Throughout history, many of the rich and famous have also been proud owners of a bully breed, including authors, athletes, actors and even former presidents of the United States. Take a look at the top 10 most high-profile pit lovers!
Actress Jessica Biel is the proud owner of a pit bull named Tina. When she's not on set, she's often spotted walking or jogging with her around Hollywood and is sometimes accompanied by her boyfriend Justin Timberlake and his boxers. She credits Tina with keeping her in shape.
Alicia Silverstone is an avid animal lover and activist. She has rescued several dogs and her pit bull named, "The Pig" sleeps on top of her husband!
Actress and humanitarian, Linda Blair is not only a pit-bull lover, but even started a non-profit foundation devoted to rescuing and rehabilitating abused and neglected animals called the WorldHeart Foundation.
Daytime talk show host Dr. Phil has joined the fight against dog fighting. He has taken time from cheating spouses on the show to confront dog-fighters and has blogged about the Supreme Court's ruling on the sale of dog torture videos saying it makes him "sick to his stomach."
Actress Jessica Alba has a pit bull named Bowie, after the legendary rocker David Bowie.
Actor, author and legendary Broadway show animal trainer Bill Berloni works with all different types of dogs, most of which are saved from shelters before making their big debut. However, he credits the bully breeds as the ideal choice for training, citing them as fiercely loyal and advocating for their adoption through his role as a behavioral consultant for the Humane Society of New York.
Esteemed stage, screen and film actor Ken Howard is not only an avid bully breed supporter, but in fact credits his Staffordshire terrier Shadow with saving his life. It was Howard's wife Linda, a retired stuntwoman and dedicated animal lover, who lobbied for the adoption of Shadow, and thankfully so.
In June 2000, when Howard was in need of a kidney transplant, his condition caused him to collapse. As he lay face down suffocating in a pool of his own blood, Shadow ran downstairs, alerting Linda that something was wrong by growling until she followed him back upstairs. Howard was discovered in time to receive life-saving medical attention and went on to have the transplant.
Popular crime fiction author Andrew Vachss is not only the proud pet parent of a pit named Honey, but a passionate advocate for the bully breeds, maintaining that any dog can be raised and trained incorrectly to be dangerous. Vachss is also a very vocal opponent of pit bull fighting and breed-specific bans, and has partnered with fellow crime writer James Colbert to rehabilitate pits to serve as therapy dogs for abused children.
The former president was well known for trying to project and maintain a very macho image, which his pit bull Pete helped foster, until the dog caused a diplomatic incident after tearing out the seat of the visiting French ambassador's trousers. Thankfully, international conflict was avoided, but to ensure any repeat performances, Pete went on to enjoy his days at Roosevelt's Long Island home.
Pit bulls are widely used as therapy dogs. However, author, activist and lecturer Helen Keller considered her pit, Stubby, to be purely her companion and did not use her for guidance, as is often the practice with the sight-impaired. A dog lover since childhood, Keller also went on to become primarily responsible for introducing the Akita breed to the United States, having received one as an official gift from the Japanese government in 1938.
Actress Rachel Bilson has a somewhat unusual arrangement with her pit, Penny Lane. Former O.C. co-star and one-time fiancé Adam Brody gifted Bilson with Penny for her birthday. After the couple broke up, they decided to continue to share custody of the dog because they both had grown so attached to it. Talk about an amicable animal split!
Radio personality Ira Glass, best known for his role as the host of NPR's This American Life, recently adopted a pit bull with his wife, editor Anaheed Alani. The two enjoying walking their pup in Manhattan, where they relocated to from Chicago in 2006, and Glass has commented that the dog's personality -- sweet, cute, smart and even a bit cowardly -- contradicts what many people assume the breed to be like.
Kitchen guru and television personality Rachael Ray is often photographed with her pit, Isaboo, and frequently uses her talk show to speak out on breed-specific bans. In fact, her on-air mention of the Unexpected Pit Bull organization dedicated to giving the breed a positive public voice and image led to their 2009 calendar completely selling out (100 percent of the proceeds from all annual calendar sales are donated to pit bull rescue and advocacy groups).
Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx, who owns two pits, was also quoted by the press as lobbying for the breed as a contender for "first dog" when President Barack Obama and his family were considering adding a four-legged friend to the White House. Of course, Foxx's good-natured pit "campaign" lost out to the Portuguese water dog, but the actor continues to be a strong advocate for the adoption of bully breeds.
The political satirist and host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show owns two pit bulls, Monkey and Shamsky, the latter named after Major League Baseball legend Art Shamsky. The pups live with Stewart, his wife Tracey, their two children and a cat named Stanley in their Tribeca penthouse in downtown Manhattan.
During the 2008 election, in response to Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's comment about hockey moms and pit bulls, Stewart's support of pits was apparent as he commented, "One is unfairly maligned in spite of evidence that it is no worse than any other dog, and one is an artificial demographic that is no better or worse than any other mom."