The American Pit Bull Terrier is a versatile breed. It combines the seemingly incongruous: fighting qualities and poise, wisdom and childish playfulness. Pitbull is loyal to his master and never demonstrates his superiority over him. The breed has established itself as an ideal guard for humans. Its representatives look harsh: the first thing that catches your eye is the unusual shape of the head, wide cheekbones, a strong “bullish” neck, wide chest, and well-developed muscles. Public opinion in different countries has developed not in favor of the pit bull, he is considered aggressive, and he sometimes causes fear in others by his appearance. In fact, the character of this dog is calm and friendly. Aggressiveness can develop only after a long stay in a small confined space.
- Breed name: Pitbull
- Country of origin: USA
- Weight: males 16-27 kg, females 14-23 kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 46-53 cm, females 43-51 cm
- Life span: 12-15 years
An active temperament and phenomenal endurance are the “calling cards” of a pit bull. Playing with a port, running and other similar entertainments do not tire him at all. Physical activity has a positive effect not only on the development of the dog but also becomes the key to its mental health.
Pete needs constant attention from the owner. If you are a busy person, constantly immersed in work, then a dog of this breed will not suit you.
The socialization of an animal is an important component of its upbringing. It is necessary to develop communicative qualities in it from an early age. Without this, it will be difficult to overcome the natural stubbornness of the pit bull terrier, it can become difficult to control, which, combined with strength, is not good.
American pit bulls can be aggressive towards other dogs. To avoid excesses, walk your pet on a leash. Having got involved in a fight, it is difficult for a pit bull terrier to stop, and he fights to the end. Although socialization will not negate this aggressiveness, it will help to control the “emotions” of the fighting dog.
The legislation of many states, in particular the European Union, prohibits the breeding of this breed, in some countries, it is regarded as a cold weapon. When traveling with a pit bull, make sure to check to make sure it is not persona non grata where you are going.
Pitbull terriers love to chew. To prevent damage to furniture in the house, buy sturdy toys for your pet, and the more, the better.
The fighting spirit of this “American” must be constantly curbed, so its owner must be a person with a strong character in order to be able to train the dog and further maintain discipline in it. However, it is also not worth going too far, excessive rigidity can only harm.
The word “American” in the breed’s name gives the mistaken impression that the Pit Bull Terrier was born in the United States. In fact, the first pit bulls came to the Western Hemisphere from Britain. Their appearance was the result of crossing an Old English Terrier and an Old English Bulldog. The breeders of that time set themselves the task of combining in the “new” dog the speed, fearlessness, and strength of the former and the athleticism of the latter. As you can see, they did it very well.
In Foggy Albion, pit bulls were used in dog fights, set on bears and bulls. In 1835, when laws on the protection of animals began to appear, these four-legged fighters with bulls and bears were no longer bumped into each other. Since dog fights were not directly prohibited by law (besides, they were cheaper), the breed de facto remained widely involved in them. Animal advocates considered such competitions openly “barbaric”, a mockery of our smaller brothers. However, one cannot but admit the fact that, in addition to a good income for the organizers, these fights gave a lot to the breed itself, identifying its best representatives. The practice of illegal dogfighting continues to this day.
It is regrettable that, according to information from human rights organizations, the criminal world uses the unique advantages of the breed. Pit bulls are used in drug trafficking, in confrontation with the police, and as fighting dogs. Poor animals, devoted to their masters, of course, do not even suspect in what dark deeds they have to participate. And although they are not guilty of anything (the dog cannot, as a person, think and deliberately leave the owner-criminal), such “activity” has earned the breed a bad reputation. In an attempt to get rid of it, the San Francisco Animal Welfare Society (USA) renamed the American Pit Bull Terrier “St. Francis Terriers “. The organization set a task to distribute dogs to individuals. After 60 individuals found a new family, the resettlement program was curtailed. The reason was that several pit bulls were killed at the place of residence of domestic cats. The new name – “New Yorkies” – was given to the breed in the New York Center for Animal Care and Control, which also decided to distribute pit bulls to families. But after negative responses, the program was curtailed without even starting.
Many countries around the world – France, Sweden, Spain, Singapore, Australia, Germany, Ecuador, US Associated Puerto Rico, Malaysia, Portugal, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, and Poland – have passed laws governing breed control. In some states, it is completely banned, in others the ability to own a pit bull terrier is strictly limited. So, this breed along with three others is banned in the UK. Pit bulls are persona non grata in some American states.
Features of the American Pit Bull Terrier
Television, newspapers, and the Internet often present information about these dogs in exclusively negative terms. Stories about attacks by pit bull terriers on their own owners, about the murder of children by them inspire panic and fear in the common man. But is the pit bull as bloodthirsty as it is presented to the general public by the media?
The American Pit Bull Terrier is very affectionate and gentle towards his family. Due to their small stature and compact size, smooth coat, and lack of salivation, representatives of this breed are ideal candidates for keeping in city apartments. He will feel comfortable in a private house. Despite the fact that the pit bull has a wayward character and tends to dominate, he is so devoted to his master that he is ready to give his life for him. From him, you can bring up an excellent bodyguard, but the watchman from him is useless. And all because a friendly attitude towards people has been brought up in pit bulls since the inception of the breed.
It is strongly discouraged to keep these dogs on a chain. Unlike German Shepherds, from being constantly on a leash of becoming stupid, pit bulls on a chain just become aggressive. They, being tied, of course, begin to guard the territory. But this is more from despair than by “vocation”, because the protective qualities of this breed are not inherent. Often, on a chain, they completely go berserk, which can then go sideways to the owner. Hence the myths about the “bloodthirstiness” of pit bull terriers. It is regrettable that in press reports about real cases of attacks by dogs on people, as a rule, the reasons for the aggression are not named. But she is alien to the nature of pit bulls and is usually provoked by adverse circumstances. Most likely, reporters simply do not know about these “pitfalls” …
Since the progenitors of the Pit Bull Terrier are the Bulldog and the Terrier, it would be logical to expect that the dog that appeared as a result of their merger would combine the features of both breeds. However, in the nature of the pit bull, there is practically nothing left of the calm and lazy bulldog. In our “American” – cheerful, playful, restless – terrier genes won.
Pit Bull Terrier is a dog, as they say, of a wide specialization. Do you want to get yourself a pet and almost a full member of the family? He is perfect for this role. Looking for a medal-winning sports competitor? Or do you need a bloodhound dog? Choosing a pit bull for these purposes, you will not go wrong. Powerful build and extreme muscularity and at the same time athleticism are the main features of the ideal representative of the breed. Pit bulls are bred to perform a wide variety of tasks, and therefore some individuals can look like a tank, while others remain thin.
- General description
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a sturdy dog of medium height with a short coat. Athletic and fit, with an attentive gaze and a shiny coat, she combines strength, power, and confidence, while remaining agile and graceful. Real pit bulls that meet the classic breed standards do not look lazy, beefy, and ponderous, that is, they are never obese. Rather, the opposite is true: adults are even somewhat thin. The other extreme, namely the musculature that is not visible under the skin.
Rectangular, dry, medium length. Flat skull, widened between the ears. The muzzle is wide and deep, the typical square shape of this breed, the cheeks are prominent. If you look at the pit bull from above or from the side, the outlines of the muzzle resemble a wedge slightly tapering towards the nose. It looks round only when looking at the dog from the front.
The pit bull’s teeth are tightly closed, strong, and strong. Scissor bite, correct.
Medium in size, almond-shaped, elliptical, or round. Set low, set wide apart.
The ears of the pit bull are small, half hanging. They are characterized by high delivery and wide spacing. At the request of the owner, the ears are left in natural length or cropped in the shape of a triangle.
- Nose and lips
The nostrils are wide open, the nose is large and shiny, and its pigmentation may vary from dog to dog. The lips are dry, close to the upper and lower jaw.
The neck of a pit bull is strong and powerful, dry. Widening towards the withers.
American Pit Bull Terriers are longer in length than in height, which is noticeable to the naked eye. This proportion is especially seen in bitches that are longer in the body than males. The back of this breed is strong and strong, the topline is slightly sloped. The loin is short, strong, and somewhat arched; the croup is slightly sloping. The abdomen is moderately tucked up.
The tail of a pit bull of medium length, naturally continues the topline, tapering towards the tip. Landing low. If your pet is in motion or is agitated by something, the tail rises to the backline.
The forelimbs of the pit bull are even, their length, if you count from the floor to the elbow joint, is equal to half the height of the dog at the withers. The backbone is strong. Wide and muscular shoulder blades set obliquely. The pasterns are straight, strong, and vertical.
The hind limbs are distinguished by strength and muscularity, long in the thigh. Low hock. Medium-sized oval paws with tightly knit toes.
The pitbull moves quickly and energetically, with a springy step. His movements are light, with good drive and reach.
- Coat and Color
The coat is close-fitting, short, and coarse. No undercoat.
The breed standards are very democratic, all colors and shades are allowed, including the presence of white spots. The only exception is the merle color – it is unacceptable in pit bull terriers.
Dogs of this breed are hardy, they are typically eager to fight. Although by its nature, the pit bull is very balanced – up to softness. His inherent “personality” traits were formed as a result of careful selection based on the results of dog fights. That is individuals who showed imbalance and instability of the psyche were removed from breeding.
Some participants in such cruel competitions, namely those who did not feel the difference between a dog and a person, had to be destroyed. It took several centuries to develop the pit bull character that is typical for him today. However, if he has his own good reasons for the attack, he will show remarkable cruelty and will be much more dangerous than any other breed. Such dogs are subject to mandatory euthanasia.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has a developed intellect. Having a mind is an important component in preparing a dog for and winning a competition. After all, success in battle depends not only on physical fitness but also on the ability to change battle tactics. Being an intelligent creature, a pit bull is able to keep his “emotions” under control. It is very difficult to unbalance him and make him attack a person. And in order for him to decide on this, something extraordinary must happen, namely a serious provocation on the part of a person.
The pit bull terrier does not get irritated when meeting other dogs on the street. He does not bully them and does not respond to barking. Unless it can tense up a little internally, but outwardly it keeps the Olympic calmness. Indomitable aggression towards an opponent is shown in dogs of this breed exclusively in the ring. The passion for fighting, personified by these dogs, even has a separate name: game. Courage and fearlessness, resilience, and a high pain threshold – all these qualities are inherent in pit bull terriers. Even the received wounds do not affect the desire for victory, they are able to fight for several hours in a row. Their courage should not be confused, again, with aggression. An evil dog is unable to accurately and coolly assess the fighting situation in the ring and adequately respond to it – only a brave dog can do this.
Raising a representative of this breed is generally not an easy task, given that it is naturally stubborn. But this does not mean that the pit bull is not trainable. A friendly disposition to a person is evidenced by the fact that dogs that are grappling in a combat fight are easy to part with their bare hands. Especially carefully, even with tenderness, pit bulls treat children. They, as if realizing their strength, take the younger members of the families of the owners under their “protection”. However, it is not recommended to leave the dog with small children alone unattended, because the child with a careless movement can provoke him to an aggressive attack in order to defend himself.
Training and Education
The future owner should immediately make it clear to the dog that he is the main one, not she. Otherwise, there will be difficulties with education. Human dominance does not mean that cruelty is required in treatment. All commands should be given in a calm, but at the same time firm voice. Your pupil should not feel that you are angry or angry with him.
In raising a puppy, its socialization is considered to be the most important age up to 16 weeks. During this period, the owner needs to pay a lot of attention to his pet. You need to play with him, caress him, stroke him. The rest of the household should behave in a similar way, demonstrating that the pit bull is a full member of the family. At this age, contacts with strangers are also important, which will help him perceive them as harmless. Do not restrict the puppy’s movement around the house, he should get used to the environment and environment. If there are rooms in your home where you do not want to allow the Pit Bull Terrier, close them first.
For the future socialization of the dog, walks in crowded places are no less significant. Their result will be an understanding that the surrounding world is large and is not limited only to the owner’s house, and that there are many people living in this world who do not need to be afraid. Sometimes puppies try to show aggression. In order to curb such manifestations, the little dog is turned over on its back at such moments and held in this position for several seconds. Such manipulation awakens in his genetic memory the laws of the pack, according to which a posture on the back means a subordinate position. Thus, a person shows that he is the owner of the dog.
American Pit Bull Terriers have a good, tenacious memory. Train him not only for the standard but also for any other commands. But the important thing to remember is to be consistent when raising your puppy. When creating a ban system, you must always stick to it. If you prohibit one thing today and allow it tomorrow, you will only confuse your pet. The rest of the family must also adhere to the established rules – no one can cancel the prohibitions.
Pit bulls are very playful, especially at an early age, so the learning process is most effective during the game. It is necessary to achieve complete observance of all commands by the puppy. If he does everything right, he should be praised and given a treat. It happens that the puppy tries to use his teeth during the game. In such cases, the owner must sharply command: “You can’t!” – and stop training immediately. Thus, he makes it clear to her that attempts to bite a person cause interruption of communication, and the dog clearly learns this lesson. After such “incidents”, training can be resumed no earlier than 20 minutes later.
Workouts should not be stretched, 5 minutes is enough for one lesson. Before he starts, the puppy needs to be actively walked, which helps him to focus on the commands. If your dog refuses to do them the first time, you need to be patient and get back to basics by repeating the previous training step. It is not forbidden to let the pita run without a muzzle and a leash, but only if you are in a forest or in a fenced area. Before doing this, you need to make sure that there are no other dogs nearby.
Sometimes during training, problems with obedience can arise, which the owner cannot cope with on his own. In this case, you should seek help from specialists. Such episodes should not be ignored, because as it grows up, your pet will begin to behave as it pleases, thereby posing a potential threat to others.
Care and Maintenance
American Pit Bull Terriers are medium-sized dogs, which allows them to be kept in the conditions of ordinary city apartments. Some owners prefer to keep pits in aviaries, but at the same time, they must find time for daily communication with their pets. Leaving a puppy alone for a long time, sacrificing its socialization, you risk: it can grow out of it a vicious and distrustful dog that can rush at people.
Taking care of your pitbull is easy. It is enough to comb it once a week with a brush (rubber with pimples or natural bristles) or a special mitten. Thanks to these simple manipulations, dust is removed along with the dead hair, the blood circulation of the dog improves. The dog sheds especially noticeably in spring and autumn. If an abundant molt is observed throughout the year, the owner should be alerted. The reasons should be sought in improper diet, too dry and warm indoor air. Allergies can sometimes cause excessive shedding.
It is recommended to bathe the Pit Bull Terrier with shampoo every two months, making sure that no water gets into the dog’s ears. Usually, after walking, his fur is wiped with a damp cloth, removing accumulated dust, and also examine the paw pads for cracks or wounds. To avoid the latter, you need to rub vegetable oil into the pads, including it in your daily diet (one teaspoon will be enough). If your pet gets very dirty somewhere, you can bathe it outside the usual schedule. Too frequent “bath” procedures are not recommended, as the wool will dry out, tarnish, and become brittle. After bathing, you need to dry it well, many owners even use a hairdryer. Until the dog is dry, make sure that he is not in a draft. Be sure to treat it with a tick and flea remedy.
The pit bull’s claws should be trimmed once a month with a special tool, a nail clipper for large breeds, after which their sharp ends are smoothed out with a file. Ears need regular examination: wipe them with a damp cloth once a week. Healthy ears have a pink tint, redness and excess sulfur are absent. If you notice that your dog is rubbing its ears on the floor and constantly shaking its head, contact your veterinarian. Redness of the ear and if it gives off an unpleasant odor should also be a cause for concern.
It is necessary to monitor the health of the eyes of the Pit Bull Terrier. Shiny, playful, and without tearing, they can sometimes turn sour. To prevent this from happening, it is enough to wipe the dog’s eyes once a week with a soft cloth dipped in chamomile broth. A specialist should be consulted with severe lacrimation, swelling of the eyelids, and profuse suppuration. Self-medication in such cases is fraught with even greater complications.
Dogs of this breed need to brush their teeth. It is enough to do this 1-2 times a week. For the procedure, a special dog paste is used, which is applied to a toothbrush or a fingertip. To prevent your pet from suffering from tartar, feed them more often solid food or toy-ropes treated with a special anti-plaque agent. For the prevention of stone formation, raw beef bones are also suitable.
Pitbull should be taught to calmly relate to all kinds of hygiene procedures. You should start from early childhood, as it will be difficult to cope with an adult dog. The puppy can get nervous when he is being bathed or brushed. In this case, do not insist, postpone the procedure for another time. The main thing is not to forget to praise the dog and treat it. Love and patience will definitely bring results.
Pit Bull Terriers cannot be called long-livers and healthy people. Inbreeding (closely related crossing to consolidate breed qualities) leads to the transmission of genetic diseases by inheritance, so there are enough of them in pit bulls. To the credit of many breeders, they try to keep sick individuals from breeding and carefully monitor genetic abnormalities. But if a puppy is purchased from a private person – on the market, according to an advertisement on the Internet – it is not known which set of genes he inherited.
The most common pathology in pit bulls is congenital heart disease. You can determine this ailment in a pet already at an early age: the baby breathes heavily and gets tired quickly. Subsequently, he becomes apathetic, suffers from shortness of breath, prefers to lie, his tongue turns blue. At the slightest suspicion, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. If treatment is started on time, the dog may well live to old age.
Vulnerable in pit bulls and the organ of vision. So, often the representatives of this breed are diagnosed with cataracts. Since they are oriented in space with the help of intuition and hearing, it is difficult to recognize pathology. However, if the owner notices that his pet constantly bumps into objects, misses during the game, you need to consult a veterinarian. Cataracts are treated but subject to timely measures.
Like other large breeds, pit bulls are prone to hip dysplasia. The disease is expressed in lameness, joint pain and, if untreated, can lead to immobilization of the pet.
Among the diseases associated with keeping a dog, the following can be distinguished:
- Obesity. A real scourge of domestic dogs. It leads to the development of heart disease, diabetes, and increases stress on the joints.
- Allergy. Pit bulls can have allergic reactions to pollen, dust, foods such as rice, beef, wheat, corn.
- Hypothyroidism develops in middle-aged individuals. The disease must be corrected with medication.
Like other dogs, American Pit Bull Terriers are not immune from infectious diseases, so it is extremely important to adhere to the vaccination schedule, to carry out deworming in a timely manner.
How to Choose a Puppy
First of all, it is necessary to evaluate the appearance of the future pet: it should not have any deviations, not to mention obvious defects. A healthy puppy has a smooth, shiny, and non-uniform coat. The color palette is quite wide, from white to black, different marks are required on the dog’s body.
Observe the puppy carefully. Does the little pit bull show excessive aggressiveness or, on the contrary, cowardice? Such extremes are a reason to opt for another puppy.
You should not buy a very small or mature dog. The optimal age is 8 weeks.
Do not buy a pit bull terrier from your hands, there is a high probability of running into unscrupulous dealers who strive to slip a sick or defective puppy. In specialized nurseries, you will be spared such risks. Before buying, be sure to ask about the pedigree in order to exclude hereditary diseases and a tendency to aggression. Inquire about the puppies’ vaccinations, what food they are used to, and so on.
Take care of your pet’s collar, leash, and habitat in advance. Buy toys, they are needed to satisfy the dog’s biting reflex, relieve itching in the gums, and as a tool for grinding teeth during adulthood.