American Pit Bull Terrier Dog: Characteristics, Origin & Lifespan

The American Pit Bull Terrier dog is a purebred dog breed which is raised as a companion and family dog breed. The breed was originally bred to ‘bait’ bulls, but it evolved into all-around farm dogs, and later moved into the house to become ‘nanny dogs’ because they were so gentle around children.

The breed was developed from the United States. It is also known as Pit Bull and Pitbull Terrier. Tenacity, gameness and courage of these dogs make them popular competitors in the sports of weight pulling, agility and obedience competition.

The American Pit Bull Terrier dog is one of the so-called bully breeds often labeled a pit bull. In fact, “pit bull” isn’t a breed, but a term used to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Some people say the American Pit Bull Terrier is the same as the American Staffordshire Terrier. Others, just as forcefully, say they’re entirely different breeds.

But all experts can agree that the confusion started with a decision by the AKC in the early 1930s to give it a new name, American Staffordshire Terrier, to separate it from its pit-fighting past.

The American Pit Bull Terrier dog is a purebred and is recognized by the United Kennel Club, and American Dog Breeders Association. But it has not been recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), while the American Staffordshire Terrier, which is slightly smaller, has been.

American Pit Bull Terrier Dog Characteristics

The American Pit Bull Terrier dog is a medium-sized, short-haired dog breed. They have a short coat and smooth, well-defined muscle structure. Their eyes are round to almond-shaped. And the ears are small to medium in length, typically half prick or rose in carriage.

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According to the ADBA, the tail of the American Pit Bull Terrier dog is prescribed to be slightly thick and tapering to a point. The coat should be glossy, smooth, short and stiff to the touch. Many colors, and color patterns, and combination of colors are acceptable to the ADBA, except merle coloring. Red, black and buckskin are the most common.

Average body height of the mature male American Pit Bull Terrier dog is between 18 and 21 inches at the withers, and 17 to 20 inches for the females. Average body weight of the mature male is between 15.8 and 27.2 kg, and 13.6 to 22.6 kg for females.[1]

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Temperament

The American Pit Bull Terrier dogs are smart and intelligent. They love people and have no idea that their size is something of a different to being a lap dog. Confident and keenly aware of their surroundings, they are watchdogs in that they may alert you to the presence of strangers, but that’s primarily because they’re eager to greet “their” guests.

While their love of people makes them failures as guard dogs, their courage is unmatched and they will defend their family with their lives.

Like many other dog breeds, the American Pit Bull Terrier dogs also need early socialization, exposure to many different people, sights, sounds and experiences when they are young. Socialization helps to ensure that your puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.[2]

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the American Pit Bull Terrier dog is between 8 and 15 years.

Feeding

How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

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The American Pit Bull Terrier dogs are medium sized dogs. So 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high quality dry food is recommended per day for each dog. Although, you can ask your vet for better recommendation.

Caring

Taking good care of your animal is very important for raising American Pit Bull Terrier dogs. You should spend about an hour a day walking, playing with or otherwise exercising this dog.

The American Pit Bull Terrier dogs love people, and they are strong for their size and can be stubborn if left to their own devices. Begin obedience training early and continue it throughout the dog’s life. Training is the foundation for a strong relationship with your dog.

The American Pit Bull Terrier dogs can’t tolerate cold well, so they should not be left outside for long. Even regardless the climate, these dogs do best as housedogs. They form strong attachments to their families and will suffer if left alone for long periods.

Health

The American Pit Bull Terrier dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions. Not all the dogs will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you are considering this breed.

Common health problems of these dogs include hip dysplasia, allergies, hypothyroidism and heart disease. Always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameAmerican Pit Bull Terrier
Other NamesPit Bull and Pitbull Terrier
Breed SizeMedium
Height18 to 21 inches tall at the withers for males, and 17 to 20 inches for the females
Weight15.8 and 27.2 kg for males, and 13.6 to 22.6 kg for females
Good as petsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorVariety of colors and patterns with red, black and buckskin are the most common
LifespanBetween 8 and 15 years
Good for childrenYes
RarityCommon
Country of OriginUnited States