The Pit Bull, or American Pit Bull Terrier, is a strong, energetic, friendly dog with a great love for his family. Even though Pit Bulls have big hearts and a friendly demeanor, it’s unfortunate that many people are afraid of him due to his terrible reputation as an aggressive fighting dog. But those who take the time to look past his bad rap and occasionally fearsome appearance find that he is a kind and trustworthy pet, pup, and friend.
Meet The Pitt Bull
Weight: 30 to 85 pounds
Height: 17 to 21 inches at the shoulder
Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years
Fur type: Pit Bulls have a short coat that appears shiny and is stiff to the touch.
Color: Red, black, white, brown, grey, blue, and brindle.
Pit Bulls may look like a tough bodybuilder in a bad mood, but they are actually typically quite loving and friendly. In fact, there’s nothing they love more than sitting on your lap, even after they’ve long outgrown it. They are confident, playful, and active dogs who would do anything for an adventure. Their undying courage and constant awareness of their surroundings make them great watchdogs, however, their eagerness to show love for strangers rules them out as guard dogs. Pit Bulls are enthusiastic, resilient, and even comical.
Pit Bulls are full of energy all hours of the day, making them a perfect match for joggers, runners, and cyclists. Pit Bulls also tend to do extremely well in dog sports such as agility, rally, tracking, freestyle, and nose work. This does mean, of course, that you will need to give your Pit Bull plenty of opportunities to use this energy in a good way, otherwise, he could turn to less desirable means. You should spend at a minimum one hour a day exercising them in some way, like through running, jumping, tugging, or solving problems. But while they may love running and playing outdoors, a Pit Bull is definitely a house dog due to his tendency to become lonely if kept away from his family for too long.
Good With Children:
Pit Bulls are perfect companions for children. They are tolerant enough to deal with roughhousing, friendly enough to keep the kids smiling, and energetic enough to keep up for hours and hours of playtime. However, while Pit Bulls and children can play well together, adult supervision is advised with dogs of any size, and children of any age to ensure that both parties play nicely from beginning to end.
Good With Other Dogs:
While Pit Bulls are very friendly and loving toward people, they rarely play nicely with other dogs. Especially if a Pit Bull comes across a dog of the same gender, you can almost guarantee that they will put up a fight. For this reason, it’s best to keep your Pit Bull close and on the leash whenever you take him somewhere where you know there will be other dogs.
It would seem odd that a dog with such short fur would be such a big shedder, but that’s a Pit Bull for you. These pups are avid shedders, especially during the late fall and early summer months. If you can’t stand finding tiny hairs stuck to your clothing, bedding, and couches, a Pit Bull may not be for you.
Because there’s no risk of a Pit Bull’s fur matting or tangling, his grooming needs are fairly minimal. However, depending on how much you want to manage the shedding, you will want to brush him anywhere from two times a week to daily. He shouldn’t need a bath too often either, maybe once or twice a month or whenever he rolls around in something stinky.
Other than that, the rest is basic care. Trim your Pit Bull’s nails if he doesn’t wear them down himself. Wipe out the outer part of his ears every week with a cotton ball and a gentle ear cleaner, and check for redness or a bad odor, which may indicate infection. It’s also best to get into the habit of checking him each time you groom for sores, rashes, tender spots, infections, etc. Doing a routine check is a good way to catch things early before they become too serious.
Pit Bulls are typically moderate barkers and will usually only bark when alarmed. Aside from barking though they love trying to communicate with other kinds of unusual noises such as moans and whimpers.
Tips For Training:
Pit Bulls are intelligent, eager to learn and often excel at obedience training. They respond especially well to reward training, so keep those treats handy. Due to their size and strength, leash training is especially important as pulling can become a huge issue. Getting your Pit Bull involved in a dog sport such as nose work or weight pulling can help channel this energy and reduce resistance when on the leash.
Pit Bulls do have a strong urge to fight and attack other dogs, however, there are certain precautions you can take to keep them in control. The best way to do this is to encourage your Pit Bull to stay calm and focus on you. You can get his attention with commands such as “look,” “stay,” and “come.” This is why early socialization and basic obedience is vital; if your dog is unwilling to listen to you in your own living room there’s no way he will obey when there’s a fight at hand.
You can achieve the best results by beginning your Pit Bull’s puppy training as soon as possible. Even at 10 weeks old he can start soaking in any information he is taught. If you wait until he is 6 months old or older, he will be much more headstrong and more difficult to train.
How To Feed My Pitt Bull
The most common type of dog food is your everyday kibble, but actually, raw dog foods are the best way to go! Because the food hasn’t been cooked with high temperatures, they still maintain the nutrients that your dog needs to live a healthy lifestyle. Raw dog foods will help improve your furry friend’s digestion, teeth and gum health, immune system, vitality, and overall behavior.
One other thing to keep in mind when shopping for dog foods is what ingredients to avoid. Make sure your dog food doesn’t contain corn or wheat, gluten, food dyes, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), or rendered fats. Also make sure that the first ingredient is specific meat such as chicken, lamb, beef, etc. If the ingredients simply list “meat” or some sort of meat meal, then you know that food is not for your dog.
Feeding Your Puppy
After your puppy has been weaned from his mother, he will be ready to start eating puppy food. Growing Pit Bull puppies may be small, but they will probably need more food than you think. Feed him 3 or 4 times a day until your pup is about 6 months old. At this point, he should be ready to start eating a healthy adult diet.
Feeding Your Adult
By the time your Pit Bull has reached 6 months, you should start feeding him twice a day. Food amounts are determined by the dog’s weight, activity level, and age. To calculate your dog’s exact food needs, use this calculator!
To keep your dog from getting over or underweight, check his ribs. You should be able to feel his ribs under his skin, but shouldn’t be able to see them. If you can’t feel his ribs, cut back on his diet a little and make sure he is getting enough exercise. If you start to see his ribs he probably needs to be eating more.
Health Concerns For Pitt Bulls
Pit Bulls generally live their long lives happy and healthy, but unfortunately, all breeds have a risk for certain health conditions. You should be aware of the diseases listed below if you’re considering this breed, however, also be aware that not all Pit Bulls will get any or all of these conditions.
Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is caused by a deformity of the hip joint. This can be caused by genetics, environment, and even diet. Most Pit Bulls are able to lead normal and healthy lives in spite of the condition, although in severe cases surgery may be necessary.
Allergies: Skin allergies can be caused by environmental allergens such as dust, pollen, grass, and fleas. Treatment includes identifying and removing the cause, and medication which can be used to treat symptoms if needed. Food allergies are less common for Pit Bulls but can be discovered by eliminating foods from his diet until the culprit is found.
Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a disorder involving the thyroid gland that causes weight gain, poor coat health, reproductive problems, and other issues. This disorder can be treated with medication and a proper diet.
Heart Disease: The most common type of heart disease for Pit Bulls is aortic stenosis, which involves a narrowing of the connection between the aorta and the left ventricle. Some signs include low energy or a heart murmur.
Demodectic Mange: Demodectic mange is a skin disease caused by external parasites and affects large patches of skin. Symptoms include bald spots in the coat and scabs and sores on the skin. Speedy treatment is critical in order to prevent a worse secondary infection.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pitt Bulls
Q. Are Pit Bulls good with cats?
A. No. While some Pit Bulls have been known to learn to play nicely with the household cat, most are more likely to treat a kitty as his prey.
Q. Are Pit Bulls hypoallergenic?
A. No. While Pit Bulls do have extremely short coats, they are avid shedders. If your allergies can’t handle dog fur collecting everywhere in the house then this dog is not for you.
Q. Are Pit Bulls banned in some countries?
A. Yes. Although most Pit Bulls are friendly toward their families as well as strangers, Pit Bulls get an extremely bad rap from the general public. They can look intimidating, are fairly aggressive towards other dogs, and have a history of being fighting dogs. For this reason, some countries such as England and Wales don’t allow people to breed, sell, or exchange Pit Bulls.
Q. Will Pit Bulls attack people?
A. No. There is a lot of misinformation going around about Pit Bull aggression. While Pit Bulls love to put up a fight with other dogs, they are actually very friendly and loving toward people, even complete strangers. That being said, just like any other breed, without proper socialization and training, a Pit Bull can be extremely aggressive toward others.
Q. Are Pit Bulls good guard dogs?
A. No. Pit Bulls are actually very friendly toward strangers, which makes them terrible guard dogs.
Q. Are Pit Bulls good family pets?
A. Yes! Pit Bulls are extremely loving toward every member of the family. They are good house dogs, great playmates for kids, and fun companions on family trips and outings.
Q. Can a Pit Bull be an emotional support dog or therapy dog?
A. Yes. A Pit Bull’s love for people and eagerness to please makes them a great therapy dog. Of course, you will need a letter from a licensed therapist in order to live with or fly with your Pit Bull as a therapy dog.
At the end of the day, Pit Bulls are just great big teddy bears that want nothing more than to be a part of a playful, loving family that will include them in their every day life.
Are you the parent of a Pit Bull? Are you considering bringing one into the family? What other questions do you have? Reach out and let us know, we would love to help support you and your fur baby as much as possible.