Perhaps the most controversial topic in the dog world is whether the Pit Bull has any place in the modern family. Most people identify Pit Bulls by their use in fighting crime, and this negative portrayal in mass media has scarred the minds of many, leaving them to believe that the Pit is a foe, rather than a friend. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and in order to correctly understand what Pit Bulls are and their behaviour, we must first examine some common features.
The Red or Blue Nose Pit Bull, more specifically known as American Pit Bull Terrier, emerged when Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs were combined in the early 19th century. Early Irish immigrants migrated with these dogs, as they were loyal companions, and they quickly rose to popularity in both England and the USA. A little known fact is that Pit Bulls were also affectionately referred to as “nanny dogs” by early owners. They coined the name because they were faithful and loyal, and could keep small children safe.
Red or Blue Nose Pit Bulls became a victim of blood sports in the mid 1900s, and their ferocious and fighting nature increased when they were put against each other to war as a gambling tactic. After Britain implemented animal welfare laws, Pit Bulls became hunting dogs for a large number of Americans, and were used to catch cattle and other prey. Their fighting nature is directly related to how they have been used over the years, and results in why many people only see them as fighters, not companions.
Red or Blue Nose Pit Bull Temperament & Characteristics
Pit Bulls have been given a bad reputation for being savagely fierce and cruel, from persons on the outside looking in, and while they may somewhat live up to that standard, there’s more to them than what meets the eye. The major difference between Pit Bulls that are violent and those who are not is their breeding purpose. Violent Pit Bulls have been bred specifically for fighting, and may have been through a period of abuse and torture that has caused them to be predominantly savages, as opposed to the average Pit Bull who is playful, loving and amicable.
Despite breeds however, Pit Bulls need to be properly socialized in order to remain calm when it encounters other animals and pets. They are very loyal and defensive of their owners, but tend to remain calm when they sense their is no immediate danger. Pit Bulls are confident, highly intelligent and are naturally aggressive, but with a little training and kind treatment, they’ll be your best friend in no time.
Appearance & Physical Features
As the name suggests, the Pit Bull is predominantly a dark reddish brown colour, with small patches of white that can be seen in small places on the body, but they also range in other colours such as solid white and brown. Many are also parti coloured, with variations of cream, white and fawn coats. They have red noses, lips, eyes and toenails and are normally broad and sturdily built. A common myth is that Pit Bulls have larger jaws which causes them to hold on to their prey no matter what, but the truth is that the jaws of the Pit Bull are much like the jaws of a regular dog, the Pit Bull may just be more knowledgeable and so they use it to their advantage.
They range in height up to 22 inches maximum, and normal healthy Pit Bulls can weigh up to 80 pounds, but normally average around 35 – 65 pounds for males, and less for females. Their coat is thick and shiny, and their short hairs makes grooming easier than most dogs. Pit Bulls tend to also have broad chests, and are generally very rugged, active and agile dogs.
Grooming & Maintenance
One of the best things about owning a Pit Bull is that they require very little to minimal grooming. They have short hairs on their coat, and they do not shed, which lowers the amount of brushing needed significantly. Brushing your Pit Bull twice a month is enough to keep their fur soft and clean. Baths are an ease because of the shortness of their fur, and should ideally be done frequently enough to keep them clean, but remember to use dog shampoos free from chemicals and other additives to keep your pup safe.
Training & Socialization
The Red or Blue Nose Pit Bull is highly trainable because of its intelligence and eager to please mentality, and many do well with reward and light talks. Pit Bulls should be socialized at a young age to dispel their aggressive nature, and to make them suitable living companions in every family types. They can be a bit stubborn and strong willed at times, but their happiness when pleasing their owners far outweigh their recalcitrance, making them trainable and sociable pets.
Health Care & Lifespan of the American Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bulls are normally happy and healthy dogs that live up to 14 years on average, making them a good confidante to have in the family. They do however are prone to congenital defects, and should be properly checked at least annually, to ensure their health is up to par. The most common congenital defects known are:
- Cataracts – This disease causes the lenses behind the eye to change to a cloudy white colour, and if left untreated, may lead to blindness. This condition is normally identifiable by taking a look at your dog, and can be rectified by medication, but in severe cases, surgery may be your dog’s only option. It’s important to spot this disease early on to increase the chances of your Pit Bull living a normal healthy life.
- Heart Diseases – Pit Bulls are prone to congenital heart defects which may cause irregularities in the heart beat, limiting the amount of blood and oxygen pumped around the body of your dog. This is easily identified by a veterinarian, but warning signs include a reduction in agility and speed, not to mention heavy breathing. Pit Bulls can live healthy lives with this issue, as long as they receive medical treatment.
- Allergies – Pit Bulls can be sensitive to certain airborne or waterborne allergens, causing irritation and discomfort. This can be easily rectified by antihistamines for your dog.
Pit Bulls can be some of the best and most loyal pets, and with just a little training and socialization, become a new member of the family. They can also be savage, ferocious and trained fighters, depending on training, socialization and breed. Getting a Pit Bull may be a daunting task, but these dogs are sure to bring joy, happiness and comfort to their owners.