12 Things to Know Before Adopting A Pit Bull Terrier

12 Things to Know Before Adopting A Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is a subject of long-standing controversy among people who have dedicated their lives to dogs.

Due to the conflicting qualities inherent in this breed, its representatives have become heroes of urban gossip. However, if you learn more about this breed, most of the “horror stories” will turn out to be empty speculation.

A Brief History Of  The Pitbull Terrier

The suffix “American” in the name of the breed misleads almost everyone, imposing the idea that the Americans are the ones who bred Pitbulls. In fact, the history of the American Pit Bull Terrier breed begins in Foggy Albion about 3 centuries ago.

English breeders set themselves the goal of improving the qualities of the Old English Bulldog and crossed it with the Old English Terrier. In this union, a heavy skeleton, athleticism, and muscularity of the former are perfectly combined with the speed, strength, and fearlessness of the latter.

Initially, Pitbulls were used for hunting and as fighting dogs. And they fought with bulls and bears clearly superior in weight and ferocity. When in 1835 the first effective laws on the protection of animals appeared in British law, dogs became their opponents, since there was no direct mention of a ban on dogfighting in these laws.

When pit bull terriers appeared in America, no one knows for sure, but there is written evidence that they were there already before the war of liberation in 1774.

12 Things to Know Before Adopting A Pit Bull Terrier

Through the efforts of unscrupulous breeders and owners, American Pit Bull Terriers have long ceased to be perceived exclusively as a member of the family. It is difficult to pinpoint the time at which guard dogs and companions acquired the status of ruthless killers with iron jaws.

American dog handlers have repeatedly tried to rehabilitate this dog. In the mid-1990s, San Francisco hobbyists attempted to present the St. Francis Terrier as two peas in a pod. The rebranding failed. The New York City Animal Welfare Authority proposed calling the dogs New York Terriers in 2004 and also failed.

Media resources got involved. They tried to save the reputation of the American pit bull in the comedy series The Little Rascals, where the good-natured dog Pete was ready to endure any pranks of the “little bandits”.

Later, photographer Sophie Gamand took pictures, putting flower wreaths on the four-legged models and decorating their portraits in pastel colors – nothing helped. Pit bulls remained among the outcasts of the official cynology, banned in Europe and severely limited in rights in many countries of the world.

Interesting Facts About the American Pitbull Terriers

The reputation of pit bulls has always been on the ear. And according to the laws of word of mouth, reality is always distorted beyond recognition – people need tough scandalous facts.

In fact, Pit Bulls are a multifaceted breed, infinitely loyal to humans. Here is a small part of the facts confirming that this breed was created for people, and not against them:

  1. American Pit Bull Terriers, despite the legend of their ferocity, are widely used by physicians in pet therapy (zootherapy, animal therapy). Doctors and dog handlers note that pit bulls have a very positive effect on patients with PTSD and in nursing homes.
  2. Pit bulls are successfully used in search and rescue operations. They are great at finding people. The most famous search pit bulls in America are Chris Crowfody’s pets.
  3. Abroad, pit bulls are widely used by special services to search for drugs and explosives, as well as firearms.
  4. American Pit Bulls are consummate nannies. Caring for the younger ones is developed in them as much as the instinct to protect “their” person. But nevertheless, leaving the child alone with the dog is not worth it.
  5. Pit bulls, like the vast majority of dogs, do not experience aggression towards humans at the genetic level. There are, of course, exceptions, but with the right approach to upbringing, in most cases, all flaws can be corrected.
  6. At the beginning of the twentieth century, pit bulls experienced the peak of their popularity, and myths about their belonging to America made them the real mascot of the United States. Pit bulls featured on recruiting posters during the First and Second World Wars.
  7. The American Temperament Test showed that Pit Bulls do 3.8% better than the popular Border Collie.
  8. The largest pit bulls were bred in Cuba. These huge giants weigh an average of 125 pounds.

Are Pit bulls Dangerous?

12 Things to Know Before Adopting A Pit Bull Terrier

Opinions about the dangers of pit bulls are controversial. Many believe that their jaws have a stranglehold, and that if a pitbull bites anything over the size of its mouth, it may even dislocate the jaw, but a study by the University of Georgia refutes these rumors.

Scientists claim that pit bull jaws do not have any features that allow them to bite with a death grip.

“National Geography” conducted research on the strength of bites of different types of animals. The dogs were found to have a jaw grip force of 320 lb / in2 . Sheepdog, Rottweiler and Pit Bull dogs were used for the study. The bite of the latter exerted the least pressure.

Some people measure bite strength in atmospheres. The bite force of a pit bull in atmospheres is 55.5. But this interpretation is not entirely correct because atmosphere is a unit of pressure divided by area.

That is, 1 atmosphere = 14.6959 pounds per square inch  . In fact, the bite force is measured in newtons (N).

The bite force of a pit bull is 135 0N (30 Pf). This is less than many large dogs. But this does not mean that pit bull bites can cause less trauma than a bite of a Rottweiler, Doberman, Shepherd and other breeds.

The danger of a dog is determined not only by the strength of the grip, but also by how long the dog can hold the jaw at the moment of the bite in the maximum tense state, what kind of “battle tactics” it possesses and how much control the owner remains at the moment of the peak of aggression.

Pit bulls have a relatively small bite force, but at the same time they are genetically grafted with a killer instinct. At the moment of aggression, they not only defend themselves, they seek to kill the enemy. This makes the pit bull practically the most dangerous dog.

Countries That Prohibit Pitbull Territories

American pit bulls have gained fame for being dangerous  that all species and types of this breed were banned from keeping in the following countries:

  • almost all European countries;
  • Canada (provinces of Ontario and Manitoba);
  • USA.

Important! In the genes of the Pit Bull Terrier is the killer’s aggression towards the enemy. Therefore, it is very important that their owners are aware of how much they are at risk. After all, without the necessary knowledge and skills, not knowing how to use them in practice, no one can properly socialize and raise such a dog.

Description Of The Breed, Standards And Appearance

12 Things to Know Before Adopting A Pit Bull Terrier

As of October 2019, the APBT is not accepted as an independent breed either in the AKC or in the FCI. But the dogs of this breed have a complete description of the appearance that can serve as a kind of standard for the Pit Bull Terrier breed:

HeadOf medium length, lean, rectangular, the skull is flat and wide between the ears, the cheekbones are prominent.
Height and weightThe weight of adult males varies between 62-90 pounds, females – 45-267 pounds. Height is proportional to weight, but not more than 19 inches at the withers. Pit bulls do not have clear boundaries in terms of weight, since each variety has its own parameters of height at the withers and weight.
MuzzleIt has a square shape, a wide, strong forehead, a slightly elongated nose.
JawsWide, powerful, scissor bite.
EarsNot very large in relation to the head, natural, slightly lowered or cropped.
EyesAlmond-shaped, slightly slanted, medium-sized, equally spaced or wider than average.
NeckShort, muscular, widening towards the withers.
shoulder bladesMuscular, broad, set obliquely.
BackShort, slightly sloping.
ChestDeep, but not very wide.
TailThe body is short in relation to the length, set low.
Pectoral limbsMedium in size, set straight. The pasterns are straight and strong.
Pelvic limbsSet straight, the thighs are long and well muscled, the hocks are low and the metatarsus are short.
CoatShort, shiny, hard to the touch, no undercoat. The hairs fit tightly to each other.
ColorAny, but no blemishes.

The average characteristic of the breed gives a general idea of ​​the appearance of the dog, but due to the fact that there are no clear standards, variations in appearance are still possible.

For example, in different dogs the shape of the facial skull may differ – some have an elongated muzzle, similar to a rat’s face, while others have a shorter, “bulldog” look.

Breeders divide APBT into 3 main types, bearing in their appearance the features of one of the founding breeds:

  • terrier;
  • bulldog;
  • mixed.

Varieties of the breed

There are several types of pit bulls:

  • The American Pit Bull Terrier is the epitome of the classic appearance of a pit bull. Assumes many different colors, except merle. Black pit bulls with blue eyes look very impressive.
  • English Staffordshire Pit Bull Terrier (amstaff) – has common ancestors with the APBT, therefore it is extremely similar to him. The difference between these breeds can only be in size – amstaffs are slightly higher at the withers. Perhaps this is due to the fact that there is slightly more terrier blood in them than bulldog blood.
  • Albanian Pit Bull Terrier stands out for its unusual colors. For example, merle (marbled) makes them very expensive dogs and at the same time often “rewards” congenital defects such as deafness, blindness, low immunity. Albanian Pit Bull litters often contain stillborn puppies. Albanian pit bulls got a leopard color from an admixture of Dalmatian blood .
  • Dwarf, or mini pitbull (crossing with a patterndale terrier) – differs from the classic APBT in its pronounced stockiness. In fact, it is not at all small – the point is in the structural features of the skeleton.
  • The French pitbull is most suitable under the name “dwarf”. It is a mixture of a bulldog and a pug. The body is stocky, like a bulldog’s, and the size is like that of a pug.
  • The Cuban Pit Bull Terrier is the largest in the Pit Bull lineup. Can reach 50 kg. This is the largest pit bull in the world – “Hulk” among pit bulls.
  • The African (Boerboel) is still not quite a relative of the APBT. He is more related to the ancient genus of mastiff breeds and is a native of Africa.

In general, pit bulls are quite versatile for breeders – it is worth crossing the APBT with another breed, and a new variety of pit bulls appears. For example, when crossing a pit bull and a German shepherd, you get a German pit bull.

In the same way, the Argentinean pit bull was bred – from the Argentinean mastiff and the APBT.

12 Things to Know Before Adopting A Pit Bull Terrier``

Color and type of coat

The coat of the pit bull is very short and noticeably coarse. These dogs do not have undercoat, therefore they cannot live in the cold.

Pit bull colors are very democratic. The only exception is the merle marble color, which is characteristic only for Albanian pit bulls.

For other species, the following colors are acceptable:

  • white;
  • brindle;
  • blue;
  • redhead;
  • grey;
  • yellow brown;
  • the black;
  • cream.

Life span

Life expectancy in APTB does not differ much from other breeds of dogs and is approximately 10-15 years. The lifespan largely depends on the conditions of keeping the dog.

Character And Behavior

APBT has a complex personality. They have a strong fighting spirit, tend to dominate and demonstrate superiority in the processes of excitation of the central nervous system over the processes of inhibition.

These dogs strive to be the first everywhere and above everyone. In addition, they have a high intelligence for dogs – sometimes they try to make decisions on their own. And it will only depend on the person who will be the main one in their tandem.

If the owner is ready to spend a lot of time on raising the dog, on its socialization and training, then in the end they will receive an incredibly loyal and reliable protector.

How does it relate to children

Pit bulls, despite their frightening appearance, are very kind and even gentle in their own way. They treat children much better and softer than small decorative dog breeds.

How To Choose The Right Puppy

12 Things to Know Before Adopting A Pit Bull Terrier

Before contacting breeders, you need to decide for what purpose you need a Pit Bull Terrier. There are three classes of dogs:

  1. Pet class – dogs are not intended for further breeding.
  2. Breed class – puppies of “star” parents, suitable for participation in competitions and for further breeding.
  3. Show class – the most expensive puppies with a venerable pedigree. Purchase them to participate in well-known and popular exhibitions. Such dogs always claim the highest titles and awards.

Pit bull puppies should be taken from trusted breeders at around 8 weeks of age. By this time, the baby will have time to get the basics of socialization and learn to communicate with their own kind. And the breeder will do all the necessary manipulations – cut ears (if necessary), carry out preventive treatment for worms and vaccinations.

When choosing a puppy, it is worth considering the entire litter for various defects. If there are any, then there is a high probability that some defects may appear in visually healthy individuals over time.

Important! The Pit Bull Terrier puppy is proportionally complex, should be easy to move, be active, curious, playful, not shy, with a good appetite.

Puppy care

Tips from professional dog handlers and breeders:

  1. Start taking time as early as possible to socialize and build trust with your puppy. Puppies learn this best during the period from 3 to 16 weeks of their life. Therefore, it is very important to enable the animal to learn as much as possible about the outside world.
  2. Determine for the puppy its territory, or rather its place.
  3. Treat your little pit bull responsibly. Show it your warm emotions – then you will see both warmth and devotion. In training, use positive stimuli to develop skills and conditioned reflexes.
  4. Pay proper attention to feeding your puppy. Improper nutrition will later result in health problems and developmental flaws. If you have questions or problems with feeding, visit your veterinarian for advice.
  5. From childhood, teach your puppy to inspect the mouth, brush teeth, veterinary manipulations, trim claws.
  6. Provide your puppy with regular and sufficient physical activity. Excess energy must certainly be dumped. Walk with the puppy at least 2 times a day for 1-1.5 hours. A great way to burn off excess energy for a little Pit Bull Terrier is to play a sport.
  7. Don’t let your puppy get bored. Alone, without toys allowed by the owner, the baby runs the risk of acquiring a lot of bad habits. If you need to go somewhere for a long time without a puppy, organize a closed space for it, where it can be left with toys and always with drinking water.
  8. Don’t let your puppy play with other dogs unattended. If in the course of the game there are forerunners of conflict, then it is necessary to interrupt the game, reassure the pet and encourage it if it immediately switched from the “enemy” to the owner.
  9. Don’t let your puppy bite while you play with it. Stop even hints of aggression on its part.

Care And Maintenance Of An Adult Dog

An adult pitbull is unpretentious in care. The main feature of the breed is the coat. During the winters – pit bulls will not be able to spend the winter in a booth outside without a good undercoat. This threatens them not only with frostbitten ears. Therefore,during cold weather pit bulls should live exclusively at home.

Correct diet

The dog’s diet should meet its energy needs. This is the most important condition. The second condition is that food must be fresh. Third, feeding should be according to the regimen.

Do not leave a bowl of food after feeding. And drinking water should always be kept available. This is especially true when feeding with dry food.

The following products are suitable for a natural type of diet:

  • lean meat;
  • sea ​​fish;
  • cottage cheese and sour-milk unsweetened products;
  • vegetables;
  • cereals;
  • cheese;
  • chicken eggs (dosed).

Walking and physical activity

It is necessary to walk with a pit bull terrier at least 2 times a day for 1.5-2 hours. The dog should come from a walk tired. This will keep the dog in good physical shape and avoid many health problems.

Training and education

The intelligence of pit bulls allows them to quickly memorize what is required of them and form conditioned reflexes, so they are well trained.

One gets the impression that these dogs, as it were, are trying to please the owner, fulfilling their commands and requirements.

  1. Take time to train each day.
  2. Ideally, check the training information before purchasing the dog.
  3. If you cannot instill the necessary skills and commands on your own, be sure to seek help from a professional dog handler.

For a pit bull terrier and its owner, the  General training course and excellent obedience are the key to a long and calm life. Only after the General training course , you can go to the Guard Dog Training.

Care and hygiene

Pit bull care is not too difficult:

  1. Bathing Pit Bull Terriers is often unnecessary.
  2. Coat, as necessary, should be combed with a stiff brush and wiped with a cloth. With this approach, the pit bull’s coat will always be smooth and shiny.
  3. Dogs need mouth hygiene. Pit bull terriers need to brush their teeth 2-3 times a week with a special dog toothpaste.
  4. The claws must be trimmed as they grow back. If this is not done in a timely manner, then there is a risk of injury to the nail plate and toe.
  5. As needed, you need to treat the ears and eyes with special lotions.

Dog House

A pit bull terrier may need an aviary and a booth only for the warm season. The aviary should be spacious so that the dog is not constrained in movement, the booth should not be large or small, but in size, and located in the depths of the aviary, fenced off from the walking area.

It is advisable to arrange a canopy in the aviary to create shade in hot weather.

Pitbull Mating

Mating in pit bulls is advisable no earlier than 2 years of age. The place for mating is traditionally prepared by the owner of the male. It is customary to bring the female for mating. This is partly due to territoriality – the male on its territory feels more confident, and the female – on the contrary.

Dogs are not fed immediately before mating. The female needs to wash the genitals.

Dogs are knitted only in the period from the 11th to the 13th day of estrus, but this is an average information. The period of ovulation can vary from dog to dog.

By the time of complete readiness for mating, the secretions from the loop in the female become almost colorless, and when pressed into the region of the croup, it moves the tail and pulls the loop up, as if inviting the partner to mating.

Vaccinations And Disease Propensity

Vaccinations are given to pit bull terriers at puppy age according to the scheme, and then – once a year. The list of vaccinated diseases does not differ from other dogs:

  • rabies of carnivores;
  • parvovirus enteritis;
  • plague of carnivores;
  • adenovirosis;
  • leptospirosis;
  • viral hepatitis;
  • parainfluenza.

Diseases to which pit bull terriers are prone:

  • dental disease;
  • infectious diseases;
  • obesity;
  • dysplasia of the hip joints (genetically transmitted);
  • various scabies (otodectosis, sarcoptic mange, flea dermatitis, notoedrosis, demodicosis). Although notoedrosis is feline scabies, dogs can also get sarcoptic mange, as can cats. Moreover, the ticks that cause these diseases in dogs and cats can bite humans, but humans will not have specific symptoms of scabies;
  • allergies;
  • disorders of the thyroid gland;
  • diseases of the cardiovascular system (aortic stenosis).

It is unlikely that it will be possible to treat diseases on your own. It is much safer and more efficient to contact your veterinarian. The only exception is an allergic reaction. When a pit bull has an allergy, an antihistamine should be given as soon as possible.

Pros And Cons Of The Breed

The Pit Bull Terrier breed, like others, has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Unpretentious carePuppy cost
Not picky with foodTime spent on socialization and training
Well trainableThe genetically inherent instinct to kill the enemy
Rarely gets sickPersistent need for attention from the owner
Genetic predisposition to hip hyperplasia and cardiovascular disease

How Much Does a Puppy Cost

Pit bull puppies depending on the class, can cost from 300 to 800 Dollars.

 Naming a Pitbull Terrier Puppy

Before coming up with a nickname for a puppy, it’s best to watch it. Your puppy’s behavior will probably tell you which name is right for it. In addition, if the dog is purebred, then the breeder will come up with a name for the puppy.

The owner, in the process of communication, will find the diminutive form of the already issued name.

Possible nicknames for male pit bulls:

  • Bandit, Gang, Boss;
  • Varn;
  • Gray;
  • Don;
  • Killer, Cor;
  • Lord;
  • Mason;
  • North;
  • Royce, Roy;
  • Ted;
  • Phil;
  • Hugo-Boss, Hayes, Khan;
  • Caesar;
  • Chaz, Chuck;
  • Cher.

Possible nicknames for female pit bulls:

  • Arana;
  • Bella;
  • Varana, Vaina, Visa;
  • Hera;
  • Dora, Dey;
  • Zarya, Xena;
  • Bark;
  • Lana, Lisa, Lika, Luciena, Laura, Luna;
  • Peace;
  • Rose flower;
  • Tara;
  • Tsera, Tsuma;
  • Sheiri;
  • Eira.

Pit Bulls are excellent dogs, easy to train, loyal and reliable. In the face of the owner, they definitely need a pronounced leader with a strong hand, but at the same time who knows how not to demonstrate its own anger and aggression.

About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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