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American Pit Bull Terrier


General Description:

The American Pitbull Terrier has been regognized by the UKC and the in the US in the 1890's. The oldest registry fort this breed is the ADBA. Both registries stress the importortance of a dog's ability to perform as well as physically meeting the breed standard. Working events are generally held in conjunction with conformation evaluations.
The UKC APBT differs slightly in breed standard from the AKC American Staffordshire Terrier, but not enough to always be able to tell one from the other. The American Pitbull Terrier doing well in ADBA events, however, is generally a different looking dog than what is seen in the AKC show ring. Generally, the head will be less rounded and more wedge shaped than in the AKC cousins. Noses, necks and loins tend to be longer. The overall profile is more of a rectangle, than a square, and unlike the AKC preference for a stocky look, the APBT is not supposed to be stocky nor racy, but balanced and agile.
While you may find more low drive and lower activity individuals amongst the AST than the APBT, that generalization can not be made. Level of activity, longevity, ideal temperament and trainability are a matter of genetics and can differ from line to line in both breeds.



The APBT comes in many sizes. Weights can range from 25# to upwards of 75#. The history of the breed has favored dogs between 30 to 55 pounds. The original breed standard calls for balance of body and mind before it asks for standardized body size, as is the case with most working breeds.



Almost all colors can be seen in this breed. Variety is the name of the game. The only color considered not occuring naturally in this breed is merle.


Energy Level:

The term describing their activity level best is: short to long periods of intensity. American Pitbull Terriers are terriers at heart; they like to know what is going on in their environment, chase things, dig and keep themselves busy while not supervised by their owners. However, once everything is calm in their environment, most are not opposed to lounging on the couch and letting the day pass by.


Life expectancy:

Depending on the genetic profile of the particular dog, 10 – 15 years.



The ancestors of this breed (Staffordshire Bull Terriers) were referred to as “Nanny Dogs” for their endless patience and pain tolerance with children. The well bred and cared for American Pitbull Terrier has not missed a beat in this department. While still puppies and adolescent dogs, they can be too strong and exuberant for young children. Apart from that word of caution, it should be noted that no dog of any size or temperament should be left alone with young children without adult supervision.


Other animals:

The American Pitbull Terrier is a terrier. Terriers were bred to get rid of vermin on the farm. The American Pitbull Terrier has not lost its prey-drive when it comes to animals on the run. Given their breed history, their tolerance for dogs is also limited in most cases. Most can be taught to respect housemates, dogs, cats and bunnies alike, but they should never be 100% trusted to not get into an escalating scuffle with them. Their terrier nature often does not allow them to back down once challenged or engaged by another dog. Multi-dog households including this breed is by far not something to be attempted by a novice dog-owner.



These dogs are smart, but will generally need a paycheck to perform. “Perform” can mean “coming when called”, “not pulling when walked on leash” or any other basic training. It can also mean “perform”, as in performance sports, such as agility, obedience, weightpull, tracking, fly-ball, you name it. Not many breeds are as versatile as this one. So, what about that paycheck? This breed works for treats, play-time, and sometimes just to please you. Their needs may differ from day to day and in their mind, it is up to their owner to figure out what it is and adjust.



The coat of the American Pitbull Terrier is short and straight. It is not supposed to be excessively soft and primarily consists of guard hairs. In the grooming department, these are extremely low maintenance dogs, if you ignore that most of them love to get dirty. Shedding is moderate in amounts, however the hairs attach themselves to anything fabric almost permanently.



Elbow and hip-dysplasia, heart-disease, ruptured cruciate ligaments, allergies and false pregnancies are the most common health concerns within the breed.


Best with:

Active dog-lovers who like a challenge. This dog tends to be more dog than most people are willing to own. While they are soft at heart and take scolding from their people very personally, they will also challenge you for everything just to see if they can. Their versatility can make them excellent partners for a person dedicated to be active with their dogs.


Not for:

New dog-owners, people who have trouble asserting themselves, people who are overly assertive or people who wish to capitalize on the bad rap this breed has earned. None of these people are going to find what they are looking for in this breed.



Smart, personable, loving, determined and loyal.



Other animal aggresssion and their bad reputation you as an owner will have to deal with on a daily basis.


Further Information:

American Pit Bull Conformation
Breed Details

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