A dog of satin and steel, the Pit Bull has a strong heart but a soft soul.
The Pit Bull's roots lie in bull baiting and dog fighting. Those without courage or gameness seldom lived to fight again; nor did those who dared bite a human. The result was a dog with a never-surrender attitude, not always so good at making doggy friends, but unbeatable at being a person's best friend. They helped win the American West, working as all-purpose farm dogs, protecting their families against wildlife and tackling tough quarry on hunts.
Pit Bull is a generic name. The United Kennel Club (UKC) registers the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the AKC registers the American Staffordshire Terrier, with some individual dogs registered as each. Petey, of Our Gang fame, was the first to be registered with both the UKC and AKC.
Pit Bulls are fun-loving and love to play games. They also love their toys, but the toys need to be as tough as they are!
Pit Bulls have a surprisingly high rate of hip and elbow dysplasia, although perhaps because of their stoic nature, many don't seem to be in pain. Nonetheless, we suggest raising them on a diet formulated for large breed puppies during the first year of life. These diets allow the puppy to grow more slowly, while still achieving the same adult size---just a little later. Joint supplements, such as glucosamine chondroitin, are also important for protecting joint health throughout life, especially in active dogs.
It's also important to prevent your adult Pit Bull from getting overweight, which can add stress to the joints. When dieting a dog, you must make sure he gets enough vitamins. We suggest supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, probiotics and, if the coat is dry, a fatty-acid supplement.
Pit Bull coat care is easy. The coat requires weekly brushing to remove dead hair. Bathe as needed using a good all-purpose shampoo. If you want, you can use a color-enhancing shampoo to brighten whites or deepen dark colors. If your Pit Bull has itchy skin, choose an oatmeal or avocado oil based shampoo.
Pit Bull ears are generally healthy, but you should still check them weekly. Apply an ear cleanser any time the ears start to accumulate dark secretions. Some ear wax is healthy; a lot is not. If you must apply ear medication, use the ear cleanser first to remove thick secretions that would block the medication from reaching the surface of the canal.
Brush the teeth daily.
Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a heavy-duty dog nail clipper.
Pit Bulls are notorious for ignoring pain, so you need to watch out for the slightest signs of arthritic changes with age. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him going strong.