What You Should Know About American Pit Bull Terrier Breed
American Pit Bull Terriers are the most recent victims of receiving an undeserved reputation due to bad publicity revolving around the breed. Known for fighting and often portrayed as a “bad dog” that sports a spiked collar and chain, American Pit Bull Terriers can become faithful, lifelong companions and have been known to be very gentle and loving animals.
What You Should Know About the Breed
Bulldogs and different terriers were bred together to create a breed that exhibits speed and agility along with strength and athleticism. American Pit Bull Terriers (or APBT) were the result. Originally bred for fighting purposes, Pit Bulls were literally “pitted” to fight other dogs to the death, giving them this part of their name. They are popular in the world of dog-fighting strictly because of their sheer strength. Thanks to this money-making hobby (which is totally inhumane and illegal) it is now illegal in many places to own or breed Pit Bulls and a lot of landlords will not allow their tenants to keep a Pit Bull as a pet on the property. The American Pit Bull Terrier is a terribly misunderstood breed of dog.
American Pit Bull Terriers are a very strong and sturdy breed. While aggression toward other animals is a common trait, aggression toward humans is not. Aggression toward humans is a learned behavior, usually the result of cruel treatment or abandonment. Pit Bulls are confident dogs by nature, and they aim to please. While they can be quite stubborn at times, they are quick learners and are a highly intelligent breed of dog. Training and exposure to other animals from a very young age can be helpful in the prevention of aggression towards other animals. American Pit Bull Terriers are very active dogs and excel in agility training. They thrive on attention and human companionship and are extremely loyal and affectionate. Pit Bulls are known to be good with children and have even been trained as medical alert dogs for people with special needs. They are friendly with strangers but are also quick to decide if someone has ill intentions toward them or their human family. It is for this reason that American Pit Bull Terriers make excellent guard dogs. While Pit Bulls are very strong and active dogs, with the proper training and exercise, they can be very tranquil and easy for the owner to handle.
Healthy male Pit Bulls weigh no more than 65 pounds on average, and stand not more than two feet high at the shoulders. They have a smooth, shiny coat and can be a wide variety of colors. Colors of the American Pit Bull Terrier are chocolate, red, white, black, brindle, fawn, blue, or any combination of these colors. They are sometimes referred to by the color of their noses, i.e. “blue-nosed Pit Bull” or “red-nosed Pit Bull.” Merle is not a recognized color and Pit Bulls with blue eyes are also not recognized by most kennel clubs. These colors are considered a fault of the breed. Their ears are often cropped for appearances, although it is not necessary. They have long tails that taper off at the end and do not require docking, although some prefer to do so for appearances. American Pit Bull Terriers are often stocky, but their muscles should not be bulging (a sign of inhumane bulking for fighting). Their eyes are almond shaped or round and may be any color, set low in the skull. The jaw and neck of a Pit Bull is strong and wide. They should also have a scissor’s bite. Pit Bulls have an athletic build and are a very attractive breed.
American Pit Bull Terriers require very little grooming. A nutritious diet helps maintain the dog’s shiny coat, along with regular brushing and washing. This breed’s short hair allows you to keep grooming to a minimum.
Pit Bulls need plenty of exercise. They will only thrive in apartments and small homes if exercised properly. They are a relatively healthy breed but occasionally have issues with allergies, cataracts and sensitive skin. Hip Dysplasia is a common concern in American Pit Bull Terriers and due to improper breeding as a means to make quick cash, some Pit Bulls suffer from joint pain because of poor bone alignment. They live 10-12 years on average.
Breeding Pit Bulls can be tricky. Do your research before breeding to be clear of predispositions to health problems. Both dogs should have a complete medical history and family lineage and ideally should be registered with a kennel club. Both dogs should have a calm, attentive disposition and should not show aggressive tendencies toward people. When you introduce the dogs for the first time, be sure to have a plan in case a fight does break out. Pit Bulls have a tendency to hold on once they have bitten down on something (be it in a fight or on a chew toy) and they are not easily broken up. This breed’s agility and intelligence will require a quick reaction if a fight breaks out. They need to be separated immediately after mating to prevent fighting. It is normal for a Pit Bull to show aggression toward another dog if it has not been properly socialized, but never breed a dog that shows aggression toward people. On average, a litter consists of 5-10 puppies. While many people are under the impression that breeding Pit Bulls is a quick way to make cash, this is not so. There are many shelters specifically for Pit Bulls, simply because not everyone can handle such a strong, energetic dog. Those who can may be in a living situation that does not allow Pit Bulls. Some landlords have banned ownership of American Pit Bull Terriers on their property simply because their insurance premiums will skyrocket. Others ban the ownership of a Pit Bull simply because of the media and a lack of credible information concerning the breed. Be sure it is legal for you to own and breed Pit Bulls where you live.
There are so many Pit Bulls waiting for a happy home that spaying and neutering should be considered. Neutering males tends to make them less territorial and may help with aggression towards other animals also.
Hopefully this information helps some current and/or potential American Pit Bull Terrier owners. People need to be informed of the true nature of the Pit Bull. They are a terribly misunderstood breed and many are euthanized because of the misinformation being passed out daily. Give them a chance and you may have found your new best friend!