Shorty Rossi with his Pit Bull Hercules Shorty Rossi with his Pit Bull Hercules

With myriad series like Little Chocolatiers, The Little Couple and Little People, Big World, reality shows about small-statured folks have taken off in a big way. But none has had as much bite as Pit Boss, Animal Planet's edgy, yet endearing, hit about a street-smart ex-con who runs both a Los Angeles pit-bull rescue operation and a little-person entertainment agency (airing Saturday at 10/9c).

"Little people are misunderstood just like pit bulls are," says straight-talking star Shorty Rossi, who believes the glut of LP series helps dispel stereotypes. "It gets it out there that we're not just circus freaks and entertainers — even though that is my main line of business. Some of us live on a huge ranch, some have our own chocolate company — which I think is a riot! — and then there is a little guy who owns a business and has a pit-bull rescue."

In fact, it's Rossi's actor-placement biz — dubbed Shortywood — that finances his passion for saving the unjustly maligned breed. "We make a commission, the commission makes profits, and the profits help the dogs," he says matter-of-factly from his second home in Mexico, where he's spending time with his — count 'em — six pit bulls. "They're all here with me," says Rossi, well aware of the difficulties of traveling with a half-dozen dogs. "It's always an adventure at U.S. Customs when you try to go across the border!"

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