American Pit Bull Terrier -
What you Need to Know about Pitbull Puppies

Did you just bring home a new American Pit Bull Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

There is no other breed in existence today with so much misinformation and confusion surrounding its name as the American Pit Bull Terrier. And while it may be helpful to describe other breeds when talking about some specific breed, it's impossible to describe the Pit Bull without talking about several other breeds first.

Like other Bull and Terrier types, the American Pit Bull Terrier (also known as the APBT) was created from crosses between the English Bulldog and terriers. These dogs were originally bred for fighting and inherited strength, tenacity, and high pain threshold from the Bulldog and agility from terriers.

These early crosses did not represent a specific breed, the concept of a breed appeared at the end of the 19th century with the advent of the dog show circuit. The Bull and Terrier crosses shared common ancestry, performed the same job (bull baiting, dog fighting, etc.), and all looked somewhat alike. They all belonged to the same type. Visit dog breed information to learn more about types of dogs.

Eventually dogs began to be bred to confirm to specific standards and differences between dogs of the same type began to emerge. What used to be known as the Bull and Terrier type split into such breeds as the Bull Terrier, the Miniature Bull Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. After the Staffordshire was imported into United States, it developed along different lines from his British cousin and, eventually, became known as the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Each breed had its own standard that provided a blueprint of what a breed is supposed to look like. But the differences between breeds went much further than just appearance. As breeds were further refined, dogs were bred more for their appearance than their work ethic. Many breeds were "refined" so much that they became incapable of performing their original work.

Many Pitbull breeders resisted subjecting their dogs to confirming to rigid standards and kept them away from the show circuit. Eventually, despite many objections, the breed standard emerged but no one was too happy with the name "pit pull" and the breed became known as the Staffordshire Terrier (it was later changed to the American Staffordshire Terrier).

And that’s the history of the American Pit Bull Terrier…

Confused? You should be!

You see, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier used to be one and the same breed. But after the breed was recognized by AKC, the show dog (the Staffordshire Terrier) and the working dog (the American Pit Bull Terrier) were developed along different lines and can now be considered separate breeds.    

Once a very popular breed, its popularity declined due to some bad publicity. It's kind of ironic and sad that the breed is banned or labeled as dangerous in some municipalities / countries. It's not the American Pit Bull Terrier who is dangerous, it's the people who make these dogs dangerous who should be banned and labeled as dangerous.

Physical Characteristics of Pitbull Puppies

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a muscular, powerfully-built yet agile and graceful dog.

He has squarely built body with a deep chest and strong back that is a bit higher at the withers and slightly arched at the loin. The medium length neck is muscular and slightly arched. It widens from the back of the skull to where it joins the shoulders. The tail should be short in comparison to size of dog but is never docked. A gay tail (held horizontally with back) is considered a fault.

The front legs are strong and muscular. When viewed from the front, they appear set moderately wide apart and perpendicular to the ground. The back legs are muscular and moderately broad. Viewed from the side, the hock joint is well bent and the rear pasterns are well let down and perpendicular to the ground. The feet are round, well arched, and tight. Pads are hard and well cushioned.

The head is broad and shaped like a blunt wedge. The muzzle is broad and tapers from the stop to the nose. The nose is large, with wide nostrils, and can be any color. The eyes are round, medium in size, and set well apart. All colors are permitted except blue. Ears are high set and may be natural or cropped.

The coat is short, glossy, stiff to the touch, and can be any color or color combination. The only color that is opposed by most breeders is merle.

    Height Weight
  Male 18 - 20 inches 35 - 60 pounds
  Female 16 - 18 inches 30 - 55 pounds


No other breed earned such undeservedly bad reputation as the American Pit Bull Terrier.

The blame for this misinformation should be shared not only by people like Michael Vick but also by sensationalist media. Many Pit Bull attacks being reported by news outlets are either committed by a dog of some other breed or by a Pit Bull Terrier who was provoked. But blaming it on an American Pit Bull Terrier makes for a good story.

In reality, American Pit Bull Terriers are just the opposite of what they are portrayed to be...

They are sensitive, affectionate, outgoing, loyal, and good-natured. They are friendly not only to family members but to strangers as well. They are good with children and because of their high tolerance for pain, Pitbull puppies will tolerate rougher handling from children than most other breeds (this doesn't mean children should be allowed to mistreat them).

They are also intelligent, brave, and have strong protective instinct. If an American Pit Bull Terrier feels he or his family is threatened, he will fight, sometimes to death, to protect his loved ones. That said, unprovoked aggression against humans is extremely rare and not normal. Even growling over food or toys is not normal and you should seek professional help if this happens to you.

They're usually friendly with other family pets but may be aggressive with same-sex dogs. Like all breeds, the American Pit Bull Terrier will benefit from socialization training. A properly socialized Pit Bull will never start a fight but he will also never shy away if he feels threatened by another dog.

They make good pets, but they are not everyone. They are not well-suited for an inexperienced or meek owner. They require firm handling and should never be allowed to establish dominance over humans. Without proper leadership from every family member, the American Pit Bull Terrier may be hard to control.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a very adaptable dog and as long as he gets sufficient exercise, will do fine in a city apartment setting.

It requires an experienced and assertive dog owner leading an active lifestyle.

Some American Pit Bull breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

Like all breeds, the American Pit Bull Terrier needs regular exercise to stay in shape.

His exercise can consist of long walks or running and playing off leash. If you are into jogging or bicycle riding, you may take your pet along. The only requirement is to always keep him on leash unless he is in a fenced area.

At a minimum, every American Pit Bull Terrier needs to have several long walks every day.

Grooming your American Pit Bull Terrier

The Pitbull is an average shedder and easy to groom. Brush regularly with a firm bristle brush to remove dead hair. You may also give your pet a quick wipe-down with a damp towel or chamois for a shiny and healthy looking coat.

Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, American Pit Bull Terriers are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Additional health concerns include hip dysplasia, heart problems, and cataracts. Visit dog health problems for more information about dog diseases and health.

Buy only from reputable Pitbull breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems become big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Pitbull puppies is between 12 and 14 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local American Pit Bull Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this American Pit Bull Terrier Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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