Animal-World > Dogs > Terrier > American Pit Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier

Pit Bull

Family: Canidae American Pit Bull Terrier, Pit Bull Picture"Tank"Canis lupus familiarisPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Landi Estess
Latest Reader Comment - See More
I need to find a new loving home for these beautiful puppies. bulldog the looks more like her mother. She is mostly potty pad trained.Contacts if interested(229)... (more)  Gustava

  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.


Lastest Animal Stories on American Pit Bull Terrier

Gustava - 2018-04-16
I need to find a new loving home for these beautiful puppies. bulldog the looks more like her mother. She is mostly potty pad trained.Contacts if interested(229) 329-7088.

Miles Cabrera - 2012-09-15
I recently adopted a 5 year old male pit bull mix ( I think he's mixed with a lab) he's well behaved and shows manors. I walk out the door first and got him to stop tugging the leash on our walks by simply pulling the leash up instead of back ( thanks to the dog whisper). He's a friendly dog but I feel he may be to friendly. How do I know if he will protect my family if we are in danger? There are also sometimes where I'll give him a tug  and and he doesn't respond, I've asked how to change this and people have told me to hit him hard. Is there another way to get this pit to respect and listen without beating him? I don't want him to become vicious I have a 4 year old and I don't need dog to attack. I just need him to respect what I say and protect my family. Are there any other methods ????

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-09-15
    I do not know how you train a pitt bull - I do know that you should never hit or beat a dog -
  • Anonymous - 2012-09-16
    Thanx but that really doesn't help much. Does anyone else know what to do ?
  • Robert - 2012-09-16
    Many say they have a  pitt bull lab mix - and I am not quite sure if I believe there are that many pitt bull lab mixes running around. In any case - you are saying you do not have complete control of the pup - then I would under no circumstances have him around a 4 year old child. Kids play, they make noise, they throw stuff animals for fun, and you do not know what will set the pup off - too many articles with these dogs hurting children. In some cases killing them. They are all friendly - till they are not. They require a strong, knowledgeable consistent trainer with a lot of experience.
  • Tabitha Boggs - 2012-11-23
    I personally use a 'pinch collar' to walk my pitbulls, both my pits are males, one neutered ones not. And without a pinch collar they pull me all over the place. With a pinch collar, it does not choke the dog in any way if fitted properly, and causes no harm IF used properly. It just causes a 'pinch' to the neck of the dog if they are pulling, 9 times out of 10 one little 'tug' (PLEASE never ever yank or pull extremely hard on the leash when using a pinch collar as it could cause damage to your dogs neck) a quick snap of the leash always puts my dogs right back at my side. Without having to use any type of 'hitting' your dog, you should never hit your dog, that will only cause him to become afraid of people and possibly even aggression. Hope this helps. Literally the first walk with a pinch collar had an amazing difference my dogs, Blade and Kadar now enjoy daily walks, and I now enjoy them as well because I'm not being pulled every which a way. :)
  • Tabitha Boggs - 2012-11-23
    As Far as protection goes a 'pitbull' or 'pitbull mix' become very attached to their owners. And though they may never show any signs of aggression or protection once your dog has had time to bond to you and your family I can ensure that he will protect you and your child. My dogs have had no training other than basic training (sit, come, stay, heal basic stuff) and I have no doubt in my mind they will protect me and they have proven it time and time again. 'Pitbulls' are naturally protective, but it would be wise to be extremely aware of your dogs body language around other dogs, no matter how friendly he seems with other dogs, some dogs can be fine with 100 dogs then for no reason whatsoever attack the 101st dog. If you don't put your dog in a situation to fail then he can't fail. Example: Pitbulls especially males can be dog aggressive so for obivious reasons my dogs don't go to the dog park. If you don't put your dog into a situation where something bad could happen and cause more people to fear the breed then you should have no problems with your new dog. I'm not saying keep him away from every other dog, i'm just saying it is wise to very slowly introduce your dog to any other dog you'd want them to play with. You need to be very aware of your dogs body language as almost always they give warning signs before they bite/attack.
  • kyliegh stevens - 2014-05-20
    If your dog is pulling you, you should use a head halter. It helps to get the dogs attention and keep him from pulling so much. I used it with my pit bulls. I have been around so many dogs in my life and I am only 13. Right now I have a chihuahua/pit bull mix and she is a devil. I am working with her. Just try to teach her some things like (watch me) and (sit and stay) and she will use them automatically. If you have her do them lots of times each day. You should never hit a dog. If you have had the dog for awhile, it will have a connection with you, and it will protect you in certain situations. Your dog will protect you when it comes time to. My chihuahua/pit bull gets along great with my lab, (both females) and my chihuahua/pit bull helped bring out the puppy part in my 6 year old lab. Pit bulls (no matter the case) will love you no matter what. Even if her old owner beat her, she will look for affection and wag her tail. (and if you have any info on how to get a dog to stop chewing her dog bowl please tell me.) My dog is in her teething stages, she is 9 months.
  • Anonymous - 2017-02-02
    dont you know, pit bulls make for a terrible guard dog... and hitting that poor dog is gonna make him be fearful and more likely to attack out of fear... you should be ashamed of yourself
Bobbi-Jo - 2008-07-10
Hey my name is Bobbi-Jo and my boyfriend & I have a beautiful pitbull named KOBE! He is amazing in every way possible! HE is extremely loving and well behaved! We also have cats-which he loves too...we actually raised kittens with him around all the time! In fact the kittens preferred to sleep with him! He played with them and watched over them! Anyways I would love to help you with your fight against PITBULL HATERS-as the saying goes people are scared of what they don

  • kyliegh stevens - 2014-04-17
    I have been trying to STOP bsl and no one listens to me. When I am with my pit bulls people stop and drag their children to the other side of the road. They say that I will regret having my dogs. They say they will turn on me. I have been all loving to my dogs and they are loving to me as well. I want to STOP BSL FOREVER! I want to be able to walk my dogs down the street like every other person. I want to be able to have my dog with other dogs. And I want others to do the same. STOP BSL FOREVER! I want to make a change in the dogs life and others lives. I want a change in my life as well.
  • Kelly - 2016-09-26
    My first experience with an American Red Nose Pitt Bull Terrier happened when my son brought home what he called a Red Lab. It was a mistreated 11 month old female. When she moved in, I was very nervous of her. She had a serious problem with mange, and we had to bring her to the vet for several mange baths. She was so beautiful when her hair started to grow bath, but her tail was between her legs quite often when she was near me. I began giving her treats that I shouldn't have, like wieners or a slice of salami. and as wrong as I knew it was, we became friends. She wasn't as nervous of me and I was not as terrified of her. I have had a lot of breeds, but I have never had one of this quality. I used to compare her to the high strung Irish Setter I had years before, and a Dalmation that was more aggressive than Disney ever portrayed them. She was warm and loyal, and when she sat on me, she would push her head so hard against my chest, I thought she was trying to climb inside. She was a bit more protective than I would have liked. When we had visitors come in, she wouldn't bark but she always went and sat at the men's feet, never the woman. Most people found it unsettling, in light of the "bad press" this breed was getting. Everyone warned me Sable was going to bite me or someone else but she never did for years. One cold winter morning, my wife's sister came in for a visit, she had always owned big dogs and didn't respect my dog's situation. Sable had not been out for her morning pee, and she had been inside since early evening the night before since it was so cold. in the turmoil of trying to get out for a pee and a strange person "my wife's sister" falling to her knees and moving to hug the dog. Sable snapped at her and although she did not draw blood, there was a lot of opinions about my dog's "natural traits for the breed". While I was infuriated because they didn't know Sable at all, I had to concede however that keeping a dog that had bitten once, created a liability that I wasn't prepared to accept. When it was time for Sable to go to the vet, I didn't want to be home. My son and brother-in-law took her to the vet and I lost the warmest, most loyal, and intelligent dogs I had ever owned up to that time. I presently own a Zuchon hybrid, her name is Chylo and is the only dog who loves, is loyal and intelligent as Sable was. I've missed Sable for the past 15 years, and plan to find another female American Red Nose Pit Bull puppy. I will be more careful to protect her from volatile situations, and look forward to the same love I received from Sable. For the lady who was worried that her Pitt Bull was not warming up to her husband, I expect he is as nervous as she is, tell him to treat her to something she shouldn't have, like maybe a wiener or a slice of salami once in a while, she'll warm up to him and he to her. To one of the other posts about the dog needing a hard slap, I just want to say that animals respond to love with love, respect with respect and aggression with aggression. These beautiful dogs were tortured and killed in dog pits for years and now are being blamed for the mistreatment visited on them by sadistic owners. To all those wanting a big dog for farming, security, friendship and loyalty, don't be afraid of this breed, it will spoil you for any other breed I've encountered.
Kimberly - 2016-08-06
My husband passed away in December 2014. At the time our son was 19. Needless to say both of our lives were shattered. In March of 2015 my son went to a city 'kill' shelter without my knowledge and came home with two female dogs. Both were listed as 'Pitt bull mixes'. One was listed as 2 yrs old and had recently given birth. She was still swollen and full of milk. We now know she is an Am Staff. The other, also female, was a 10 month pup. She is an American Pitt bull. Smart, funny, athletic, she has no boundaries and thinks she is a lap dog. She has the best temperament in the world! She loves everyone and everything! I've since rescued a 3 legged Lhasa Alpso that was used as Pitt Bull bait. My 2 girls were so loving, sweet and truly took the needed for my little one to trust them. It was 2 months before I heard him bark. Now he and my American Pitt are best friends!! My American Pitt plays very different with him than she does with my Am Staff. The big dogs play rough, play tug of war, etc... When she and my Lhasa are playing she crawls to him, takes her paw and bops him on the head. She will keep doing it until he responds and the chase begins. These 3 dogs have filled a hole in our hearts with so much love and joy. I KNOW bad ones are out there, it's just hard to understand when I look at mine.