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American Pit Bull Terrier

American-Pit-Bull-Terrier

A Loyal Family Companion

Friendly, strong, lively

American Pit Bull Terriers are people-oriented, adaptable, and protective, medium-sized dogs. Many assume that because Pit Bulls are often aggressive toward other dogs, especially of the same sex, that they do not make great companions for humans—this could not be further from the truth. Pit Bulls are very people-oriented, good-natured, and affectionate pets for their family, and they’re good with children as well. These strong dogs will be tranquil and obedient dogs if properly trained and socialized at an early age. This breed makes a great companion for families with older children, people living alone, experienced dog handlers, and those who enjoy the outdoors. These amiable dogs need plenty of regular exercise, like long daily walks, and a strong leader.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs. 

Breed Details

Height:15-20 in. Weight:20-55 lb Lifespan:12-14 years

Size
3

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
1

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
4

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
4

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
5

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
4

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: American Pit Bull Terriers are smart dogs with a lot of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They are easy to train but early obedience and socialization are required to keep them from becoming overprotective and aggressive.  

Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.  

Dental: American Pitbull Terriers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!  

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry, your Veterinarian can show you how! 

American Pit Bull Terriers are friendly and can adapt to almost any living situation, as long as they are well socialized and get daily exercise and attention.

Positive Traits: 

  • An affectionate companion and family dog 

  • Lively, with a friendly personality

  • People-oriented and eager to please

  • Intelligent, friendly, and easily won over

  • Compact - does well in small living quarters

  • Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat

Negative Traits: 

  • Needs regular exercise and diet regulation to avoid weight gain

  • Early obedience training and socialization is recommended

  • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly

  • Aggressive toward other animals

  • May need supervision around children 

  • Sees cats and small animals as prey unless trained otherwise

Whether you are considering adding a new American Pit Bull Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every American Pit Bull Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the American Pit Bull Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues an American Pit Bull Terrier could encounter:

The American Pit Bull Terrier was brought to the United States by immigrants from England, Ireland, and Scotland during the 19th century. In America, selective breeding increased their weight and enlarged their jaws, giving them a more powerful-looking head. Originally bred for bull baiting and as a farm dog, the American Pit Bull Terrier has become a popular companion. The Pit Bull is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12-14 years. They can suffer from some common conditions like hip dysplasia and allergies. Early diagnosis is the key to a long and happy life so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

Consult with a veterinarian if your American Pit Bull Terrier shows signs of the following:

  • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”

  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

  • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

  • Red, hairless, crusting sores in specific spots on face or foot pads

  • Weakness and excessive clumsiness in the rear legs

  • Pain or straining to urinate, bloody urine

  • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

  • Vomiting and bloody, watery diarrhea

  • Care

    Routine Care: American Pit Bull Terriers are smart dogs with a lot of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They are easy to train but early obedience and socialization are required to keep them from becoming overprotective and aggressive.  

    Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.  

    Dental: American Pitbull Terriers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!  

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry, your Veterinarian can show you how! 

  • Characteristics

    American Pit Bull Terriers are friendly and can adapt to almost any living situation, as long as they are well socialized and get daily exercise and attention.

    Positive Traits: 

    • An affectionate companion and family dog 

    • Lively, with a friendly personality

    • People-oriented and eager to please

    • Intelligent, friendly, and easily won over

    • Compact - does well in small living quarters

    • Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat

    Negative Traits: 

    • Needs regular exercise and diet regulation to avoid weight gain

    • Early obedience training and socialization is recommended

    • Overprotective of family and territory if not socialized properly

    • Aggressive toward other animals

    • May need supervision around children 

    • Sees cats and small animals as prey unless trained otherwise

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new American Pit Bull Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every American Pit Bull Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the American Pit Bull Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues an American Pit Bull Terrier could encounter:

  • History

    The American Pit Bull Terrier was brought to the United States by immigrants from England, Ireland, and Scotland during the 19th century. In America, selective breeding increased their weight and enlarged their jaws, giving them a more powerful-looking head. Originally bred for bull baiting and as a farm dog, the American Pit Bull Terrier has become a popular companion. The Pit Bull is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12-14 years. They can suffer from some common conditions like hip dysplasia and allergies. Early diagnosis is the key to a long and happy life so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your American Pit Bull Terrier shows signs of the following:

    • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

    • Red, hairless, crusting sores in specific spots on face or foot pads

    • Weakness and excessive clumsiness in the rear legs

    • Pain or straining to urinate, bloody urine

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

    • Vomiting and bloody, watery diarrhea

American Pit Bull Terrier Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the American Pit Bull Terrier breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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