Blood sports (pitting a dog against bulls or bears) were very popular in ancient Britain. These sports provided entertainment for both the working class and royalty, and dogs who fought well were treasured. Blood sports were outlawed in England in 1835, but illegal dog fighting continued in backyards, cellars, and the back rooms of pubs. Today’s American Pit Bull Terrier is probably descended from the bulldog and terrier crosses used in these fights. The dog that developed in America in the 17th and 18th centuries was a bigger dog; settlers needed a larger, more powerful dog to protect their homesteads.
Although illegal dog fighting has continued, with the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier crosses in the midst of it, American Pit Bull Terrier’s have also found a home in the hearts of many owners as courageous yet gentle companions.
- Temperament: Clownish, Stubborn, Obedient, Affectionate, Intelligent, Friendly, Loyal, Strong Willed, Courageous
- Height: 18-21 (male), 17-20
- Weight: 35 – 60 / 30 – 50
- Lifespan: 8-15 years
- Drive: Prey, Game
- Group: Terrier
- Grooming Frequency:
- Energy Level:
- Prey Drive:
An American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized dog whose muscular build makes him appear larger than he actually is. Males are normally between 18 and 22 inches tall at the shoulder and between 40 and 60 pounds, with females slightly smaller. The head is blocky with strong, muscular jaws, round eyes, and either cropped ears or natural half-pricked ears. The body is strongly muscled, giving the appearance of great strength. The coat is short and is stiff to the touch, but shiny and glossy. APBTs can be any color.
Coat and Grooming
Grooming an American Pit Bull Terrier is easy; the short coat can be brushed once or twice a week with a bristle brush or curry comb.
Behavior and Traits
American Pit Bull Terrier’s require daily exercise. A long, brisk walk is good, as is a session of weight pulling, a game of retrieve, or a session on the agility course. Although APBTs can run, and can run quite quickly, they do not have the body build of a long-distance runner, so their exercise should not be centered around that type of activity. To prevent the dog from running off and to make sure problems with other dogs do not occur, all exercise should be within a fenced-in yard, or the dog should be on leash.
The ancestry of APBTs includes dogs who were bred to fight, often with other dogs. Therefore, not all APBTs can be social with dogs outside of their own family. However, if APBT puppies are socialized well to puppies of other breeds, sizes, and colors, then they often can learn to enjoy other dogs’ company and learn to play nicely. All American Pit Bull Terrier’s must be supervised when interacting with other dogs, though, and those that show aggression should no longer be allowed to socialize.
Terrier Group Summary
The terrier group comprises breeds which are typically small, wiry, energetic and fearless. Many describe their personalities as “eager for a spirited argument.” They are bred to hunt vermin and guard family homes and barns. While terriers make for great pets, they do require a lot of focus to train since they’re very stubborn, energetic, and often require special grooming to maintain their characteristic appearance. Despite being small in size, terriers are not submissive “lap dogs.”