The pit bull terrier is a dog that is often much misunderstood by humans. They have been known to display aggression towards humans and other animals and so have therefore garnered a bad reputation that means if they ever make it to a rescue center or dog pound, they are often the dogs that are left unadopted as people are too wary of the dangers that could lie in taking them home.

This is a great shame as a pit bull, when given the right love and training, like every single other puppy of any breed out there, can be a fantastic addition to any home. Below we look at the characteristics and traits that can make them a loveable breed in addition to the important differences between the female pit bull terrier and the male pit bull terrier. These differences can be crucial to know before buying one of the breeds as one may suit a family or household more than others. We also look at the history of pit bulls so that we can gain further understanding of their character and why they are so often used and manipulated for human need.

female pitbull terrier

The History of The Pit Bull Terrier

In the past, pit bulls were solely bred for the purpose of dog fighting so that humans could bet on the games and make money. This meant that the dogs that were bred were the ones that were successful in the ring and to have been successful in the ring they had to be the most aggressive as well as strong, but importantly never quick to back down. It’s sad to say but the dogs that were most prized by humans were the dogs that were most likely never to give up while fighting another dog – thus putting themselves in danger and incurring injury in the process. This ability to keep going was a trait that was therefore bred over and over and passed on to the next generation resulting in pit bull terriers that would constantly display aggression if provoked or encouraged.

Common Characteristics of Pit Bull Terriers

Before learning what the differences between a male pit bull terrier and a female pit bull terrier are, it is good to know what their common character traits are so if you are interested in buying a pit bull for your home, you can make a fully informed decision.

In terms of temperament, pit bull terriers, as all pit bull lovers will gladly tell you, have some fantastic as well as admirable character traits. For instance, it is not uncommon for pit bull terriers to be brave, courageous and protective of their pack as well as incredibly confident. At times they can be stubborn which can manifest itself as tenacity. It is perhaps this brave and confident nature that some potential owners take advantage of to create an aggressive dog either for dog fighting or simply for protection.

As mentioned, pit bulls have a great tenacity owing to earlier examples of the breed being used for procreation if they displayed such a trait. It was revered in a pit bull as it could be coupled with gameness for dogfighting. However, the trait can make them difficult to distract and they can be the literal metaphor of being like a dog with a bone at times. While this can make for an interesting and strong character, it can also be put to good use in terms of becoming a dog in the rescue services. Pit bull terriers, while widely known for being aggressive, actually make fantastic search and rescue dogs given their “never give up nature” and strong bodies.

It does, of course, make them the ideal dogs to breed too for the atrocious act of illegal dogfighting. But that does not mean that when any Pit Bull is born their natural instinct is to fight or show aggression towards humans. The common misconception of pit bull terriers being aggressive is wrong in this way. Like with every single breed of dog out there, when pit bulls are socialized from an early age, and trained properly to learn what is permissible behavior and what is not, they can become a good company that easily interact with other dogs, animals and humans.

So it is a great shame if this does not happen given that pit bulls are also naturally good tempered dogs that like to play with their owners and are gentle around children. This is down to their devoted natures as well as having an intelligence that makes them realize the need to be careful around babies and kids. They are easy to train owing to their want to please an owner and can be very funny at times too with their playful natures.

bull terrier puppy

Differences In Female and Male Pit Bull Terriers

Now that you know what a pit bull terrier is likely to behave like in terms of temperament and character, it is good to know how the two sexes differ.

And there definitely are a few differences, like in all species of dog breeds, between the female and male pit bull terrier. They are listed below but are widely to do with temperament, size, sexual organs, and bone structure. With regards to bone structure, the differences are largely seen in their face.

Temperament

When brought up in a house full of love, care, and attention, pit bulls are actually incredibly good with children owing to their naturally friendly disposition. The aggression that is often connected with the breed is actually only really seen when an unneutered male comes across another dog – especially of that dog is another unneutered male. Owners that have seen examples of this aggression in their male dogs should investigate neutering their pit bull terrier. This can help as well if the male pit bull has displayed aggression towards humans. It should be stressed though that aggression towards humans is extremely rare and only really ever displayed when the pit bull terrier has been encouraged to behave in such a way or has suffered neglect and violence at home.

Size

As is common with many females of a species, female pit bulls are the smaller of the male and female pit bull terrier. This is in relation to both height and weight, but importantly with such a lithe dog, their muscle mass too. All that being said, the female is often seen to have a back that is longer than a male pit bull’s back.

On average, the male pit bull terrier can weigh anything from 35 pounds to a huge 60 pounds. The female is that much lighter, with the smallest example of the breed weighing around 30 pounds but with the ability to weigh up to around 50.

In terms of pure breeds and what is required for those representing the breed at shows, judges like to see pit bulls to have the correct proportion of weight to height. They can weigh as much as 50 pounds, but if they are too short, they will not be deemed a prime example of a pit bull terrier. This is because ideal pit bulls are not meant to be too chunky or squat looking.

Bone Structure

A huge, and noticeable, difference between male and female pit bull terriers is the bone structure that we can see in their heads and faces. If pit bulls are ever entered into a show, they must have what is deemed required of the breeds female and male heads to be in the running for winning. If they do not, they are not considered a true representation of the breed.

Keeping this in mind, females should have narrower heads, with eyes that are more wide set apart and, what is sometimes more difficult to see, their fur around their mouth should be tighter than when compared to a male’s. This is a hard characteristic to see but when you have two purebreds of a male and female example of the species next to each other, it is much easier to notice.

Despite needing to have a bigger head than a female, neither the male or the female pit bull should have a head that is too large for their bodies. It should not look unnatural in any way.

Estrus and Marking Behavior

Like all breeds of dog, one of the main differences between male and female pit bull terriers is how the female body comes into heat every so often during the year. In general, non-spayed female pit bulls will bleed every six months during the time called Estrus. They are also more prone to being restless during this time as well as having the need to go to the toilet to urinate more.

This time of Estrus is necessary as it is when a female pit bull can procreate with another male. If you do not want to breed pit bull terriers and you have a female, it is sometimes seen to be a good idea to look into having your dog spayed as Estrus can otherwise be a stressful time for any owner. Not only is it impractical to have a dog that bleeds around your home, but (and more critically) they will be susceptible to unneutered male dog attention when out on walks. This can lead to a great deal of trouble, whether your female is on a lead or not. Unneutered male dog attention can be irritating in their insistence at best and dangerous at worst in how forceful the attention can be.

With regards to male unneutered pit bulls, the way they really differentiate themselves from female pit bull terriers is their constant need to mark by urinating to delineate their territory. Also, their behavior, like in all-male unneutered dogs, can be more headstrong than neutered males. In the main, as soon as a male dog is neutered, he will both be easier to train as well as stop marking.

Bottom Line

While pit bull terriers often make it onto banned breed lists, this is not because they are naturally aggressive – whether they are male or female. It is actually due to the humans involved in dog breeding that they are disallowed in many countries. It is the humans, not the dogs, that create pit bull dogs that are violent and aggressive through encouraging that very violence. And it was through choice and selective breeding by humans that their stubborn trait became one of the single most common characteristics that made their ability to become aggressive fighters even worse.

It is a great shame as they are can be such wonderful dogs to have in a home that is loving and caring. Bearing that in mind, pit bull terriers (in countries that they are legally allowed) can be the most fantastic pets. Potential owners should remember their wealth of endearing common characteristics like being good with children, being intelligent and having playful natures that make them ideal additions to any household. While obvious care and patients should be taken if adopting a pit bull terrier that has an unknown history, it does not mean that their negative learned behavior cannot be replaced with behavior most owners proactively buy a dog for – companionship and unconditional love.

These are two things that every pit bull terrier is more than capable of.

Sources:

  1. American Pit Bull Terrier, PetMD
  2. The Truth About Pit Bulls: Part 1, PetMD
  3. American Pit Bull Terrier, Wikipedia
Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!

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