The American Pitbull Terrier: Temperament, Diet, Grooming, Training, and Much More!

The American Pitbull Terrier: Temperament, Diet, Grooming, Training, and Much More!

The American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terriers are muscular and domineering to look at, but they are completely the opposite: friendly, loving, and sometimes clownish! Though they were originally bred for fighting and considered as one of the aggressive dog breeds, they are today a popular choice among pet dog lovers.

They make good companion dogs because they are agile, energetic, and quite loyal. Likewise, they make good family dogs owing to their welcoming features, such as amiability, gentleness, and care.

Like their parent breeds, they are also quite popular among dog lovers. Due to their soaring popularity, many of their mix breeds have been developed, such as Pocket Pitbull, Pitbull Mastiff, and Golden Retriever Pitbull Mix, etc.

They have strong jaw muscles, a muscular body, approachability, and intelligence. Due to these features, they are also used for search, rescue, and security purposes.

Many dog breeds are confused with Pitbulls; however, only the American Pitbull Terrier is classified as the real Pitbull breed in most parts of the world, while the American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize this breed.

Features of the American Pitbull Terrier

CharacteristicsThe American Pitbull Terrier
Height (inches)17 to 19
Weight (pounds)30 to 85
Lifespan (years)12 to 16
ColorsMany colors including Red, Blue, Brown, Grey, Black, White, and Brindle
Eye ColorBrown and Hazel

Characteristics of the American Pitbull Terrier

Energy:

Health:

Health:

Amount of Shedding:

Trainability:

Intelligence:

Grooming Requirements:

Sociability:

Exercising Requirements:

Dog Friendly:

Kid Friendly:

Friendly Towards Strangers:

A Brief History of the American Pitbull Terrier Breed

Originating in the 19th Century, The American Pitbull Terriers are a mix of Old English Bulldogs and Terriers. Old English Bulldogs were specifically used for fighting, and a blood sport called bull baiting. Nevertheless, after the decrease in the popularity of this sport in Europe and the enactment of the Animals Cruelty Act, 1835 in the United Kingdom, those Bulldogs were bred with Terriers to induce agility. The American Pitbull Terriers thus formed reached the shores of the United States (U.S.) during the 1860s.

They were assigned different roles in farming and began garnering popularity. Since then, the breed has been quite famous in the U.S. It was also used as the nation’s official mascot during World War II.

Did You Know?

Pitbulls are banned in the United Kingdom and New Zealand

Growth Chart of the American Pitbull Terrier

AgeWeight (Pounds)
One Month7.2 to 9.2
Three Moths26.5 to 31
Six Months50 to 57
Nine Months60 to 70
One Year64 to 76

The American Pitbull Terrier Personality and Temperament

The personality and temperament of the American Pitbull Terriers are more inclined towards their Terrier parents.

The American Pitbull Terriers are generally considered aggressive due to their intimidating looks; nonetheless, so is not the case: these dogs are quite friendly and fun-loving.

They are affectionate, friendly, and playful with the people around them. Moreover, they are always sweet and clownish and never let the people around them get bored. Though they are often used as watchdogs, thanks to their intelligent, obedient, and loyal nature, they are not considered reliable guard dogs as they are too affectionate for the job—they are friendly towards strangers as well.

Their affectionate nature may cloud their judgment when differentiating between a friendly stranger and a potential threat (intruder)—they may end up welcoming an intruder instead of barking at them. However, they are brave enough to protect their owners from any potential threat without hesitating to put their life on the line.

There are some undesirable inherited traits in The American Pitbull Terriers as well. Since their parent breeds have strong fighting instincts, The American Pitbull Terriers are aggressive towards other animals, especially dogs. Likewise, they have strong hunting and herding instincts. They also inherit separation anxiety and exhibit aggressive behavior when anxious or left alone for a long time.

You can use calming dog treats to calm your anxious Pitbull Terrier. Moreover, it is also advised that when leaving Pitbull Terriers alone, you put them in their crate and give them some dog toys to chew on or interact with.

The Positives and Negatives of having an American Pitbull TerrierBreed

    The Positives

    Affectionate and loyal

    Intelligent and quick learner—can be easily trained

    Playful and clownish—won’t keep you bored

    Obedient and suitable for families with children

    Brave—though they are not guard dogs, they may intercede if their owner is threatened

    The Negatives

    Develops separation anxiety

    Prey-driven and strong-willed

    Aggressive towards other dogs

    Have a fighting history—which is why are banned in some countries

The American Pitbull Terrier Diet and Nutrition

The American Pitbull Terriers are strong, muscular, and physically very active. They, hence, require a regular, well-maintained, and nutrient-rich diet to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Adult The American Pitbull Terriers require the following dietary components on a daily basis:

  1. Calories: 1,700
  2. Protein: 20 to 25 percent of the daily diet
  3. Fat: Five percent of the daily diet

Based on these requirements, about a cup and a half to two cups of dry dog food every day will be enough. You can check out the best dog foods for Pitbulls to find a good fit for your Pitbull Terrier. You can also divide this quantity into two or three meals per day. It is suitable for adult dogs to have two meals a day while infants to have three.

Please note that the requirements given above are for the adult and fully-grown American Pitbull Terriers. This amount varies according to the size and age of dogs as well as the activity level of each dog.

The American Pitbull Terrier Exercise Requirements

The American Pitbull Terriers are agile and athletic and are often listed as high-energy dogs. They need a lot of exercise to stay healthy and fit. You should aim for about two hours of workout for your dog every day.

Besides, to have a healthy cardiovascular system for your dog, you should also aim for occasional walks—provided the weather outsides is not too cold.

If your dog is young, you should aim for the following duration of exercise each day:

Age (Months) Duration (Minutes)
Up to three15 to 30
Up to four20 to 40
Up to five25 to 50
Up to six and beyond30 to 60

In addition to the physical exercise, you also need to provide mental stimulation to your American Pitbull Terriers to avoid getting bored and resorting to destructive behavior. You can get your Pit interesting dog food puzzles to make eating more fun and keep him engaged.

Known to be forever up for gaming, you can try the following games with your American Pitbull Terrier:

  1. Hide and Seek
  2. Fetch
  3. Tug

The American Pitbull Terrier Training

The American Pitbull Terriers are easy to train. Though they are a bit stubborn, they are more likely to respond to their owners positively and quickly. Besides being intelligent, they are quite eager to please their owners, becoming a very obedient dog breed.

Despite such comfort in training, you need to be aware of the following facts for effective training sessions:

  1. The American Pitbull Terriers are obedient, but you should still discipline them at a young age. You can hide your dog’s favorite thing whenever he refuses to follow your command. Conversely, you should offer him treats when he responds positively. If your Pitbull is experiencing weight issues, you can try some ways to train your dog without treats—you can use toys and pettings as a treat.
  2. These dogs are quite touchy. You should get your American Pitbull Terrier puppies used to brushing at a young age. Otherwise, he might respond in an unruly way when it comes to brushing.
  3. You should socialize your dog as soon as possible; otherwise, his fighting instincts would be dominant in his personality—making him a threat to animals around him. You should also expose him to various sounds, sights, and people at an early age.
  4. To diminish his separation anxiety, you should crate train him as soon as you start socialization. So that when you have to leave him alone, you could put him in his crate and expect him to behave.

The American Pitbull Terrier Grooming Requirements

The American Pitbull Terriers require low maintenance and are very easy to groom.

Here are the details:

Coat

They have short, thick-haired, and easy-to-clean single coats. They are average shedders, not requiring too much brushing and bathing. Brushing once a week and bathing once every two to three months is enough. In fact, bathing is not necessary—unless your dog gets himself into something messy and stinky; in such a case, you’ll have to bathe your dog. You can try using a vet-approved oatmeal shampoo to give your stinky dog a good smell.

Teeth

To keep his powerful jaws and teeth healthy and clean, you should clean your dog’s teeth two to three times a week. Just brush your dog’s teeth gently and in a circular motion. You should never use human toothpaste; instead, always use quality dog toothpaste.

Nails

The American Pitbull Terriers have blood vessels in their nails. Therefore, you should not trim the nails too deep, or he might become resistant to nail trimming due to the pain. We advise using a dog nail grinder, which reduces the chances of accidentally nipping a blood vessel in nails. You should trim his nail once a week.

Health Concerns of the American Pitbull Terrier Breed

In general, the American Pitbull Terrier is a healthy dog breed. Nevertheless, they are susceptible to some health issues. Below we have discussed some of the most common health issues Pitbull Terriers are prone to.  

Aortic Stenosis

It is the shrinking of the aortic valve of the heart. In this condition, the dog’s heart has to pump blood more forcefully through the shrunken valve, putting extra strain on the heart. Such a condition, if left untreated, can give rise to other serious cardiac complications in the long run. This is a hereditary disease prevalent in dogs at birth.

Different treatments for the condition exist, depending on the severity of the case. Though the disease can only be confirmed after diagnostic procedures, some of the indications of aortic stenosis include:

  1. Lethargy and weakness
  2. Inability to do exercise
  3. Improper or open-mouth breathing

Cleft Lip

It is the occurrence of an opening in the upper lip during the development phase of puppies in their mothers’ wombs. Dogs with cleft lips can also have a cleft palate—an opening between the mouth roof and nasal cavity—which could be fatal. Such dogs require special care while feeding them. Genetics, environment, or the combination of the two can cause this condition.

However, mothers not getting a balanced diet during pregnancy may also lead to the development of this condition in the fetus. The cleft lip can be closed only through surgery, often done in more than one procedure. If the defect in puppies is not obvious, coughing and milk babbling can be indications of the occurrence of this flaw.

Ichthyosis

Ichthyosis is the roughening of skin which is followed by the occurrence of thick flakes that often stick to the hair in the coat. Besides, skin color may also change with the thickening of the footpads. It happens due to recessive genetic mutations. The diagnosis is only possible through skin biopsy. The condition may be more severe in older dogs; however, the use of medicated lotion, ointments, and shampoos can help with Ichthyosis and other skin-related problems.

Patellar Luxation

It is the dislocation of knee caps. Like aortic stenosis and cleft lip, patellar luxation is also a hereditary problem in dogs. Dogs experience difficulty bearing any weight on the affected knee in this condition, rendering the limb dysfunctional. Nevertheless, the condition can be rectified without careful exercise and physiotherapy without any surgical procedure.

If your dog undergoes surgery, the complete recovery may take about two to three months. The symptoms of patellar luxation include:

  1. Problems in bending knees
  2. Swelling in knee joints
  3. Inability to do workout

Obesity

Obesity is the accumulation of fat and weight in an excessive amount. If obesity is not tackled, it can give rise to certain other fatal diseases in the long run. Such diseases may include heart problems, liver issues, kidney complications, etc. If you cannot feel the ribs of your dog, he is obese.

Cherry Eye

It is the inflammation of the tear gland. Though the disease is not painful, it can cause irritations and other health complications if left untreated. Surgeries are the only solution to this problem. The disease can easily be diagnosed: if your dog has a red mass jutting out of his eye corner, he has a cherry eye.

Why You Should Have an  American Pitbull Terrier – Three Reasons

The American Pitbull Terriers are great pets. Here is why:

The American Pitbull Terriers Are Very Affectionate

The soft side of the American Pitbull Terriers is often ignored. They are very friendly and affectionate and often form a close bond with the people they stay near. They love to cuddle, snuggle, and play with their owners.

Due to these instincts, the American Pitbull Terriers are also used as therapy dogs. Males are more affectionate as compared to females.

The American Pitbull Terriers Are Great With Children

After getting proper socialization training, the aggressive side of the American Pitbull Terriers is tamed to a level that they become awesome with children. In fact, due to their love for children, they are often known as ‘nanny dogs.’ However, you should make sure that your children are not too irritating for your dog. Moreover, you should never leave the American Pitbull Terrier or even small dog breeds with your children, especially minors, unsupervised.

The American Pitbull Terriers Are Easy to Groom

Grooming the American Pitbull Terriers is not rocket science: they have a simple coat with simple hair on it. They also have jaws and nails akin to those of any other dog breed. A moderate level of shedding is also a plus point. All these natural characteristics make their grooming easy and low-maintenance.

Nonetheless, a proper nutritious diet needs to be maintained for the proper glossy look of their coat.

Why You Should Not Have an American Pitbull Terrier – Three Reasons

You should know some drawbacks of having an American Pitbull Terrier. They are:

The American Pitbull Terriers Are Not Welcoming of Other Dogs

Though the American Pitbull Terriers are quite friendly with humans, they simply do not tolerate other dogs. They are not to be blamed for this behavior—fighting and being hateful of different animals is in their genetics. This behavior cannot be diminished; it can only be tamed through effective socialization and training.

The American Pitbull Terriers Cannot Tolerate Cold Weather

Owing to their thin coat, they do not do well when kept outside for longer periods, especially in a cold environment. If left outside for a long time, they may catch a cold. In fact, it is recommended that you never let American Pitbull Terrier puppies go outside if the mercury drops below 50 Fahrenheit. However, a temperature as low as 45 Fahrenheit is fine for adult dogs.

The American Pitbull Terriers Develop Separation Anxiety

Due to their over-affectionate nature and intense emotional attachment with the people they love, the American Pitbull Terriers often fall prey to separation anxiety. Even for a little while, spending time alone can be very difficult for them. They quickly become sad and resort to bad behaviors.

They start manifesting their longing for their favorite people when they return home with loud barks and instant liveliness.

Conclusion

The American Pitbull Terriers are very affectionate and caring dogs. They possess all traits that are desirable in a pet dog. Some issues—like separation anxiety and fighting instincts—do exist, but the good news is that they can be controlled with early socialization and puppy disciplining. It is a good choice if you can cater to this dog’s energetic and dietary needs, and you will not regret owning an American Pitbull Terrier!

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp

Table of Contents