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American Pit Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier

Breed Group: Terrier

Height: 17 to 21 inches

Weight: 30 to 60 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 15 years

The Pit Bull, Pittie or APBT, as he’s known for short, is often described as a goofball or clown. Although this medium-sized dog is not always aggressive, he has a fearsome reputation because of his background as a fighting dog. But with people who appreciate and understand his personality, he can be a wonderful family companion.

Did You Know The American Pit Bull Terrier Was an Iconic American Breed?

Pit Bulls descend from crosses between Bulldogs and Terriers. The goal was to create a dog with the strength and tenacity of the Bulldog and the speed and agility of the Terrier.

American Pit Bull Terriers were once an iconic American breed. They were American military mascots, advertising stars, and popular farm and family dogs. But when dog fighters criminally exploited the breed’s loyalty, tenacity and bold nature, the Pittie’s reputation took a hit from which it hasn’t yet recovered.

The APBT has a formidable reputation and appearance, but he is meant to be a dog who loves and accepts people. In the hands of loving owners and given the right amount of socialization, training, attention and love, he can be a docile, affectionate family dog.

Unfortunately, he comes with societal baggage. People who have Pit Bulls may face restrictions on where they can live or which homeowner’s insurance they can purchase.

Pit Bulls can be highly people oriented, but they don’t necessarily like other dogs or small furry creatures likecats. Some Pit Bulls may become friends with cats in the household and seem to love every dog they meet, but they arguably are not typical of the breed. If you want a dog you can take to the park who will play nicely with other dogs, a Pit Bull is probably not for you.

The APBT typically weighs 60 pounds or less, and is very muscular. Pitties are powerful dogs and can be achallenge to walk on leash if not well trained; pulling can become an issue. For healthy Pit Bulls, it can be a good idea to channel that desire to pull into a dog sport, such as weight pulling or nose work.

A Pit Bull’s grooming needs are modest. His coat needs brushing a couple of times a week to help manage shedding, and his ears need to be kept clean and his nails trimmed.

Before getting one of these dogs, it is important to realize that there is much misinformation around the nature of Pit Bulls, as well as campaigns to outlaw the breed. Check local ordinances carefully to be sure you can legally own one of these dogs in your town. Denver, for instance, is a major American city that (as of this writing) bans the breed. Some municipalities also have ordinances specifying how a fence has to be constructed for “Pit Bull-type” breeds. Your research can also help to educate friends and neighbors about the merits of this breed.

Quick Facts About the American Pit Bull Terrier

  • The term “Pit Bull” is often applied indiscriminately to APBTs, American Staffordshire Terriers and sometimes Staffordshire Bull Terriers, a British breed. The term may also be used to label any dog who resembles those breeds, even if he is a Lab mix with little or no “Pit Bull” in his background.
  • An APBT comes in any color, pattern or combination of colors, except merle.
  • Celebrities who count Pitties as their best friends include actresses Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel and Alicia Silverstone; cooking guru Rachael Ray; and political satirist Jon Stewart.

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