Pitbulls make for a fantastic family pet. They are loyal, affectionate, and courageous. If you are after an exercise partner look no further. Pit Bull is a term for a type of dog descending from Bulldogs and Terriers. Pit Bulls are descendants of ancient greek dogs going back over two thousand years ago. There are 5 types of Pit Bull dog breeds:
Staffordshire Bull Terrier ( Staffy)
Staffies are a muscular athletic dog that weighs on average between 13-20 kgs depending on whether they are male or female. Males are usually at least 3-5kgs heavier than females. Staffys originate from the United Kingdom. They were originally bred in the mid-1800s for bull baiting and dog fighting1. Staffies can trace their heritage back to an ancient greek dog called a Molossian that originated over 2500 years ago. Staffies are known to be overly affectionate and loyal. Staffies are known as the "Nanny dog" due to their love of children. Staffys were originally bred to participate in Bull-baiting and dog fighting. We have thankfully shed animal blood sports and they are now indoor-loving companion pets that shower their lucky owner in affection.
Staffys have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years. The dog thought to have the longest lifespan for a staffy is currently 19 years old. They are generally very healthy dogs that have a few breed dispositions. The breed has seen hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and allergies.
American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaf)
The Amstaf is one of the more popular breeds of dogs in America and Europe. They are quickly gaining popularity in Australia. Amstaffs are a larger and heavier breed compared to Staffys. American Staffys originate from 1800s England and were originally bred for bullfighting. The British kennel club officially recognised the breed in 1936. A famous example of an Amstaf is Pete the pup the dog on Little Rascals with the ring around its eye. Their weight is generally between 18-35 kg. Amstafs are known to be smart, confident, and good-natured. They are quiet dogs that do not bark often and they are very gentle. They are known to be excellent with children but do not necessarily like other dogs. Amstaf has a lifespan of 12 to 16 years. Amstaf are susceptible to congenital heart disease, heart murmurs, and skin diseases.
Bull Terriers are short, compact and very strongly built. They are extremely powerful and stocky. They have an extremely recognised face and their trademark is their long egg-shaped head, pointed ears, and small eyes. They too were bred for bullfighting and dog vs dog fights until this was outlawed in 1935. In 1897 the Bull Terrier Club of America was formed. They are affectionate, playful and devoted to their family. They require plenty of exercise. Bull Terriers weigh between 22-38kg and have a lifespan of 10-14 years. A study found recently that Bull Terriers have a higher than average chance of suffering from compulsive behaviour and this manifests itself in tail chasing2. Male Bull Terriers are more prone to this behaviour than females. Patellar luxation is a very common health concern in Bull Terriers. Heart defects, polycystic kidney disease, and deafness are all common issues.
Bull Terriers are also no strangers to the limelight. They often appear in Target and Bud light advertising! Did you know you can also get miniature Bull Terriers?
American bullies are a modern dog breed that first made appearances in the 80s and they became recognised as a breed in 2004. They are known for their square heads and muscular bodies. The breed standard describes the dog as "giving an impression of great strength for its size". They weigh between 20-60kgs and have a lifespan of 8-13 years. They are known to have a sweet nature and to be very affectionate. They are a happy fun loving companion. American bullies can be affected by hip dysplasia.
American Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terriers are medium-sized short-haired dogs originating in the British Isles. They were originally bred to "bait bulls" but have since become family/companion dogs. They weigh between 16-27 kg and have a lifespan of 8-15 years. They are known to be loyal and energetic. American Pit Bulls have an average probability of having health issues but are known to occasionally have health issues, hip dysplasia and skin conditions.
Common combined health issues
This is a hereditary issue and is when the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit perfectly together. Excessive growth rates, types of exercise, being overweight, and poor nutrition can exacerbate this condition. This issue can be resolved by reputable breeders carrying out hip x-rays and breeding only dogs that score well.
Exercise, proper nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce the severity of this3.
Aortic stenosis is the most common heart issue in Pit Bulls. This a hereditary disease and is the narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart. This causes the heart to beat harder to get the blood out of the heart. In mild cases this does not require treatment however in more severe cases requires medication and in some cases surgery4.
Skin conditions are a common occurrence. This can be treated via medication, increasing gut health, wearing dog clothing and avoiding allergies.
Pit Bulls are a fun-loving, energetic, and affectionate breed of dogs that are extremely loyal to their families. Determination is one of their most notable traits. They are a hardy dog that is generally unaffected by major health issues and have a life span of up to sixteen years. Pit Bulls do have very high energy levels and require active owners. They need a minimum of 60 minutes of active exercise a day. Pit Bulls also have a high prey drive and may chase rabbits etc. Early training and socialisation are very important and recommended with this breed.
1. The history of Staffys http://thestaffordshirebullterrier.co.uk/history
2. Tiira K, Hakosalo O, Kareinen L, Thomas A, Hielm-Björkman A, Escriou C, Arnold P, Lohi H. Environmental effects on compulsive tail chasing in dogs. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41684. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041684. Epub 2012 Jul 26. PMID: 22844513; PMCID: PMC3406045.
3. Hip dysplasia in dogs https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/hip-dysplasia-in-dogs/
4) Aortic Stenosis in dogs https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/aortic-stenosis-in-dogs