6 Reasons Why So Many People Have a Pitbull

pitbull looking from a car window

Despite the negative reputation often portrayed in the media, pitbull-type breeds continue to rise in popularity.

Nowadays, people have become more familiar with the breeds, their characteristics, and temperaments, so we’re finally on the right track to understanding what makes these dogs so incredible.

Here are 6 reasons why so many people have a pitbull:

  1. Pitbulls are eager to please.
  2. They’re fairly low-maintenance animals.
  3. Pitbulls are loyal and protective.
  4. They’re very affectionate.
  5. They’re an active, energetic breed. 
  6. Pitbulls make excellent service animals.

As the owner of an American Bully, it saddens me that these gentle creatures have been on the receiving end of scrutiny and breed-specific legislation.

In this article, I’ll delve deeper into six positive reasons why so many people favor this intelligent, gentle breed. Read on to learn more.

1. Pitbulls Are Eager to Please

pitbull puppy with a harness

As most pitbull owners already know, the term “pitbull” is not a specific breed. It’s a label that encompasses four different breeds (although far more dog breeds are mistaken for pitbulls), including the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bully.

Occasionally, you may find the American Bulldog on this list.

Each of these breeds originates from the original bull-baiting breeds. After governments outlawed bull-baiting with the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835, many owners unfortunately switched to dogfighting.

Many bull-baiters and dogfighters chose this particular breed due to their eagerness to please. Unfortunately, the breed is so dedicated to their owners that they’ll do nearly anything for their affections, even if it means fighting until the death. 

While some breeders encouraged aggression in the breed to make ferocious dogfighters, responsible breeders worked hard to breed the aggression out of the original bull-baiting dogs. As such, they created family companions. This breeding led to the four pitbull-type breeds we see today, all of which are recognized by either the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club.

When selected from a reputable breeder, these four breeds exhibit gentle, affectionate behavior and are considered very easy to train.

Let’s look at each of these breeds and what some organizations have to say about their temperaments:

  • American Staffordshire Terrier – According to the American Kennel Club, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a highly trainable canine when responsibly bred and socialized.
  • American Pit Bull Terrier – The United Kennel Club calls the American Pit Bull Terrier a dog that is “eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm.”
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Described as “sweet-natured” and “patient,” the Staffordshire Bull Terrier received the highest rating on the AKC’s trainability scale.
  • American Bully – The American Bully has a stoic, intimidating demeanor, but they’re gentle, friendly creatures that make incredible companions. 

The general misconception that pitbull-type breeds are inherently aggressive is absolutely false. Much of the negative press on pitbulls results from improperly socialized animals from irresponsible backyard breeders.

This is why it’s essential to find a reputable, responsible breeder that is careful to breed only positive traits in these canines. 

After all, it’s the positive traits that make these dogs so popular.

2. They’re Fairly Low-Maintenance Animals

Pitbull-type breeds have naturally short fur, so there’s no need for excessive grooming. Not only does this save pitbull owners money, but it also increases the amount of time spent loving and cuddling with their pooch, as opposed to brushing or bathing.

A quick daily brushing with a rubber or silicone-bristled brush is typically enough to remove any shedding (which is minor, by the way) and redistribute the natural oils throughout their fur for a sleek, shiny coat.

I recommend the Fur Bliss Dog Brush, available on Amazon, for its ability to stimulate circulation and nourish the skin. It can also remove fur from clothes, furniture, and upholstery!

As for baths, well, as long as your pitbull friend isn’t visibly dirty or noticeably smelly, they don’t really need one! In fact, it’s not recommended to bathe a pitbull more than once a month to avoid upsetting the skin’s natural balance.

When you do bathe your furry friend, opt for a gentle wash, like the Burt’s Bees Natural Tearless Dog Shampoo. It contains all-natural ingredients to soothe and soften your dog’s skin and coat.

With that said, their short fur also means that they don’t tolerate extreme temperatures — both hot and cold. So, owners should never keep these dogs outdoors for long periods of time when the temperature is very high or very low.

They’d love nothing more than to be comfortable inside with their owner, snuggling on the couch or receiving praise for their training efforts.

3. Pitbulls Are Loyal and Protective

Dogs, in general, are known for their loyalty — but pitbull-type breeds are known for their loyalty and willingness to protect their owners at all costs.

There’s no shortage of stories in the media regarding these breeds and their dedication to their families. Below, I’ll take a look at four different news stories about pitbull-type breeds protecting their owners, including children:

  • “Buddy” the Pitbull Protects a Lost Child – After a three-year-old wandered away from his home, his frantic mother called emergency services to report both him and the dog missing. While police scoured the area, a pitbull approached them and led them to the child. Buddy, the pitbull, was very protective of the child, attempting to keep the strangers away, relenting only once he believed it to be safe.
  • “Sasha” the Pitbull Saves Her Family From a House Fire – A young family lay sleeping in their home when a fire broke out next door. Their pitbull, Sasha, barked continuously to alert the family of the impending danger. As soon as the dog’s owner opened the door, Sasha ran inside to the family’s child, and the pitbull pulled the baby’s diaper to drag her outside. With good reason, this courageous canine was hailed a hero.
  • “Zeus” the Pitbull Dies After Saving a Boy From a Snake – An eleven-year-old boy was sent to check on his ten-year-old brother while playing outdoors in Florida. The older boy noticed the pitbull acting strangely. The dog, Zeus, was flinging his head back and forth with what looked like a rope in his mouth. Zeus then carried the “rope” away from the boys — but the “rope” was actually a poisonous coral snake. Unfortunately, Zeus had been bitten multiple times and later died after saving the brothers.
  • “Baby Girl” the Pitbull Protects a Boy from an Intruder – Baby Girl, a pitbull, was home alone with one of her owners, a nine-year-old boy when a masked intruder made his way into the residence. As the boy ran upstairs to get away from the burglars, Baby Girl ran down to confront them and subsequently scared them off.

It goes without saying that pitbull-type breeds have a loyalty that is unmatched. They’re known to protect their owners and their “pack” (family) without a moment’s hesitation, sometimes even putting themselves in harm’s way.

This undying loyalty and love are two of many ways that these breeds show their dedication to their masters, and it’s one of the many reasons why so many people choose them as their forever friends.

4. They’re Very Affectionate

man cudling his pitbull

Pitbull-type breeds have a strong, muscular build, solid stance, and an imposing demeanor — but they’re actually polite, gentle animals.

They’re well-known for their affectionate nature and devotion to their families. They enjoy being close with their families, giving kisses, or just curling up at their feet.

In fact, in the 1900s, people referred to pitbulls as “nanny dogs” due to their patience and affinity for children. As such, they were considered the ideal family pet.

Even so, it’s recommended to find a responsible, reputable breeder and to have the dog properly trained and socialized from a young age — this goes for all dogs. Regardless of their particular affection towards children, no adult should ever leave a child unsupervised with any canine, regardless of breed.

5. They’re an Active, Energetic Breed

brown pitbull with a short coat

Active families benefit from owning the energetic, enthusiastic pitbull. These dogs are incredibly active and need plenty of exercise to keep their minds and bodies stimulated, healthy, and happy.

As the owner of an American Bully, I’m fully aware of the intense physical needs of this breed. Their daily requirement for movement is rather high — and that need doesn’t tend to lessen with age. They need daily exercise — not “almost” every day, or once a week, but literally every single day.

Vigorous exercise is best, as these dogs are known to become mischievous once bored. Most destructive behavior in any dog can be remedied with the proper amount of training and daily exercise. The old saying is true, “A tired dog is a good dog.”

Because of this, active people and families love spending time with their rambunctious pitbull. If you need a dog that can keep up with you and your active lifestyle, then it may be time to consider one of the pitbull breeds!

Here are some ways that you can satisfy your pitbulls need for exercise:

  • Running – Your beloved canine companion would love to run alongside you, whether you’re jogging through a park or just running laps around your neighborhood.
  • Tug-o-War – Tugging games such as tug-o-war is a fun way to tap into your pitbull’s natural instincts. The pulling of a strong rope helps burn off excess energy and mimics the hunt — it must take down the prey before eating. If your dog begins engaging in mouthy behaviors, consider toning down the intensity.
  • Walking – Walking may not sound like a good time for such an active dog, but if you switch it up every now and then, it can be like a new adventure each time. Travel down different streets, try different terrain, or regularly change the duration of your walks.
  • Frisbee – Have you ever seen a pitbull jump? These dogs have incredible agility and can jump to incredible heights and distances. Teaching your dog to play frisbee taps into those abilities, activates their prey drive in a safe, fun way, and satisfies their need for movement.

Pitbull-type breeds, as I’ve mentioned, have an intense interest in physical activity, and they have a high prey drive. It’s very important to keep them leashed during daily exercise, especially in areas where there are other animals (i.e., dogs, cats, squirrels, rabbits, birds, etc.). This instinctual drive is present in most pitbull breeds.

In addition, some pitbull-type breeds, particularly the American Pit Bull Terrier, show a general dislike or aloofness to other canines. This makes the need for a leash even more important. So, consider investing in a strong, retractable leash to give them a little more freedom while still maintaining control.

I recommend the Frida Retractable Dog Leash from Amazon. It’s made for large breed dogs, but works on a strong, medium-size breed as well. It uses strong, reflective nylon tape to keep your dog in control, while also providing enough freedom to explore its surroundings.

6. Pitbulls Make Excellent Service Animals

As I’ve discussed throughout this article, pitbull-type breeds are eager to please, low-maintenance, loyal, affectionate, and active. They’re also incredibly intelligent, making them excellent service dogs.

Most pitbulls may be medium-sized canines, but their strength is incredible — they have the physical ability to pull many times their weight. As such, they can easily pull wheelchairs or provide physical support for people dealing with conditions that affect mobility.

There are dozens of training facilities throughout the United States that train pitbull-type breeds (and other breeds) to perform services for people with disabilities. The Animal Farm Foundation runs the Assistance Dog Training Program in New York, where they train pitbulls (often pulled from shelters) as service dogs.

Some pitbulls even work as Medical Alert Dogs, letting owners know of low blood sugar, low oxygen, an impending seizure, and other medical problems.

The devotion and loyalty that the breed possesses also make them ideal candidates for emotional support animals. In fact, there’s another pitbull training program called “Pits For Patriots” that trains pitbulls from rescues.

These dogs are matched with veterans, police officers, and firefighters that have dealt with trauma. Certified trainers specifically teach the pitbulls to comfort their masters as a form of therapy and support.

Even police departments across the United States have turned to pitbulls to work on the force. Budget cuts have led departments to seek alternatives to the commonly seen thousand-dollar German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois — and pitbulls are winning. The pitbulls are often rescued from shelters, evaluated, and then trained as police canines.

If you or someone you know is considering a pitbull as a service animal, it’s important to seek out reputable breeders or rescues. You’ll want to research the dog thoroughly, set up a meeting with the canine and its handlers, and discuss service dog training.

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