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American Pitbull Terrier – Breed Information And Temperament

American Pitbull Terrier
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Love them, leave them or hate them — American Pitbull Terriers (ABPT) are here to stay. When it comes to the never-ending debate of Pit Bull type dog breeds and their place in society, there’s seldom an in-between and they are inexorable.

But, ABPT descended from being “America’s Dog” in the early part of the 1900s to the most vilified breed of the past few decades.  But, nowadays they’re making such a Comeback…

Yes, they look tough, but at one time the pitbull dogs (or pibbles), were the most beloved dogs in the United States and England.

At the turn of the 20th century, the ABPT Dog was known as the “Nanny Dog,” as the pit bull was the most faithful and loving dog of any dog breed, especially with children.

Ironically enough, it is these magnificent qualities of the pit bulls that have attracted it to the “unlawful elements”, who have wronged this fantastic breed of dog.

Pitbulls are not mere statistics or monstrous. They are an inopportune victim of a lot of difficult circumstances.   Unfortunately, the Pitbull strains were trained to be aggressive in the past.

The methods by which some people trained their pit bulls were unpardonable! They were starved, chained up, beaten, and taunted. You can only mistreat and exploit an animal for so long before you do manage to change its traits.

They were trained by using other pets such as Cats, small dogs, rabbits, etc as baits.

That day is long gone…Pitbulls forgive those who have hurt them, forgive those who have harmed them and they forgive you for not understanding.

Because all they really want is a chance to prove to you what pleasing, pleasant, clever, goofy, devoted animals they are.

So before you buy into the media hype and the half-truths, about a few mistreated and misunderstood animals that may have unfortunately hurt another, perhaps, due to lack of socialization and training (or worse, due to cruelty and exploitation)… Consider that your view is a little skewed.

Grab your chance to turn into an unofficial ABPT breed ambassador…

American Pitbull Terrier Infographic

American Pitbull Terrier Infographic

American Pitbull Terrier Breed Characteristics Sheet

  • Origin: USA
  • Size: Large
  • Dog Breed Group: Terrier (UKC)
  • Purebred: Yes
  • Lifespan: 10-15 Years
  • Height: 14 – 24 Inches (35 – 60 Cm)
  • Weight: 30 – 80 Pounds (13 – 36 Kg)
  • Coat Appearance: Sparse, Medium Straight Coat
  • Coat Colors: Black, White, Fawn, Brindle, Tan, Blue, Red, Brown, Grey
  • Temperament: Alert, Athletic,  Affectionate,  Energetic, Friendly,  Intelligent, Lively,   Loyal,     Protective, Pleasant, Responsive,  Territorial, Watchful
  • Good With Children: Yes
  • Intelligence Level: High
  • Good With Pets: No
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Grooming: High
  • Shedding: Average
  • Barking: High
  • Suitable For Apartments: No
  • Need For Exercise: High
  • Easy To Train: Yes
  • Good For First Time Owners: Yes
  • Health Issues: Hip And Elbow Dysplasia, Cerebellar Atrophy, Allergies, Patellar Luxation, Demodicosis, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Zinc Responsive Dermatosis
  • Average Price: $500-$700  USD


American Pitbull Terrier History

First, a little clarification and back-story for those who aren’t completely familiar with what “Pit Bulls” actually are.

The name ‘Pit Bulls’ is referred to not just one specific breed, but is often used as a catch-all to depict a wide array of dogs with common characteristics (American Pitbull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bullies, sometimes American Bulldogs and Bull Terriers).

The American Pit Bull Terrier is the most common breed referred to as the pitbull dog. It is actually a cross between terriers and Old English Bulldogs.

They gained popularity over the course of almost 300 years till the 19th century in an animal blood sport known as “bull baiting” in medieval.

These Pitbull Terriers were first brought to the United States from Staffordshire in the late 1800s after the Blood-sports were outlawed in 1835 in the UK.

There was another strain of pitbull dogs developed after they were brought to the United States.

Bulldogs which were crossed with Terriers is a more easy-going, even-tempered dog that was used to hunt, drive livestock (such as so “rat-baiting” and dogfighting- which were easier to hide from the law enforcement) and as family pets.

They were released into a “pit” to hunt and kill rats or fight one another, thus beginning the Pitbull type of dog. The pit bull was, in fact, the sign of American strength and valor during World War I!

American Pitbull Terrier Size And Lifespan

  • Height – 14 – 24 inches (35 – 60 cm)
  • Weight – 30 – 80 pounds (13 – 36 kg)

American Pitbull Terrier Lifespan

A healthy ABPT should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 10 – 15 years when properly cared for and fed a good quality diet to suit their ages.

American Pitbull Terrier Coat Color And Appearance


They are medium-sized, agile and athletic dogs with a stocky build, short and smooth coat with well-defined musculature (neither bulky, overdone nor lanky, fine-boned).

They look “square” when viewed from the side with the solid front end with a light and springy backend

Facial region

The bricklike, well-proportioned head is proportionate to the body and exhibits the appearance of strength, elegance, and character.

Head size is balanced, wedge-shaped when viewed from the top or side, round when viewed from the front and it is 2/3 the width of the shoulders.

Well, a developed straight boxlike muzzle is parallel to the skull, and the head should be deep from the top of the head to the bottom of the jaw.

Ears are set high on the head and Oval to almond-shaped eyes are set far apart, low down in the skull (triangular when viewed from the side and Elliptical when viewed from the front).

They have extremely powerful jaws with incisors that meet in the front in a scissor bite.


Long and wide shoulder blades with a deep, moderately wide chest. Deep, elliptical prosternum (or breastbone) which is well sprung at the top, taper to the bottom, and extends back to the loin.

Loins are broad and long enough to square the dog with long, sloping hips of adequate width. Small and tight feet are set high on patterns with thick, well-built-up pads.

The tail is low set, thick at the base tapering to a fine point and extending to the point of the hock.

Coat Color

  • Black
  • White
  • Fawn
  • Brindle
  • Tan
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Brown
  • Grey

Short, shiny, and smooth to the touch. Long or curly or wavy coats are disqualifying faults.

American Pitbull Terrier Temperament


  • The truth about ABPT and pit bulls, in general, is simple: They’re sweet, smart, amusing, devoted companions. And, we’re not alone; a lot of people think so.
  • National Pit Bull Day has been established in their honor and Ken Foster’s book “I’m a Good Dog”  which is a heartfelt tribute to the pit bulls continues to climb the charts.
  • ABPTs are tenacious: When they put their mind to something, they often achieve it. Hence, they make great sporting dogs.
  • These dogs, of all that liveliness and resolve, are that American pitties can be refractory, even recalcitrant. But remember, because of their people-pleasing nature, pibbles are extremely trainable.
  • They make excellent candidates for a therapy dog. Obedience training is a great way to acquaint yourself with your pibbles while laying the foundation for good manners.
  • Let’s be straightforward: The pit bull mouth has garnered some bad rap. The most outrageous and insidious fallacy about pibbles is that they got “locking jaws”…
  • They don’t: There is nothing anatomically distinctive about pibbles jaws and they have just the same doggy mouths as every other kind of dog and are not even the strongest around.
  • Their attitude toward other canines and animals is a different story altogether. Their dog-fighting ancestry dictates a determined, dogged, no-nonsense kind of dog who does display benevolence when being challenged by other dogs.
  • They are actually quite playful and pleasant. The breed’s natural aggressive tendencies are directed towards other unfamiliar animals or pets. However, proper training and socialization methods will make them non-aggressive and adorable pets.
  • They have a broad spectrum of humanoid emotions that make these dogs relatable to us.
  • ABPTs have some of the most expressive faces of all dogs.  You will always know what’s in your dog’s mind. Some have inexhaustible energy, and others are stick-in-the-mud stragglers but, in general, they’re just glad to be doing whatever you’re doing.
  • ABPTs serve their homes fervently as they so effortlessly get attached to a family which in no time is evident with the protective behavior and affection they have towards them.
  • Do you think this dog looks violent and vicious, maybe… but beneath that rough exterior is a different kind of dog! Do you believe that American pibbles are affectionate to kids?
  • Yes…They do… also, these dogs have a high tolerance to pain as kids normally do and unknowingly harm the pets.
  • American pibbles really love their family. We mean, they really, really love their family. They love to cuddle, snuggle, crawl in your lap, roll over for belly rubs and stay by your side as long as possible.
  • American Pibbles are clingy “velcro dogs.” Thanks to their high spirits, exuberance, vim and vigor, love of life, and intense devotion to people, ABPTs are some of the most entertaining dogs in the world.

How to be an American pit bull breed ambassador?

Know the ABPT history and their personality completely. We suggest that you get down to your local shelter, or search for one of these dogs online and give a family-friendly pibble a chance.

Every dog is different, even within a specific breed. so know your dog. Train your dog. The importance of training and socializing your dog cannot be exaggerated

Help him to show off his true, wonderful natures to the world…and to be a good “ambassador.” Being a pit bull keeper can be demanding, but the rewards are long-lasting, and you’re guaranteed a lifetime of love.


  • Apartment Living – Low To Moderate
  • Good For First-Time Owners – Yes
  • Sensitivity Level – High
  • Loneliness – Averagely Suited To Be Alone
  • Cold Weather – Average
  • Hot Weather – Average


  • With Family – High
  • Kids – High
  • Other Dogs – Low
  • With Cats – Low
  • Other Pets – Low
  • Strangers – Suspicious, Reserved

General Behavior

  • Independence – Fairly Independent
  • Dominance – High
  • Combativeness – Aggressive
  • Indoors – Active
  • Outdoor – Highly Active
  • Territorial – Yes
  • Easy of transportation – Medium

American Pitbull Terrier Training

  • Trainability – Quick Learners But May Be Stubborn
  • Intelligence – High
  • Memory – High
  • Mouthiness – Low
  • Prey Drive – High
  • Wanderlust Potential – Average To High

Is an American pit bull terrier hard to train?

Pitbulls and pit mixes can be awfully impulsive, in large part due to the large variety of breeds that may be involved; but, this is less true of a well-bred pure APBT due to the spotlight on a more passive and acquiescent temperament by responsible breeders.

ABPT may look intimidating; however, anybody who’s ever owned an American pittie knows that they are usually little bundles of face-licking, nose nudging, tail-wagging, slobbery tongues of love.

When raised properly, in a loving environment, they are among the friendliest dogs you could want.

American pitties need firm, consistent, regular, and considerate training and socialization from an early age. He is an intense and resolute dog; he needs a determined and consistent pawfect pack leader.

If he is not trained by the book, owners may find it quite hard to handle him as he gets older.



American Pitbull Terrier Care

So, what about the first-time owners?

 ABPTs are quite a good choice for first-time dog owners as long as you get them when they are in their puppyhood. They are really open to learning new things and love nothing more than to please their owners.

All they want is to see their owners pleased and happy with something they’ve done. Considering this, American pibbles make good pets for novice owners.

Proper socialization and Obedience training are vital components for this dominant breed so as to help prevent nervous tendencies, aggressive behaviors towards other dogs, and precariously overzealous greetings.

  • Exercise NeedsFairly High
  • Intensity – Medium
  • Activity Level – High
  • Exercise Requirements – >60 Minutes/Day
  • Walk Mileage/Week – 12 Miles
  • Playfulness – High
  • Grooming Needs – Average
  • Tendency To Drool – No
  • To Snore – No
  • Bark – High
  • To Dig – Low
  • Social/Attention Needs – High

American Pitbull Terrier Food

Tips for feeding American Pitbull Terrier

Daily Food Consumption – Approximately 600 – 1,400 calories per day (i.e., 20 calories/ 1 lb of body weight)

Dog’s weight

  • 15 kg = 1000 calories (approximate daily calorie intake)
  • 20 kg = 1250 calories
  • 30 kg = 1500 calories
  • Over 35 kg = 1700 calories

Rough Feeding guide for American Pitbull dog:

General Meal frequency

  • First 1-3: three meals per day
  • For the rest of its life: two meals per day
  • Pups between first 6 weeks- puppy milk replacement formula
  • Up to the third month – a mix of 75-percent liquid to 25-percent wet or dry puppy food or 2 meals every 24 hour period (300-450g)
  • Feed puppies 6 months to 1 year – 2 bowls of puppy-specific food daily (400- 450g)
  • When your puppy hits his first birthday, two smaller bowls every 24 hours or getting him a slow-feeding bowl is typically all that’s necessary.

When your puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food depending on their activity level and food preferences.

  • Dogs 25 – 30 kg =400g
  • 30- 35 kg = 400g to 500g
  • Protein content should be anything from 14 to 25%
  • Carb content should be 30 to 65%
  • Fiber content should be less than 4%
  • Fat content should be less than 10%
  • Calcium content should be 0.5 – 0.8%
  • Phosphorous content should be 0.4 – 0.7%
  • Sodium content should be 0.2 – 0.4%

Top picks for American Pitbull Terrier

Taste of the Wild High Prairie PuppyPuppies
AvoDerm Natural Senior Health+Old dogs
Earthborn Holistic Great Plains FeastAdults
Bully Max High Performance PremiumGain Weight/Muscle
Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Grain FreeWeight Loss
Wellness Simple Limited IngredientSensitive Stomach
Blue Buffalo Limited IngredientSkin Allergies

Foods to avoid

  1. Chocolate
  2. Bacon and fatty meat
  3. Garlic and onions
  4. Salty foods (such as popcorn and pretzels)
  5. Milk, Ice Cream, and Other Dairy Products
  6. Candy, Gum, and Baked Goods
  7. Grapes and raisins
  8. Sugary foods
  9. Raw fish, liver, and mushrooms
  10. Coffee, Alcohol

American Pitbull Terrier Grooming And Shedding

  • Coat Density – Sparse
  • Length – Medium
  • Texture – Straight
  • Brushing Frequency – Weekly Twice
  • Trimming/Stripping – No
  • Hypoallergenic – No
  • Shedding – Average

Due to the ABPT’s short and flat hair, grooming is easy. Daily brushing using a de-shedding fulminator slicker brush or a slicker brush is more than enough to straighten out the coat hair.

It is essential you brush your dog’s coat regularly, most importantly, during season shift periods. For sensitive American pitties, you can brush them with the pet grooming glove.

Brushing the dog’s fur makes it detangle, removes shed hair, keeps it healthy, and maintains the natural sheen.

Bath your dog only when it is absolutely needed. Use a moisturizing dog shampoo that is natural with no pesticides or chemicals.

Make sure to rinse the dogs completely to remove all the shampoo and use a towel to dry off the dog.

American Pitbull Terrier Health Problems

Major concerns

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cerebellar atrophy
  • Allergies

Minor concerns

  • Cataracts
  • Patellar luxation
  • Demodicosis
  • Zinc-responsive dermatosis
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Occasional diagnosis

American Pitbull Terrier Names

Pitbull Dog Names


American Pitbull Terrier Price And Breeders


You should expect to pay at least $500 – $700. Some can go up to $1000for your American Pits puppy depending on the pedigree, vaccination, and breeder. Lineage and quality is a decisive factors in puppy pricing.

American Pitbull Terrier Breeders

Breeders, animal shelters, and rescue groups

A good place to start is Pitbull rescue groups in your state and let them know what you are looking for in the event that they know of an eligible dog available for adoption.

Get started by searching for a good breeder on national kennel or breed clubs.  Below mentioned are some rescue centers where you can find American Pitbulls:

  • Pit Bull Rescue Central
  • Villalobos Rescue Center
  • Bobbie’s Pit Bull Rescue & Sanctuary
  • Finest Pitbulls Made
  • Empire Bully

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