When you hear the word “Pitbull,” does your hair stand up straight on the back of your neck?
Do you shutter at the mere thought of a big, seemingly ferocious Pitbull charging towards you?
If you replied “yes” to these inquiries, then you have come to the right place! Here, you will learn what it genuinely means to be an American Pitbull Terrier. You will see that these dogs would rather lick you to death than to ever harm another living thing.
You will learn that the fears you have towards them are fears instilled by abusive and negligent Pitbull owners, not the dogs themselves. On the other hand, if you replied “no” to these questions, then you are ahead of the game! You may already understand that the American Pitbull Terrier is not a weapon, but a loving companion who’s the only job in life should be to love, play and protect.
Let’s dive into the American Pitbull Terrier and find out if we can relieve them of their stigma.
History of the American Pitbull Terrier:
Their story begins in England in the early 19th century. This was a time when bulls and bears were baited and encouraged to fight for sport. Terriers and Bull dog breeds were produced and used as the “baiters”.
Their job was to provoke the bulls and bears into aggression which would, in turn, make the sport more entertaining. In 1835, this inhumane sport deemed illegal. Therefore, the dogs no longer had a purpose.
Until dog-fighting as a sport was born. The Bull and Terrier dog breeds began to fight each other which is thought to be the beginning of their “genetic” aggression towards other dogs.
However, the dogs were not taught to be aggressive towards humans (especially their owners). The owners would encourage their dogs to fight each other but, when it came time for the owners to intervene, they needed to be able to do so without being bitten themselves. Thus, their “genetic” unwillingness to bite humans was created.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Later, the Bull and Terrier dog breeds began a new job in America where they worked as farm dogs. Gone were the days of the fighting dogs and what began were the days of hunting companions, guard dogs, and overall a loving family dog. In fact, the Pitbull was the original “nanny dog” because of their natural instinct to be gentle, loving and protective of children.
The dogs were officially welcomed into the UKC (United Kennel Club, similar to the American Kennel Club but, in the UK) in 1898. They were then named the American Pitbull Terrier. However, the American Kennel Club would not accept the breed under the name as it was associated with their dog-fighting past.
The AKC decided to rename the breed in the early 1930’s the American Staffordshire Terrier, with the hope of releasing the breed from its unfortunate history. The differences between the two breeds are minimal, but, apparently, are enough to distinguish the two from each other. To this day, The American Pitbull Terrier is not recognized by the AKC nor is the breed allowed to enter dog shows in the United States.
Personality and Temperament of the American Pitbull Terrier:
One of the most obvious traits of this unbelievable breed is that they have lap dog syndrome. What is lap dog syndrome? Many large dog breeds develop this “syndrome”. It is not a negative trait whatsoever.
It simply means that a large dog does not see his size as an object and will, therefore, climb onto his owner’s lap for a snuggle. Of course, the owner is then unable to get up as he would like, but that is the price to pay for a large, loving dog, such as the American Pitbull Terrier.
With this in mind, it is easy to see how this breed is nothing short of loving, affectionate, and an incredible family dog. They exude confidence and are very sensitive to their surroundings. This trait comes in handy when a stranger is approaching as well as when their family members are expressing emotion.
The American Pitbull Terrier is extremely sensitive to these emotions and will revel in your happy moments with you, and express deep empathy and compassion during times of sadness. The breed is not known for its guard dog abilities. This is due to their love of people.
However, if their family were in actual danger, they would sense it and react appropriately. This trait is very beneficial as it means they will not be snippy towards your guests, but, they would defend the home and family from an intruder, kidnapper, or robber.
A good Pitbull owner will train and socialize their dog from puppyhood to adulthood. Proper socialization and training will help guarantee that your dog will have manners and be an active part of the family dynamic.
Feeding an American Pitbull Terrier:
The best advice for feeding an American Pitbull Terrier will come directly from your veterinarian. This is because she will have your dog’s precise measurements, age, and weight (all of which are factors for feeding requirements). However, there is standard information that you can use as a reference.
You should feed your Pit 1.5 cups to 3 cups of dry kibble per day over the course of two to three meals (in other words split the daily amount into 2 to 3 feedings throughout the day). The exact amount will depend on the age, weight and overall health condition of your particular dog.
If you own a Pit puppy, do not feed him adult dog kibble! It is not formulated for a puppy’s nutritional needs! Puppies should be consuming more calories and higher nutritional values than adults. Therefore, a dry puppy kibble is usually recommended. However, follow any guidelines that are given to you from the veterinarian.
Do not overfeed your dog! Unwanted weight gain can be very dangerous to your dog’s health and lifespan.
Caring for an American Pitbull Terrier:
American Pitbull Terriers are large dogs with a lot of energy! They require at least an hour long walk per day as well as adequate time to run and play. A house with a sizeable fenced in yard is ideal for this breed, if you live in an apartment building complex, then, a dog park, walking path or any adequate green space should do just fine for exercise, play and for relieving themselves.
Puppies should be enrolled in Puppy Boot Camp or another professional training school to ensure that he grows up with manners and with the understanding of good and bad behaviors. If they are trained correctly, you will have a strong bond with your dog and a devoted family member for life.
This breed is not known for their excessive barking. They will usually only bark when it is necessary. For example, if an intruder is near or if the family is in danger. This could mean a stranger is attempting to harm them or even if an intense storm is near.
They bark to alert their families of danger of any kind. They may also bark to chase away the intruder or other potential threats. Training will also help your dog to distinguish when barking is appropriate and when it is not.
As far as sprucing up your Pit goes, they are very low-maintenance. An American Pitbull Terrier’s coat is smooth, silky and short. They should be brushed well, about once a week (especially during the warm months of the year).
They are active dogs and may get muddy or dirty often; they should be bathed every other week or as often as they get dirty. As with any animal, they will need to be given flea and worm treatments occasionally. Talk to the veterinarian about how often you should treat your dog.
Potential Health Problems for the American Pitbull Terrier:
If you are a caring and loving owner, then your dog should live a long, healthy life. Owners who neglect or abuse their dogs may lose their dogs at an, unfortunately, young age. If they are healthy and monitored by the veterinarian as they should be then, an American Pitbull Terrier should live to be 12 to 15 years old, although it is not uncommon for them to live longer in the right conditions.
However, even the most caring owner can still have a sick dog. This breed can be prone to certain health conditions, many of which are genetic. These can include:
Hip and Joint Dysplasia:
When the bones involved are underdeveloped or have formed incorrectly and therefore do not fit together as they should. This can lead to a limp, arthritis and other conditions.
Excessive itching or licking of a particular area of the body can be an indicator of an allergy. See your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
A decline in the production of the thyroid hormones causing weight gain.
The inability for the heart to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body correctly.
This can include any number of eye injuries, infections, growths, or inflammations.