The Pit Bull is arguably one of the most loving, and misunderstood dogs on the planet. They are also one of my favourite types of dog, and the inspiration for starting this website. I have worked and lived with Pit Bulls for nearly 15 years. They are my breed of choice, and part of my family.
Is a Pit Bull a good family dog? The Pit Bull is a good family dog. In fact they are great family dogs. The Pit Bull is one of the most affectionate, loyal, cuddly, and people friendly dogs you can have. When raised in a loving home, they can be an ideal family pet.
If you are considering adopting a Pit Bull, and are trying to sort through the piles of misinformation, proliferated myths, stereotypes, and other misconceptions surrounding this breed, this post is for you. These are 8 things to know about Pit Bulls and why they are a good family pet.
Pit Bulls Are Great With Kids
Are Pit Bulls good with kids? Absolutely they are. Just like any other breed, if you have a well trained and socialized Pit Bull, starting from an early age, you will have a great companion for your children.
Unlike any other breed however, the Pit Bull is especially fond of children. Earning the nickname of “Nanny Dog” since the early 1900’s as an especially loyal, loving, and gentle companion.
It wasn’t uncommon to see old television shows and commercials with Pit Bulls and children. Buster Brown and his Pit Bull Tige, and the iconic Pete the Pup from the “Our Gang” Little Rascals for example.
My Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ruby loves every child she meets. Ruby will go out of her way to make friends with kids all over the block. When we are visiting my 3 year old niece, she is constantly by her side. Following her room to room without prompting. She is infallibly gentle, loving, and patient with every child she meets.
There is nothing a Pit Bull loves more than to spend time with his little humans. The Pit Bull is a trustworthy and reliable companion animal with children. They thrive when they are able to cuddle, play, and be around children.
Children need to learn how to properly interact with any animal however. It is important to teach your children what is, and isn’t nice behavior towards any dog.
Though the Pit Bull is great with kids, monitoring play time is always recommended with any dog. You must ensure everyone is having fun, and not getting over excited.
Pit Bulls Are Loyal To Their Owners
Are Pit Bulls loyal to their owners? Pit Bulls have an unparalleled loyalty to their owners. These dogs are extremely people oriented and will do anything to please their family members. A Pit Bull will show unwavering love and devotion to a loving family. Through thick and thin they have got your back.
This can make Pit Bulls fairly good guard dogs, but not in the sense of attacking other people. They are protective of their family members if they feel they are in danger or being threatened, but generally act as a better deterrent for would be bad guys.
Your Pit Bull will most likely get along with everyone in the neighborhood, and any guests you may have in your home. Including the Mailman and plumber.
Despite what the media can sometimes portray Pit Bulls as, their score is incredibly high on temperament tests. Between 85.5%-87.4% for the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. Beating most herding, toy and hounds dogs, including Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Bearded Collies.
Pit Bulls Can Be Very Easy To Train
Are Pit Bulls easy to train? The Pit Bull is a very intelligent dog that wants nothing more than the praise and affection of their owner. They will do next to anything to please you, and can make excellent dogs for obedience training, as well as agility type sports.
The tenacious nature of the Pit Bull makes them incredibly willful and determined. With the proper handler they learn very quick. They are also known to have some of that Bulldog stubborn streak in them. Getting their focus and making training fun is important.
You can start training your Pit Bull from a very early age, and in fact it is encouraged. I began training with my Staffy when she first arrived in my home at 10 weeks old. By the time she was 16 weeks she had mastered “sit”, “wait”, “shake”, and “down” commands.
Important things to remember when training with your Pit Bull:
- Keep the sessions short – When you are doing focused training keeping sessions between 15-20 minutes is ideal. This will ensure you are getting their full attention before they get bored or distracted.
- Keep sessions fun! – Pit Bulls love to have fun, and by making your training engaging, full of praise, and feeling like it’s a game, they will respond great.
- Remove distractions – Removing distractions such as other toys, food, and loud noises from the environment will ensure you have their entire focus.
- Don’t yell, shout, or scold – This goes back to point number 2 above. Keep things fun. Pit Bulls can be a little sensitive, and if you begin to get frustrated during training it’s time to call it a day. They do not respond well to negative reinforcement, and it’s generally a completely useless method.
Pit Bulls Will Keep You Active
If you lead a moderately active lifestyle, then a Pit Bull is a great family dog to have around the home. As much as they love curling up with you on the couch, they will be getting you off the couch each and everyday.
Pit Bulls need lots of exercise. They are highly energetic and athletic dogs, so that will require 60-90 minutes of exercise everyday. If your schedule doesn’t permit a 90 minutes of exercise at once, it’s fine to break that up into 2-3 shorter periods throughout the day.
Exercise is an important part of any dogs regular routine, and Pit Bulls especially. They are high energy dogs that need to burn off some energy each day. Not meeting their needs can lead to a bored, frustrated, and oftentimes misbehaving dog. Be sure to schedule some time every day.
How Often Should Pit Bulls Be Walked?
Your Pit Bull should be walked for at least one hour a day. Walking is a particularly important form of exercise for you and your Pit Bull. It helps to strengthen the bond and friendship between you.
Walks should be under your control and at your pace. Teaching your Pit Bull leash manners from an early age, and staying consistent throughout the years will yield a much more enjoyable walk, and establish your role as the pack leader.
Proper leash manner development is important so that any member of the family can take your strong, athletic, and agile Pit Bull for a walk without any fears of losing control. Having a well behaved Pit Bull walk next to you can be one of the most peaceful parts of your day.
Can You Run With Pit Bulls?
If you are up for a run or jog, your Pit Bull can most definitely keep up, and would be happy to come along. This is a great way to give your dog a bit more of an intense exercise session and burn off some extra energy.
The athletic and agile nature of the Pit Bull is very well suited for going running with you and the family, and will probably even encourage you to take that extra lap around the block. They are great family dogs, and personal motivation coaches in that area.
Like walking, proper leash manners are required to fully enjoy your run. If they are not focused on you, where you are going, and matching your pace, it will make for a challenging jog.
Always monitor your Pit Bull when running. Though they are more than capable of getting in a good run, you don’t not want to over exercise them. Be especially mindful of running or jogging in hot weather as Pit Bulls can overheat fairly easy.
Can Pit Bulls Swim?
Though I have seen it done before, I would say a Pit Bull that can swim is the exception and not the rule. Pit Bulls are not very good swimmers, and caution should be exercised when taking them near the beach or pool.
Those big blocky heads, broad chests, and somewhat stubby legs are not built for the water sports. It is hard for them to keep that big head above water, and those legs don’t do much to keep that chest buoyant.
Your Pit Bull might think it can swim, but you might soon find out they can’t. Better safe than sorry and soggy.
Exercise Activities for Pit Bulls
Walks are the number one thing you should do for exercise with your Pit Bull, but you can incorporate other activities to supplement their walks and provide some added physical exercise and mental stimulation.
Flirt Poles – A flirt pole is fun and inexpensive toy you can use to get your dog engaged in some addition exercise and mental stimulation. This extendable flirt pole on Amazon is a great investment.
Fetch – Throwing the ball or frisbee can help burn off that extra energy, and provide an opportunity for some basic obedienance practice with “drop”, “wait” and release commands
Tug-of-War – This is my Staffy’s favorite game. Make sure you have the “drop” or “release” command down pat before you get into this game. You need to be able to stop and start the tug-of-war match at any point during the game.
Spring Poles – These are a great way for your dog to play tug-of-war with themselves. Use this only as a supplement to daily walks. You don’t want this to be their primary energy release. Ones made specifically for Pit Bulls are available on Amazon
Search & Sniff – Hiding treats or toys around the yard and house can be a fun game to engage your Pit Bulls noise and brain. If you really want to level up, try adding “hot & cold” commands to help aid your dog, and add a layer of obedience training.
Pit Bulls Are Very Affectionate
Are Pit Bulls affectionate? Despite their muscular, athletic, and somewhat domineering appearance, Pit Bulls are big, huge, affectionate, snugglers. If one of the things you are looking for in a good family dog is some cuddle sessions, then Pit Bulls got your covered. Literally.
These big softies are always looking to curl up with you, or on you. They love to be touching you no matter where you decide to settle, and will invite some belly rubs at every opportunity. My Staffy Ruby is always pressed right against my thigh when I sit on the couch, or read in bed.
They also never hold back on sneaking a kiss when they have the chance. If you don’t mind the occasional slobbery wet one on your face, then the Pit Bull is a great choice for your family dog. You will never be alone, or have a cold lap or feet with them around.
Pit Bulls Are Low Maintenance For Grooming
Pit Bulls need to be groomed regularly. However, they have such short coats grooming sessions will take only a few minutes a week. Getting yourself a nice soft brush to remove any excess hair, dead skin, and allergens is all you need to do to keep your Pit Bull looking tip top.
Getting their nails trimmed can be done on an as needed basis. I find with my Staffy that I only really need to trim them in the winter. During the summer when the sidewalks and streets are exposed, they tend to keep her nails filed down to a good length from all of our daily walks.
Some top notch brushes, shampoos and nail clippers can be found on my resource page. These are all products I highly recommend from using myself, or from being top rated products online.
How Often Do You Give A Pitbull A Bath?
A monthly bath is just fine for your Pit Bull. Some people will space that out to every 3-4 months depending on how dirty or stinky their dog might be. Bathing too frequently however can irritate and dry out your Pit Bulls skin, which can lead to an itchy dog.
Do Pit Bulls Need A Lot Of Attention?
One of the reasons why Pit Bulls need a lot of attention, is the same reason why Pit Bulls are so affectionate. They love their family. It is one of the reasons they make such good family pets. It can also be a little much at times and why Pit Bulls can be clingy.
Pit Bulls will follow you around the house, into the bathroom, and be waiting for the opportunity to climb up on the couch or bed with you. If you are the type of person that doesn’t mind having a shadow, then a Pit Bull will be just fine. If you do, you will need to work on that behavior a little.
Pit Bulls crave a lot of attention, and to be near the family. Creating some boundaries however can be important. Through proper training and establishing boundaries you can teach your Pit Bull that it is okay for them to be a little independent.
Do Pit Bulls Have Bad Separation Anxiety?
Working on creating boundaries, and some quiet alone time while at home can provide some extra stability for when you are not home, as Pit Bulls are prone to separation anxiety. By them learning that being alone is okay.
They are such people oriented dogs, that some extra care and training may be required. Ensuring you exercise them well before you know you are leaving home for a while, as well as leaving them in a calm and peaceful state, can make a big difference.
There has been some recent, and effective use of CBD oil for dogs when it comes to separation anxiety. It can be a great supplement to help put your anxious dog at ease. I have a full page dedicated to some CBD Oil for Dogs that you can learn more, and review some of the best products on the market.
This is an excellent video by Cesar Millan on how to work on separation anxiety with dogs.
Are Pit Bulls Naturally Aggressive?
According to any Pit Bull owner you talk to the answer is absolutely no. Pit Bulls are naturally, sweet, loving and affectionate dogs when raised in a loving environment. The misconceptions conceived by the media of these dogs as born killers, if flat out wrong.
“The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.”United Kennel Club (UKC)
When it comes to other animals however, Pit Bulls can be on the more aggressive side. Some Pit Bulls are perfectly happy with their fellow dog friends and cats. But they can be a little less reliable then some other breeds.
It is a good idea to make sure you monitor any play activities and watch for signs of aggression with your Pit Bull and other dogs. Because of their tenacious nature, they may not always initiate conflict, but they certainly won’t back down in most cases.
Early socialization of your Pit Bull puppy is important to develop their tolerance with other animals, and learn how to play properly with a variety of different sized and types of dogs.
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Pitbull?
The benefits of having a Pit Bull are that you will always have a true loyal companion next to you through the good times, and the bad. These trustworthy, goofy, lovable dogs can be a great addition to any family willing to take the proper care in raising them.
Their low maintenance grooming regime, their ease of training and eagerness to please, and their unreserved affection make Pit Bulls excellent family pets. If you are looking to be more active, or have someone to keep you company on a run. Your Pit Bull is always there to exercise alongside you with a big Pit Bull smile.
If you are a family with small children, and want to raise a Pit Bull puppy in your home, they will grow up together being the best of friends. Pit Bulls adore children, and will love spending playtime, and nap time with your kids.
If you can put up with a little clingy behavior, are willing to work on any separation anxiety issues, and are willing to put in some extra work socializing your Pit Bull with other animals. You can have a wonderful family dog.