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Breed Series

American Pit Bull Terrier

Image of rednose pit bull terrier

The American Pit Bull Terriers are great family dogs gentle around children while being loyal and protective of those they care for. Also known affectionately as Pitties, these dogs were originally bred for sport, they have moved on to be great companions. They are no more aggressive than other dogs, so don’t let the hype around the breed fool you. Their soulful eyes and powerful stature will capture your heart in no time.

American Pit Bull Terrier History


The American Pit Bull Terrier has its roots in 19th century England when these types of dogs were used for fighting, bullbaiting, and bearbaiting. They were bred for aggression - but only towards other animals. They are gentle towards humans because the handlers needed to be able to separate the dogs without fear of getting bitten.

These sports quickly became illegal, and the American Pit Bull Terrier turned into a working dog, often on farms. They are great hunting dogs, guard dogs, and companion dogs. They are protective and strong, but still very gentle and family-friendly dogs. 

The AKC renamed the American Pit Bull Terrier in an attempt to separate it from its dogfighting past, and there became two similar but different breeds: the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. Only the American Staffordshire Terrier is recognized by the AKC.

American Pit Bull Terriers have been portrayed as aggressive, brutal dogs, but many are working to rehabilitate its image. They are not inherently aggressive dogs. 


American Pit Bull Terrier Appearance


The American Pit Bull Terriers is a medium-sized dog with a very solid, powerful stature. They are very athletic with a well-defined musculature, making them great working dogs. They have short hair with a short tail. Their coat is shiny and stiff to the touch. 

They come in all colors and patterns, including black, white, grey, brown, red, blue, and brindle. The only color combination American Pit Bull Terriers do not come in is merle. 

American Pit Bull Terriers can vary in size and weight, standing between 17 to 19 inches tall and 30-85 pounds. They tend to be more long than tall, with a deep muzzle. They have a large and broad head, and their ears can be natural or cropped. Male American Pit Bull Terriers are slightly bigger than females.


American Pit Bull Terrier Personality


American Pit Bull Terriers have a loving, protective personality. They are often lap dogs, great with families because of their gentle natures toward humans. 

They are courageous dogs, always willing to protect those they love. They are curious around people, so while protective, American Pit Bull Terriers do not make great watchdogs. They will often bark to alert, but will quickly move to greet whoever arrives. 

American Pit Bull Terriers have wide, goofy grins and expressive ears, even when cropped. They can be very energetic and hard-working dogs, and their legs can often splay like frog legs, making them look a little silly. Their strong athletic appearance is often at odds with their fun-loving disposition. 

The American Pit Bull Terrier has gotten a bad reputation for being an aggressive dog, but when trained and socialized properly, they are no more aggressive than any other dog breed. They have a strong prey drive that should be curbed with proper training. 


American Pit Bull Terrier Exercise Requirements


The American Pit Bull Terrier needs a moderate to high amount of exercise, at least an hour a day. This could be walking, playing, or other activities to help them burn off some energy. Because they like being around their family, they are happy to do all sorts of activities as long as they are with their people.  

American Pit Bull Terriers are indoor dogs. They do not handle cold well because of their short coats, and they can become destructive when left alone for too long.


American Pit Bull Terrier Training and Care


Training is critical for your American Pit Bull Terrier. The sooner they begin training, the better it will be. Obedience training can help shape some of their innate stubbornness into something useful and create a strong bond between you and your dog. 

They are eager to please so while stubborn, the American Pit Bull Terrier can be easy to train. They do well with positive reinforcement, so make sure to have a lot of treats and praise ready. Socialization will help lessen the natural prey drive which can be confused for aggression and help them behave well around people and animals alike. 

Your American Pit Bull Terrier should eat between 1.5 and 2.5 cups of dry dog food a day, split between two meals. They should always have access to clean water.


American Pit Bull Terrier Health


American Pit Bull Terriers are generally healthy dogs. They typically live between 12 and 14 years with proper care, but they can be prone to some genetic diseases. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Hip dysplasia, which is when the hip joint is malformed, and it can be painful for dogs. 
  • Allergies, like skin, food, and the environment can impact your dog. These are easily treated by veterinarians or diet changes 
  • Hypothyroidism usually occurs in middle-aged to older dogs and is a malfunction of the thyroid in your dog.
  • Heart disease, including aortic stenosis, and more that can impact your dog's cardiac health.

Many of these diseases are easy to diagnose and treat by veterinary professionals, especially when caught early. When you adopt an American Pit Bull Terrier, hereditary information may not be known, so it is important to be aware of what they are prone to. 


American Pit Bull Terrier Grooming

American Pitbull Terriers do not need a lot of grooming because of their short coats. They do not shed a lot. All they need is an occasional bath and brushing to keep them looking their best. When brushing them, use a stiff brush. You can wipe down their coat with a wet cloth, and this will help maintain their coat’s shine. 

American Pit Bull Terriers need their teeth brushed between two to three times a week to promote their oral hygiene. You can brush them daily if your dog tolerates it. This will prevent gum disease, tartar buildup, bacteria, and bad breath and promote their overall health. 

Their nails should not be clicking, so you may need to trim them if they do not wear down naturally. Because of the shape of their ears, be sure to check them weekly for redness or an odor that can indicate infection.