The American Pit Bull Terrier is a purebred breed recognized by the United Kennel Club and American Dog Breeders Association, but not the American Kennel Club (who instead recognize the similar American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier). They are medium-sized, solidly built, and highly intelligent shorthair dogs, full of strength, confidence, and enthusiasm.
Like every dog, they need an education to learn how to fit into our lives, but they are not the fearsome monsters that many people believe. The couple who called me owned an auto repair shop, where they and Tank spent their days.
I agreed to meet them at their shop, and when I arrived, I noticed Tank was chained at the far end of their lot. I needed to gather more information before developing a plan for him; I asked when they got Tank (when he was a puppy) and what he was like when they adopted him (always playful and very affectionate). I realized what had happened: Tank, who was a sweet, gentle dog, did not understand why he was being left alone at night at the shop he was feeling confused, scared, and stressed.
Tanks demeanor changed immediately: he stopped growling; his mouth, which had been clamped shut, opened; his eyes began to soften. Tank looked intimidating, but his temperament wasnt suited to being a guard dog instead, his stress was causing him to act out, just like a person being put in a situation they are not equipped to handle. Dogs are social creatures, and in the wild they will ostracize sick or injured pack members who are no longer assets to the group.
Tanks canine instinct was telling him he was being ostracized by his pack (his owners) when they left him alone at night, but he was also being fed by them to stay alive, which wouldnt have happened in the wild. First, I advised they fire Tank as a guard dog and get a security system to protect the property instead. I also noticed the addition of newly mounted security cameras Tank had been relieved from his guard duties and was thriving in his new, more friendly role!
Are American Pit Bull Terriers good family dogs?
American Pit Bull Terriers are highly adaptable but do require proper socialization and education because of their power and varying levels of aggression towards other dogs. This trait rarely extends to humans, however, and their loyalty, stability, and love of children makes them an extremely popular family dog.
Is a pitbull terrier an aggressive breed?
In general, pit bulls aren’t aggressive with people but are “less tolerant” of other dogs than many other breeds, says Pamela Reid, PhD, vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Behavior Center in New York. They also have “great tenacity.
Are American pit bull terriers safe?
Some American Pit Bull Terriers are indeed dangerous. They act aggressively toward humans or other animals. It may not be “their fault” in the sense that they might have inherited bad genes and/or been raised badly or abused. Yet the end result is that they’re dangerous.
What are the 5 types of Pitbull?
American Pit Bull Terrier..American Staffordshire Terrier..Staffordshire Bull Terrier..American Bulldog..American Bully.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a bit of a complicated breed. It is recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC), as well as the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA). However, it is not registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), which is the main kennel club in the United States.
Often, those in America use the term pit bull to describe the American Staffordshire Terrier, which is a completely different breed. Oftentimes, people will use the term pit bull to refer to other breeds as well and may market their puppies as such.
Instead, they simply show physical traits that are more in line with the breed standard, though the average owner likely wont notice this. Many people will label the American Staffordshire Terrier as a pit bull, even though it technically isnt. This sport involved the canine fighting both bulls and bears, which were often tied up to a post of some sort.
Due to their purpose as largely a family dog over the last two thousand years, much of their aggression has been bred out. American Pit Bull Terriers are known to being good with children and are sometimes called nurse dogs for this reason. The American Pit Bill Terrier does not make a good guard dog, as they are extremely friendly.
Aggression towards humans is extremely undesirable in the breed and quickly bred out by qualified breeders. Again, early socialization can help but doesnt necessarily guarantee that these dogs will not be aggressive towards cats. Walks are a suitable way to meet their energy needs, but they are also capable of playing more complicated dog games like hide-and-seek.
They also excel at many canine sports, including agility, weight pulling, lure coursing, and flyball. Even if you dont plan on competing, trying any of these sports is a great way to meet your dogs mental and physical needs. Many American Pit Bull Terriers have successfully completed advanced obedience competitions and even won.
Image Credit: Piqsels The American Pit Bull Terrier does not require much grooming. Their short coat needs to be brushed about weekly to remove excess hair and help keep it clean. The symptoms include hair loss throughout much of the body and may cause the skin to become scabbed and bloody.
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand.
You might think you know everything about the Pitbull (or even Pibble!), for better or for worse. But let’s really explore some of this dog‘s special traits:
The American Pit Bull Terrier was brought to the United States by immigrants from England, Ireland, and Scotland during the 19th century. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed.
Your Sylvan Veterinary Hospital medical team will describe the most common issues seen in American Pit Bull Terriers to give you an idea of what may come up in her future. If we dont prevent or treat dental disease , your buddy will lose her teeth and be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. American Pit Bull Terriers are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections the same ones that all dogs can get such as parvo, rabies, and distemper.
Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms , and whipworms can get into her system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. For your canine friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death, so its important that we test for them on a regular basis. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies.
Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to identify and address some of the diseases your dog is likely to develop. Routine blood testing prior to surgery also helps us to identify and take precautions for common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. Keep in mind that overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain and suffering.
Pit Bulls are prone to a common condition called hypothyroidism in which the body doesnt make enough thyroid hormone. Your Pitbull is prone to a form of skin infection called zinc-responsive dermatosis, in which he either isnt getting enough zinc in his diet or doesnt absorb it properly. Signs include red, hairless, crusting, scaling, or oozing skin around the mouth, chin, eyes, and ears or lesions on the foot pads and nose.
Named for the large dry flakes that resemble fish scales, this problem usually arises very early in life, with most affected puppies born with abnormal skin. Several palliative treatment options like special shampoos and fish oils give variable levels of relief, but there is no definitive cure for this inherited disease. Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis, shortened to NCL, is a progressive neurologic disease found in several breeds, including your American Pit Bull Terrier.
The problem starts in early puppyhood, with affected dogs usually beginning to show symptoms between 6 and 16 weeks of age. Without a DNA test, we may recommend frequent urine analysis, x-rays or ultrasound to make sure he doesnt have these painful stones. In dogs with the bad gene, early symptoms such as night blindness or dilated pupils generally begin around three to five years of age.
Several breeds, including your Pit Bull, do not develop good, strong immunity against parvovirus from vaccination; they tend to have a weaker and later response. There will certainly be medical tests and procedures she will need throughout her life and pet health insurance will help you cover those costs. Build her routine care into your schedule to help your Pit live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime.
Many diseases cause dogs to have a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your American Pit Bull Terrier needs help. Change in appetite or water consumption Tartar build-up, bad breath, red gums, or broken teeth Itchy skin (scratching, chewing or licking), hair loss Lethargy, mental dullness, or excessive sleeping Fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a companion and family dog breed. Originally bred to bait bulls, the breed evolved into all-around farm dogs, and later moved into the house to become nanny dogs because they were so gentle around children.
Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. 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. 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. When raised with the proper training and socialization, the American Pit Bull Terrier makes an excellent companion for children. They must be trained and socialized when young to overcome the breed’s tendencies toward stubbornness and bossiness, which combined with his strength can make him hard to handle if he hasn’t learned you are in charge.
American Pit Bull Terriers have a great need to chew, and powerful jaws make quick work of cheap or flimsy toys. American Pit Bull Terriers are best suited to owners who can offer firm, fair training, and gentle consistent discipline. Like every dog, American Pit Bull Terriers need early socialization exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences when they’re young.
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. 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. 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.
They are known as “nanny dogs.”
These canines are extremely gentle and understanding with children. They make great family dogs for this reason.
They were originally used for “bull-baiting.”
This sport involved the canine fighting both bulls and bears, which were often tied up to a post of some sort. In the 1800s, this sport became illegal in England. The dogs were still often used in illegal dog fights, though many transitioned to being family pets. Due to their purpose as largely a family dog over the last two thousand years, much of their aggression has been bred out.
Are These Dogs Good for Families?👪
Yes. These dogs are extremely good for families. They are gentle with children but also playful enough to keep most children entertained. They do require a bit of work, especially when it comes to exercising. For this reason, we only recommend them for active families or those with plenty of time for exercise.This dog effectively gets along with people of all ages with ease.
Food & Diet Requirements
These canines do not have any particular dietary needs. They aren’t prone to any health problems that are preventable with a specific diet either, so special dietary requirements typically aren’t required. Of course, follow your vet’s advice for your specific dog’s nutritional needs.We recommend dog food that is full of meat and protein.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a working dog, which means that they were made to work. Therefore, they have quite a bit of energy that they need to get rid of every day. They have extremely high endurance and are well-known as high-energy dogs. They are true terriers and will need plenty of exercises to remain happy and healthy.They excel at just about everything physical. Walks are a suitable way to meet their energy needs, but they are also capable of playing more complicated dog games like hide-and-seek. They also excel at many canine sports, including agility, weight pulling, lure coursing, and flyball. Even if you don’t plan on competing, trying any of these sports is a great way to meet your dog’s mental and physical needs.
This breed is both intelligent and people-pleasing, which makes them quite easy to train. They are more than willing to listen to commands and comply. Many American Pit Bull Terriers have successfully completed advanced obedience competitions and even won.Their intelligence and physical skills have allowed them to be used as search and rescue dogs, police dogs, and even service dogs.
The American Pit Bull Terrier does not require much grooming. Their short coat needs to be brushed about weekly to remove excess hair and help keep it clean. Due to the shortness of their coat, they do not require any trimming or anything of that sort, however.These dogs have pretty good teeth and are not particularly prone to dental problems. However, regular brushing is important to ensure they stay clean. We recommend brushing at least twice a week, though more is not necessarily a bad thing.Their ears need to be cleaned regularly, even from puppy days. Check them whenever you brush their teeth to ensure that their ears are clean and free from any debris. If they
Health and Conditions
Generally, the American Pit Bull Terrier is a healthy breed. As working dogs, they were bred for practicality, not necessarily for looks. Today, they are kept mostly as family dogs.Despite their overall healthy outlook, they are more prone to hip dysplasia. This is a serious condition that affects the joints in their hips. Basically, the joint does not fit together correctly, which causes wear and tear. Over time, this can cause extreme pain for the dogs and can lead to lameness.Once, they were also very prone to patella problems, thyroid dysfunction, and congenital heart defects. However, careful breeding over time has led to a decrease in these conditions. Today, they are not particularly prone to them over other canines.If not vaccinated, this breed is more prone to parvovirus. For this reason, it is essential to vaccinate them as puppies and to continue with their vaccination schedule until they are much older. These dogs are also more prone to Demodex Mange, which can be localized or generalized. While this is not a particularly contagious version of mange, it can be difficult to treat.Generalized Demodex is more serious and can cause severe sickness. The symptoms include hair loss throughout much of the body and may cause the skin to become scabbed and bloody. Usually, generalized diseases are caused by immunodeficiency in the dog that puts them at risk.
Male vs Female
Male American Pit Bull Terriers are typically larger than females. However, that is the only significant difference between these two breeds.
Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. And unfortunately, your American Pit Bull Terrier is more likely than other dogs to have problems with her teeth. It starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. If we don’t prevent or treat dental disease, your buddy will lose her teeth and be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, and joints. In fact, your American Pit Bull Terrier‘s lifespan may be cut short by one to three years! We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly and let you know what you can do at home to keep those pearly whites clean.
American Pit Bull Terriers are susceptible to bacterial and viral infections — the same ones that all dogs can get — such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommend based on the diseases we see in our area, her age, and other factors.
Obesity can be a significant health problem in American Pit Bull Terriers. It is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, back pain and heart disease. Though it’s tempting to give your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to death” with leftover people food and doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk. She’ll feel better, and so will you!
All kinds of worms and bugs can invade your Pit‘s body, inside and out. Everything from fleas and ticks to ear mites can infest her skin and ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms can get into her system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some of these parasites can be transmitted to you or a family member and are a serious concern for everyone. For your canine friend, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, and even death, so it’s important that we test for them on a regular basis. We’ll also recommend preventive medication as necessary to keep her healthy.
Spay or Neuter
One of the best things you can do for your Pit Bull is to have her spayed (neutered for males). In females, this means we surgically remove the ovaries and usually the uterus, and in males, it means we surgically remove the testicles. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers and eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to identify and address some of the diseases your dog is likely to develop. For example, if your pet needs hip X-rays or a puppy tooth extracted, this would be a good time. This is convenient for you and easy for your friend. Routine blood testing prior to surgery also helps us to identify and take precautions for common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. Don’t worry; we’ll discuss the specific problems we will be looking for when the time arrives.
You’ve probably heard of hip dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly and leads to arthritis: it is common in American Pit Bull Terriers. You may notice that he has lameness in his hind legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down. We can treat the arthritis — the sooner the better — to avoid discomfort and pain. We’ll take X-rays of your dog’s joints to identify the disease as early as possible. Surgery is sometimes considered in severe and life-limiting cases of hip dysplasia. Keep in mind that overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain and suffering.
Sometimes your Pitbull’s kneecap (patella) may slip out of place (called patellar luxation). You might notice that he runs along and suddenly picks up a back leg and skips or hops for a few strides. Then he kicks his leg out sideways to pop the kneecap back in place, and he’s fine again. If the problem is mild and involves only one leg, your friend may not require much treatment beyond arthritis medication. When symptoms are severe, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap to keep it from popping out of place.
Pit Bulls are prone to a common condition called hypothyroidism in which the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Signs can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes. We’ll conduct a blood screening test annually to screen for the disease. Treatment is usually simple: replacement hormones given in the form of a pill.
In humans, an allergy to pollen, mold, or dust makes people sneeze and their eyes itch. In dogs, rather than sneeze, allergies make their skin itchy. We call this skin allergy “atopy”, and Pit Bulls often have it. Commonly, the feet, belly, folds of the skin, and ears are most affected. Symptoms typically start between the ages of one and three and can get worse every year. Licking the paws, rubbing the face, and frequent ear infections are the most common signs. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for this condition.
Demodex is a microscopic mite that lives in the hair follicles of dogs. All dogs have them. Normally a dog’s immune system keeps the mites in check, but some breeds, like your Pit Bull, develop an overabundance of these mites. In mild cases, pet owners may notice a few dry, irritated, hairless lesions. These often occur on the face or feet and may or may not be itchy. Secondary skin infections may occur. Prompt veterinary care is important to keep the disease from getting out of hand. Many pets seem to outgrow the problem, while others require lifelong management.
Your Pitbull is prone to a form of skin infection called zinc-responsive dermatosis, in which he either isn’t getting enough zinc in his diet or doesn’t absorb it properly. Signs include red, hairless, crusting, scaling, or oozing skin around the mouth, chin, eyes, and ears or lesions on the foot pads and nose. If your dog develops this disease, we’ll prescribe a carefully regulated amount of zinc in his diet.
Dry, flaky, itchy skin is a common problem for many dogs, but Pits in particular are prone to a severe flaking skin condition called ichthyosis. Named for the large dry flakes that resemble fish scales, this problem usually arises very early in life, with most affected puppies born with abnormal skin. Several palliative treatment options like special shampoos and fish oils give variable levels of relief, but there is no definitive cure for this inherited disease. There is a genetic test available for many breeds that can determine whether he is clear, a carrier, or affected. This is important information if you are planning to use your friend for breeding, as it is not recommended to breed dogs who are affected or carriers; the goal is to prevent this debilitating disease in future generations.
Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis, shortened to NCL, is a progressive neurologic disease found in several breeds, including your American Pit Bull Terrier. Clinical signs usually appear in younger dogs, between around one to three years of age. In the early stages, rear leg weakness and imbalance can occur. It can progress to weakness involving all four legs, and some dogs also lose vision. There is currently no effective treatment for this disease, but a genetic test is available. Dogs carrying the mutation should not be used for breeding, since it is readily passed to future generations.
The cerebellum is the part of the brain that gives balance and coordination. Cerebellar Abiotrophy is a genetic neurologic disease that affects certain breeds of dogs, including Pits. The problem starts in early puppyhood, with affected dogs usually beginning to show symptoms between 6 and 16 weeks of age. This condition causes affected dogs to lose the sense of space and distance, and become uncoordinated. It is not a painful condition, but the exact cause is not known, and there is no effective treatment. Dogs with this heritable condition should not be used for breeding.
If your Pit Bull has an inherited condition called Hyperuricosuria (HU), he will have more uric acid in his urine. Uric acid acts like fertilizer for bladder stones and sometimes kidney stone development. A DNA test is available to test for the specific mutation associated with the disease; however, once stones are present they often must be removed surgically. By testing early, we can identify whether this is a health risk for him, and start appropriate dietary therapy to prevent problems. Without a DNA test, we may recommend frequent urine analysis, x-rays or ultrasound to make sure he doesn’t have these painful stones.
Cleft Lip or Palate
Your Pit Bull is more likely than other breeds to be born with a cleft lip or palate, which is an opening in the lip or the roof of the mouth. Mild cases may not require any treatment, but more serious defects require surgical repair to prevent complications. We’ll check for this abnormality during his first puppy exam.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease in which the eyes are genetically programmed to go blind. Unfortunately, American Pit Bull Terriers are a bit more likely than other dogs to have this condition. PRA is not painful, but also not curable. In dogs with the bad gene, early symptoms such as night blindness or dilated pupils generally begin around three to five years of age. A genetic test is available for this condition.
Parvo is an infection caused by a virus, and it leads to deadly illness, especially in younger puppies. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea, fever and dehydration are some of the symptoms. Older dogs don’t usually feel as sick, but bloody diarrhea and fever are common and affected dogs shed the virus in their stools for weeks afterwards. Several breeds, including your Pit Bull, do not develop good, strong immunity against parvovirus from vaccination; they tend to have a weaker and later response. Your friend should have an extra vaccine booster for Parvovirus about a month after the completion of the regular puppy vaccine series. His parvovirus vaccine should also be boostered yearly.
What to Watch For
Build her routine care into your schedule to help your Pit live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.
American Pit Bull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a companion and family dog breed. Originally bred to “bait” bulls, the breed evolved into all-around farm dogs, and later moved into the house to become “nanny dogs” because they were so gentle around children.Even though these are purebred dogs, you may find them in the care of shelters or rescue groups. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop if you want to bring a dog home.Their tenacity, gameness, and courage make them popular competitors in the sports of weight pulling, agility, and obedience. Of course, you can also find them living as companions, showering their humans with love and affection.It’s important to remember that dogs of any breed can suffer from health issues throughout their lives. A good pet insurance plan can help you prepare to give your dog the care they need at any age.See below for a complete list of dog breed traits and facts about American Pit Bull Terriers!