Complete Pitbull Dog Guide: What To Know Before Buying

There are very few dog breeds more controversial than the Pit Bull.

Their reputation as vicious and aggressive could not be more wrong.

In the hands of a good owner a Pit is a very sweet and friendly pooch. They are now well known for their love of people and their desire to make friends with just about everyone.

These protective dogs have an unending loyalty towards their owners. They are very smart and eager to make their owners happy.

If you are looking to adopt a bully breed you must be ready for the needs of a high maintenance dog.

Keep reading to learn if you are up to the job…

Pitbull Dog

What is a Pit Bull? (Overview)

The American Pit Bull Terrier, or simply the Pit Bull, is a purebred working dog that began its life in the United Kingdom.

Eventually it was imported to the United States where breeding was continued.

Pit Bulls have been employed in everything from hunting to guard work, but earned their reputation in the dog fighting world – they were bred and trained to be aggressive.

As a Terrier they are intelligent and able to learn.

A well trained Pit should not show any aggression at all. Their true nature is a friendly people pleaser. Whilst their muscular build can be quite intimidating, they are much more likely to kiss you than charge you.

  • Overview: Pedigree.
  • Purpose: Working Dog.
  • Weight: 30-60 pounds.
  • Size: 17-21 inches.
  • Temperament: Gentle, confident and protective.

Pros and Cons


  • Highly intelligent and trainability.
  • A working dog with lapdog tendencies.
  • Can perform almost any task.
  • Loyal, protective and loving.
  • Will want to stay by your side.


  • Does not get along with other dogs.
  • Victim of a poor reputation.
  • May be banned in some areas.

Pit Bull Appearance

A White Pit Bull

Due to their poor reputation this breed has been shunned by the American Kennel Club.

Pitbull dogs are a medium size that stands tall and confident.

They are very muscular and have broad shoulders and a blocky head.

Their ears can be rounded or pointed and eyes can be any color except for blue.

Whilst their body is stocky it should never be disproportionate. Their walking gait should be graceful and coordinated, never clumsy.

Height and Weight

  • A male Pit Bull should stand between 18-21 inches and weigh 35-60 pounds.
  • Females should stand anywhere from 17-20 inches and weigh 30-50 pounds.

Breed Colors and Coat

This breed comes in just about every color possible – anything from black to rusty red is acceptable.

The Blue Nose Pitbull is particularly sought after.

A dark color contrast against a white background is a very popular look.

This is not the softest dog to pet.

They have a short and stiff coat that has a glossy appearance when well kept.

However the good news is their short fur will never need to be cut or shaved.

5 Fun Facts About Pit Bulls

  1. While the term Pit Bull generally refers to the American Pitbull Terrier, it is also used to refer to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
  2. A common misconception is that the Pit makes a good guard dog – they are far too friendly and social to be a good guard.
  3. Pit Bulls are the most common victims of breed bans. The breed is banned in certain parts of the United States and is commonly restricted in apartment complexes and gated communities.
  4. The breed earned its name from its historic role as a bull fighting dog.
  5. This dog’s bite is notoriously powerful and is one of the major reasons it is considered a dangerous dog.

Pit Bull Personality and Temperament

Pit Bull Chasing A Ball

Although they are nicknamed a bully breed, they are not actually a bully.

In the hands of a patient and caring owner you will have a gentle and friendly pooch with a very loving demeanor.

This is an athletic dog that is not always aware of their own strength.

They are not couch dogs and will need enough outside space to safely let out their energy. You will need to keep them stimulated with toys that can withstand rough play.

Most of them time your Pit will be quiet. They will only bark when they want to alert you to something.

A noisy dog can be a sign of neglect.

Poor socialization is the number one cause of behavior problems in this and other bully breeds. These naturally social dogs absolutely crave human attention and interaction.

You will need to socialize your dog constantly throughout their entire life.

Even with socialization they would rather interact with people than with other dogs. Aggression towards people is uncommon, but aggression towards dogs and other animals is not quite as rare.

With a Pit Bull you will need to set boundaries, you must let your dog know when it is appropriate for their protective instinct to kick in. Any pushy tendencies towards neighbors, friends, or family members should be immediately discouraged.

Despite their negative reputation in the right hands the Pit Bull is a loveable lapdogs. You can expect them to spend a lot of time curled up at your side or at the foot of your bed. Your love and affection is what they truly crave.

Caring for a Pit Bull

Pit Bull

A Pit Bull should only be raised by an owner that can handle their physical strength and energy.

This dog will need lots of mental stimulation and some physical exercise.

When you adopt one you are making a decade long commitment so this should be considered carefully.

Caring for one properly is a task for only the most serious, dedicated dog owners.

Exercise Requirements

To keep a Pit Bull happy they will need an hour of exercise a day.

Most of this can come from walking with some additional outdoor play.

These dogs do very well on hiking trails and can even handle rough terrain. Just remember they have a high prey drive so keep them on their leash.

Once they have finished their walk, a fenced in yard would be ideal for them to play in. This should be a safe, secure spot for them to be themselves without worrying about breaking anything.

Pit Bulls enjoy running and fetching just like any other dog – you can give them toys to hunt and sniff out. Just make sure their toys can withstand a lot of ripping and tearing.

  • Number of Walks Per Day: 1-2.
  • Total Exercise Needed Per Day: 60+ minutes.

Pitbull Swimming

Grooming and Shedding

The good news is this breed does not shed much, so very little grooming is needed.

If you brush them at least once a week they will keep their natural shine.

While not every Pit Bull likes the toothbrush, dental hygiene is as important for them as it is for you. A flavored toothpaste or tasty dental treats will usually motivate them. Nails should be trimmed whenever they begin to curl, but if they are active they will file them down while running and playing.

Feeding and Diet

This muscular dog will need lots of food.

Protein should be at the top of your dog’s diet, while carbs and fats should be kept to a minimum.

So keep this in mind when choosing a brand of food.

Give your furry friend a protein packed breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. One cup of high quality kibble per meal is the best way to fuel their day.

If you want to give your dog a bit of extra protein and healthy fat, switch out one cup of kibble for a cut of raw chicken or turkey.

You can give them cooked beef or pork but as this can be fatty it should be kept to a minimum.

Calories Per Day:Cups of Kibble Per Day:

Known Health Problems

  • Congenital heart disease is a common health problem with this breed. While heart disease is usually a concern for older dogs, congenital heart disease begins in puppyhood. Difficulty breathing, sluggishness, and lethargy are all signs. If you are concerned then speak with your vet.
  • Another common health concern is hip dysplasia. If this gets bad they will limp and may be reluctant to stand on it. For severe cases surgery will be needed to restore mobility.

How Long Does A Pit Bull Live?

You can expect your Pit Bull to remain by your side for 10-15 years.

How Much Does A Pit Bull Cost?

On average expect to pay about $1000 for a Pit Bull puppy. However the exact cost will depend on its lineage, breed condition and the quality of the breeder.

How To Train Pit Bulls

A Pit Bull Playing

This is one of the most highly trainable dog breeds out there.

Remember as a terrier it was bred to complete any task, so you will be amazed at what they can learn.

Unlike other dog breeds training is not restricted to puppyhood – you must be committed to obedience training and socialization throughout their entire life.

You should never use physical punishments when training. The best way to train this dog is to use their love for you to your advantage.

Praise your pup for getting something right but never punish them when they get it wrong.

Your Pit will be much more cooperative if they know you are pleased and willing to work with them.

Boredom is one of the leading causes of bad behavior so make sure to keep them active.

Your dog will enjoy walking, running and being taken out to see new places and meet new people. They also enjoy games that make them think like hide and find. This game lets them use their keen senses and their tracking abilities.

Socialization is extremely important with this breed and must be continued throughout your dog’s life. Always supervise them during socialization and end the play session immediately if pushy or aggressive behavior is displayed.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size:17-21 inches.
Lifespan:10-15 years.
Coat:Short single coat.
Color:Black, red, brown, white, grey, tan, fawn and yellow.
Do They Shed:Only a little.
Temperament:Headstrong, confident, loyal, protective and social.
Intelligence:Very high.
Socialization:Must be socialized throughout their life.
Destructive Behavior:Yes when under stimulated.
People Skills:Gets along much better with people than other dogs.
Good with Children:Yes (10+ old).
Activity Levels:High.


A Pit Bull needs a dedicated owner who will treat them like their best friend.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Pit is a lover, not a fighter.

They are a sweet and gentle soul that just want to speed time with their owners.

Having a Pit Bull is like having a giant puppy that never grows up. Expect to keep up with plenty of rough and tumble play and do not be surprised if you need to replace their toys often.

A Pitbull may not be the right choice for everybody, but once you have won their heart you will have a true friend.

Let us know in the comments section below if you have any questions…

Thomas Woods Face Portrait
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.

1 Comment

  1. I got my First pitty for my second birthday. I have been owned by a pitty since then. This year makes 62years that I have had a pitty in my life.

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