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  • The Pit Bull was originally created as a fighting dog by crossbreeding bulldogs, mastiffs, and terriers to produce a dog that combined the size and strength of the mastiff, the gameness and agility of the terrier, with the strength and tenacity of the bulldog. The early bull terriers of the Elizabethan era were much heavier and bred as fighting dogs to be used for bull and bear baiting in "pit" fights, hence the name. After the use of dogs in blood sports was banned, pit bulls were used as catch dogs in America for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt and drive livestock, and as family companions, although some owners still bred and used them clandestinely for dog fighting. This practice continues to this day, but is illegal in many nations. The term is often used loosely to describe dogs with similar physical characteristics, and the morphological variation amongst "bully breed" dogs makes it difficult for anyone, even experts, to visually identify them as distinct from "non-pit bulls".

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