American Pit Bull Terrier, Pit Bull Picture

  By nature the American Pit Bull Terrier (or Pit Bull) is friendly toward humans, which is enhanced by proper training. Socialization of your Pit Bull is of utmost importance.

Many people want Pit Bulls for guard dogs, but they are rarely aggressive in the absence of their families. They do function as a deterrent, due to their imposing appearance and people’s perceptions of them. Dog lovers who want a partner for athletic activities often find good ones in Pit Bulls.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: lupus familiaris

Common Name(s)

American Pit Bull Terrier, Pit Bull

Breed Type

The Pit Bull is a Terrier breed. They are known for being aggressive toward other animals, and, if trained improperly, people. By nature, they are friendly toward humans. Some areas have instituted breed bans against the Pit Bull.


The American Pit Bull Terrier is thought to have been bred as a cross between the Bulldog and extinct hunting terriers. Originally bred for fighting purposes, the Pit Bull has also been used in hunting and war.


Pit Bulls come in a variety of colors, all of which are acceptable for registration purposes except for merle. Any eye color except blue is acceptable. The head should be wedge-shaped with slight wrinkling on the forehead, and the teeth should have a scissors bite.
Male Pit Bulls should weigh 35-65 pounds, and females about 5 pounds lighter. Both sexes should be about 18-22 inches tall measured at the withers.

Care and Feeding

Pit Bulls do well on foods containing beef, poultry, brown rice, and corn. They need a diet high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Giving your dog essential fatty acids will improve the condition of his skin and coat. A Pit Bull should be brushed regularly, because they are moderate shedders. They only need baths when they are dirty. Some owners have their Pit Bulls’ ears clipped, although this practice is not preferred by kennel clubs.
Vaccinations should be given as follows, with checkups each year:

  • 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
  • 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
  • 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
  • Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster

Pit Bulls shed moderately, so regular vacuuming is required if they are to be kept inside.

Housing Your Dog

Pit Bulls can be kept inside, and they will do well in an apartment as long as they get plenty of opportunity for exercise. They prefer locations with warm weather. They are active and do a lot of jumping when young.
Pit Bulls love toys, but they need ones that are extremely durable due to their love of chewing and sometimes rough play. It’s also important that their beds and food and water bowls are durable.

Social Behaviors

Pit Bulls generally get along well with people, unless they perceive a threat their family. They tend to be aggressive toward other pets, including dogs. Properly trained Pit Bulls do well with children, although it is not a good idea to leave them alone with kids they are not familiar with.

Handling and Training

Socialization of your Pit Bull is of utmost importance. Teaching proper behavior around people and other dogs will make your relationship with your Pit Bull much more enjoyable. Pit Bulls can be trained for tracking and agility. They are quick learners at both.


Pit Bulls need to go on long walks each day. They love vigorous exercise, and they are great hiking partners. Depending on your dog’s temperament, however, it may be best to keep him away from other dogs. ‘Pit fit’ is a term used to describe the behavior of a Pit Bull that is sprinting about.


American Pit Bull Terriers are often confused with American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, so it is important to make the distinction when seeking a mate for your dog. All three breeds may be referred to as Pit Bulls.

Common Health Problems

Pit Bulls are usually healthy, but they sometimes develop joint problems including arthritis. Other health problems to look for include hip dysplasia, cataracts, allergies, and heart problems.


American Pit Bull Terrier puppies are becoming more difficult to find due to breed bans in an increasing number of localities. They are available from breeders in some areas, with prices averaging around $500. Adult dogs can often be found through rescue operations for $150 or less.


 American Pit Bull Terrier (Image Credit: geoggirl, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)