American Pitbull Terrier: A Loyal Companion and Controversial Breed

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Dogs are often called “man’s best friend” and there’s no doubt that they bring immense joy to people’s lives. One of the most popular dog breeds in the United States is the American Pitbull Terrier. Known for their loyalty and friendly nature, these dogs have been the center of many controversies in recent years. In this article, we will discuss the history, characteristics, temperament, and common misconceptions about the American Pitbull Terrier.

The History of the American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier, also known as APBT, was originally bred in the United Kingdom for bull-baiting, a cruel sport where dogs would attack bulls. However, in the 1800s, the practice was outlawed and the breed was crossed with various terrier breeds to create a more agile and tenacious dog for ratting and dogfighting.

As immigrants brought these dogs to the United States, they were used as working dogs for hunting, herding, and guarding. In the early 1900s, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed and renamed it to Staffordshire Terrier. However, in 1936, the AKC changed the name back to the original American Pitbull Terrier.

Characteristics of the American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier is a medium-sized dog with a muscular and agile body. They have short, glossy coats that come in various colors including blue, brindle, fawn, and red. Their heads are large with strong jaws and their ears can be cropped or left natural. These dogs weigh between 30-65 pounds and can grow up to 18-21 inches in height.

One distinctive trait of the APBT is their high pain tolerance, which makes them capable of withstanding physical exertion and pain. This also means that they may not show signs of discomfort or illness until it is too late. Proper exercise and training are crucial to maintain their physical and mental health.

The Temperament of the American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier is known for its friendly and loyal nature towards their owners. They are also great with children and make excellent family dogs. These dogs have a strong prey drive and can be protective of their territory, which makes them good guard dogs. Proper socialization and training can help prevent aggression towards other animals and people.

However, due to their history of dogfighting and their strength, some people associate them with violence and aggression. This stereotype has led to breed-specific legislation (BSL) in some countries and states that restrict or ban the ownership of American Pitbull Terriers. These laws have been criticized by animal welfare organizations as being ineffective and unfair, as any dog can become aggressive regardless of breed.

Common Misconceptions about the American Pitbull Terrier

One of the most common misconceptions about the American Pitbull Terrier is that they are naturally aggressive and dangerous. This is not true, as a dog’s behavior is largely influenced by its upbringing and training. In fact, according to the American Temperament Test Society, American Pitbull Terriers have a pass rate of 87.4%, which is higher than many other popular dog breeds.

Another misconception is that APBTs have locking jaws or a bite force that is stronger than other breeds. This has been debunked by many experts, including the National Geographic, who found that there is no anatomical evidence that supports this claim.


The American Pitbull Terrier is a loyal and friendly dog that has been unfairly stigmatized due to its history and appearance. It is important to judge a dog by its behavior and training, rather than its breed. With proper socialization and training, an APBT can be a wonderful companion and family dog. We should continue to fight against breed-specific legislation and promote responsible ownership of all dog breeds.


1. Are American Pitbull Terriers good with children?

Yes, APBTs can make great family dogs and are generally good with children. However, it is important to supervise interactions and teach children how to behave around dogs.

2. Do American Pitbull Terriers require a lot of exercise?

Yes, APBTs are a high-energy breed and require daily exercise and mental stimulation to maintain their physical and mental health.

3. Are American Pitbull Terriers aggressive towards other dogs?

Due to their high prey drive and protective nature, APBTs may exhibit aggression towards other animals if not properly socialized and trained.

4. Is breed-specific legislation effective?

No, breed-specific legislation has been shown to be ineffective and unfair as any dog can exhibit aggressive behavior regardless of breed.

5. Are American Pitbull Terriers easy to train?

APBTs are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them easy to train with positive reinforcement techniques.