The American Pitbull Terrier (APBT) is a breed of companion dog. These dogs are muscular and powerful, yet they are exclusively violent to other animals and not to humans. This dog is a faithful and affectionate family pet when properly taught. The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the breed, although the Continental Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club do (UKC).
The current American Pitbull Terrier can be traced back to England in the early 19th century. Crosses between “bully” dogs and terriers resulted in the modern APBT. Despite the fact that they were not recognized as a breed and were much smaller than the current APBT, the early “bulldogs” were used as working dogs, restraining unruly bulls for butchers and farmers.
These “bulldogs” resembled current APBTs but were much smaller, weighing 15 to 30 pounds. The same bravery and perseverance that made these canines so good at corralling dangerous bulls also made them excellent at the blood sport of bull baiting. The year 1835 marked the end of the deadly blood sport of bull baiting and the rise of an even more terrible blood sport: dog fighting.
Chauncy Bennet founded the UKC in 1898, a breed registry dedicated only to the registration and acceptance of pit bulls. Because the AKC refused to recognize pit bulls, Bennet set out to establish an association that would promote the breed as performing dogs. Mr. Bennet added “American” and first omitted “pit” from the APBT’s name, but public outcry caused “pit” to be reintroduced.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) opted to register pit bulls under a different name—the Staffordshire terrier, which was later changed to the American Staffordshire terrier (AST) in 1972. Pit bulls and ASTs were physically indistinguishable until 1936. After 1936, ASTs were bred primarily for conformation, and breed standards became substantially stricter.
American Pitbull Terriers were bred for both performance (fighting) and conformation shows, and the breed’s standard grew much more lax. Phenotypically, the ASTs got “flashier,” with blockier heads, broader chests, and a thicker jaw, whereas the APBTs varied from lanky to stocky. Although the APBT’s appearance changed, relative weight, size, and proportion remained unchanged, and dogs weighing more than 60 pounds were uncommon.
Both American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pitbull Terriers were bred to be incredibly strong and human-friendly, as well as athletic, courageous, and tenacious. These dogs are subject to bans and restrictions in many countries, including the United Kingdom, the Canadian province of Ontario, and many local jurisdictions in the United States.
The American Pitbull Terrier has a short, smooth coat that is relatively easy to maintain. The coat is shiny with a stiff texture and varies in color and pattern based on breeding. These dogs shed on average. The American Pitbull Terrier’s size varies widely. These dogs stand between 17 and 19 inches height and weigh between 30 and 85 pounds.
- Weight: 15 to 42 kg
- Coat length: Short, smooth coat
- Amount of shedding: Medium
- Color: Any include black, white, brindle, fawn, blue, red, brown, tan, or grey
- Pattern: Any
The American Pitbull Terrier is a people-loving, eager-to-please dog. These dogs are extremely sociable, even to strangers, which means they are not suitable as guard dogs. American Pitbull Terriers are brave and devoted to their families; they will risk their life to protect them. This breed is self-assured and lively, and they get along well with children, making them a wonderful family companion.
These dogs may have a high hunt drive due to their terrier ancestry, and they have been known to cause difficulties with cats and other small pets. Although this breed is not aggressive toward humans, dog aggression may be an issue if not properly socialized and trained. The American Pitbull Terrier is a fairly active breed that is recognized for its excitement and want to please. To burn off their excess energy, these dogs demand a long daily walk or jog. They also like energetic play sessions and spending time in a fenced-in yard.
- Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
- Active: High
- Intelligence: High
- Vocalize: Medium
Responsible breeders have strived to maintain the highest quality breed standards as set by kennel clubs such as AKC. Dogs bred according to these standards tend to inherit genetic diseases. Among the diseases that need to be considered include:
- Hip dysplasia is a disorder in which the hip sockets do not form properly
- Patellar luxation is the dog’s kneecap may dislocated from its normal location
- Progressive retinal atrophy: An eye condition characterized by retinal degradation that causes reduced vision and, in severe cases, blindness.
- Canine Atopic Dermatitis: An inflammatory skin illness caused by allergies to grass, molds, dust mites, and other allergens in the environment.
- Hypothyroidism is a disorder in which the dog’s metabolism slows due to a reduction in thyroid hormone synthesis.
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