Fighting dogs: features and types

All modern dog breeds can be divided into several categories. Some of them are intended exclusively for hunting activities, others show themselves well in the service of law enforcement agencies, and some are even kept for decorative purposes. In the same article, you will learn all the information about fighting dogs: features, varieties, pros and cons of these breeds.

History of appearance

The history of almost all fighting dogs began in the first half of the 18th century. It was at that time that the fashion for fighting pits appeared in the UK. Initially, it was people who fought in these pits, however, over time, bloody spectacles with the participation of wild animals and specially bred dogs began to appear more and more often.

The first representatives of fighting breeds were terriers and bulldogs. Separately, these dogs possessed such unique qualities as speed, dexterity, strength and power, which allowed them to cope with wolves, bears and even bulls without any special problems. These cruel spectacles gained a huge number of spectators, which led to the beginning of attempts to breed fighting dog breeds.

In the course of breeding research, the strength and ferocity of bulldogs and the speed, maneuverability and intelligence of terriers were used as the basis for the creation.

The key result was the creation of several separate dog breeds, ideally suited to fight an opponent that is far superior in size and strength. The new dogs, despite their reinforced bones and massive and powerful jaws, had incredibly quick reactions and a sharp mind. This allowed them to predict the opponent’s actions in critical situations. The main feature of these pets was the ability to independently make informed decisions, not based on the commands of their owner.

At first, dogs, despite their strength, always tried to follow the instructions of the owner as accurately as possible, which led to injuries and deaths in fierce and fast battles. Over time, fights began to be held exclusively between dogs, however, the fashion for this did not last too long. In the second half of the 19th century, activist movements against animal abuse began throughout Europe, which led to an almost complete ban on dog fighting.

After this turning point, the fate of fighting dogs completely changed: most of them remained in the UK, where they began to be modified to meet the modern needs of the public. These individuals became wonderful watchmen, guards and defenders, however, they had much lighter bones and less developed muscles than their ancestors. At the end of the 18th century, the colonization of America was actively taking place. European settlers brought to the territory of America not only their traditions and way of life, but also their pets, among which were representatives of fighting breeds.

Since fighting pits were not yet banned in America at that time, unlike England, they became simply wildly popular.. This was a kind of impetus, which led to the creation of several more varieties of fighting dog breeds, but already in America. Over time, a ban on dog fighting was also introduced in the United States.

All fighting dogs began to be used either in underground fighting clubs, or served in law enforcement agencies (for example, in the police).

Main characteristics

Each breed of fighting dogs has a number of individual external characteristics, which became the reason for the creation of separate breed standards. But since these dogs were bred exclusively for fighting purposes, they also have certain general characteristics, which will be described below.

  • Musculature. Most dogs of the fighting breed have incredibly developed musculature throughout the body. The most developed muscles are on the back, limbs, shoulder blades and pelvis. It should be said that the modern appearance of most fighting dogs has been significantly adjusted after the decrease in demand for fighting pits. This means that even 2 centuries ago these dogs were larger and stronger. All the muscles of these animals are remarkably outlined due to the thin coat (in most breeds).
  • wool type. Most of the officially recognized fighting dogs are smooth and short-haired. The undercoat is also missing. This feature of the appearance made these dogs absolutely unsuitable for guard activities in the street.
  • The shape of the skull and muzzle. Fighting dogs like to be identified by the special form of the structure of the head: it is incredibly massive, wide and is the shape of a blunt wedge when viewed from the front of the pet.
  • Jaws. A feature of almost all fighting dogs are powerful muscular jaws with pronounced frills.
  • Frame. Almost all fighting breeds have a wide and muscular chest (not very deep).
  • limbs. The hallmark of fighting breeds is the widely spaced fore and hind limbs. In a state of tension, excitement and interest, the body of the pet leans slightly forward, which creates the impression that he is ready to break off the leash at any moment.
  • Lifespan. Fighting breeds bring together not only external qualities, but also almost the same average life expectancy. Representatives of these breeds live on average from 10 to 14 years in ideal conditions. This is a very respectable period in relation to other large breeds of dogs.

Advantages and disadvantages

Unfortunately, these dogs today have an unpleasant stereotype of dangerous and evil predators that are incapable of self-control and cannot be trained. However, this opinion does not exist due to the bloodthirsty nature of fighting dogs, but because of the dishonesty and inexperience of their owners. Experienced breeders recognize some shortcomings for these breeds, however, according to modern dog handlers, there are also many advantages in their content.

These are the benefits.

  • All fighting dog breeds – born protectors and guards. If you manage to win the trust of these pets and designate your authority, rest assured that they will be devoted to you for the rest of their lives. For the sake of their owners, some of the varieties of fighting dogs are even ready for self-sacrifice. With them, you can safely walk around the evening city and not be afraid that you will be attacked or robbed – because no one in their right mind would dare to attack the same bulldog or mastiff.
  • Service potential. In modern realities, the fighting power of these dogs has been learned to be used in many professions. These dogs have a natural talent when it comes to guarding or catching criminals. Today, these dogs can be found in the service of law enforcement agencies in many countries.
  • Intelligence. Despite the fact that the primary exterior of most fighting dogs has undergone many changes, they have remained incredibly intelligent and independent. A sharp mind allows them to instantly read people’s emotions, predict their actions and unravel their motives. Developed intelligence helps these pets to be self-sufficient – they can be alone at home for a long time and not miss their owner. In addition, fighting breeds perfectly feel the current state of their owner and will not bother him in a difficult situation.
  • Good health. The difficult and bloody past tempered all varieties of fighting breeds.

Breeding research, strict selection and harsh breeding conditions have made most of these dogs almost immune to infections and diseases of the skeletal system.

There are also disadvantages.

  • Upbringing. For a full and healthy training and training of these dogs, you need not only an experienced, but also a strong person who will be able to suppress any whims and soberly respond to disobedience. Many of the fighting breeds are smart enough to judge their strength and power. This leads to the fact that these dogs feel their impunity and will not obey an equal, from their point of view.
  • Children and education. Few dare to have adult fighting dogs in families with small children. And here the whole point is not even in aggression, but in the jealousy that these pets experience for anyone who “steals” the owner’s attention from them. These pets should not be given to children for upbringing – the latter will be too affectionate and kind towards the dog and may simply not notice when an ordinary game or a fun workout turns into a real fight.
  • stereotypes. As already mentioned, not all passers-by on the street are able to adequately perceive fighting dogs. Often the most difficult part in keeping these pets is the prejudice of others. During walks, many will look askance at your formidable pet, hide children and retreat to the other side of the street when they see it. Most of the owners of such dogs simply get used to it over time and try not to appear in public places. For others, this increased negative attention can put enormous pressure on them.

Popular breeds

Among all the fighting dog breeds, several of the most famous varieties can be especially noted. Below will be presented the top 10 names and descriptions of the most popular fighting dogs in the world.

American Staffordshire Terrier (or Amstaff)

One of the most recognizable breeds among the rest. The first individuals were created in America by crossing English bulldogs and terriers. Amstaff representatives were used exclusively in dog fighting pits, a little later, with the introduction of a ban on fighting pits in America, these animals began to be used in private life. Often these pets became wonderful watchmen, helpers in the breeding of small cattle, or ordinary companions.

This breed differs from other fighting dogs in extreme fearlessness in battle, selflessness in relation to the owner and at the same time self-sufficiency. The breed received its name and official recognition only in 1972, when there was a need to separate the true English breed and the variety created in America.

american pit bull terrier

Counts the most bloodthirsty breed among all fighting dogs. It was first bred in America by crossing a Staffordshire Terrier and a Bulldog. Like most fighting dogs, pit bulls were bred exclusively for fighting pits. Over the years, they have cultivated all the qualities necessary for an ideal fighting dog: fearlessness, courage, reduced sensitivity, the ability to analyze the situation and look for the opponent’s weak points.

Unfortunately, all these qualities are ingrained in the genetic material of pit bulls. Today they are considered the most dangerous and one of the most powerful fighting dogs – in many sources on the Internet you can find videos with proof of what these dogs are capable of in a fit of rage.

Over time, in some countries a complete ban was introduced on the breeding and keeping of American pit bull terriers, however, in others they are still actively used in official activities.

american bulldog

The history of these pets is not much different from the history of the origin of other breeds created in America. However, in this case, the variety is an English bulldog practically not changed by selection. These dogs were also used in fighting pits, however, time treated them not as cruelly as the American Pit Bull Terriers. Today these dogs are considered They are excellent watchdogs, they get along well with children and feel great in large families.

Like all fighting dogs, American Bulldogs are wary of other pets. In an apartment in this regard, dogs tend to be completely dominant.


It is believed that the first individuals of these dogs were bred in Europe by crossing with molossians and pickling dogs. A little later, representatives of these dogs were brought to the territory of South Africa, where the breed has undergone significant changes through crossing with local breeds.

On the territory of South Africa and in Europe, these dogs not only participated in dog fights, but were also actively used in farming, hunting and security activities. For these dogs, despite their remarkable service qualities, the glory of bloodthirsty predators has also been entrenched.

A huge number of cases of attacks by representatives of Boerboels on passers-by and children are known.

bull terrier

This breed of dog was first bred in the middle of the 19th century by English breeding breeders. The ancestors of the breed were the English Terrier, the English Bulldog, and later the Dalmatian. Representatives of this breed differ from the rest in long an egg-shaped muzzle, as well as the complete absence of a stop. By color, white bull terriers are most common, however, individuals of brindle, red, gray and white with black spots are also found. At the moment, most of these dogs are bred exclusively for decorative purposes.

With each year of their existence, these dogs are less and less aggressive towards other pets, loyal to the owner and very caring and attached to children with proper upbringing.

Tosa Inu (or Japanese Mastiff)

The only representative of the Molossian dog group in Japan. The first individuals of this breed of dogs were bred only at the end of the 19th century, the province of Tosa, which is located on one of the Japanese islands, became their homeland. The initial task was to create a dog ideally suited for dog fighting. But in the future, dogs began to be used in security and official activities.

The ancestors of these dogs in Japan are representatives of the Kochi Inu, Pit Bull and Staffordshire breeds, which were also bred for dog fighting and hunting.

Over time, Japan opened its borders to foreigners, which led to the appearance of other varieties of dogs in Japanese dog pits. Unfortunately for the Japanese, individuals of the Tosa Inu began to lose almost immediately in all qualities to foreign breeds. This led to attempts to create a stronger, more enduring and more agile breed. The result of the experiments was the individuals of the Tosa Inu, as they are seen today.

Brindis Fighting

This breed is a rare but prominent representative of all fighting dogs. It is believed that the first representatives of this breed were bred in Italy in the middle of the 19th century. The initiators of the breed were individuals of the pit bull, Rottweiler, as well as some other varieties. Representatives of this breed are known throughout the world due to their unusually aggressive and uncontrollable behavior. It is believed that these pets were actively used by the Italian mafia for the painful murder of their victims.

Unfortunately, this breed is not recognized by any modern cynological organization, and therefore there is no clear standard and description of the exterior.

Caucasian Shepherd Dog

Among the large representatives of fighting dogs, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog occupies a bright place. She is one of the most ancient representatives of fighting breeds: it is believed that Tibetan Great Danes and mastiffs became her direct ancestor. Unlike other dogs With fighting qualities, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs were originally used as watchmen, guards and defenders.

Their rather long and fluffy coat allowed them to stay in harsh climatic conditions for a long time. The representatives of these pets got their name from the place from the creation – the Caucasus, and the first breed standards were prescribed in the 30s of the XX century.

american bandog

These dogs are also a striking representative of the exterior of any fighting variety. These dogs got their wonderful fighting qualities by crossing pit bull terriers and Neapolitan mastiffs. Despite their aggressive appearance, these dogs have a rather docile nature, are prone to training and are very devoted to their owners.

english mastiff

Known breed in the territory of modern England. These dogs are considered one of the most ancient in England and were bred by crossing Tibetan dogs, bulldogs and terriers. From the 18th century, these dogs took an active part in guard activities, helped in military operations, and a little later began to participate in fighting pits.

With the departure of the fashion for dog fighting, the exterior of these dogs has undergone many changes: they have become not so large, squat, the number of muscles has decreased.

Education and training

All efforts in training fighting dogs should be directed to the formation and retention of their own authority. These dogs need a firm hand that will not allow concessions or indulgences. Only in this case, these dogs will be brought up obedient and calm. Below you can find a list of recommendations that you need to follow during the training of such pets.

  • First steps. Start training with your pet from the first day of its appearance in your apartment. Remember that the younger the puppy gets into your hands, the more likely you are to form the right character and lay a competent base for training. At first, classes should begin with short and very light commands that will indicate a simple one-time action. Vivid examples are the commands: “sit”, “ap”, “fu”, “voice”. Do not forget that it can sometimes take more than a dozen repetitions to memorize a single command, especially when it comes to such stubborn but smart dogs as fighting dogs.
  • Socialization. Unfortunately, fights in dogs of fighting breeds are laid down at the genetic level – all of them are predisposed from birth to an outburst of energy through physical struggle with their own kind. The ideal option in raising these dogs would be one where 2 or 3 puppies grow up together. Through games, shared fun and sharing games, puppies will explore the world together and understand how to behave with other pets. Remember that it is better if your pets learn what a fight is through games with each other than get a taste for it already in adulthood.
  • Aggression. Almost all representatives of fighting breeds are very vindictive. They may not respond to aggression at the moment, however, the next day or in the coming weeks, they will show their dissatisfaction with some act. Try to avoid such situations and not anger your dog: avoid beatings, do not hit your pet with a leash, do not raise your voice to scream and do not intimidate your pet. To overcome the stubborn nature of small puppies of fighting dogs is possible only through iron patience.
  • Systematic. Classes with a pet should be held regularly at about the same time, do not allow large gaps in training so that your pet does not forget all the material covered. At a very young age, devote at least half an hour of daily time to training. By the year, the time spent on training should double to an hour or more.
  • Trainer. Only one trainer should be involved in the training of fighting dogs. In the presence of two or more trainers (in the role of which children usually participate in ordinary families), such pets always make the choice of obedience in favor of the most loyal and kind, in their opinion, trainer.
  • We complicate the task. After you have made sure that your pet is able to follow more or less simple commands and can repeat them, proceed to the study of more complex exercises. As a rule, commands that require a long and consistent performance from the pet act as complicated exercises. A striking example of such commands are: “near”, “to me”, “fetch”, “place”, “face”. It will take a dog much more time to memorize them than to memorize simple commands.
  • Incentives. Do not forget about the banal reward of your pet after the successful completion of the next task. For example, puppies with a tasty treat in the form of a reward are very motivated to follow the rest of the commands. Special marrow bones from a pet store can serve as a treat. Some breeders prefer to give the dog a treat after each walk during which the pet behaved calmly, diligently and obediently.
  • Authority. To establish the necessary authority in front of the dog, you should follow certain rules. When walking, always try to keep your pet close and not allow it to move away for long distances. When entering the room, you must first enter, and then the pet. During the meal, you first have breakfast, after that the pet. Simply put, a fighting dog must understand that everything that happens depends only on the owner and happens only by his will.
  • Severity. Remember, if you once allowed your pet something a priori forbidden, you will not wean him not to do it the next time. And here it will not be about the bad behavior of the dog, but about the lack of understanding of why this cannot be done, although it was once possible.

Walking rules

Walking on the street is an indispensable item in the content of any breed of dog. It is during the walk that your pet should show its full potential in training and spend energy for proper sleep and digestion of food. Below you will find the basic rules for walking fighting dogs.

  • Loads. Inexperienced breeders attribute the aggressiveness and activity of fighting dogs to their restless and bloodthirsty nature, and only experienced owners know that such qualities as capriciousness and aggression appear when there is a lack of a niche for an outburst of energy. All dogs, and especially dogs of fighting breeds, need regular training with lots of machines, runs and commands. Ideally, adult dogs of this species should be given at least 1 hour per day for a full and exhausting workout.
  • Protection. A prerequisite for walking fighting dogs is the presence of a strong and necessarily short leash, as well as a full-fledged muzzle. Such precautions will certainly not leave your pet delighted, which will strive to grab everything that comes under its nose, but this way you will protect yourself and everyone around you as much as possible. Moreover, walking a fighting dog without these accessories in public places can be extremely negatively perceived by passers-by, especially families with small children.
  • Fighting. When walking these dogs, clashes and conflicts with other pets will simply not be avoided. The first such meeting will be an incredibly difficult test for the owner of the dog – when fighting dogs smell blood, it becomes very difficult to stop them. In a fit of anger and rage, these dogs are quite capable of attacking their master if he stands between them and a rival. If there is any hint of a fight, immediately take the dog away by firmly grasping its collar. Do not try to calm the dog, stroke it or give treats – this can provoke the pet to throw out the accumulated anger already at you. If a fight is imminent or is already happening, try to pull the dog by the tail or by the back of the body.
  • beating. Regardless of how your pet behaves, you should not use physical violence towards him. This will only irritate the fighting dog and give it a reason to pounce on you. In addition, fighting dogs are often very vindictive and can literally avenge you for an insult in the future.
  • Personal space. If during a dog walk you meet another pet in the company of its owner, do not rush to facilitate the meeting of dogs. First, you should make sure that your pet is able to calmly reschedule the meeting and not succumb to provocations. Fighting dogs really don’t like it when their personal space is violated. The same goes for your pet’s toys and accessories – never give it to your children or other animals. This will lead to anger and revenge of the dog.

Suitable nicknames

A well-chosen nickname can not only properly educate a dog, but, as some breeders are convinced, endow it with certain mental and physical characteristics. As a rule, the owners of fighting dogs are based on the mental and strength qualities of their pets when choosing a name. Below is a list of the most successful fighting dog names, depending on various associations with strength, power and thoroughbredness.

  • Associations with the destructive power of nature. For boys: Buran, Thunder, Hail, Tornado, Hurricane, Typhoon, Volcano, Meteor. For girls: Blizzard, Tsunami, Avalanche, Tornado, Thunderstorm, Cloud.
  • Associations with great historical figures. For boys: Caesar, Adolf, Quentin, Oscar, Newton. For girls: Margo, Monroe.
  • Associations with mythical personalities. For boys: Zeus, Apollo, Ares, Adam, Achilles. For girls: Venus, Aurora, Aphrodite, Triad, Athena.
  • Associations with noble birth. For boys: Lord, Prince, Tsar, Sir. For girls: Lady, Madonna, Miss, Lady, Donna.
  • Associations with excellence and perfection. For boys: Absolute, Diamond, Ideal, Diamond, Trump.


In fact, there are only 2 serious points in the maintenance and upbringing of these animals. The first point is to control the natural aggression and thirst for fights in these dogs. This problem can be dealt with only through constant training and contact with the dog. Physical activity exhausts the body of these pets, which muffles the natural urge to fight and riot.

The second point is the proper maintenance of fighting dogs and a balanced diet. From the usefulness of the diet, the abundance of vitamins and the balance of elements in food, not only health depends, but also the mood, cheerfulness of the dog. Experienced breeders have come to the conclusion that a large amount of aggression in fighting dogs appears from dissatisfaction in one of the areas of the pet’s life: from a lack of communication with the owner or from irregular and malnutrition meals.

In all other respects, fighting dogs are absolutely ordinary pets that need kindness, affection and constant attention. Do not forget that the appearance of these dogs does not make them bloodthirsty killers and ferocious animals – it all depends on you and the quality of the upbringing that you gave the dog.

For what not to do when keeping a fighting dog, see the following video.