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Facts About Pit Bulls

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beige and white blue nose pit bull terrier on a leash looking directly into the camera

Pit Bull, often-misspelled ‘pitbull,’ is a term used to refer to 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. Are you ready to learn more Pit Bull facts?

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

There are many different Pit Bull variations. Though many of these dogs resemble one another, there are slight differences you can learn to recognize.

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 to 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 strong and agile dog. 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.

happy gray and white pit bull playing in a fenced in yard

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.

Our strategic partner The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) is strongly against breed-specific legislation, which are laws that 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.

Before introducing a new pup to your home, it’s essential that you take some steps towards pet-proofing your house. Pet-proofing can protect your stuff from being chewed on and help keep your pup out of trouble.

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 in order for them to grow into well-behaved adult canines.

Tips for Socializing a Pit Bull Puppy With People:

Socialization opportunities exist all around us, which is great news for dog parents. However, before taking your pup out into new places and around new people, first read up on some helpful tips.

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:

Even if your Pit Bull is a pro at meeting and socializing with new people, doing so with new dogs can be an entirely different experience. Check out these tips on how to socialize your pup 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 when two dogs get together for a playdate, but it is good always to have control of the situation. A leash gives you the ability to not only slowly introduce these new friends but 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.

Is your pup ready for more socialization and interactions with new people and environments? Get some tips on how to plan a dog’s day out.

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 problems. Pits also have a higher-than-average rate of hip dysplasia.

Though these health issues are common for Pits, there is no guarantee that your pup will develop any of them. That said, as a Pit Bull parent, it is worth your time and effort to familiarize yourself with the most common signs of these health issues. By knowing what to keep an eye out for, you can better stay a step-ahead with your dog’s health.

Since these pups are prone to developing ear infections, it is worthwhile to check their ears on a regular basis, cleaning them whenever they appear dirty. This can be done with a dog-safe ear cleaning solution and cotton balls. Never use cotton swabs as they could accidentally cause injury.

When checking your Pit’s ears, if you notice any unusual redness or a bad odor, then these could be the signs of an ear infection. In this instance, it will be necessary for you to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Learn more about these common conditions in Pit Bulls and their symptoms.

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, 2015-20

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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