What Breeds Of Dogs Make A Pitbull?

what breeds of dogs make a pitbull
Image by Beverly Lussier from Pixabay

Hey there dog lovers! You’re about to get a new four-legged friend and you’re thinking of getting a Pitbull dog or you’ve just had a new addition of a Pitbull to your family and now you’re wondering what kind of breed is my Pitbull? 

You’ve come to the right place because we’ll be talking about all things Pitbull in this article. Sit back, relax as we answer your question: what breeds of dogs make a pitbull?! 

What Is A Pitbull?

If there was ever a complicated question with a complicated answer, this would take the prize! The earliest use of the term Pitbull can be traced all the way back to the 1880s. 

If you’re interested in knowing more detail, you can check out a book by Bronwen Dickey titled “Pitbull: The Battle Over An American Icon” You’re welcome! 

Pitbull is an abbreviation of the term Pit bulldog which was more commonly used during the 19th Century. 

Pitbull dogs are usually described as small and stocky with smooth coats. Some of them used to be entered into dogfighting competitions while others had regular lives as family pets and farm dogs.

Originally, Bull terriers were created in 19th Century England for popular spectator sports such as bull-baiting and bear-baiting. 

In the sport known as bull baiting, one or two Pitbulls were set on a bull and would hassle the bull for hours until it collapsed from tiredness, injuries, or both. 

The struggling classes of people were the ones who held these matches as a source of relief from the daily hardship they faced. 

Eventually, these sports were considered inhumane and became illegal in 1835 after the British Parliament passed the Cruelty to Animals Act. 

As a result of this ban, dogfighting gradually replaced this which meant dog breeders needed to introduce dog aggression as a trait in the genetic line of the dogs. 

The interesting thing about the genetic composition of this breed is the fact that they are usually unwilling to bite humans. Why? This is because dog handlers did not want to get bit themselves anytime they reached into the dog fighting rings to separate the dogs. 

In no time at all, they quickly developed a reputation as a breed of dog that was protective and strong while being gentle and family-friendly. The irony is not lost on us either. 

During the period where a lot of immigration occurred to America, these so-called bulldogs which accompanied their owners to a new land also started new careers in farming and began being used as farm dogs. 

In the new country, the immigrants tried to keep up with the “bigger is better” mentality and ultimately developed a dog breed that was much bigger than it was in their home country England.

In 1898, these bulldogs were rechristened the American Pitbull Terrier, and by the early 1930s, they were officially recognized as a breed, however, there was a caveat. In order for the breed to be separated from their horrible past of pit fighting, they were rechristened the American Staffordshire terrier. 

Today, Pitbull dogs receive a lot of positive media attention as a result of advocacy and education organizations who are committed to promoting a more accurate image of Pitbull’s. 

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All About The American Pitbull Terrier

An American Pitbull Terrier is a family dog and also a companion dog breed. They were originally bred to ‘bait’ bulls but later evolved into being farm dogs. Their job description included guarding their owner’s property against animal intruders, hunting for wild game and being a companion to their owners. 

From there, they were moved into houses to serve as ‘nanny dogs’ because owners noticed how gentle they were around children. Did someone say “aww”?  

They are a popular dog breed type in sports such as weight pulling and obedience competitions because of characteristics such as gameness, tenacity, and courage. 

Key Breed Statistics

  • Breed Group – Terrier Dogs.
  • Weight – 30 – 85 pounds.
  • Height – 1 foot – 5 inches to 1 foot – 7 inches tall (at shoulder).
  • Life Span – 12 to 16 years.

Below we’ve given a quick rating out of 5 for the characteristics of this unique breed so you know what to expect when dealing with and adapting to your new pet. 

Exercise Requirements 

  • Intensity – 5/5 stars.
  • Playfulness Potential – 5/5 stars.
  • Energy Levels – 4/5 stars.
  • Need For Exercise – 4/5 stars.

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How Well They Adapt 

  • Sensitivity rating – 4/5 stars.
  • Hot Weather Tolerance – 3/5 stars.
  • How Well They Adapt To Living In An Apartment – 3/5 stars.
  • Cold Weather Tolerance – 2/5 stars.
  • Suitability For Novice Owners – 2/5 stars.
  • How Much They Tolerate Being Alone – 1/5 stars.


  • Potential For ‘Mouthiness’ – 5/5 stars.
  • How Easy They Are To Train – 4/5 stars.
  • Potential For Running Around – 4/5 stars.
  • How Intelligent They Are – 4/5 stars.
  • Inclination To Bark Or Howl – 3/5 stars.
  • Inclination To Hunt Prey – 3/5 stars.

Friendliness Rating

  • Kid friendliness – 5/5 stars.
  • Family friendliness – 5/5 stars.
  • Stranger friendliness – 5/5 stars.
  • Dog friendliness (how friendly they are with other dogs) – 1/5 stars.

Health And Grooming 

  • Ease Of Grooming – 5/5 stars.
  • General healthiness – 4/5 stars.
  • Hair shedding potential – 4/5 stars.
  • Weight gain potential – 3/5 stars.
  • Size – 3/5 stars.
  • Slobbering potential – 1/5 stars

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Personality Of Pitbulls

This dog breed is exceptionally intelligent and they easily learn tricks and commands. They are a joy to train because of how quickly they tend to catch on. They are very lively and have a zest for life and enjoy being fully involved in daily activities which happen around them. 

No matter how big your Pitbull gets, they tend to retain their puppyish behavior and this trait makes them an absolute delight and joy to live with. Once you get used to this breed, you’ll ask yourself how you made it this far without them.  

We’ve established early on that despite their negative reputation, this breed of dog actually loves people, generally speaking, and are completely clueless that their huge sizes make them unsuitable to be carried on a human’s laps, especially people who are slight in size. 

(Ever wondered how big the biggest pitbull is? Then you need to meet Hulk the Pitbull. Click here to read our article – How Big Is Hulk The Pitbull?)

These dogs are acutely aware of their immediate surrounding, very confident, and are considered watchdogs despite their “over friendliness” towards strangers. At the very least, their eagerness to greet strangers will alert you to the fact that there’s a stranger at your door. 

Even dogs are not perfect so while your American Pitbull terrier may not be the best watchdog ever, they are very courageous and it’s important to stress again how willing they are to defend you and your family to the point of death. 

Just like any other dog, American Pitbull Terriers require socialization skills very early on. You will need to ensure they are exposed to a variety of sights, sounds, experiences, and people when they are still young. 

This will ensure your puppy will grow up to be a well behaved and well rounded, amiable and social dog. 

Caring For Your American Pitbull Terrier

These dogs require a minimum of approximately an hour a day for walks and for play. 

Note that even though they love humans, they are quite strong and tend to be stubborn if you leave them all on their own. 

Make sure you carry out obedience training exercises as early as possible and that you continue to train them for the rest of their lives. This is important because it would serve as a solid foundational relationship for you and your dog. 

Make sure you don’t leave them in the outdoors for long periods of time, especially if you live in a cold climate because they don’t tend to fare so well in the cold. 

Regardless of what climate you live in, this dog breed fares better as house dogs because they like to form strong bonds with their families. In fact, they suffer when they are left alone for long periods of time. 

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Feeding Your American Pitbull Terrier

1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day should suffice. Feed them twice a day to ensure they are adequately fed. 

Remember when feeding your dog, they are individuals and like humans, they don’t require the same quantity of food so the amount of food you feed them will depend on factors such as his/her age, size, metabolism, build, and how active they are. 

If your dog is highly active, they will need more food in contrast to if your dog just likes to laze around the house and not do so much.   

We advise you buy high-quality dog food because they will nourish your dog(s) better and you will need less of it. It will also ensure your dog remains in the best shape and health. 

By the way, dogs get fat too! To prevent this, make sure your dog’s meals are adequately measured. Also, try and feed your dog at particular times of the day instead of just feeding him/her without discretion. 

When you look at your dog, you should be able to see a visible waist and when inspecting his body, ensure you can feel his ribs under a layer of muscle. 

Your dog’s ribs should not be visible to eye. If this is the case, then he’s probably underfed. On the other hand, if his/her ribs are hidden under fat rolls, you’ll need to put him/her on a diet. 

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How Healthy Are Pitbulls?

This dog breed tends to be quite healthy, generally speaking. However, just like other dog breeds, they are prone to their own type of health conditions. 

A list of the diseases they are prone to has been supplied below as it’s necessary to be in the know since you’re considering buying this breed. 


It’s a dysfunction affecting the thyroid gland which causes issues with reproduction, weight gain, poor coat, and other associated issues. 

Middle-aged dogs tend to have these problems. Notwithstanding they can be controlled using medication which has to continue throughout the dog’s life span. 


These are quite common in this breed of dog and they are usually caused by environmental allergens such as dust, pollen, grass, and fleas. Food can also be a cause of allergies although it’s not as common. Food allergens include rice, beef, corn, and wheat. 

Allergens tend to be uncomfortable for the dog and usually cause an intense itch meaning your dog will probably dig and chew to the point of bleeding. As you can probably tell, this is bad news because it’s an avenue for secondary infections to develop. 

In order to treat an allergy, first of all, the cause must be determined and subsequently removed from the dog’s environment as soon as possible. 

You’ll need to help of a Veterinarian to achieve this. A Vet will also advise you on which allergies can be eliminated or controlled using medication. 

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Hip Dysplasia (HD) 

This is essentially a condition which is a malformation of the hip joint ball and the socket. It’s usually really painful depending on how severe the condition is. 

Dogs which will be bred should have a hip x-ray done around 2 years of age to make sure they don’t have this condition. 

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Heart Disease 

Unfortunately, dogs are also not exempt from heart disease and it affects a dog in various ways with aortic stenosis being the most common. 

Aortic stenosis is a congenital heart defect which means a dog is born with it. It is an abnormal narrowing of the connection between the aorta and the left ventricle of the heart. 

Usually, some dogs won’t have or show any signs while other dogs may exert little to no energy while others may suddenly die. 

A Vet will be able to confirm with the help of a chest x-ray, if they hear a heart murmur or via an electrocardiogram. 

Other Important Points To Note

Children And Interaction With Other Pets

We’ve pointed out a couple of times in this article that American Pitbull terriers tend to get along with and love children because they are energetic, sturdy, and tolerant. This makes them a perfect playmate for your little ones. 

Despite these amazing qualities, this does not mean you should leave your dogs unsupervised and all alone with children.  If there’s no adult available to supervise playtime, they need to be put inside their kennel or crate. 

This is important especially after a dog has reached its sexual peak or maturity as they just may start to test out their potential of being the “leader of the pack.”

Ensure you teach your children not to pull on the tail or ears of a dog and to not approach a dog while he’s eating or sleeping and most importantly to never attempt to take his food away. 

As a result of their dogfighting history, this dog breed still has a propensity to be aggressive when they see other dogs. This is not a cause for concern because, with proper socialization and early training, they can be taught what social behavior is acceptable and what is not. 

Ultimately, their natural aggression can be minimized and with time overcome, they just need patience and the right amount of training. 

With the right training and socialization, a lot of dogs in this breed are dog-friendly and even cat-friendly as well. However, to avoid any potential mishaps, you should always supervise them when they are interacting with every other pet. 

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