Breed of the Month–American Pit Bull Terrier

1January 2013

American Pit Bull Terrier

Color:  Any color, combination, pattern (excluding merle)
Height:  18-22 inches
Weight:  Males:  35-60 lbs/  Females:  30-50 lbs
Life Span:  about 12 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Allergies, heart problems, hip dysplasia, von Willebrand disease, cataracts, bloat, hypothyroidism.

Coat:  Close, smooth, stiff, glossy
Country of Origin:  United States

Descended from mastiff-type dogs, the American Pit Bull Terrier was developed from bull and terrier type dogs to catch and hold wild game for hunters, and used to manage bulls by butchers.  The APBT was popular in bear and bullbaiting until it was outlawed in 1835.
Athletic, intelligent, strong, and tenacious, the American Pit Bull Terrier gained notoriety over the years for his affectionate nature with his family and his loyalty.  The breed became increasingly popular in the United States as a hunting and guard dog.
The breed’s name was officially changed to the American Pit Bull Terrier in 1898.  The American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier have been bred independently for more than 50 years.
The many dogs labeled “Pit Bulls” are very powerful dogs that need proper training and socialization.  Please do not get this breed if you are not willing to put in a large amount of work in training and basic obedience.  The “Pitbull” has gained a very bad reputation in the United States over the years as being a vicious, unruly dog that attacks for no reason.  This happens because many, MANY people who get a powerful breed such as the American Pit Bull Terrier do not raise the breed correctly, and end up adding to the stereotype.  I have witnessed this problem first hand many times.  When considering adding a dog to your family, you must consider what breed is the right one for you and your family.  It is not about what you think might look cool or that everyone else has.  Please do your research before considering adding any power breed to your family.  Do not add to the problem!  We need American Pit Bull Terrier owners who will take responsibility and raise a power breed to be a well-socialized, calm, balanced member of society.
When comparing the APBT to the AmStaff (American Staffordshire Terrier), it is noted that the APBT is more energetic.  There are very few differences in the two breeds, and many people and organizations consider them basically the same.  The APBT is larger in height and appears to have a more pronounced, slightly wider-looking nose.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a high-energy breed that requires an extreme amount of exercise. The APBT requires several fast-paced walks each day to keep him from developing destructive behaviors.  The APBT also requires a large amount of mental exercise to keep him happy and healthy.
The coat of the American Pit Bull Terrier is easily cared for with regular brushing and bathing.
It is important to learn to read the body language of the American Pit Bull Terrier (or any power breed).  This is one of many reasons I do not recommend them for a first time dog owner.  Smart and responsive, the APBT will excel at training when proper positive reinforcement techniques are used.  Socialization from early puppyhood throughout his life is vitally important to raising a well balanced American Pit Bull Terrier.