A term used by the early media (1800s to 1920s) to describe how a pit bull holds and shakes its victim. The term is likely also used because ratfighting was the predecessor to dogfighting, both of which fell into high gear after bull-baiting was outlawed in Great Britain in 1835. The many press references to “vicious bulldog” and “savage bulldog” during this period refer to the pit bull terrier, whose name first became registered at the UKC in 1898. Today’s term by the press (and the public) for the pit bull bite is “shook like a rag doll.”

[1905] A Mad Bulldog Kills Baby Girl
The Vicious Beast Had Been a Playfellow
Bullets Killed the Brute, But His Terrible Fangs Held Unmercifully to the Little Victim – Little One Torn to Pieces – Fatal Pit Bull Attacks

Yvonne Davis killed by pit bull in 1905

Shook like a rag doll

The pit bull shook her like a rag-doll, smashing her face into the floor and knocking out her two front teeth and breaking her nose. – thefreelibrary.com
“He was just shaking it like a rag doll.” – Cat owner
A pit bull had snatched Amaya out of her stroller and had shaken the toddler like a rag doll before adults could get the animal away from her. – wthr.com
Amaya Hess suffered appalling injuries five years ago when she was mauled like a rag doll by a pit bull terrier. – Daily Mail
Pit Bull Shook Terrier ‘Like A Rag Doll‘ In Fatal St. Pete Attack – TBO.com
“She just came out and got her. It was horrible,” Dickson said. “It was like watching a rag doll being shook.” – Owner of mauled pet