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American Pit Bull Terrier


American Pit Bull Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • UKC
  • Height
  • 18" - 22" (45.7 - 55.8cm)
  • Weight
  • 45 - 60lbs (20 - 27kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Various Colors
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The American Pit Bull Terrier is also known as Pit bull and APBT.


The American Pit Bull originated in the United States.

Date Of Origin

The American Pit Bull Terrier was developed in the 19th century.


The American Pit Bull Terrier breed descends from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the now extinct, Fighting Bulldog. In the 19th century, the English began crossing these breeds looking for a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the Bulldog. The resulting dog embodied strength, courage, and gentleness with loved ones.

Immigrants brought these bull and terrier crosses to the United States. The dog that would eventually be called the American Pit Bull Terrier continued development in America for use as a guard, cattle catcher, livestock driver, and companion. The settlers needed a larger, more powerful dog to protect their farms, ranches, or homes.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is perhaps more well-known for its use in pit fighting against other dogs for sport. Unfortunately, these illegal dog fight rings still continue today despite the efforts of law enforcement and the ASPCA. Banned in Sweden, neutered, muzzled, and microchipped in Great Britain, and even prohibited from entering some areas of North America, the American Pit Bull Terrier is as much a victim of the media as it is of its historic breeding to fight other dogs.

Today, American Pit Bull Terriers are most commonly found as beloved family pets.

The American Pit Bull Terrier was recognized by the UKC in 1898.


The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium sized, solid and muscular dog that is slightly longer than it is tall. The large, broad, powerful head is shaped like a wedge and the muzzle is broad and deep, shorter than the length of the skull. The lower jaw is well developed and the nose is large and of any color. The eyes are medium in size and set low, any color except blue. The ears are cropped, erect or naturally rose or semi-erect.The chest is deep and hind quarters are muscular. The tail is medium length. Its coat is short and smooth, of any color.


The American Pit Bull Terrier is strong, confident, stoic, and fun loving. It is very friendly toward people, and especially toward children. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. The fighting background often makes it aggressive toward other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. Early socialization can help teach most American Pit Bull Terriers good manners with other animals, however, interactions with other animals should be supervised.

The breed's natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. Contrary to popular belief, the American Pit Bull Terrier is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.

The American Pit Bull Terrier requires daily exercise. Walks, pulling weights, fetch, or other games suit this breed well. Long-distance running is not recommended for this breed. Exercise should take place on-leash or within a fenced yard to ensure problems with other dogs do not occur.


Today, the American Pit Bull Terrier continues to demonstrate its versatility, competing successfully in obedience, tracking, agility and weight pulls, as well as conformation. They also make fantastic companions that will protect their owners without hesitation.

Health Concerns

Potential health concerns for the American Pit Bull Terrier include allergies, cataracts, and hip dysplasia.

Additional Information

The American Pit Bull Terrier requires a dog experienced owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog from an early age. Homes with children are fine, but this should be a single dog household or, if another dog is present, he or she should be of the opposite sex.

Grooming the American Pit Bull Terrier is simple and only requires weekly brushing with a bristle brush or curry comb.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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