Whenever the term “Pitbull” is mentioned, many people think it refers to a specific breed of dogs. This, however, cannot be further from the truth. Pitbull is a term referring to dogs that descend from terriers and bulldogs. These dogs come in a vast range of colors and physical characteristics, and we will be looking at these features in this article. It is important to note that the only specific dog breed that officially bears the term Pitbull is the American Pitbull Terrier.
The History of Pitbulls
Initially bred in England in the early 19th Century, these bulldog and terrier crossbreeds were intended for farm work, as they proved resourceful in herding, guarding, and managing livestock. There was an unfortunate period in the history of these amazing dogs where they were used in a cruel sport named bull-baiting, as well as dogfighting. These cruel sports were later banned almost everywhere, and the modern Pitbull type dogs are not subjected to cruelty.
The Pitbull became a popular household pet in the United States in the 20th Century, and their popularity rose to the extent that these loyal dogs were at times used as state mascots, and on call-to-action posters during the 1st and 2nd World wars. These dogs were known as America’s dogs, and their popularity has continued growing over the years. Pitbull type dogs now represent approximately 20 percent of the total dog population in the United States of America, and will easily be spotted serving as K-9s, therapy dogs, and as family pets.
Since the term Pitbull is loosely applied to almost every dog type that physically resembles the bulldog-terrier crossbreeds, there are a few breeds of dogs that are mostly confused as Pitbulls. These include:
- The Bullmastiff
- The American Bulldog
- The Cane Corso
- The Dogo Argentino
These four breeds are mostly misidentified as pitbull types due to their appearance. They are, however, less common, and are larger than pitbull-type dogs.
Color Variations of Pitbulls
As mentioned earlier, the Pitbull type of dogs come in different color shades and physical variations. Pitbull type dogs have similar or almost similar markings. However, the colors vary from solid, brindle, spotted, and merle.
Bluenose and Rednose Pitbulls
A single litter of Pitbull type dogs can have different color patterns and markings. For instance, Red nose and Bluenose are different pitbull colors that can be found in the same litter. The red nose pitbulls are usually fawn, brown, red, and brindle colored. As the name suggests, the nose will mostly be reddish-brown. In contrast, blue nose Pitbulls come in varied color shades, most commonly gray/bluish fur with white markings. Sometimes a blue nose litter will have fawn puppies, with dark or light-colored eyes, and some litters have brindle and brown puppies from one blue nose dog.
Another common color variation of pitbull-type dogs is the tri-color. Where most pitbull-type dogs have just one or two color shades, the tri-color variation comes with three colors. These colors combinations range from black, white, chocolate, red, lilac, tan, fawn, and blue. Although the most common tri-color combination is black, brown, and white, numerous variations are coming up as the tri-color breeding is a pretty new concept.
Types of Pitbulls
As we mentioned earlier, Pitbulls come in different variations. In the following sections, we will check out some of the pitbull-type dogs that are known in the United States, and describe their features and characteristics. These include:
American Staffordshire Terrier
Also commonly referred to as AmStaff, this pitbull-type dog is one of the most well known in the United States. Not only was it the most decorated war dog, but it was a favorite of three presidents. The American Staffordshire Terrier is the heaviest and the tallest of all the pitbull variations, and its popularity grew in the 70s when most Americans preferred all-round working dogs. The dog is recognized by both the UKC and AKC and has proven to make a good family companion.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Coming in at an average height of 7 inches, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the smallest of all the pitbull-type dogs. The dog variety originated in the United Kingdom and has, over the years, gained popularity in the United States. Most people describe this dog as clever, brave, and tenacious. They are great working dogs and were originally bred by English coal miners for their reliability.
American Pitbull Terrier (APBT)
A crossbreed of American terriers and English bulldogs, this variety is the only officially recognized pitbull breed in the United States. The APBTs are known for their friendliness, but also their cautious approach to unfamiliar people. Due to their cautious nature, the dogs have, on numerous occasions, been described as aggressive, and it is good to keep them in the company of other animals to tame the perceived aggression.
The American Bully
Another breed of pitbull dogs that is popular in the United States is the American Bully. This family dog variety is descended from the English bulldogs, and the American Pitbull Terrier, and as a result is generally noted to have a fighting instinct and an inherited high drive for hard work.
Due to the immense popularity of this fairly new breed in the United States, many breeders have worked at introducing new sub-breeds of the American Bully, and as a result, there are several well-known varieties of the bully pitbull. These are:
The XL Bully
As the name suggests, the XL Bully is the largest of all American Bully subtypes. The male stands at the height of up to 23 inches, while the female goes up to 22 inches tall. These dogs have many similarities with the other subtypes of the American Bully but are bigger, more muscular, and taller than the rest. They make very good family dogs, and many owners love them for their strength, height, and bulkiness.
The Standard Bully
As the name suggests, the Standard Bully is widely accepted as the best American Bully breed specimen. The dog closely resembles the Bulldog with its compact body and general features. It is also a very tolerant dog and makes a very good family pet.
The Extreme Bully
The extreme bully is almost similar to the standard bully. It is, however, bigger and with more pronounced facial features and greater strength.
The Classic Bully
Another subtype of the American Bully is the Classic Bully. This dog resembles the Standard Bully on the outside but has a lighter build. It is a reliable dog that makes a good family pet.
The Pocket Bully
These dogs have a heavy, broad head with high set ears. They are the smallest of the American Bully subtypes, and despite their name, cannot fit into a pocket. These interesting dogs have albino or blue colored eyes and make great pets for owners who want smaller dogs.
Other Pitbull Type Dogs
Apart from the four recognized pitbull dog varieties, other dog breeds are mostly referred to as Pitbulls. These include:
Traditionally kept as utility dogs, the American bulldogs are lean and muscular, which makes them suitable for stamina demanding work. They are very common as tracking and guard dogs since they are intelligent and highly trainable. The dogs also make great family pets and are known for their friendly, yet assertive nature.
These short dogs are members of the terrier family, although the breed is distinctly lacking the muscular, bulky body as compared to other bully breeds.