This breed of dog often has a bad rap for being violent and distrustful. However, this breed actually makes a great companion and family dog. Originally bred to bait bulls, farmers eventually converted the dog into a well-mannered farm dog. In recent times you will find this particular breed of dog being used as a "nanny dog" because of their gentleness around children. You may also find this breed being used in competitions of weight pulling, agility, and obedience.
FAQs of the American Pit Bull Terrier
- Does the American Pit Bull Terrier adapt well to apartment living?
- The size of a dog does not matter as to whether the animal can live well in an apartment setting. What does matter is how much energy a dog has. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a low energy dog when inside and an active dog while outside. This allows them to adapt well to apartment living and are considered mid-range in this area. For more information see Dogs Not Well Suited To Apartment Living.
- Are American Pit Bull Terriers a good dog for novice dog owners?
- Do American Pit Bull Terriers have a high sensitivity level?
- Some dogs can be reprimanded with no problem at all as they will just let it roll of their backs. The Pit Bull, however, is not one of those dogs. When reprimanded these dogs ten to sulk for a long time and may not want to have anything to do with you for several days. (See List of Dogs That Have A Low Sensitivity Level.)
- Do American Pit Bull Terriers tolerate being alone?
- These dogs absolutely hate being left alone. They are constant worriers and will develop anxiety disorders when left alone. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Being Alone.)
- Can the American Pit Bull Terrier tolerate cold weather?
- The American Pit Bull Terrier is a dog with very short fur and for this reason it is not a breed of dog which tolerates the cold very well and should wear a sweater when out in the cold. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Cold Weather.)
- Can the American Pit Bull Terrier tolerate hot weather?
- This type of dog is considered middle of the road when it comes to tolerating hot weather. Its short fur allows it to keep cooler than dogs with longer hair but its size means that it will over heat if it exerts itself in hot weather. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited for Hot Weather.)
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier an affectionate dog with family members?
- Most people see these dogs as being vicious and unfriendly. This couldn't be further from the truth. Pit Bulls are one of the most affectionate dogs you will ever meet. Especially around children. (See List of Dogs That Are Not Affectionate With Family.)
- Are American Pit Bull Terriers friendly around kids?
- These dogs have a long history as being the family baby sitters because of their affection towards children of all ages. For some reason these dogs believe that they were put on this Earth to take care of children and will protect them with their lives. Just remember that all dogs are individuals and need to be trained on how to properly behave around children. And it is always a good idea to never leave children and dogs unsupervised when they are together. (See List of Kid Friendly Dogs and the List of Dogs That Are Not Kid Friendly.)
- Are American Pit Bull Terriers friendly towards other dogs?
- The American Pit Bull Terrier is an extremely territorial dog and does not look kindly towards other dogs that stray into their territory. For that reason this breed receives a very low score. If you are planning on getting an American Pit Bull Terrier it is strongly recommended that you not introduce any other dog to the house. (See List of Dogs That Are Not So Dog-Friendly.)
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier friendly towards strangers?
- Does the American Pit Bull Terrier shed a lot?
- All dogs shed. The American Pit Bull Terrier is considered to be a heavy shedder as he will shed throughout the year. (See List of Dogs That Shed Very Little.)
- Does the American Pit Bull Terrier have a high potential for drooling?
- All dogs have a potential from drooling. Some more than others. The American Pit Bull Terrier has a relatively low potential for drooling. Most of the times the drooling potential for these dogs will increase when you are preparing their meals. (See List of Dogs That Don't Drool A Lot.)
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier an easy dog to groom?
- These dogs are very low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Basically all that is needed is one or two twenty minute sessions per week. (See List of Dogs That Require More Grooming.)
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier a generally healthy dog?
- All dogs can be prone to certain genetic conditions as a result of poor breeding practices. But, for the most part, this particular breed of dog has a very good health record. The important thing is to know as much as possible about your dog's parents as possible before purchasing any breed of dog. (See List of Dogs Prone To Health Problems.)
- Does the American Pit Bull Terrier have a high potential for gaining weight?
- All breeds have a potential for gaining weight. Some breeds are more prone to weight gain than others. The American Pit Bull Terrier is considered average in this area but if they are properly cared for and get plenty of exercise than any risk of gaining weight should be kept to a minimum.
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier a large dog?
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier an easy dog to train?
- Some dogs are really easy to train while others need constant bribery to do anything. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a dog that loves to please their owner and therefore is quite easy to train. (See List of Dogs That Are A Challenge To Train.)
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier an intelligent dog?
- The American Pit Bull Terrier is quite intelligent. Give them a mental challenge and they will stay with it until they solve the problem. This is one of the reasons that they make excellent watchdogs. If an intruder breaks into a property where there is a pit bull you will find the pit bull making decisions on how best to corner and trap the intruder. (See List of Dogs That Have Low Intelligence.)
- Does the American Pit Bull Terrier have a high tendency for being mouthy?
- When we talk about a dog's potential for being mouthy we are referring to its potential for nipping, chewing, and play-biting. The American Pit Bull Terrier is very high in this respect. These dogs need proper early socialization to control this behavior when playing so that they don't injure anyone. Especially children when they play with them.
- Does the American Pit Bull Terrier have a high prey drive?
- These dogs were originally bred to bait bulls and sometimes hunt large, dangerous game. However, their prey drive is average considered alongside other hunting dogs. If they are properly trained you can often keep their prey drive in check. If they are not properly trained they have been known to drag their owners when they go after game and other small animals that they consider prey. (See List of Dogs That Have A Low Prey Drive.)
- Do American Pit Bull Terriers have a high tendency to bark or howl?
- Some breeds of dogs just love the sound of their own voice. The American Pit Bull Terrier will usually only bark when someone approached the property to alert you. (See List of Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet.)
- Does the American Pit Bull Terrier have a high wanderlust potential?
- Some dogs love to wander away from their owners and explore their environment. The American Pit Bull Terrier is high on this list. These dogs must be kept on a leash when walking. And when at home they should have a well fenced yard in which to play. The fence should be at least seven feet high as these dogs can jump quite high and will attempt to jump over a fence. The fence should also go below ground by at least four feet as these dogs are avid diggers and can dig a hole three feet deep in as little as twenty minutes. (See List of Dogs Less Prone to Wander.)
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier an energetic dog?
- Some dogs are very energetic while others, like hounds, like to be lazy around the house. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a dog that has a high level of energy and needs to be kept busy to help spend that energy. (See List of Dogs That Have Low Energy.)
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier an intense dog?
- Some dogs just take things as they come. Others put their all into everything they do. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a dog that will put their all into everything it does. (See List of Dogs That Are Low Intensity.)
- Does the American Pit Bull Terrier need a lot of exercise?
- All dogs need exercise. Some more than others. The American Pit Bull is no exception as it is a very active breed of dog and therefore requires at least two twenty minute periods of vigorous exercise per day. Enrolling this type of dog into an agility sport would be very beneficial. (See List of Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise.)
- Is the American Pit Bull Terrier a very playful dog?
- The American Pit Bull Terrier is a perpetual puppy. He is the type of dog that loves to play games with his owner and kids. He will totally enjoy all the interactive activities that you can provide. (See List of Dogs That Are Not Playful.)
- Dog Breed Group: Terrier Dogs
- Height: 1 foot, 5 inches to 1 foot, 7 inches tall at the shoulder
- Weight: 30 to 85 pounds
- Life Span: 12 to 16 years
The American Pit Bull Terrier is one of the so-called bully breeds often labeled a pit bull. In fact, "pit bull" isn't a breed, but a term used to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Some people say the American Pit Bull Terrier is the same as the American Staffordshire Terrier. Others, just as forcefully, say they're entirely different breeds.
But all experts can agree that the confusion started with a decision by the AKC in the early 1930s to give it a new name, American Staffordshire Terrier, to separate it from its pit-fighting past. The American Pit Bull Terrier has not been recognized by the AKC, while the American Staffordshire Terrier, which is slightly smaller, has been.
These bull breeds are often grossly misunderstood. The qualities that make these dogs tenacious players in obedience and agility games also attract highly unscrupulous people looking for strong competitors for their dog fighting rings. The sorry result is that bull breeds, in particular the American Pit Bull Terrier, have gained a reputation over recent years for being dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth.
But rampant misinformation and fear caused by the actions of a minority of dogs kept by criminally negligent people have provoked legislation against the breed in a number of cities and countries around the world.
As the owner of an American Pit Bull Terrier you must be aware that you may be met with anger and hostility by people who are misinformed about your wonderful dog. This is not a breed for everyone, especially those who aren't willing to invest time in training and socialization and can't or won't provide consistent firm guidance.
When raised with the proper training and socialization, the American Pit Bull Terrier makes an excellent companion for children. He is loving and gentle with people and often makes a lousy guard dog because of his tail-wagging eagerness to greet the person at the door. American Pit Bull Terriers are devoted and loyal to their family and will, if necessary, defend them to the death.
These dogs are extremely intelligent and learn commands and tricks with ease. They have a zest for life and love to be involved in everything going on around them. They maintain a puppyish demeanor well into adulthood, and that vitality makes them a joy to live with. Once you have met and gotten to know this breed you will wonder how you ever lived without one.
- The American Pit Bull Terrier craves attention and is not a good choice for people who can give them little or no attention.
- They must be properly trained and socialized when they are young so that they can overcome their tendencies of being stubborn and bossy. These dogs need to learn that you are in charge as their strength can make them hard to handle.
- The American Pit Bull Terrier must be kept on leash in public to prevent aggression toward other dogs. It's not a good idea to let these dogs run loose in dog parks. While they might not start a fight, they'll never back down from one, and they fight to the finish. American Pit Bulls who aren't properly socialized as puppies can become aggressive toward other dogs.
- Breed-specific legislation almost always includes this breed. Be aware of rules in your area as well as neighboring regions if you travel with your dog.
- American Pit Bull Terriers have a great need to chew, and powerful jaws make quick work of cheap or flimsy toys. Give yours only tough, durable toys that can't be chewed up and swallowed.
- American Pit Bull Terriers are best suited to owners who can offer firm, fair training, and gentle consistent discipline.
History of the American Pit Bull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier was developed in the early 19th-century and was used in the sports of bull- and bear baiting. When those sports became illegal in 1835 , these dogs were then used in the sport of dog-fighting which is how these dogs developed the trait of aggression.
Even though these dogs have an aggressive nature they also have an unwillingness to bite humans. This is because handlers of these fighting dogs wanted to be able to reach into the ring to separate the dogs without being bit themselves. This helped to develop these dogs into a strong, protective dog that was known for being gentle and family-friendly.
When these "bull dogs" accompanied immigrants to America they began new careers as all-around farm dogs. Their jobs included hunting wild game, guarding the property from animal intruders, and providing companionship. In keeping with the "bigger is better" mindset of their new country, the settlers developed a dog larger than it had been in England.
In 1898 the UKC, Britain's equivalent of the AKC, named these bull dogs the American Pit Bull Terrier. The AKC decided to recognize the breed in the early 1930s — but under a new name. Intending to separate it from its pit-fighting past, the AKC named it the American Staffordshire Terrier.
Since then the American Staffordshire Terrier has been bred for AKC conformation, or dog shows, while the American Pit Bull Terrier has not been. The results are very slight differences in build and in personality.
Height of 18 to 19 inches (45.72 to 48.26 centimeters) for males, 17 to 18 inches (43.18 to 45.72 centimeters) for females. Weight ranges from 30 to 85 pounds (13.61 to 38.56 kilograms).
Personality of the American Pit Bull Terrier
Owners of these dogs soon notice that these dogs just love people and believe that they are lap dogs. They are very confident and keenly aware of their surroundings. For this reason they make excellent watchdogs and they will definitely alert you to the presence of strangers.
While their love of people makes them failures as guard dogs, their courage is unmatched and they will defend their family with their lives.
American Pit Bull Terriers really need early socialization. It is a must that they be exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, experiences, and surroundings when they are young. Socialization is the best way to ensure that your puppy grows up to be well-mannered and obedient.
American Pit Bull Terriers are generally healthy, but as with all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all American Pit Bulls Terriers will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.
- Hip Dysplasia (HD): This condition is a malformation of the hip joint ball and socket. It can be extremely painful depending on the severity of the condition. Dogs who are going to be bred should have x-rays of their hips done at 2 years of age to ensure they do not have this condition.
- Allergies: Allergies are quite common in American Pit Bull Terriers/American Staffordshires. Skin allergies are typically caused by such environmental allergens as fleas, grass, pollen, and dust. They can also be food related, but this is less common. Common food allergens include beef, rice, wheat, and corn. Allergies can cause intense itching and discomfort, which means dogs will dig and chew sometimes till they bleed. This is risky because secondary infections can develop in the damaged tissue. To treat allergies, the cause must be identified and removed from the dog's environment if possible. A veterinarian can help you with this, as well as let you know which allergy symptoms can be controlled with medication.
- Hypothyroidism: This is a dysfunction of the thyroid gland that causes weight gain, poor coat, reproductive problems and other issues. It usually occurs in middle-aged dogs and can be controlled with daily medication that must continue throughout the dog's life.
- Heart Disease: Heart disease affects these dogs in several forms, with aortic stenosis being most common. Aortic stenosis is a congenital heart defect, meaning it's something the dog is born with. It's an abnormal narrowing of the connection between the left ventricle and the aorta. Some dogs don't have any signs or only minor signs, while others may have little energy or even die suddenly. If your veterinarian hears a heart murmur, a chest x-ray and electrocardiogram can confirm the diagnosis.
Care of the American Pit Bull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier is an active breed of dog. Be prepared to spend about an hour per day walking and exercising your dog.
As these dogs are very strong and can be stubborn they require early obedience training. This type of training should be continued throughout the dog's life because if you get lazy with the training the dog will also forget his manners.
Remember that these dogs do not tolerate the cold very well. Because of this you should never leave your dog outside for long periods of time when it is cold. These dogs are housedogs and require the comforts that living inside bring to them.
Also, these dogs do not tolerate being left alone for long periods of time. They really love people and will feel abandoned when left alone for too long.
Recommended daily amount: 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
To prevent obesity, measure your dog's food and give meals at set times each day rather than leaving food out all the time. He should have a waist when you look down at him, and you should be able to feel his ribs beneath a layer of muscle but not see them. If the ribs are buried beneath rolls of fat, your dog needs to go on a diet.
Coat Color And Grooming
The short coat is shiny and stiff to the touch, and comes in all colors — red, blue, brown, grey, black and white, and brindle, among them.
These dogs are really easy to groom and keep clean (unless your dog just loves to roll in mud). Their coat really doesn't require a lot of attention. A twenty minute Brushing once a week and an occasional bath. If you wish you can also give your dog's coat a wiping with a cloth to help maintain the shine of the coat.
Your dog's teeth also need regular care. You can Brush your dog's teeth two or three times a week to remove any tartar buildup as well as bacteria from your dog's mouth. If you can, daily brushing is the preferred way to go as this will help to prevent gum disease and the bad breath that develops as the animal ages.
At least once a month you should trim your dog's nails if he doesn't wear them down naturally which will prevent painful tears and other problems. A good rule of thumb here is that if you can hear your dog's nails clicking on the floor when he walks then they are probably too long and need to be trimmed. Be careful not to cut the nails too short. Dogs are sensitive to having their nails trimmed and an unpleasant experience could result in your dog not letting you trim his nails again.
Another area that needs attention is your dog's ears. Check them regularly for any redness or bad odor. Clean the ears periodically with a cotton ball that has been dampened in a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner for dogs. This will help to prevent infections which may cause deafness in your dog. Do not insert anything into the dog's ear canal as they have short canals and you could rupture the ear drum.
Accustom your American Pit Bull Terrier to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth and ears. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Children And Other Pets
If you want a dog that loves children then the American Pit Bull Terrier is the dog for you. They are sturdy, energetic, and tolerant which makes them an excellent playmate. But remember that as a responsible dog owner you should still keep an eye on the interactions between dog and children.
If an adult cannot be there to oversee what's going on it is best to crate the dog. This is especially true after they reach sexual maturity. This is usually when they try to become "pack" leaders and they may see a child as a controllable pack member.
The ears and tails of dogs are sensitive and you should stop any child from pulling or tugging on them.
Because of their dog-fighting heritage, some American Pit Bull Terriers retain a tendency to be aggressive with other dogs, but if they are socialized early and trained to know what behavior is expected of them, that aggression can be minimized or overcome, and many are dog- and cat-friendly. Just to be safe, they should always be supervised in the presence of other pets.
You can find American Pit Bulls, and Pit Bulls, and Pit Bull mixes, in just about every shelter in the country. Several good rescue groups are dedicated to finding homes for these much misunderstood dogs.
American Pit Bull Puppy Pics
American Pit Bull Puppy Pics