What Were Pit Bulls Bred For? Are They Fighting Dogs?

KruBeer Photo/Shutterstock.com

Written by Alan Lemus

Updated: October 11, 2022

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Fact TypeValue
Preferred TemperatureWarm
General health1
Energy Level4
Exercise needsmoderate 30-60 minutes daily
Friendly with other dogsPoor – does NOT get along with other dogs
Family and kid-friendliness
2- usually not good with children unless raised with them
Trainability and obedience5
TemperamentAffectionate, obedient, loyal, but unpredictable.
Yappiness and barkinglow – rarely barks
Tendency to chew4
Purebred costs to ownThe price depends on the type of pitbull, but anywhere between $500 and $2500
Dog groupTerrier
Used for hunting,Yes/no
IntelligenceSelect range (1-5)
Hypoallergenic (non-shedding)No
Life span4
Female Weight30 lbs
Female Weight50 Lbs
Male Weight35 lbs
Male Weight60 Lbs
Separation anxietyHigh- Likely to suffer from separation anxiety
Fun fact‘Pitbull’ is not an official breed. It is an umbrella term for Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier.

Pitbull Introduction

Pit Bulls are descendants of the British Bull Dog and Terrier. The earliest known Pit Bull traces back to the 1800s when they were used as fighting dogs, hunting dogs, and also used to restrain cattle. Pit Bulls were forced to take part in the cruel sport that was ‘bull baiting’. This sport involved chaining a cow up with a few meters of space to roam and placing a Pit Bull or a Bulldog in the ring with it to fight it until it either dropped from exhaustion or was killed by the dogs. This sport was carried out for entertainment purposes only and was banned in 1835.

Today, Pit Bulls are common family pets, and this is due to their loyal, affectionate, and obedient personalities. Pit Bulls are very social and people-orientated. This is important to know before getting one, as they cannot be left alone for too long or will suffer from separation anxiety. They are very athletic dogs who require a lot of exercises to expel this energy and also to keep them fit as Pit Bulls gain weight easily.

Pit Bulls are loving and playful dogs and are perfect for people who already have experience with dogs, and have the time for one. They can truly become your best friend if they are raised correctly.

pitbull staring into distance

Pitbulls are highly athletic dogs, so be sure to give them lots of exercise.

The Different Types of Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mixes 


Pitbull mixes:

Pit Bull Fun Fact

  • Historically, some Pit Bulls were bred for fighting and blood sports however the majority were bred as family dogs to be life companions.
  • A Pit Bull is the only dog breed to be featured on the cover of Life Magazine three times.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Pit Bull

Pit Bulls are very loyal. A Pit Bull will love its owner and family unconditionally, and they make a great companion.They are an expensive breed to own. The buying price, vet bills, and food are very pricey. If you cut any corners of the price tag, there will be long-term consequences.
They are very active. They love to run, walk, swim and play games. This is perfect for people who live an active and healthy lifestyle.They have a bad reputation. You are sure to experience some breed discrimination when walking you Pittie. They appear intimidating and are often viewed as ‘vicious’ dogs.
Pit Bulls are intelligent. They learn quickly and adjust to your lifestyle. This makes them easy to train and discipline.They are escape artists. You will need to invest in good, secure fencing, as Pit Bulls are notorious for escaping their home. Whether they have to jump the fence or dig underneath it, they will find a way out!

The Best Dog Food For Pitbulls

Pit Bulls are highly athletic and muscular dogs. It is important to feed them a nutrient-rich diet to keep them in full health. Good quality proteins are excellent for your dog as they contain amino acids and help maintain a healthy muscle mass. The best sources are chicken, lamb, eggs, and fish. Fruit and veg such as carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, apples, and sweet potatoes are a source of vitamins and antioxidants for your Pittie.

In our opinion, one of the best foods for Pit Bulls you can buy is Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food.

Pit Bull Size and Weight

Pit Bulls are medium-sized dogs with short hair. A male weighs between 35-60 lbs and can be 18-21 inches in height. A female weighs between 30-50 lbs and can be 17-20 inches in height. 

The largest Pit Bull in the world, named Hulk, is approximately three times larger than the average Pit Bull. Hulk weighs a massive 173 lbs and is 42.2 inches in height. Hulk is truly a beautiful animal.

Male (height)18-21 inches
Female (height)17-20 inches
Male (weight)35-60 lbs
Female (weight)30-50 lbs

Pit Bull Common Health Issues

The most common health issues associated with Pit Bulls are usually bone-related problems, such as kneecap dislocation, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy. Pit Bulls can also suffer from skin-related diseases such as mange and skin allergies, due to their short hair. 

Kneecap Dislocation

This is when the patella shifts slightly sideways from its normal position. Symptoms of this condition include sudden limping, cracking noises from the limb when bent, and a hunched lower back.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia occurs when a puppy is growing, and their hip bone becomes loosened and causes the cartilage to wear down over time. This can lead to arthritis in later years. Symptoms include limping, trouble walking, and pain in the area.

Degenerative Myelopathy

This is the degeneration of a dog’s spinal cord, resulting in the loss of some bodily functions. Symptoms include limb paralysis, incontinence, loss of muscle mass, and oversensitive spinal reflexes.


Mange is a skin disease in dogs caused by parasitic mites. This condition will not harm a healthy dog, however, if a dog has a compromised immune system, it will cause hair loss, irritation, and redness of the skin.

Pit Bull Temperament

Pit Bulls are commonly labeled as having aggressive and antisocial behavior. However, like any other breed, these traits cannot be linked to genetics, they are learned. The Pit Bull’s history of being reared to be fighting dogs, has gained them a bad reputation. But if socialized and loved from a young age, they make great family pets!

Pit Bulls are strong and fierce dogs. They exhibit loyal and protective traits towards their owners, but there are two sides to a Pit Bull! Pit Bulls are also extremely silly and loving. Their playful behavior makes them a great pet for someone who lives an active lifestyle. They are very energetic and love to exercise.  They do however have some stubborn traits, so make sure to let him know who’s boss!

pitbull smiling

Pitbulls can be fierce and protective, but also loving and silly.

How To Take Care of Pit Bulls 

If you are considering owning a Pit Bull, then there are a few things to note. Their coat is about the only low-maintenance thing about a Pit Bull! They require a lot of attention and money! So make sure you have the time and cash needed for one of these beautiful dogs.

Pitbull maintenance and grooming.

A Pit Bull’s coat is very low maintenance due to its short hair. Brush their hair once a week to remove any shedding and bathe them every 4-6 weeks with a dog-friendly shampoo. It is also recommended to brush your Pit Bulls teeth every 1-2 days to avoid bad breath and dental issues. You should bring your Pit Bull to a groomer once a month to get its nails clipped. I don’t recommend you do this yourself as you could hit a nerve or blood vessel.

Pit Bull Training 

Pit Bulls are bubbly and energetic! But if they aren’t trained correctly, this energy may lead to unwanted situations. It is essential to train your Pit Bull, so do not get one if you don’t have the time to train him yourself, or the money to pay someone to do it. For best results, start training your puppy from a young age, and familiarize him/her with other animals and people. As they are very intelligent and obedient, it can be easy to train them but takes some time. If you are struggling to train your puppy, you should hire someone to do it for you.

Pit Bull exercise 

If you are thinking about adding a Pit Bull to your family, make sure you are able to take him/her out walking for at least 30-60 minutes a day. If they aren’t exercised, expect a case of zoomies and playful behavior! But it is also very important to exercise your Pit Bull as they gain weight easily, and extra weight can lead to a number of health issues. Running and walking are the best ways to keep your Pit Bull fit.

Pit Bull puppies 

Expect an average of 5 puppies per Pit Bull litter. When raised from birth, the most important things to keep in mind are to socialize them, get them used to being touched, and positive reinforcement.

Pit Bulls And Children

Whether or not Pit Bulls belong in a home with children is an ongoing argument, and ultimately, this question is impossible to answer as it all depends on the dog’s breeding and upbringing. If a Pit Bull is raised from puppyhood with children and disciplined when necessary, then it will make an excellent family pet. They are loyal and protective, and will very rarely harm the children. Your Pit Bull will see it as his duty to look after the children. Pitbulls are extremely territorial though, which is important to keep in mind if there are any other animals around. It is important to socialize your Pit Bull with other dogs from a young age to prevent dangerous situations. If your Pit Bull is not familiar with other dogs, then they will see them as a threat and may attack.

If you adopt a Pit Bull at an older age, try to find out as much about its history as possible. Find out if they are good with children and other animals. If you cannot find this information, then I suggest not getting the dog, or very slowly introducing it to your children, but never unsupervised.

pitbull in kennel looking cute

If you adopt a pitbull when it’s older, try to do as much research as possible before bringing it around children.

Dogs similar to Pitbulls

The American Bulldog

This breed is similar to the Pit Bull in personality and appearance. They both have a stocky frame, and also share their loving, loyal personality. The American Bulldog is slightly taller than a Pit Bull, standing at approximately 28 inches. They both have broad shoulders and a deep chest, but a Pit Bull is leaner than an American Bulldog.

Cane Corso

Cane Corsos and Pit Bulls have the same active and intelligent personality. Both are short-haired and very similar in appearance. The main difference is that a Cane Corso is much larger in size.


Just like a Pit Bull, a boxer makes an excellent guard dog. They are extremely loyal and protective dogs, and also are very athletic. Boxers can appear similar to Pit Bulls in their shape and frame depending on how they were bred, but usually are different in color.

Popular Names for Pit Bulls

  • Rocky
  • Hulk
  • Lola
  • Blu
  • Bruno
  • Hazel
  • Leia
  • Ben
  • Buster
  • Penney

 Famous Pitbulls

Pit Bulls being as loveable and intelligent as they are, you are bound to recognize a few from Hollywood. Here are some famous Rottweilers that appeared on TV or are owned by celebrities

  1. ‘Little Rascals’ – this 1994 movie features a beautiful black and white Staffordshire Terrier named Petey. Petey had a unique black ring around his eye, which made him stand out from other Pit Bulls.
  2. In the music video, ‘I’m Glad’ by Jennifer Lopex, a Pit Bull is featured.
  3. ‘Flashdance’ -a rusty-colored Pit Bull Terrier called Grunt features in this 1983 movie.
  4. Jon Bernthal, who is known for his roles as The Punished and Shane in The Walking Dead, owns three Pit Bulls called Bam Bam, Venice, and Boss. 
  5. The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco rescued a beautiful Pit Bull called Blue.
  6. Channing Tatum has previously owned a Pit Bull mix called Lulu, who sadly passed away in 2018.
  7. Grays Anatomy star Katherine Heigl owns a black and white Pit Bull called Apollo.

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About the Author

Alan is a freelance writer and an avid traveler. He specializes in travel content. When he visits home he enjoys spending time with his family Rottie, Opie.

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