The American Pitbull Terrier is a family and companion dog breed that was originally bred in England, Scotland and Ireland to “bait” rats, bulls and bears, and also participate in illegal dog fighting. The breed then grew into all-around farm dogs and was later moved into houses to play the role of “nanny dogs” since they were so gentle around children. The American Pit Bull Terriers are medium-sized, but also strong, agile, sturdy and powerful dogs that come from the Molosser family. They are shorthaired and are heavily built with well-defined and muscular bodies that make them an ideal option for those who wish to use for toilsome work.
Besides making great fighters and hunters, American Pitbull Terriers also proved to be outstanding working dogs based on their inborn intelligence, which is why these dogs are able to accomplish a variety of tasks.
Bull and terrier breeds were bred in the early 19th century in England for bear and bull-baiting, a famous spectator sport at the time. When the sport was labeled as inhumane and became illegal in 1835, dogfighting replaced it – the breed was then taught to be overly aggressive and violent.
An interesting feature about this breed is its inability to bite and harm humans. Handlers in the dogfighting rings wanted to approach these dogs and separate them without getting hurt, which is why the breed was soon seen as the strong and aggressive yet gentle and family-friendly.
When “bull dogs” traveled with the immigrants to America they started new careers as all-around farm dogs, which involved hunting wild game, protecting properties from intruders, and offering companionship. The breed was then bred to be bigger than its original size.
In 1898, Britain’s UKC named these bull dogs as the American Pit Bull Terrier. It wasn’t until the early 1930s that the AKC decided to recognize the breed – but under a different name: the American Staffordshire Terrier.
The APBT is a medium-sized dog with a smooth, short-haired, glossy and partially stiff coat. His body is well-defined and muscular, and he has a head that looks like a brick. The neck is also muscular, wide and thick. The chest is deep and the eyes are almost almond-like, and the ears are small to medium.
Contrary to popular belief, the American Pit bull terrier dog is a good-natured, easy going, an affectionate, loyal and friendly companion who is full of strength, love, and adventure. Not only are they passionate about pleasing their owners and family members, but are also extremely curious dogs. These hard working dogs have a puppyish character even when they have fully matured, and this quality makes them a treat to be around. Once you have met and really gotten to know an APBT, you will never want to live without them.
The breed is also quite friendly and loving around children. However, they should never be left alone with kids who are not well-known to them. Lack of proper training and socialization is always a problem that can spark various behavioral issues. If he is behaviorally disturbed, a Pit will tend to be very aggressive even towards humans and may accidentally even bite you. Since they have a strong drive to chase preys, small pets, domestic animals and other dogs – they can become aggressive and unwieldy. Nevertheless, this dog breed is very loyal and dedicated to his family and will protect them till death.
In order to train an APBT properly, you will need to be authoritative, sharp, commanding and consistent. It is recommended that you not adopt a Pit if you are a novice dog owner since these dogs require a stern owner who can deal with their bouts of aggression. You will also need to socialize with them and introduce the dog to your friends, family members, and others pets in order to minimize any chances of chaos. Since the American Pit Bull Terrier has an innate ability to jump really high and can effectively climb fences, you will need to make sure that your fences are the appropriate height that will prevent your dog from escaping.
Behavior Towards Children And Other Pets
APBTs are very affectionate and can live in peace with children, pets, and other dogs if they are socialized and trained enough. In absence of proper introduction and socialization, everybody will be at risk. Keep in mind this breed was designed to be aggressive, and can, therefore, come off as dangerous if not properly trained and supervised. Even if you have fully trained and socialized your dog, it is still recommended that you never leave him unsupervised with small children, unfamiliar dogs, pets, and humans.
- 13 Indestructible Toys for Pit Bulls – Strong Toys for Super Dogs
- Pitbull Husky Mix: A Look at the Devoted and Even-Tempered Pitsky
- Pitbull Chihuahua Mix: What Owning a Chipit Is Like
- An Overview of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- Everything You Need to Know Before Owning a Beagle Lab Mix
Grooming And General Care
The smooth, shorthaired and glossy coat of an American Pitbull Terrier is easier to groom and take care of. The breed sheds very little hair and can live without regular brushing and combing. However, their ears should be checked regularly for any signs of infection. Furthermore, they will need to be bathed and shampooed when needed, and their teeth will need to be brushed from time to time.
You should also trim his nails once or twice every month in order to avoid painful tears and other similar problems. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, it is a sign that they have grown too long. Remember not trim their nails to deep otherwise you will clip their blood vessels, which is quite painful. If you don’t have experience cutting dog nails or are unsure about what to do, it is best to contact your vet or a professional groomer for some tips.
Owing to their athleticism and diverse breeding background, APBTs tend to be rather hardy, living up to an average of 12 to 14 years, and even longer. However, there are some genetic conditions that owners should look out for. These include bone diseases like degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and kneecap dislocation; skin problems like allergies and mange; congenital heart issues and thyroid.
The APBT needs plenty of exercise on a regular basis. These dogs can very live without a big space or yard, but will be very active indoors. Because he is an agile and athletic dog; a Pit needs a daily dose of exercise to maintain his lean, muscular and well-built body. A daily jog, as well as running, walking, and free paying can offer additional benefits to the health and fitness of these dogs.
The American Pitbull terrier – Highlights at a glance
Indeed, the American Pitbull terrier is one of the most special dogs out there. He is aggressive yet affectionate, clownish, intelligent, obedient, strong and adventurous. If you are planning to bring home a Pit, it is important you keep the following features in mind before adoption.
- Nicknames: Pit, APBT, pit Bull, Pit terrier, Half and Half, Bull Baiter Dogs, Yankee Terrier, Staffordshire Fighting Dog, Rebel Terrier, Old Family Dog
- Average Height: 14-24 inches
- Average Weight: Male adult: 16 – 30 kg, female adult: 14 – 27 kg
- Major Health Concerns: Generally quite healthy, but can be prone to some health issues such as hip dysplasia, grass allergies, hereditary cataracts and congenital heart disease
- Coat Type: smooth, short-haired, stiff and glossy
- Coat Appearance: single coated
- Coat Colors: merle, brindle, black, white, blue, tan, fawn, red, gray, brown, yellow
- Grooming Needs: very low to low
- Safe for Children: excellent, but proper training and socialization is still necessary
- Shedding: low to moderate
- Brushing Requirements: very infrequent
- Good with Other Dogs: No. they can be very aggressive towards other dogs, but training and socialization can help a great deal
- Sensitive to Touch: Moderate to high
- Excessive Barking: quite frequent.
- Good Pet: Very good to excellent, provided that he is trained kept active
- Suitable for Apartment? Yes, provided that he is exercised on a regular basis
- Suitable for First Time Dog Owners? No, needs experienced owners
- Training: Fast learners but might require a firm and persistent approach
- Exercise Needs: very high – they require a lot of physical and mental stimulation.
- Good with other Pets – not really, can have a high drive for chasing preys
- The tendency to Gain Weight: Moderate. However, owners will need to keep an eye out for what he eats and how much food he consumes.
- Average Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
- Hypo-allergic: No
- Good Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Quite good when it comes to tolerating heat, but moderate tolerance to cold weather due to their thin, short-haired coats that don’t provide much warmth
- Tolerant To Isolation: Low – can easily get separation anxiety and become aggressive
- Intelligence – quite intelligent
- Drooling – Fairly low.
- Friendliness – Very friendly and affectionate around family and children, but can be very aggressive towards other dogs and pets.
- A Wanderer or Roamer? Moderate
- Average Yearly Medical Expenditure: $500 to $600 for pet insurance and other basics
- Average Yearly Non-Medical Expenditure: $510 to $600
- Average Price Of A New Puppy: $700
- Litter size: 5 to 8 puppies