During the 19th century, England, Ireland, and Scotland began to experiment with crosses between bulldogs and terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness, speed, and agility of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the bulldog. That’s how the Pitbull Terrier first came into being. In the late 19th century to early 20th century, two clubs were formed for the specific purpose of registering us: the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association. We were bred first to bait bulls and bears. When baiting bulls was deemed inhumane, ratting and dog fighting became more popular. We were used in both sports, and the prevalence to put us in pits with rats, or other dogs led to “pit” being added to our name. In time, our loyalty, loving and gentle nature was recognised and we became domesticated. In America, farmers and ranchers used their Pitbull Terriers for protection, as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, and to drive livestock. We were also used during World War I and World War II as a way of delivering messages onto the battlefield. Today we have a fierce reputation and suffer a lot of bad press. That said, we have some amazing qualities.
What do I look like?
The Pitbull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, short haired dog. Our coat is short and smooth and we have a well-defined muscle structure. Our eyes are round to almond shaped, ears are small to medium in length and can be natural or cropped. Our tail is slightly thick and tapers to a point.
What do I need from you?
Well if you work in the PR industry then a bit of good publicity would be appreciated! Twelve countries in Europe, and several others worldwide have enacted some form of breed-specific legislation on Pitbull Terriers, ranging from outright bans to restrictions and conditions on ownership. That includes the UK who currently list the Pitbull Terrier as one of four banned dog breeds. Those who own one need to apply for an exemption. It currently costs £92.40 to apply for this. See Index of Exempted Dogs for more information.
What I will give in return
Well naturally we’re pretty good at warding off intruders so if you need a guard dog then we can fill that role pretty well. However we can also make a good companion. We’re very loyal to our owners and can provide a lot of fun. It goes without saying that you will always need to be vigilant around children but then we would expect that with any of us dogs.
What's our health like?
Pitbull Terriers tend to have a higher than average incidence of hip dysplasia and also suffer from patella problems, thyroid dysfunction and congenital heart defects. It would be good to be aware of these congenital problems from early ownership.
How big will I get?
We range from 17–22 in (43–56 cm) and anything from 35lb to 65lb (16kg-27kg)
How long should I be around for?
The average life expectancy of a Pitbull Terrier is about twelve to fourteen years making us one of the longer living large breeds.
How big is our litter?
Litter size can be anything from 5 to 10 puppies.
Usher Raymond and Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin (it wasn’t us that got him honest!).
Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.