American Pit Bull Terrier: Wikis


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American Pit Bull Terrier

A fawn-and-white American Pit Bull Terrier.
Other names APBT
Nicknames Pit Bull
Country of origin United States
Weight Male 35 to 60 lb (16 to 27 kg)
Female 30 to 50 lb (14 to 23 kg)
Height Male 18 to 24 in (46 to 61 cm)
Female 18 to 24 in (46 to 61 cm)
Litter size 5-10
Life span ~12 years

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is a medium-sized, solidly built, short coated dog whose early ancestors came from England.



During the nineteenth century, dog fanciers in England, Ireland, and Scotland began to experiment with crosses between bulldogs and terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the bulldog.[1]

In the late 1800s to early 1900s, two clubs were formed for the specific purpose of registering APBTs: the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association. The United Kennel Club was founded in 1898, and was the first registry to recognize the breed, with the owner assigning the first number to his own APBT.[2]

The dog was bred first to bait bulls and bears.[3] When baiting bulls was deemed inhumane, ratting, a sport where a number of rats were placed in a pit for a specified time with the dog, and dog fighting became more popular. The APBT was used in both sports, and its prevalence in being put in pits with rats led to 'pit' being added to its name.[4] With time, the dogs became more commonly used as house pets due to their friendliness towards people.[5] In America, farmers and ranchers used their APBTs for protection, as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, and to drive livestock.[6] The dog was used during World War I and World War II as a way of delivering messages on the battlefield.[5]

The name "Staffordshire Terrier" was adopted by some owners as a way of distancing the breed from a name with a stigma, and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936. Later, the word "American" was added to reduce confusion with its smaller British cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Once an extremely popular family dog in the United States (for example, the dog in The Little Rascals movies and in Buster Brown was an APBT), the American Pit Bull Terrier's popularity began to decline in the United States following World War II in favor of other breeds.[citation needed]

An early predecessor to the American Pit Bull Terrier.



The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized dog. It has a short coat and smooth, well-defined muscle structure. Its eyes are round to almond shaped, and its ears are small to medium in length and can be natural or cropped. The tail is thick and tapers to a point. The coat is glossy, smooth, short, and slightly coarse and can be any color.[1] The breed ranges from a height of about 18 to 24 in (46 to 61 cm) at shoulders, and weighs between 35 and 60 lb (16 and 27 kg).[2]


The APBT is a breed that is loyal to friends and family, and is generally friendly towards strangers. People have been known to be afraid of them because of their bad reputations. Nonetheless, an APBT can be a very congenial pet as they have a general love of people. They do exhibit a higher percentage of dog aggression than some other breeds, and a very high prey drive toward small animals. Proper training can make the dog obedient and have a high desire to please, and socialization at an early age is a must. Without proper guidance, though, the breed can become dominant and destructive. According to the UKC, "aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable."[2] A study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that "pit bull type" dogs accounted for the majority of dog related fatalities in the United States between 1979 and 1996, though the study admits some limitations in its data.[7]

The American Temperament Testing Society shows a pass percentage of 84.3% for American Pit Bull Terriers.[8] Still, a firm, even hand and early obedience training are best. They generally have a lot of energy and high prey drive; they need exercise and stimulation in order to channel their energy properly and not become frustrated, bored, and destructive.[9]


An American Pit Bull Terrier puppy

The average life expectancy of an American Pit Bull Terrier is about twelve to fourteen years making them one of the longer living large breeds.[10] The breed tends to have a higher than average incidence of hip dysplasia.[11] They may also suffer from patella problems, thyroid dysfunction and congenital heart defects.[12]


Being intelligent, athletic dogs[13], American Pit Bull Terriers excel in many dog sports, including weight pulling, dog agility, flyball, lure coursing, and advanced obedience competition. Some APBTs have been known to do well in schutzhund as well. Out of the 25 dogs who have earned UKC "superdog" status (by gaining championship titles in conformation, obedience, agility, and weightpull), fourteen have been American Pit Bull Terriers.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a working dog, and is suitable for a wide range of working disciplines due to their intelligence, high energy, and endurance. In the United States they have been used as search and rescue dogs that save lives,[14] police dogs performing narcotics and explosives detection,[15][16] Border Patrol dogs, hearing dogs to provide services to the deaf, as well as general service dogs.


Twelve countries in Europe,[17] Australia,[18] Canada,[17][19] Ecuador,[20] New Zealand,[21] Puerto Rico,[22] Singapore,[23] and Venezuela[24] have enacted some form of breed-specific legislation on pit bull-type dogs, including American pit bull terriers, ranging from outright bans to restrictions and conditions on ownership.[17][25] The state of New South Wales in Australia places restrictions on the breed, including mandatory desexing, in order to ensure the eventual extinction of the breed in that state.[26][27] The dogs are often considered to be "dangerous" or "vicious".[25]

See also


  1. ^ a b "AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER BREED STANDARD". 2008-11-01. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  2. ^ a b c "American Pit Bull Terrier (revised November 1, 2008)". United Kennel Club. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  3. ^ "Bad Rap: Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls". Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  4. ^ Colby, Louis B.; Diane Jessup (1997). Colby's Book of the American Pit Bull Terrier. T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 079382091X. 
  5. ^ a b Laratta, Diane (2008-02-17). "American Pit Bull Terrier ? friend or foe?". Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Dog-Bite-Related Fatalities -- United States, 1995-1996". CDC. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  8. ^ "ATTS Breed Statistics". American Temperament Test Society. 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  9. ^ "Pit Bull Breed Info". Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  10. ^ Morris, Deborah S. (2006-12-29). "Shelter defends pit bulls' rep.". Newsday. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  11. ^ Stahlkuppe, Joe (2000). American pit bull terriers/American Staffordshire terriers. Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 0764110527. 
  12. ^ "Statistics and Data - American Pit Bull Terrier". Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  13. ^ "ASPCA: Pet Care: Dog Care: Pit Bull Information". ASPCA. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  14. ^ "So That Others May Live...". Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  15. ^ "Kool K-9 Popsicle retires". October 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  16. ^ "LAWDOGSUSA // Detection Dogs Made In America". Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  17. ^ a b c
  18. ^ "Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 No. 90, as amended - Schedule 1". Commonwealth of Australia. 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  19. ^ "Information on The Dog Owners' Liability Act and Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005". Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  20. ^ "Ecuador descalifica a perros pit bull y rottweiler como mascotas" (in Spanish). Ecuador: Diaro Hoy. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  21. ^ "Dog Control Amendment Act of 2003". New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs. 2009-07-02. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  22. ^ "H.B. 595 (Law 198) - Approved July 23, 1998". Puerto Rico Office of Legislative Services. 1998-07-23. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Venezuela restringe tenencia de perros Pit Bull" (in Spanish). La Prensa (Managua, Nicaragua). 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^ Barlow, Karen (2005-05-03). "NSW bans pit bull terrier breed". Sydney, Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  27. ^ Hughes, Gary (2009-10-20). "Pit bull bite prompts call for national approach to dangerous dog breeds". The Australian (Sydney, Australia). Retrieved 2009-12-23. 

Further reading

  • Capp, Dawn M. (2004). American Pit Bull Terriers: Fact or Fiction: The Truth Behind One of America's Most Popular Breeds. Doral Publishing. ISBN 0974540714. 
  • Foster, Ken (2006). The Dogs Who Found Me: What I've Learned from Pets Who Were Left Behind. Lyons Press. ISBN 1592287492. 
  • Stahlkuppe, Joe (2000). American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook. Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 0764112333. 

External links

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