Dog breed: American pitbull terrier

American Pitbull Terriers have gotten a very bad reputation in the news media over the last several years. Although you mostly hear of dog bites and vicious attacks, there is much more to the Pitbull Terrier then these isolated incidents.

The American Pitbull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier is a medium to large size dog. Because of its incredible strength and power this breed of dog requires a strong-willed and very responsible owner. The majority of reported dog bites with this breed occur when the owner is actually at fault. Responsible ownership is the key to the Pitbull breed.


A pitbull’s lifespan lasts an average of 12-14 years. They are generally healthy dogs but do need to be vaccinated due to viruses and diseases that can affect any dog breed. Pits do have a tendency to develop hip dysplasia and cataracts.


Pitbulls are confident and outgoing. They are easily trained and heavily dependent on their owners for guidance. They desire love and attention. Isolating the dogs from human contact can change their personalities and allow them to develop unfavorable feelings of fear towards humans. Pits are very enthusiastic, so they need to be taught discipline at an early age. Contrary to the image often portrayed, trained dogs are often very friendly towards familiar faces and strangers alike.

Problem Behaviors

Animal shelters are full of pitbulls. Most have a no adoption policy do to the liability of the breed, and the bad reputation. Pitbulls end up in shelters for a variety of reasons, but at the top of the list are the pits taken away from bad owners who are not responsible with their pets or use them for fighting. Pitbulls can also be very energetic and an owner who is not ready for this may surrender because the dog is too high energy. Other behaviors occur when the pitbulls are bored and may chew destructively.

Perfect Owners

Pitbulls require a very responsible owner, who is committed to taking care of, teaching discipline and training their animal. The ideal owner knows the history of the breed and the potential for animal aggression and trains their dog accordingly. People wanting pitbulls for protection might do better with another breed. While pits are protective of their owners, if raised properly will love almost all strangers.


Because the news always shows pitbulls attacking children, it is important to pay special attention to your home situation before getting a pitbull. Pitbulls love mostly all people, in particular children. Pits are a high energy dog and children with energy will be great to play with the dog. However, because the dogs can get rather large, you should use caution with children under 2 because the dogs may jump up and knock them down. This is not aggression, just a form of play.

Other Animals

Pitbulls are not considered to be great around other animals. The breed was created and intended for fighting. The most common aggression you see in pits is amongst the same sex animal. Female dogs tend to dislike the other female dog, and so on. Pitbulls show visible signs of oncoming dog aggression, you should learn to read this in your dog and then use your judgment bringing them around other animals.

In general the Pitbull Terrier is a high energy, trainable dog. If you are considering a pitbull make sure you are the type of owner they need. You need to be strong willed and dedicated to this animal. We need good owners to help change the media’s portrayal of pitbulls. The only way we can do this is through responsible ownership.

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