There is a misunderstanding regarding the Pit Bull breed, as most of them have pedigrees as either American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or American Bullies. No matter their registry, the Pit Bull is well-known for all dog lovers because of their loving, yet maligned reputation within the society. But, these dogs are great companions for those who understand the dog’s world and behavior!
The Pit Bull, originally bred for bull-baiting purposes, quickly evolved into an all-around dog in farms, and later on into companion and household dogs because of their quick wit and gentle being, especially with children. They are strong, tenacious, playful and courageous buddies! And their personality makes them great in various sports, such as weight pulling, obedience competition and agility!
They quickly became a very prominent part of American households as admired pets with great qualities, like: bravery, hardwork, and affection.
Dog breed: Pit Bull
Breed Group: Terriers, Bull type / Working dogs
Breed Color: Variety of colors and markings – black, pure white with markings that include red and copper or gray color variations spread on their bodies and faces.
- 1 History/Origin of the Pit Bull
- 2 Bull Terriers Characteristics
- 3 Pit Bull Allergies
- 4 Physical Appearance of PitBull
- 5 Personality, Temperament and Character of Pit Bull
- 6 Health
- 7 Exercise
- 8 Trainability
- 9 Feeding
- 10 Grooming
- 11 Highlights
- 12 Famous Pit Bulls
- 13 Facts about Pit Bull & Stories
- 14 Best Pit Bull Pictures on IDW
History/Origin of the Pit Bull
The Pit Bull was bred by crossing Bull and Terrier dogs for herding purposes, initially. Later on, they were used for bloody sports and fights! As fighter dogs, they were bred for speed and agility not so much for their looks or size. The Pit Bull is a very sensitive dog that can get hurt easily.
Back in 1800s the Old English Bulldog was known to be the Pit Bull of today although they had a rather more similar look to the Bulldogs of today!
The reason the dog got banned is not because of the dog, but because of criminal owners that have raised and turned these dogs into extremely aggressive dogs. Pit Bulls are tenacious and strong and no other canine can match with them in this regard! But, at the same time, they were always classified as very loving and fun dogs in human interactions, if the owner was a calm, assertive and affectionate one. But if the owner gives them extremely hard living conditions, then the dog will surely be able to turn toward aggression and become asocial/antisocial, too.
Bull Terriers Characteristics
Bull Terriers belong in the Terrier Group – a group comprised of energetic dogs and of many various sizes: from toy, to small, to medium and large dogs. Dogs in the Terrier group are typically intolerant towards other animals, including other dogs, too. Many of the Terrier group continue to project the attitude that they’re always eager for a spirited argument. Their ancestral hunting spirit is deeply imprinted into the group and they usually hunt for smaller animals, known to disrupt crops, like: foxes, rodents, and others alike. Their hunting abilities go even further, into the underground, in chase of pests out of holes – as per their hunters’ requirements – which is also the reason they got the name Terriers in the first place! Terrier coming from the word terra, meaning earth!
These are feisty, energetic dogs whose sizes range from fairly small, as in the Norfolk, Cairn or West Highland White Terrier, to the grand Airedale Terrier. Most Terriers have wiry coats that require special grooming known as stripping in order to maintain a characteristic appearance.
Terriers are further broken down into four sections based on the type of Terrier and the breed origin and history! In overall, Terriers are very engaging with their pack and family, and they require high-energy owners and families!
Pit Bull Allergies
If you notice your Pit Bull scratching or licking their paws, rubbing their face frequently and continuously, you should start thinking about doing an allergy test and consulting the veterinarian. Three main types of skin allergies are the most common among Pit Bull and they are usually a consequence of:
This is a skin allergy which occurs due to hypersensitivity towards dust, mites and molds. Symptoms that may arise because of this specific allergy are: excessive licking, chewing paws and/or abdomen as well as the rear legs. Additionally, your dog’s ears may become red and if you touch their ears you may feel a lot of heat being released.
Except for their ears, you must also check for other symptoms showing up in their armpits, groin, between their toes, and abdomen. Moreover, changes in skin color which usually resemble deep pink, red or black colors are indications of atopic dermatitis!
Inhalant Allergy and ‘Cherry Eye‘
This type of allergy usually arises due to inhalation of allergens like dust, pollen, mites, molds or other chemicals. You may notice your dog feeling more itchy around the feet, groin, armpits and abdomen. This allergy is also the main reason for your dog‘s ear infections!
When your dog rubs the abdomen with the outside world, they may come in contact with these allergens.
Meanwhile, the ‘Cherry Eye‘ is caused by the inhalation of chemicals, which cause your dog’s eye to become cherry-colored. ‘Cherry Eye’predominantly occurs among puppies!
It may occur after having come in contact with certain allergens, such as flea collars, specific plants, grass, wood, dog shampoo, among others. It is important to consult your vet and undertake the right actions towards finding out the specific allergens causing such reactions in your dog, and subsequently, avoid contact with these factors!
Usually, food allergies cause itchy skin and scratchy ears – similar as other allergies – and your dog may also turn to biting and licking their paws, rubbing their faces in the carpet, coughing, diarrhea, flatulence, sneezing, gagging, seizures, ear inflammation, and other discomforting reactions.
The most ordinary food allergens found among dogs are soy products, corn, wheat, chicken, beef, pork, fish, milk, eggs, whey, additives, preservatives, sugar, artificial flavorings – products that are usually found in commercial foods. Therefore, you should consult with your vet and go after identification of allergen ingredients – which may take weeks to find out – then change your dog’s diet accordingly!
The most likely foods to cause allergic reactions in dogs include:
However, if you notice your dog having allergic reactions to one of the above mentioned foods, consider very much possible the rise of allergic reactions to the rest of the listed ingredients!
In dogs, fleas can cause allergy reactions through their saliva, not their ticking. If you cannot detect any fleas in your dog, it is advisable to take your dog to the vet and perform the tick-allergy test which enables determining whether your dog has any fleas! If positive, a routine removal of remaining fleas must be done, and your vet may also prescribe necessary remedies like capsules, sprays or shampoos.
Flea allergy, food allergy, and parasitic allergy cause similar symptoms. Check for fleas or other parasite presence as their saliva may be what causes the allergic reaction in your dog!
Flea shampoos, soaps and other dedicated medications have proven helpful in eliminating such skin allergies in dogs! Always remain alert towards your pet dog’s health and behavior!
Physical Appearance of PitBull
The most important thing about their physical appearance is their correct proportion of weight and height.
Pit Bull’s physical appearance shows strength, power, and passion. Their head shape is similar to that of the broad brick, especially the cheeks, which hold extremely powerful jaws. Their bite is scissor-y and ferocious! Meanwhile, their necks are muscular as are their whole bodies! They are very strong for their size and are extremely light, athletic, and speedy dogs, which are also well-known to have a very high jump!
Their ears generally get cropped, but cropping them is optional. If not cropped, they are curled forward and down!
Their tails are thin, long and somewhat pointy. Some may even duck their Pit Bulls’ tails, but this will not allow your Pit Bull to be accepted as a regular breed, though!
Some Pit Bulls have blue eyes, although they are not accepted as a regular breed, just as the ones that have merle coat colors.
Their coats are made up of thick, short and shiny hair and the colors may include shades of brown to red. Their noses should match their coat-color.
Red-nose Pit Bulls are the ones that have the brown and red coat colors. Whereas, Blue-nose Pit Bulls have a coat that includes shades of gray and a matching gray nose!
Height, Weight and Life Span
Height and weight variations between matured male and female Pit Bulls:
- Female Weight: 14 to 36 kg
- Female Height: 45.72 cm
- Male Weight: 14 to 36 kg
- Male Height: 48.26 cm
- Life Span: 8 to 15 years old
Personality, Temperament and Character of Pit Bull
Pit Bulls have a strong desire to please their owners and are very much drawn towards their affection! They are of good-nature, loyal, very courageous and intelligent guard dogs with an undiluted focus. They have the innate ability to recognize suspects and act out accordingly!
Pit Bulls will be great house pets if they get raised by a firm owner and if trained and socialized early into their puppy hood!
You should not underestimate your Pit Bull and treat them as human beings, as they are very powerful and strong-minded dogs who would try to take the role of the pack leader, and in turn can easily mess up a lot of situations by become unmanageable for you. In this way you may even risk enforcing a worse reputation of the breed, in general! Understanding dog behavior beforehand will spare you a lot of unnecessary trouble, and will ensure you the company of an amazing, loyal, obedient and affectionate pet!
Also, Pit Bulls enjoy having a purpose, so you should give them work in order to allow them to fulfill their role! Avoid getting engaged in promoting the breed’s fighting instinct, by all means!
Pits do well in apartments, only if properly and sufficiently exercised as they belong among active dogs!
They do better in warmer climates. Therefore, they should not be left outside for long periods of time, especially not overnight and in harsh cold weather! Their cold intolerance is not the only factor that determines whether the Pit Bull should be kept inside or not! Other reasons include their incapability of being alone for long hours and their need of connecting with their family or pack! If neglected, they can become destructive and surely aggressive and stubborn dogs!
Pit Bulls love chewing! Therefore, it is advisable to give them only strong toys that they cannot chew and/or swallow!
Pit Bulls have a bad reputation in many countries around the world for their aggressiveness and ferocious bite – but their aggression problem does not have so much to do with breed characteristics as was speculated! It is determined that their aggression rises from being neglected by negligent owners who allow these dogs to go towards destructive behavior!
They are unwilling to bite humans and this trait is strongly rooted in their genetics! The reason for this is that during fights their owners sometimes needed to stop and separate these dogs in the middle of the fight! This was considered somewhat of a dangerous act, therefore, came the strong need to breed them without the human-biting trait! Hence, Pit Bulls are considered very family-friendly dogs these days! Besides, they are unusually good with children!
If you have other dogs in your house, with proper training provided, Pit Bulls will get along just fine!
Pit Bulls are generally healthy, however they are prone to hip dysplasia, hereditary cataracts, allergies and congenital heart disease.
Is a malformation of the hip joint. It is a very painful condition, depending on the severity of it. It is advisable to get your dog for an X-ray while the dog is 2 years of age in order to check out their hip condition, just in case!
Is the dysfunction of the thyroid gland, which may cause weight gain, poor coat, and reproductive problems among others!
Could be caused by aortic stenosis, which is the most common condition and it is a congenital heart defect – meaning a condition that your dog is born with. It is a narrowing of the connection between the left ventricle and the aorta!
They love playing and goofing around with children and they do not get tired easily – this makes them great playmates! Therefore, they require plenty of regular exercise and daily long walks!
No dog of any breed or size should be left unsupervised when interacting with children as usually the child may not know how to approach or handle dogs and in this way cause them to act funny, completely by accident. By pulling their ears, nose or attempting to take away their food and similar things they may trigger aggressive reactions! Otherwise, the dog should be staying inside their crate when no supervision is available!
Pit Bulls may try to be aggressive towards other dogs, especially when they enter maturity, but by socializing them as early as possible, they become the great pets you are looking for!
They should, especially be supervised when not on their leashes! Not because they will necessarily start a fight but because if other dogs start one, then the Pit Bull will not back down and will fight until the end!
If socialized properly and early they tend to become overly friendly and affectionate. These dogs are very intelligent and eager to please. Most Pit Bulls need to be engaged in jobs that will stimulate their physical and mental energies in order to be well-behaved and keep their enthusiasm properly channeled. They do great in dog sports, search and rescue work, drug and bomb detection work and as therapy dogs!
Pit Bulls require obedience training as they are of strong character and may try to take up the pack leader role if they see any signs confirming to them that they are stronger than their owner! Therefore, keep your rules set and consistent without being aggressive, and in this way you will have a loyal and loving companion!
And teaching new rules and behavior is not a hard thing to do with your Pit Bull as they are an intelligent breed. But, keep in mind to always avoid rewarding excitement!
The recommended daily amount of food for your adult Pit Bull varies from 1 and ½ to 2 and ½ cups of high-quality dry food, which you should further divide into two meals daily.
Your dog’s meals should be given at regular times as dogs love routine! Concerning your Pit Bull puppy, you will have the chance to consult with your breeder in order to understand in detail how often to feed your newly adopted puppy and the amount you should give within a day!
Upon discussing with the breeder and the vet, you should be able to determine what exactly to feed your dog as well as the exact amounts necessary! It is also good to add raw fruits and vegetables to their diet, from time to time! Although, you must consult your vet regarding this issue, in order to understand specific fruits and vegetables that are allowed to be included in your dog’s diet!
Other than that, be careful and avoid overfeeding at any cost. You may influence health problems in your dog if not careful! Start by not leaving food in their bowls the whole time! And since their joints are vulnerable until a certain age either way, do not increase the pressure by unnecessary extra pounds!
* Side-note: The amount of food your adult Pit Bull eats also depends on the activity level they engage in, their metabolism, age and built!
To prevent your dog from becoming obese, you should measure and pay attention to daily feeding and exercise regimen!
If you notice any excessive weight in your Pit Bull, you should attend quickly to the matter! You need to keep your Pit Bull fit and in good shape in order to avoid health problems and mood problems that may arise due to their lowering of energy levels!
Their coats are stiff to the touch, although shiny. The coat color may vary between the following: red, blue, brown, grey, black and white, and brindle mixtures. They have a short hair coat that is smooth and easy to groom. However, you should brush them regularly, as Pit Bulls are average shedders.
Their teeth should get brushed at least two to three times per week, if not daily. This will also keep away bad breath as well as bacteria and tartar build-up, which is very important in order to keep away further dental problems!
Their nails should also get trimmed once or twice every month in order to prevent tearing and pain. If their nails go clipping on the floor when they move, they are fit for trimming!
Grooming should be introduced to your dog from an early age, and should always be accompanied by praise and rewards in order to avoid irritation as well as prevent your Pit Bull from escaping in the middle of the procedure – where you may accidentally hurt them.
Their ears need weekly checks for redness, bad odor, and dirt. If they smell bad or seem unusually red, then your Pit Bull could be going through an ear infection. It is best to wipe them with a damp cloth or a cotton ball from time to time to clean excess. Sometimes you can also add pH-balanced ear cleaners in order to prevent infections. Naturally, only the outer ear should be cleaned, never the ear canal!
You should also check out their eyes from time to time in case of redness or discharge to prevent future problems, or at least catch problems while still early!
- Pit Bulls are not the best choice if you are one busy owner, incapable of giving attention to your new companion!
- Training and socializing them should definitely be done while young in puppyhood in order to overcome bossiness and stubbornness.
- Being very strong dogs, requires teaching them early on about who is in charge, otherwise they will be tough to handle. And they may also start showing aggression toward other dogs!
- If not properly trained, you must avoid keeping your Pit Bull off the leash in public so that you can prevent any kind of dominance and aggression towards other dogs. Even if your Pit Bull does not start fights, it would be impossible to stop them until finished. Once they have become part of a fight, they will not back down!
- BSL – Breed-Specific Legislation always has Pit Bulls on the list, therefore, beware of the rules applying in your area as well as in areas you plan to travel with your Pit Bull.
- Pit Bulls love chewing. Having also a very powerful jaw, enables them to chew and rip apart almost anything – which also does require extra attention when giving them toys to play. Always choose harder, durable toys to prevent swallowing!
- They are great pets to owners that offer firm training and gentle but consistent discipline!
- Amateur owners should get prepared and practice firmness before adopting a Pit Bull!
Famous Pit Bulls
Pit Bulls have earned a special place for themselves and as such they have appeared in many different movies, television, and history in general. They have popped up in cultural and entertainment history!
Below are mentioned some of the many well-known Pit Bulls worldwide!
Bud is the Pit Bull that has accompanied Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson and his assistant Sewall K. Crocker on the first road trip ride across the United States during 1903. They have made history together by driving in Winston Vermont automobile from San Francisco to New York City. Bud, the Pit Bull had his own pair of goggles for eye protection, which are now kept in the Smithsonian Institution, as informed by the PBS, who have documented the whole journey and released it in 2003 as a two-hour special!
Stubby, the Pit Bull is the most decorated and prominent dog of World War I! He has captured a German spy, attacked and held him until the US soldiers got to him and took the German spy as their prisoner. The commanding officer of the team that Stubby served and worked for, promoted the dog to a sergeant because of the great impressions Stubby had made on him!
Is a very famous actor Pit Bull that has been cast in the movie The Little Rascals! His real name was Pal and he was trained and owned by Harry Lucenary. His character was distinctive because of the black ring marking on his eye. Sometimes the mark done by make-up would appear on his left eye and some other times on his right, and this made the whole difference and recognition!
Grunt is the Pit Bull that appeared in the 1983 movie called Flashdance! The Pit Bull’s real name was Jumbo Red and he played Grunt in the movie, who was Alex’s (main character’s) faithful friend. He offered all the comfort and companionship as the dancer was on her quest to making her ballet dreams come true!
Champion is the famous three-legged Pit Bull featured on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, which April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer adopted from a pound. Champion’s real name was Lucy, and she was chosen from a Pit Bull rescue organization in 2004. Despite the fact that no one knows how Lucy has lost her leg, she continued to amaze everyone with her agility and her comfortable attitude!
Other Famous Pit Bulls
Many Pit Bulls have become very famous because of being owned by various celebrities, like:
- Pit Bulls featured in the film Snatch, Oliver, Homeward Bound, No Country for Old Men, and Babe: Pig in the City.
- Pit Bulls of the many US Presidents.
- Writers, actors, musicians Pit Bulls, like: Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba’s Pit Bulls, Madonna’s, Brad Pitt’s, Fred Astaire’s, Alicia Silverstone’s, Eliza Dushku’s, Ashley Olsen’s, Serena Williams’, Gisele Bundchen’s – to mention just a few!
Facts about Pit Bull & Stories
There are many great heroic Pit Bull stories, but here we are going to show 5 of them that are very current on BSL awareness.
BSL means Breed-Specific Legislation and as per the American Humane Association, it is defined as the banning and restriction of specific dog breeds that are considered ‘dangerous’ breeds, such as Pit Bull breeds, German Shepherds and Rottweilers.
Although a great number of studies have shown that the breeds are not dangerous as is, but rather the way these dogs are treated plays the great role in creating potentially dangerous dogs. Raising awareness on the matter is very important, as enforcing restrictive legislation is very costly, it is also a huge burden on the local government, and it does not improve the public safety, by no means!
Pit Bull type dogs are the target of such restrictive legislation and many Pit Bull dogs, including the ones of rescue homes are becoming part of the BSL awareness in order to show people that these dogs are not as dangerous as portrayed!
A Pit Bull is considered a dog that has:
- A square head
- Short Muzzle length
- Short Coat
- Muscular and broad body
- Wide eyes
Pit Bull type dogs are:
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks
- Bull Terriers
- Dogo Argentino
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- And a few others
There is no such thing as only a Pit Bull breed, rather an umbrella of breeds is considered part of the Pit Bull type dogs!
Some of the prominent Pit Bulls contributing to BSL awareness, include:
Lilly: The 8-year old Pit Bull by the name of Lilly had been adopted by David Lanteigne from the Animal Rescue League in Boston . She had been adopted by David Lanteigne some years before the incident, which would distinguish Lilly from many other Pit Bulls!
David Lanteigne was lying unconscious in train tracks and considering the risk of train arrivals, Lilly went for the most humane action – she started dragging the owner off the train tracks and safely removed him, but instead, received a hit herself from the coming train! Upon the accident, Lilly lost a limb and continues to undergo regular therapy sessions ever since.
But, she never gave up and still continues to attend BSL awareness walks with her owner David Lanteigne! Together, they have made many public appearances and they even decided to setup a charity under Lilly’s name in order to help other Pit Bulls that are in need!
Lilly the Hero Dog Fund helps in putting homeless Pit Bulls up for adoption, fostering, and donating time, money and supplies to many shelters and rescues!
The Fund also advocates against BSL, holds fundraisers and other important events, offers financial assistance for dogs in need as well as contributes by continuing to raise awareness!
Blueberry: Blueberry was adopted by the Milton Animal League and works as a therapy dog in Massachusetts. Blueberry, also known as ‘Booberry’ visits rehabs, hospitals, humane societies, nursing homes, universities, hospice patients, as well as the homes for the deaf and the blind. These dogs love working and serving everyone that is in need!
Patients have admitted that only by looking at Blueberry their feelings of loneliness get an ease and gives them the feeling of being back at home! Her visits make patients happy! And, whenever Blueberry is not doing loving acts for these patients, she is working and attending BSL awareness walks together with her owner!
Murphy: Murphy was found while still a puppy being nursed by his mother in the streets! Amanda Clase found and rescued the dog and she also later had Murphy certified as a therapy dog. Now, Murphy visits hospitals, universities, and retirement homes in order to offer comfort as well as spread awareness on behalf of the Pit Bull breeds.
He also been awarded a recognition by the Charlie Dog and Friends for the therapy work he has done, by having a plush dog named after him!
Murphy was the first Pit Bull therapy dog made into plush – the plush Murphy, has a replica of his trademark socks, which he wears for providing him a grip on the freshly cleaned hospital floors!
Rhino: Is the male Pit Bull from the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans, which is also home to the Animal Planet’s show Pit Bulls and Parolees.
Rhino has become very prominent especially when being chosen the celebrity mascot of New Orleans VooDoo arena football team!
He makes public appearances during halftime and game shows and he is widely recognized through his K9 jersey number!
He contributes in filming the popular show in California, among many other rescued Pit Bulls there!