Pit Bull, often-misspelled ‘pitbull’, is a term used to refer a range of bully breeds. These lovable pups can have black, brown, blue, liver, fawn, white, red, or brindle coats. A Pit may weigh anywhere from 30-60 pounds and have a height of 17-23 inches at the shoulder.
History of Pit Bulls
Pit Bulls are derived from an ancient Greek dog breed called the Molosser. Molossers had short muzzles, large bones, and pendant-shaped ears. These characteristics are seen in their many descendants today, which is why people often have trouble telling bully breeds apart from one another. Some bully breeds include the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, Alpha Blue Blood Bulldog, Bull Mastiff, English Bull Terrier, Boxer, Cane Corso, Presa Canario, and mixes of these breeds.
Pit Bull Variations
Blue Nose Pit Bull
What makes Blue Nose Pit Bulls different from other American Pit Bull Terriers? Only their pigmentation, because they are not a separate breed. ‘Blue Nose’ is simply a nickname that refers to these Pits’ silvery to charcoal coats and gray noses.
Red Nose Pit Bull
Red Nose Pit Bulls also get their name from their coloring. These adorable Pits have reddish-brown fur, eyes, noses, lips, and nails.
American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier is most closely related the Pit Bull. Here’s a little background on how this came to be:
In nineteenth-century England, English Bulldogs and terriers were bred to create a dog that was both strong and agile. They were first called Bull-and-Terriers. Later on, they became known in England as Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers were brought to the U.S. sometime in the late nineteenth century and eventually bred to be taller with larger frames than their English counterparts. To differentiate between the two versions of the breed, Americans began calling the slightly larger one the American Pit Bull Terrier and the version that remained smaller in stature the American Staffordshire Terrier.
Why Were Pit Bulls Bred?
Sadly, Bull-and-Terriers were originally bred in nineteenth-century England for the main purpose of fighting other dogs and animals, such as bears and bulls, as a form of entertainment.
After the breed came to the U.S., they were often used to herd and protect livestock, hunt, and protect people.
The Truth About Pit Bulls
Pit Bulls get a bad wrap and are wrongly labeled ‘aggressive’ and ‘vicious’. As with any dog, behavior can be strongly linked to how they are cared for and socialized.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) is strongly against breed-specific legislation, which are laws that either regulate or ban certain dog breeds in an effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals. These laws commonly, and unfairly, target Pit Bulls and their related breeds. According to the ASPCA, regulated breeds also include a variety of other dogs like American Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, or any mix of these breeds—and dogs who simply resemble these breeds.
Training Pit Bulls
Like other canines, Pit Bulls respond well to training methods that use positive reinforcement. This can include verbal praise, treats, loving strokes and belly rubs, a game, or a walk. It’s important to properly socialize Pit Bulls with people and dogs as puppies in order for them to grow into well-behaved adult dogs.
Tips for socializing a Pit Bull puppy with people:
1. Pick the right people
It’s good to get your puppy used to all different types of people, but be sure that the people handling your dog aren’t being rough, careless, or teasing in a way that your Pittie doesn’t enjoy. Negative experiences will stick with your pup.
2. Reward positive interactions
Everyone loves to cuddle puppies and rub their bellies, which can be very encouraging for a dog just getting accustomed to people, but treats can help too! You can have your friends or family give your Pittie pup a small treat or a few kibbles as they gently pet them to reinforce the positivity of human touch.
3. Refrain from uncomfortable situations
If you notice that something is causing your puppy stress, avoid it. Forcing them into situations that upset or frighten them could do more damage than good. Your puppy may gradually overcome their fears as they get better acquainted with the world around them.
Tips for socializing a Pit Bull puppy with other dogs:
1. Choose safe playmates
Before bringing your puppy to a friend or family member’s house with a dog, make sure their dog doesn’t have a history of aggressiveness toward other dogs. Depending on how old your puppy is, a calm playmate may be the best choice. An overzealous pal could frighten a tiny puppy.
2. Use a leash
Roughhousing is typical activity when two dogs get together for a playdate, but it is good to always have control of the situation. A leash gives you the ability to not only slowly introduce these new friends, but it also allows you to pull your dog back to your side in case either pal appears unhappy with the pairing.
3. Start with space
Don’t set your pup too close to the new dog at first. Stand with your dog on a leash about 10 feet away or keep yourself between them and the other dog. Gauge each dog’s reaction before allowing them to get closer to each other. If both dogs look happy to see one another and seem relaxed, then let your puppy in to play.
Pit Bull Health
Our recent claims data* shows that the most commonly diagnosed health issues in Pits are skin irritations, ear infections, allergies, cancerous growths, and gastrointestinal issues. Pits also have a higher-than-average rate of hip dysplasia.
To learn more about these common conditions in Pit Bulls and their symptoms, click here.
It’s always a good idea to prepare financially for pet illness. Pet insurance can help with the costs of veterinary treatment for illnesses, injuries, accidents, and more. Learn more about pet insurance here.
*Internal Claims Data 2015