Pitbulls were bred to be fighting dogs and may act aggressively towards other dogs
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a well-tempered breed, with an average grade of 86.8% in temperament tests
Most pit bulls are not good guard dogs but are great with children and families
Pit bulls often get a negative reputation because of their fighting heritage, so owners should work to change this perception
Pit bulls need daily exercise and socialization
If you're at the very beginning of starting your search to adopt your very own pitbull puppy, then we welcome you to the family! Pitbulls are some of the most exuberant and wonderful dogs around, with big smiles and the protective nature of the people they love. While pit bulls can sometimes get a bad rep, they're actually quite friendly, and will easily become your very best friend if you give them the chance.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a true companion, and when trained and cared for properly, are very friendly around children and families. While pit bulls can be homebodies, their energy and tenacity also make them great competitors for dog sports like weight pulling, obedience, and agility, and are some of the most talented dogs around.
However, just like any other dog you desire to bring into your home, it's important to know the main tips and rules for adopting a pit bull puppy, especially if you plan to have them around children or other dogs. As pit bull lovers ourselves, we encourage you to get started on your journey and check out some of our top 27 tips for owning a pitbull puppy.
Pitbull Puppy Tips
1) American Pit Bull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier generally weighs 40-65 pounds. Most of the information in this article is about American Pit Bull Terriers (ABPTs).
2) American Bully
Just for comparison’s sake, the American Bully is a bigger dog, weighing 70-100 pounds. Their size and height depends a lot on their breeding.
3) Pitbulls are Well-Tempered
Pit bulls score high in tests of temperament. In tests performed by the American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS), American Pit Bulls have an average grade of 86.8%.
4) Coat & Nose Color
You cannot use coat color to identify your breed. Different coat colors or nose colors do not mean that one dog is more rare or healthy than another; that’s just their color.
5) Pitbulls are Fighting Dogs
American Pit Bull Terriers were bred to be fighting dogs. It’s not uncommon for even well-socialized pit bulls to act aggressively toward other dogs.
6) Pit Bulls Love People
Pit bulls are NOT naturally aggressive toward people unless they feel threatened or they were poorly socialized.
7) Most Pit Bulls are not good guard dogs
Because the majority of Pit Bulls are fond of people, most of them do NOT make good guard dogs. Without proper protection training, they are more likely to lick an intruder than attack them. If you want your Pit Bull to become a guard dog, it will take countless hours of protection training. If you want a natural guard dog, you need a different breed.
8) Not every Pit Bull Should be bred
If your Pit Bull's bloodline doesn't consist of champions, it's best to let reputable breeders do the breeding. This is important because American Pit Bull Terriers are over-bred, which means that thousands of them end up in the pound.
9) Pit Bulls Are Persecuted
Because of their fighting heritage, Pit Bulls often get a bad rap and are persecuted by the media whenever there is a dog fight. For this reason, it’s highly important to make your dog a positive role model to change this public misperception.
10) Avoid Putting Chains On Your Dog
Some people like to put heavy chains on their dogs because they think it looks tough. But the truth is, this is hard on your dog and can rub their necks raw.
11) Pit Bulls Need to Exercise
While some dogs may be content with sitting around the house, Pit bulls need exercising daily in order to stay balanced and happy. Daily walks (or runs) are recommended. Setting up a spring pole or using a flirt pole are both great ways to exercise your dog as well.
12) Pit Bulls Need Socialization
American Pit Bull Terriers need a lot of socialization and love being around people. If you leave your dog at home while you work, think about hiring a dog walker to take your dog out once a day.
13) All Pit Bull Owners Should Own a Break Stick
As a pit bull owner, you should own a break stick to help you break up any dogfights that occur. Just insert the stick behind the dog’s back teeth and twist to pry their mouth open.
14) Use a Reputable Breeder
Reputable breeders will have their dogs registered and will have the proper papers for all of their dogs. Their dogs will also be tested for health & temperament before making any sale. Additionally, they WILL be concerned about who is adopting their dogs—and they will ask for references to make sure that you will be a good owner.
15) Avoid “Backyard Breeders”
Backyard breeders tend to be inexperienced and do not evaluate the health of their dogs. Their dogs do not meet the breed standard and are not considered show quality. These people will not be associated with a kennel and may not even have papers. Any dog you get from a backyard breeder is liable to be less healthy and suitable than it should be.
16) Never Hit Your Pit Bull
Verbal reprimands are all that should be necessary to discipline your dog. If you find yourself wanting to hit your dog, two things you might need are:
- Obedience lessons
- Anger management classes
17) Don’t Let Your Dog Pull
If you let your dog pull you while you walk, then you are rewarding the dog for pulling. Train your dog to walk properly and you will make a better impression on everyone you meet.
18) How to Trace Your Dog’s Bloodline
Many people think you can trace your dog’s bloodline by the dog’s appearance—but this is not true. The only way to track down your dog’s lineage is by using a reputable registry like the UKC or the ABDA. (In order to do this, your dog needs to have been born with papers.)
19) Be a Proud Owner!
Pit Bulls are a proud, loyal, loving breed of dog. No matter what they say in the press and the papers, you should be proud to own this amazing breed!
20) Pit Bull Pups
Don’t separate a pit bull pup from its mother until at least 6-8 weeks. The mother’s milk is the healthiest thing in the world for developing pitbull puppies, and it should feed on that milk for at least 6-8 weeks to grow up as strong & healthy as it can.
21) Puppy Hunger
While your dog is a puppy, you should feed it as much food as it can get. This is an important stage of development for your pitbull, and your dog needs all the nutrition it can get. (You can always taper back the food later on.) Check out our guide on the best dog food for pitbulls for guidance on what to feed your puppy.
22) Take Your Dog to the Vet
This should go without saying, but many people still don’t do it—and it’s so important. Vets may be able to point out signs of things going on in your dog before it's too late. To reduce your vet bill, you can give your dog ivermectin instead of heartgard. This one easy switch will save you nearly $100.00 every year.
23) Have a Behavior Issue?
If your pit bull is having a behavior issue, look for a dog trainer who is Animal Behavior Certified. Most behavior issues are due to lack of exercise. Two great exercises you can do with your dog are the flirt pole and the spring pole.
24) Secure Your Fences
If you’re fencing your dog in the back yard, make sure it’s buried sufficiently deep in the ground. This is a powerful breed that could knock over a shallow fence.
At the same time, make sure the fence is tall enough that your dog can’t jump over it. (Dogs can strangle themselves if they try to jump a fence with a leash on.)
25) They’re Heat-Sensitive
American Pit Bull Terriers are short-haired dogs, which means they are prone to both overheating and hypothermia. So if you keep your dog outside make sure they have everything they need to stay both cool and warm like shade, blankets, and plenty of water.
26) Don’t Walk Your Pit Bull Off-Leash
No matter how well trained your dog is, you never know what happens if you meet another dog (particularly an aggressive one that isn’t trained). Always walk your dog on a leash.
27) Tail Wagging ≠ Happiness
Just because your dog is wagging his tail, that does NOT mean that he’s happy. Tail-wagging means your dog is excited, and the more excited a pit bull is, the more likely a fight is to break out. So if you’re out on a walk, you should probably steer clear of stranger dogs wagging their tails.
If you are about to buy an American Pit Bull Terrier, you also might find important to read the most important tips on buying a pit bull puppy. You will get answers to the following questions:
What should you consider when choosing a breeder before purchasing a puppy?
Why is it important to visit the breeder’s facility before purchasing a puppy?
What steps should you take to research the breeder before buying a doggie?
Should You request references from previous customers when buying a pit bull puppy?
What is the impact of the breeder on the health and behavior of pit bull puppies?
What are some signs of a good breeder for pit bull puppies?