7 Fascinating Pit Bull Fun Facts

7 Fascinating Pit Bull Fun Facts

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Jul 28 2023


Pit Bulls are probably the dog breed that is most misunderstood. There is a good reason for that. They have a bloody history, and since their English beginnings, these dogs were used for blood sports. When they migrated to the US, the breed had a chance for a new start, but the fighting practices continued, and they became the breed of choice for illegal dog fighting rings.

If you want to learn more about dog fighting through history and what you could do to help those poor dogs, check out this article - Dog fighting through history.

Pit Bulls are a strong breed, and it is true, they are not for everybody. The general public is often scared of these athletic dogs, but they don’t know that Pitties can make great pets. Here are some fun facts about the Pit Bull that might surprise you.

1. The American Pit Bull Terrier is not an internationally recognized breed

Most of us that are somehow connected to the canine kingdom have heard about the mighty Pit Bull. What most dog owners don’t know is that the Pittie is not a registered breed. No national cynology association accepted nor have they registered this breed. In fact, this is probably the most organized breed without international recognition.

Pit Bull lovers and enthusiasts are working tirelessly to change the public’s perception of these dogs. They have organized breeding clubs and healthy pedigrees. They are very enthusiastic about these dogs, and it looks like you either adore them or hate them. This is a breed with no middle ground.

two pit bulls

2. Pit Bull confusion

Although the American Pit Bull Terrier is a unique breed, people that are not familiar with them often confuse them with other dog breeds. Pitties are often confused with American Staffordshire Terriers (this one we understand, Amstaffs and Pitties were once the same breed). The confusion with Amstaffs is somewhat understandable, but people often call Staffies, American Bullys, Pittie mixes, Bull Terriers, and Dogo Argentino.

Often when a dog-related attack happens, people report a Pit Bull bite, and they automatically assume that a dog is a Pit Bull. People often panic (which is understandable), and they mistake other breeds for Pit Bulls. Mind you, Pit Bulls are still responsible for most dog attacks, although we will probably never know the exact number.

3. They are people-oriented

A real American Pit Bull Terrier should be people-oriented. Even the ones that were used for fighting are rarely aggressive towards people. This is a thing that was specifically bred into the breed. Apparently, breeders discarded dogs that had aggressive tendencies towards humans. They might not be fond of other dogs because of their dominance, but they should be very eager to please their owners.

When these dogs weren’t used for blood sports, they were used as farm dogs. They helped with heavy loads and sometimes even hunting. Some owners even trusted their dogs so much that they left them to guard their children. Of course, that is not recommended, and all dogs should be strictly monitored when interacting with kids.

4. Pit Bull smile

This is something most Pit Bull owners point to as one of their dog’s best characteristics. These dogs have distinct faces that make them have a smiling appearance. They can expose their teeth and stretch their faces in a smile-like expression. If you ask any Pit Bull owner, they will surely tell you their dog can smile.

pit bull smiling

While it is not completely clear why dogs do that, it is usually when they are feeling confident, happy, peaceful, and grateful. They do not understand the meaning of it, nor do dogs understand the concept of smiling. Most dogs express their feelings with their whole bodies; they wag their tail, whine, bark, jump, howl, etc.

5. Blood sports

The sad part of any breed’s history is the brutal and bloody part, such as dog fighting. These dogs were the breed of choice when it came to dog fighting in the US. There is an excellent reason for that. There is a lot of money involved in breeding, betting, and organizing these illegal events, and it is natural to assume that all participants wanted to earn by having the best and strongest dogs. Unfortunately, Pitties check every box.

This is a robust and athletic breed that is capable of doing a lot of damage. In the wrong hands, dogs can become weapons, and these dogs are the strongest ones. They have an athletic build and powerful muscles. Their strong jaws are highly desirable in dog fights, and cruel people have used them for wrong purposes for ages.

6. Raise them like other active Terriers

Pit Bulls are a part of the Terrier breed family, and you should treat them as such. Some characteristics were mentioned about Pit Bulls, which gave them more bad press, when in fact, most Terriers share these characteristics. The first one was grabbing and shaking. This is not something only Pit Bulls do. Most working Terriers whose job was hunting and ratting exhibit the same behavior. They grabbed their prey and shook them (mostly rats).

One misconception about these dogs is that they have locking jaws - they don’t. There is no scientific proof that Pit Bulls have different jaws than other dogs. However, they are Terriers, which means they are energetic, confident, and curious. Make sure they get plenty of exercises and playing time. Train them and make sure the dog goes through obedience training. That is a proven way to end up with a well-behaved dog.

cute pit bull in jacket

7. Pit Bulls and American Staffordshire Terriers were once a single breed

The American Staffordshire Terriers were registered in 1936. Registry was founded by highly influential, wealthy Americans that did not want to be associated with dogs whose job was to kill another dog. They made a decision not to allow these “killer” dogs in the registry. After some negotiation, they introduced the name Staffordshire Terrier, which was too similar to their English cousins. They added the “American” part since the two breeds (Staffie and Amstaff) developed into entirely different yet related breeds.

When the first 50 American Pit Bull Terriers entered the studbook, they were officially renamed American Staffordshire Terriers. These dogs had a milder character and were developed away from the fighting pits. Their development’s goal was the friendly character, not the dog-aggressive, fighting character and physical capabilities. There is no point in denying that fighting pits played a massive role in the Pitty’s development. Luckily, breed enthusiasts are working on better characters and rehabilitation of the whole Pit Bull breed.

While Pit Bulls might be misunderstood, they are still a determined, powerful breed capable of doing significant damage if raised to fight. This is not a breed for weak-willed owners that don’t know how to handle a robust and dominant dog. It is not the only breed like that, but Pit Bulls can make excellent family companions if raised right.

World Dog Finder team

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