American Pit Bull Terrier
Group: Terrier Group
- – Males: 18 to 19 inches at the shoulder;
– Females: 17 to 18 inches
Weight: Ranges from 50 to 75 lbs
– Height and Weight should be in proportion.
Note: The term “Pit Bull” is often used to refer to several different breeds of dogs, including many mix breeds. The most common breeds are the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. Some believe that these breeds of dogs all originally came from the same pit fighting stock over 100 years ago but have been bred to differing standards and are now known as distinct and separate breeds. Others believe that these dogs are simply different strains of the same breed. In North America, the American Pit Bull Terrier has been recognized under this name by the United Kennel Club (UKC) since 1898.
Photo courtesy of Zoe Lees
The development of the American Pit Bull Terrier started sometime during the 19th century in the United Kingdom with the cross of “Bully” type dogs and Terriers with the aim of developing a dog who had the combination of a Terrier’s gameness with the strength and athletics of the Bulldog. This resulted in today’s American Pit Bull Terrier — a dog of strength, courage, and gentleness with loved ones. Early “Pit Bulls” were used for bull baiting and dog fighting. After being imported into the United States, farmers and ranchers took notice of the APBT and used them for protection, as hunters, to drive livestock and as family companions. Today, the American Pit Bull Terrier is seen competing in Obedience, Tracking, Agility, Weight Pulling, Conformation as well as working in Protection.
The Pit Bull Terrier is a solidly built, medium-sized dog. He is both powerful and athletic with a confident and courageous temperament. The correctly raised Pit Bull is eager to please and makes an excellent family companion. This is not, however, the breed for everyone and – like other large, powerful dogs – socialization and obedience training are a must.
One of the major characteristics of the APBT is his “gameness” — the determination to master a situation and never back down. This is what allowed the original “Pit Bulls” to continue fighting for hours even after severe injury or exhaustion. Today, this characteristic gives the APBT a “can-do” attitude toward many challenges, such as agility and weight pull. A dog with this quality is generally stable and easy going and this should not be confused with aggressiveness.
If you are considering the adoption of a American Pit Bull Terrier, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)
Additional Health Resources:
- Health and Nutrition — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) — Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation — Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene — HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet — Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
- Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a strong, powerful, and determined breed. Early socialization and obedience training is extremely important for this breed.
- Training — For training information, see this section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
- What is a “Real” Pit Bull? — Understanding the difference between: American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire, Staffordshire Bull
- Pit Bulls — The Real Deal — From Pit Bull Rescue Central (PDF Format)
- Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.