American Pit Bull Terrier
These dogs are very energetic and would be up for a game at any given point of time
American Pit Bull Terrier Scientific Classification
- Scientific Name
- Canis lupus
American Pit Bull Terrier Conservation Status
American Pit Bull Terrier Locations
American Pit Bull Terrier Facts
American Pit Bull Terrier as a Pet:
- General Health
- Energy Level
- Tendency to Chew
- Family and kid friendliness
- Yappiness / Barking
- Separation Anxiety
- Preferred Temperature
- Average climate
- Exercise Needs
- Friendly With Other Dogs
- Pure bred cost to own
- $500 to $1000
- Dog group
- Male weight
- 35-70 lbs
- Female weight
- 30-60 lbs
This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species..
The American pit bull terrier is a dog breed that was originally bred in order to facilitate the baiting of bulls. Since then, they’ve become great family and companion dogs. In fact, they became a coveted breed to live with families because they love children and are just as loyal as they are protective. However, they are known to be slightly stubborn and widely clownish.
See all of our expert product reviews.
These terriers are known to be very intelligent, making them easy to take to best use their strong build in many ways. They have short hair all over their bodies, showing off a variety of colors like red, blue, brown, grey, black, and white, though some of them feature a brindle pattern.
Despite their reputation as a ferocious breed, these dogs are not actually dangerous. They make great family dogs and only have a bad, dangerous reputation because they were originally bred to survive in fierce environments.
These dogs are very similar to American Staffordshire Terriers in size as well as appearance. However, they are more often referred to simply as a “pit bull.”
3 Pros and Cons of Owning an American Pit Bull Terrier
|Loyal: These dogs make very loyal family pets.||Not suitable for inexperienced children: While these dogs are great with children, it might not be a good idea to leave them alone with very young kids. Their playful nature can be problematic if provoked.|
|Active: These dogs are strong and active and are always up for a game.||Require a lot of attention: American pit bull terriers require a lot of attention which could be a hassle for the owner in the long run.|
|Good with children: American pit bull terriers are known to be very playful with and protective of children.||Require a great deal of training time: American pit bull terriers often need ample time with owners to get into a comfortable routine of training. They are known to be slightly stubborn.|
History and Origins
Historians debate the exact origins of the modern American Pit Bull Terrier, but it is clear that this breed has been around since at least the 1500s. Originally used for boar hunting and companionship, they were given the name “Bull Dogs” due to their popularity in the cruel sport of bull baiting. After this was outlawed in 1835, dog fighting promoters looked for other ways to make money, introducing different terrier strains to improve their prey drive, aggression, size, and agility.
Health and Entertainment for your American Pit Bull Terrier
See all of our expert product reviews.
In the 19th century, a mix of both English and Irish dogs was brought to the US. These dogs had a strong instinct for catching prey but were gentle and loving with humans. Pit bulls became popular for their work as cattle dogs and “catch dogs” for pigs, although many were not used for fighting. Instead, they proved to be quick learners and eager companions, making them great family pets. By 1900, the American Pit Bull Terrier had earned a reputation for being courageous and loyal, leading to it being called the “nanny dog” in some areas.
Reproduction, Lifespan, and Babies
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a strong and sturdy breed known for its athleticism and adaptability. This hardiness contributes to their average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, which is longer than most similar-sized breeds.
When pregnant, the gestation period of an American Pit Bull Terrier is approximately 63 days from conception. However, this can vary by several days in either direction, so it’s important to monitor carefully during this time. When born, litters usually consist of 5-10 puppies who weigh 7-10 ounces each. At birth, they are both blind and deaf, but they quickly develop those senses. They stay with their mothers for 8-12 weeks while nursing, and it is important not to separate them until weaning occurs naturally.
Size and Weight
American pit bull terriers are medium-sized dogs that have a strong build. The female American pit bull terriers are about 17 to 20 inches in size while the males are about 18 to 21 inches.
As far as their weight, the female pit bulls weigh around 30 to 50 pounds. Males only reach a slightly higher weight, averaging about 35 to 60 pounds.
They come in a host of colors like red, blue, brown, grey, black, and white, though they sometimes have a brindle pattern instead. Their physique and coloring are fairly close to that of an American Staffordshire Terrier.
|Height (Male)||18-21 inches tall|
|Height (Female)||17 to 20 inches tall|
|Weight (male)||Weight (male): 30 to 50 pounds, fully grown|
|Weight (female)||35 to 60 pounds, fully grown|
Common Health Issues
American pit bull terriers tend to be at risk for many common issues that exist in dogs of their stature. One of the most common conditions is hip dysplasia, which occurs when there are abnormalities in the development of the hip bones and connecting muscles.
Obesity is a potential problem in these dogs as well. They need the opportunity to be active, and their breeding as a working dog puts them at a particular disposition for certain health concerns like this one without activity.
Pet owners need to be vigilant in the dental care of their pit bull, since they are also at risk for dental diseases that can impact the health of their teeth and gums. Thyroid disorders and other viral/bacterial diseases are also possible.
Overall, some of the common diseases include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Dental diseases
- Viral and bacterial infections
- Thyroid problems
The American pit bull terrier is known to be protective in its temperament, especially towards children, and is also known for its playful nature. It makes a great and friendly family and companion dog. They are known for their courageous and clownish temperament, which is why so many owners push to make their peaceful nature more publicized. However, when provoked or when their owner is in danger, it is possible for them to show aggression.
These dogs are highly energetic and are often looking to please their owners. Even though some people believe they are dangerous, these dogs are naturally not aggressive and can be very affectionate However, these dogs can get stubborn sometimes when they are having too much fun or are hyper-focused on the task at hand.
They can sometimes show aggressive behavior towards other dogs. However, with the right training, these dogs learn to control such behaviors.
For anyone that wants to own an American pit bull terrier, you need to be fully prepared for the road ahead. Regardless of whether you purchase a pup from a breeder or adopt one from a shelter, these dogs need some TLC, so here’s some tips on the best ways to feed, groom, and train them.
The Best Dog Food
Like any other dog, always stay away from pork, grapes, onions, garlic, and similar foods. These foods can be incredibly dangerous for their digestive system.
An adult American pit bull terrier requires about 18% protein and 5% fat in the balance of their diet, which helps to keep up their muscle tone and prevent obesity. Chicken, duck, and salmon are excellent sources of protein, though it is best to cook them without oils or other fats before serving them. Protein is excellent for their energy levels, though owners can pair these meals with sweet potatoes, green beans, and some other vegetables.
The food and nutrition requirements of the American pit bull terrier puppies are different as they require about 22% protein and 8% fat in their diets. However, the puppies should ideally be fed smaller amounts of food as they have smaller stomachs and can digest only small portions at once.
At A-Z Animals, the protein-packed dog food we like for American Pit Bull Terriers is CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food, Beef & Chicken.
The first ingredient here is chicken, and this food has a whopping 34% protein for your strong American Pit Bull Terrier. Since it’s grain-free and made with premium ingredients, it may help keep your dog’s weight under control. Plus, the calcium is good for their teeth, bones, and joints.
Check Chewy or Amazon for this product.
Maintenance and Grooming
American pit bull terriers require minimal grooming, though it can be soothing to their skin. You would need to brush your dog’s coat once a week in order to remove dead hair and allow the coat to straighten out. After you have brushed the coat, wipe the coat with a damp cloth, removing any excess hair that stick to the body of the dog.
Besides that, you would also need to clean the ears and brush the teeth this dog as they become dirty. The nails would also have to be trimmed twice a month.
These dogs are very energetic. However, it can take time for them to settle into a comfortable training routine. You could start early with the puppies to acclimate them as soon as possible. The best way to train the American pit bull terrier is to use positive training techniques. Being aggressive towards them would hardly ever help, and they may only respond to this type of trigger in the future.
Consistency is the key with these dogs. You can and should allow them to have fun to make these training sessions more fun.
These dogs are very energetic and require daily exercise. These are working dogs and are great at several dog sports. These dogs often require about 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day.
American pit bull puppies are cared for in the same way as you would care for an adult dog. However, they require more nutrients than adult American pit bull terriers. As stated above, their meals require a little more protein, supporting their brain development and the health of their muscles as they get older.
Due to the small size of their stomach in puppyhood, they cannot digest the large bowls of food that adult pit bulls can. They will need to be fed multiple small meals throughout the day to prevent vomiting and obesity.
American Pit Bull Terriers and Children
American pit bull terriers are great towards children, earning them the nickname “nanny dog” in the past. They tend to be relatively protective of children in their owner’s family, showing off their playful nature around them. Their clownish nature helps to engage children, which is why they make great family and companion dogs.
Dogs Similar to American Pit Bull Terriers
Since the American pit bull terrier is not for everyone, people who want to have a similar pet may be interested in one of the following dogs instead.
- American Staffordshire Terrier: Affectionately known as a “staffie,” the American Staffordshire terrier is the closest it comes to the pit bull. Their behavior and even their look are the same, and they share the same brindle pattern in some dogs.
- Boxer: With a slightly more social disposition, the boxer is one of the top watchdogs for any family. Their playful nature comes with significantly less risk of being bitten than the pit bull, but they are also much better suited to an apartment.
- American Bulldog: The American Bulldog has a much meatier physique than the American pit bull terrier, but they also tend to get tired. For families that may not be able to keep up with the need for constant energy use, the American bulldog is a good match.
Famous American Pit Bull Terriers
The lovable smile and disposition of the American pit bull terrier have given them a place in the hearts and homes of many celebrities. Kaley Cuoco, Jessica Alba, and Jennifer Aniston have all voiced their support for this breed by adopting American pit bull terriers of their own.
Here are a few common names for American pit bull terriers:
American Pit Bull Terrier FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How much does an American Pit Bull Terrier cost to own?
You could get an American pit bull terrier for $500 to $1000. Additional costs come up to $1500 annually.
Is an American Pit Bull Terrier good with kids?
These dogs are very playful and protective around kids. They are very affectionate and loyal and make great family and companion dogs.
How long does the American Pit Bull Terrier live?
The lifespan of these dogs is about 8 to 15 years.
Is the American Pitbull Terrier dangerous?
While many people believe that these dogs are dangerous, they are rarely aggressive.
Is a pit bull a good family dog?
Yes, these dogs make great family and companion dogs. They are loyal and affectionate towards their children and are highly protective and playful towards the children in the family.
Is an American Pitbull Terrier the same as a pit bull?
While the American pit bull terrier is a breed, the pit bull is just a dog name reference and is not a breed. However, the term “pit bull” is sometimes used as a nickname.
How big do American pit bull terriers get?
Female American pit bull terriers get about 17 to 20 inches long while the males get 18 to 21 inches long.
What is the lifespan of an American pit bull terrier?
The lifespan of these dogs is about 8 to 15 years.
Are American Pit Bull Terriers herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?
American Pit Bull Terriers are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.
What Kingdom do American Pit Bull Terriers belong to?
American Pit Bull Terriers belong to the Kingdom Animalia.
What class do American Pit Bull Terriers belong to?
American Pit Bull Terriers belong to the class Mammalia.
What phylum to American Pit Bull Terriers belong to?
American Pit Bull Terriers belong to the phylum Chordata.
What family do American Pit Bull Terriers belong to?
American Pit Bull Terriers belong to the family Canidae.
What order do American Pit Bull Terriers belong to?
American Pit Bull Terriers belong to the order Carnivora.
What genus do American Pit Bull Terriers belong to?
American Pit Bull Terriers belong to the genus Canis.
What type of covering do American Pit Bull Terriers have?
American Pit Bull Terriers are covered in Hair.
What are some distinguishing features of American Pit Bull Terriers?
American Pit Bull Terriers have small and sharply pointed ears.
How many babies do American Pit Bull Terriers have?
The average number of babies an American Pit Bull Terrier has is 8.
What is an interesting fact about American Pit Bull Terriers?
American Pit Bull Terriers are very energetic and would be up for a game at any given point.
What is the scientific name for the American Pit Bull Terrier?
The scientific name for the American Pit Bull Terrier is Canis lupus.
What are the key differences between Amstaffs and Pit Bulls?
The key differences between Amstaffs and Pit Bulls are physical characteristics, personality, and behavior.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.
- Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Pit_Bull_Terrier
- Hill's Pet, Available here: https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/dog-breeds/american-pit-bull-terrier
- Mental Floss, Available here: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/66062/10-friendly-facts-about-american-pit-bull-terriers
- Dog Breeds 911, Available here: https://www.dogbreeds911.com/medium-dog-breeds-american-pit-bull-terrier.html
- Animal Health Center, Available here: https://animalhealthcenternh.com/client-resources/breed-info/american-pitbull-terrier/
- Pet MD, Available here: https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_american_pit_bull_terrier
- Breedsy, Available here: https://breedsy.com/best-pitbull-dog-foods/
- WikiHow, Available here: https://www.wikihow.com/Groom-Your-American-Pit-Bull-Terrier