Large Breed Basics: Facts About Pit Bulls

Large Breed Basics: Facts About Pit Bulls

Known for their intelligence, courageousness and obedience, American Staffordshire Terriers — also known as Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers or Pit Bulls — have gotten a bad reputation for being aggressive and violent but with proper training and socialization can be a wonderful family dog. Here are some more facts about Pit Bulls.

Easily identified by their stocky bodies and strong, powerful heads, Pit Bulls are descendants of ancient Bulldogs used in England for bull baiting and a game terrier breed. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), it’s believed that this mix created the Staffordshire Terrier, also called the Bull-and-Terrier Dog, Half and Half or Pit Dog.

As the breed was moved to America in the late 1800s the names Pitdog and Pit Bull Terrier stuck, however, American breeders changed the breeds’ official name to American Staffordshire Terrier to reflect the breeds heavier size than its English counterpart and to distinguish the breeds. The name change is one of the little known facts about Pit Bulls.

The dogs have gained notoriety because of their fighting ability which, though illegal, became a very popular sport when Pit Bulls were brought to the United States. Their docility, intelligence and trustworthy disposition have been mired in conflict because of their appeal to people seeking a fighting dog. Pit Bulls have been the unfortunate targets of breed-specific laws in several states aiming to ban or control certain types of dogs but despite this, the American Staffordshire Terrier has become one of the most popular breeds among people looking to adopt a fun-loving and devoted dog, according to

Pit bulls are extremely social dogs with people and especially delight in children, according to While only moderately active indoors, they’re very high energy in an outdoor setting and will need an adequate amount of walking, Frisbee tossing or agility coursework to keep from being destructive while in your home, according to the site. Their intelligence makes them excellent candidates for trick training and obedience classes.

Handling Pit Bulls

Because dog-to-dog aggression can be an issue with Pit Bulls, it's essential to give them as much socialization with other dogs as possible, especially while they’re young. They also should be socialized with any other pets you have in the home. Unfortunately, you will experience some degree of breed discrimination in most areas with an American Staffordshire Terrier or Pit Bull mix. There are some laws that prohibit Pit Bulls from certain communities or apartment buildings. It’s important not to let this discourage you from taking home a Pit Bull, however. Pits usually want nothing more than to be near their families and to make their owners happy.

Those were just some of the facts about Pit Bulls. To learn about Pit Bull adoption, click here.

Image: Beverly & Pack / via Flickr