Pit bulls are better known as American Pit Bulls. The American Pit bull terrier is a member of the terrier group of dogs. The modern day pit bull terrier is actually a result of multi – generation crosses between a bulldog and a terrier. The aim was to make a gene pool that would be agile, athletic, and speedy and a good watch dog at the same time. Their country of origin is United Kingdom.
Finally, the American Dog breed association and the United Kennel Club gave recognition to these dogs in the year 1898. Earlier these dogs were engaged in deadly baiting games. But, when laws were passed against this inhumane practice, then these dogs were kept as family pets or as watch dogs. Pit bull is now a favorite breed type which is used to make various types of designer/ mix dog breeds.
Pit bull terrier – At a glance
The following list of general and physical characteristics will help you to get familiarized with your Pit bull terrier: –
• Breed type: Pure breed (now). These dogs are registered and recognized by the American Dog breed association, New Zealand Kennel Club, North American Purebred Dog Registry, National Kennel Club, Pit bull Federation of South Africa, American Canine Registry, Backwoods bull dog club, United Kennel Club and several others.
• Height: Males have an average height of 1ft. 7 inches to 1ft. 11 inches whereas the females have an average height of 1ft. 4 inches to 1 ft. 8 inches.
• Weight: Males generally weigh about 40 to 80 pounds whereas the females weigh about 25 to 60 pounds.
• Life Span: These dogs have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
• Available coat colors: They have short hair with a smooth texture. They are available in several coat colors such as red, brown, blue, gray, fawn, brindle, white, chocolate and many others.
Temperament and Personality traits
The Pit Bull terrier is a gentle, intelligent, energetic, sturdy and playful dog. He will be an ideal choice for an energetic family.
Pit bulls can live by themselves, which means he would even survive and live quiet happily if you leave him completely alone. He is a good backyard dog and would require little or no attention. However, training would be required in the initial stages to calm down his aggressiveness and to let him know that how he should behave in the society. Those Pit bulls who are not given proper training do not socialize well and cannot get along with other pets and family members.
These dogs are ideal playmates for children. They won’t generally harm your child or other pets unnecessarily. However, if they are irritated to the ultimate extent, then they are sure to show their aggressive nature. Hence, you should always supervise your children when these two pals are together.
Feeding habits and Nutrition
You may opt for dog foods such as Orijin, Pedigree, Dr. Tim’s, Purina, Acana, IAMS or Science Diet adult dry dog food. Your Pit bull terriers meal shall contain rice, carrot, soybean, lamb , bison, or chicken and chicken meal, turkey, and vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B Complex, Folic Acid, Niacin, Riboflavin, Isoleucine, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, calcium and selenium. Make sure your dog exercises well and eats the right quantity of food. They should never be over fed or under fed.
Feeding habits of Pit bull terriers should be monitored very carefully these dogs are very sensitive and are prone to various stomach and liver ailments. You should never attempt to feed them with human foods as it would cause diarrhea and other stomach related problems in them.
Occasionally when they feel hungry, you may give them few snacks such as dog kibbles, bits and bones to chew, but never try to give them human food, or avocados, chocolates, onions, garlic and related products.
Health and Immunization
Pit Bull terriers can be affected by several diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, diabetes, cancer, progressive retinal atrophy, cataract and others. These dogs can also acquire heart diseases such as aortic stenosis or a congenital heart defect causing abnormal narrowing of the left ventricle and the aorta and hence there is low blood supply to the heart.
These dogs show hypersensitivity to several allergens present in the environment. Your Pit Bull terrier will be allergic towards certain chemicals, flea shampoos, dander, clothing, beddings, dirt and dust.
A daily 30 to 40 minutes’ walk will keep these dogs healthy and do remember to take him to an experienced and trustworthy vet, at least once in two months for regular health checkups.
All Pit bull terriers should be immunized at regular intervals so that they are protected from various diseases caused by dangerous viruses. Some mandatory vaccines for this breed includes: – Parvovirus, Rabies, Distemper, Coronavirus, Hepatitis A and B, Influenza and Parainfluenza vaccines. Inject annual booster shots from experienced vets.
Care and Grooming
These dogs shed minimally hence you would require brushing them only once a week or probably once in two weeks. Bathe these dogs only when it is necessary or when they get themselves dirty in mud and dirt. Otherwise, you would require bathing them only once a month. Use a stiff brush to brush their coat and a gentle shampoo such as the oatmeal shampoo to bathe them, this will help restore the shine on their coat.
Trim his nails once a month and brush his teeth thrice a week. Do not forget to clean his ear with a pH balanced ear cleaning solution.
You can adopt or rescue a Pit Bull terrier according to the guidelines given by several organizations that give them recognition (as mentioned above). Make sure you buy a pup who is disease free and the one who does not fight with his litter mates. Recommended rescue groups from where you can adopt these dogs are Pit Bull rescuer Central, Pit Bull Project, Animal Farm Foundation and Bad Rap.