As the family settles in to enjoy the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with Romeo, your beloved American pit bull terrier pup, snuggled in your lap, you may notice that there are no American pit bulls listed in the terrier group. It's not long before your kids ask you, "Hey, why isn't our dog in the show?"
America's Dog Show
While Romeo may be registered as an American pit bull terrier with the United Kennel Club, he's not eligible to compete at the famed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The Westminster Kennel Club invites the champions from American Kennel Club dog shows to compete at Westminster, also known as America's Dog Show. All dogs must be AKC-registered to compete in an AKC show. The AKC recognizes a similar breed called the American Staffordshire terrier. First accepted for registration in 1936, the AmStaff was essentially the same dog as the UKC's APBT. In fact, several dogs who fulfilled the AKC's newly written breed standard were dual-registered as both an AmStaff and an APBT, including the famous "Little Rascals"/"Our Gang" dog, Pete the Pup. While there are still a few dogs registered with both organizations, an APBT is no longer accepted for registration with the AKC unless both of his parents are already registered as AmStaffs. After more than 75 years of separate breeding programs, the two dogs are considered different breeds by both organizations.