The Pit Bull was developed in Great Britain in the late 18th century, when breeders began crossing terriers and bulldogs to produce a dog that combined the pluck of the terrier with the strength of the bulldog. Initially bred as a bull-baiting dog, the outlawing of such “sport” led to him become a ratter – the word “pit” in his name comes from the practice of putting him into a pit with rats. He immigrated to the United States, where he was used as a catch dog for wild cattle and feral hogs and used to drive livestock.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a muscular, medium-sized dog, weighing between 30 and 60 lbs. Though similar in appearance to his close cousin, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the APBT is less bulldog-like in his face and build. His short, smooth coat may be a variety of colors and patterns, and only requires occasional brushing to keep neat. An energetic breed, he requires daily exercise to keep him happy and fit.
Despite what some consider an intimidating appearance, the APBT is loyal and eager to please, making him a wonderful family dog. In fact, his affection for children once earned him the nickname “nanny dog” in the early 20th century. Noted as an ineffective guard dog due to his friendly nature, a well-socialized APBT can do well in homes with other pets. A natural athlete, his intelligence and endurance help him excel in a variety of sports, including agility and obedience competitions.
Athletic abilities aside, Pit Bulls are nonetheless prone to hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your family budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Pit Bulls are prone to include joint problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia; skin conditions such as demodicosis and atopy; and heart issues such as subaortic stenosis.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Pit Bull has the misfortune of inheriting his father’s bad hips or his mother’s bum elbows, you’re covered.