No other dog breed has quite as bad a reputation as the American Pit Bull Terrier. Already banned or subject to some form of legislation in many countries around the world – including mandatory sterilisation – the Pit Bull is probably one of the most feared dogs around. But it’s also one of the most misunderstood.
Often labelled as “dangerous” and “violent” in the media, this breed is actually a victim of bad rearing and socialising by owners. Inherently mild-mannered and extremely friendly, these dogs have had their other traits, like physical strength, immense loyalty and a need to please, exploited by owners for a rage of nefarious activities, including illegal dog fighting, guarding narcotics and use as attack dogs.
Like with most dog breeds, proper socialising, love and obedience training by a firm owner is key to the Pit Bull being a well-adjusted pet and a valued member of any family.
Pit Bull Terriers are a medium-sized dog, reaching a height of between 46-49cm in males and 43-46cm in females. Males weigh an average of 25-30kg, with females being on average 5kg lighter. The breed is also characterised by a large face and powerful jaw, muscular neck and chest, stocky body and a short, thick coat that comes in a range of colours.
Contrary to what some might think, Pit Bull Terriers are actually very loving and caring. They’re wonderful with children and very protective over loved ones. They’re also friendly with strangers and get along well with other animals and pets if they are raised with them from puppyhood.
These dogs are also very intelligent and almost always obedient if raised by a firm owner. They need proper, strong leadership to know their place in the family and are recommended for people who really understand dog behaviour and know how to raise them properly.
Pit Bull Terriers are very adaptable dogs and can live in an apartment provided they are exercised properly with a long, daily walk. They are also full of vitality and tend to be very active indoors, so be prepared. Remember, they’re short coats make them more suited to warmer climates.
These dogs are average shedders and very easy to groom. Just brush their coat regularly with a firm-bristle brush and bathe when necessary.
The average life expectancy of an American Pit Bull Terrier is around 12 years. They are generally very healthy, but suffer from a higher than average occurrence of hip dysplasia. They can also suffer from grass allergies, hereditary cataracts and congenital heart disease. Their breeding has also made them very prone to Demodex Mange – a very uncomfortable skin condition where the dog’s immune system can’t keep the Demodex.