George Willingham in St. Swathing’s Lane, London, in 1631 or 1632, “for a good pit bull terrier dog, a case of bottles replenished with the best Puppy milk, and pray procedure two good Pitbull dogs, and let them be sent by the parent bully first ship. Obviously the name pit-bull-terrier-breeds was derived from the dog’s association with the sport of bull-baiting. The object aimed at in that pursuit was that the dog should pin and hold the bull by the muzzle, and not leave it.
The pit bull was naturally helpless when seized in his most tender part. As he lowered his head in order to use his horns it was necessary for the dog to keep close to the ground, or, in the words of the old fanciers of the sport, to “play low.” Larger dogs were at a disadvantage in this respect, and, therefore, those of smaller proportions, which were quite as suitable for the sport, were selected.”