Pit Bulls are beginning to grow in popularity as the shroud of negative conceptions begins to be debunked. So what makes these breeds so compelling? What do you need to know before finding a new Pit Bull friend? We have everything you need to know, including the pros and cons of owning a Pit Bull and the benefits of adopting one of these breeds from your local shelter. Read on to find out more.
What Dog Breeds Fall Under the Category of Pitbull?
Four canines fit comfortably beneath the Pit Bull dog breed banner:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- American Bully
These Pit Bull type dogs each have their unique traits, but some aspects link them together. However, when looking for a new family member, it’s a good idea to look into each breed to know exactly what to expect. So which Pit Bull takes your fancy?
What are the Major Pros and Cons of Pit Bulls?
Although we’ve mentioned that each Pit Bull breed is different, various traits can summarize all four breeds. So what are the primary pros and cons of owning a Pit Bull? All of these are listed below, but before we get stuck into the nitty gritty, it’s important to mention that some of these aspects are directly related to how they are raised. For more information, each trait is listed in detail so you can carefully consider them.
- They Make Loving and Loyal Companions
Their gentle and affectionate temperament is one of many benefits of owning a Pitbull. When raised in a patient, loving, and devoted home, these dogs will return the love tenfold. And then some. They make excellent companions for an experienced owner or even a rookie.
Naturally, Pit Bulls crave love and attention from their favorite humans. They are generally doting animals that will do anything for a head scratch or belly rub. Regardless of what some sources claim, they make excellent playmates and companions for children, which has earned the Pit Bull the title of ‘nanny dog’ over the years.
- They are People Orientated People Pleasers
When socialized well from a young age, Pit Bulls become people-orientated dogs, which means they will demonstrate good behavior to new people. As such, Pit Bulls will look tough on the outside but have an eager and loving nature toward those around them.
- Minimal Grooming Requirements
Pitbulls shed all year round, but the good news is that their coats are simple to maintain. Since they have a short, straight, and single coat, you won’t be likely to find tufts of hair hiding in corners of your home. However, it’s important that you still give them the occasional bath and brush them a couple of times a week to help remove loose fur. Furthermore, unlike dogs like the German Shepherd, you won’t have to trim or cut their coats since they only have a single layer.
- Protective Presence
The Pit Bull’s questionable reputation can sometimes work in your favor. Since they have a tough-looking exterior and radiate confidence, you are less likely to be approached by someone looking for trouble. Additionally, your home is less likely to be broken into if the intruder believes that the dog inside could become aggressive.
Although Pit Bulls are not considered dangerous to those educated on the dog breed, they can be protective of their families. They won’t be inclined to attack but may become vocal if they sense danger or trouble.
- They Can Keep You Active
Pit Bull owners will vouch that their canine companion keeps them fit and active. Each breed is not officially considered a high-energy dog but still loves to exercise.
Since these breeds are muscular and active, you will need to ensure they get plenty of exercise by taking them out for at least 60 minutes daily. Not to mention, you’re not confined to a simple walk or jog. They also enjoy swimming (provided they’ve been taught) and will love getting stuck in dog sports if enrolled.
- High Intelligence
From American Bullies to American Pit Bull Terriers, Pit Bulls are incredibly intelligent canines. Coupled with their eagerness to please, this makes them easy to train compared to other dogs as they will pick up on lessons quickly to make their human happy.
It is also said that they are intuitive and can read people’s emotions well. With this in mind, they can often mirror what their owners feel. When treated with love and adoration, the Pit Bull will return it, but if shown otherwise, they can become anxious and closed off. This is another reason why it’s important to properly socialize your puppy.
If you’re glancing over this article thinking, ‘wow, there seem to be quite a few cons – maybe I should reconsider Pit Bulls’, make sure to keep reading. Many of these cons are based on what happens when a Pit Bull isn’t raised in the best environment, so they can easily be avoided if you are serious about getting yourself one of these dog breeds.
- They Can Develop Anxiety
Pit Bulls specifically can develop separation anxiety. When left alone, they can resort to behaviors such as destructive chewing, urinating/defecating inside, digging, constant pacing, and more.
Often, Pit Bulls develop this as a response to trauma such as a change in family members, traveling, or even being left alone for long periods. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prevent this, including getting them some interactive dog toys or a treat-dispensing toy. Not only will these occupy your pooch, but they are a great tool for mental stimulation. Additionally, you can purchase dog cameras to install around your home as a way of communicating with them when you’re not around.
- They Can Suffer From Numerous Health Issues
Like other breeds, Pit Bulls are prone to some health concerns. Hip dysplasia, heart disease, obesity, and cataracts are some health problems that can affect your Pit Bull at some point in their life.
Skin issues and allergies are common occurrences in Pit Bulls, causing them to develop dry and irritated skin. In most cases, this can be mild and be treated with sensitive shampoos and appropriate dog foods. However, in other instances, your dog may have to take medication to ease pain and discomfort.
Sadly, some health issues can’t be avoided, but you can make sure their quality of life is at its peak. Issues such as obesity can be prevented by controlling their diet and ensuring it is the best option based on their age and size. Additionally, you can ensure they’re getting the required amount of exercise and take them for regular vet checkups.
- If Untrained, They Can Develop Bad Tendencies or Aggressive Behavior
It goes without saying that you could have a bad dog to deal with if you neglect to invest in socialization and basic obedience training. Not only will they turn their nose up at you, but they may develop destructive habits and be prone to biting other animals or even people.
Pit Bulls are strong-willed with a high prey drive, so if they feel like they’re in a frightening position, feel threatened, or simply lack discipline, you could be in a sticky situation yourself.
- The Stigma Latches Onto Owners
Many still believe that Pit Bull breeds are volatile and aggressive; sadly, this image can infect their owners too. The reason for this bad rap is due to their unfortunate breed history, as they were specifically bred to participate in unethical blood sports such as bull baiting and fighting wild animals. These sports have since been banned, but unfortunately, people engage their canines in illegal dog fighting rings in the modern day.
Pit Bulls are also commonly known to be favored by gangs and criminals to put on or enhance an intimidating aura. Therefore you may find that, as a Pit Bull owner, you could be subject to prejudice, and although many dog owners and enthusiasts know otherwise, others may give you a wide birth or judge harshly.
- They are Banned in Some States
If you’re one to travel, owning a Pit Bull might make things a little more complicated since they have been banned from several states. The Breed Specific Legislation is actively enacted in some areas as an attempt to prevent dog bites and similar attacks on humans and other dogs/animals.
Although there are sources that state that the BSL has done little to affect dog bites and attacks, according to sources, Pit Bulls are responsible for more dog bites than any other dog breed. This is troubling, but it’s important to consider what may lead a dog to bite in the first place.
- Adult Pit Bulls Can Be Difficult to Train
The saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is outdated and incorrect to some degree. You can train an adult dog, but you may have to apply a lot more time and effort to train them successfully or even employ a qualified trainer.
Training them young is ideal, as Pit Bulls love to learn and impress their humans. They are also free from traumas or anxieties, whereas an adopted adult Pit Bull may have trouble coming to terms with training and their new family.
The Pros and Cons of Adopting a Pit Bull
There are many reasons to get a Pitbull from your local center or rescue shelter, but some risks come with adopting. All of these are listed below.
- You won’t be completely in the dark about your new dog. Since those that work at shelters and centers spend a lot of time with the dogs and evaluating them, they will be able to provide you with everything you need to know about your dog’s temperament, personality, and individual needs.
- Some dogs will already be house-trained! No need to enroll them in a training program if they already know what they’re doing.
- You’re saving a life. Adopting educates people on the severe problems revolving around animal abuse and neglect. The minute you bring your rescue home, you will be offering them safety, comfort, and love, which you’ll get in return!
- Adopting will save you money. Getting a puppy can be pricey but getting a purebred can damage your wallet.
- A lot of rescues are also already vaccinated as well as neutered/spayed
- Not all of them will have difficult behavioral problems. Most just want to find them forever home.
- You must evaluate whether you can or cannot provide for the dog’s needs. Some shelter dogs can’t be homed in places with other dogs or pets as they may become anxious or aggressive. Others need plenty of space with access to a garden for fresh air and alone time due to being easily overwhelmed.
- Depending on their history, which may or maybe not be attainable, you risk getting a dog with behavioral issues. Occasionally, they may be defensive, but shelter dogs are typically more anxious due to past trauma.
- Trailing on from the previous point, some dogs can be possessive, particularly over toys or food. This may result from having to fight for or defend their food from others in the past due to a lack of it.
- Purebreed dogs rarely get put into shelters, so when you think you could be getting an American Pit Bull Terrier, you may get a mixed breed. This won’t be a problem to some, but it can be difficult to pinpoint what breeds they may be intertwined with, making identifying potential health risks hard in the future.
- You may find it immensely difficult to find Pit Bull puppies in a shelter, as most tend to be adults.
Before we sum up, we don’t intend to repelling aspiring dog owners from adopting. Adopting can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but evaluating whether you can provide for a rescue before you go in and make the decision is important.
Summary – Pitbull Pros and Cons
So if you’re wondering, ‘should I get a Pit Bull?’ the choice is ultimately up to you. Getting a dog is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be made overnight. Take the time to mill over the information and ensure you’re prepared to take on another family member.
If you haven’t already, maybe consider the topics below to help guide you toward a decision:
- How will other pets respond to a new puppy?
- Can I provide everything they need from the minute they are brought home?
- Do I plan to make any home changes that might affect their well-being?
Frequently Asked Questions
If Pit Bulls were inherently bad, breeders would not continue advertising litters. There also wouldn't be an incredible amount of people advocating for the breed and working against the ban on Pit Bulls due to the Breed Specific Legislation.
Only if brought up in the wrong hands. On the contrary, Pit Bulls can be some of the most caring and gentle breeds around!
This is mostly because of the dog fighting ancestry and their strong and tough-looking exterior.
Absolutely! American Pit Bull Terriers dote on their families as many dogs do.
Not quite. The American Pit Bull Terrier is certainly related to other Pit Bull breeds, but it has some defining qualities that make it unique. Sadly, the breed isn't yet recognized by the American Kennel Club but has several other sources that will tell you everything you need to know, including our site and the United Kennel Club.