Pitbull Terrier

Pitbull Terriers are muscular and energetic dogs that are restricted in parts of Australia. They are very loyal but have a reputation for aggression towards strangers and other animals.
Recommended forExperienced owners
Breed ClassificationNone
Other namesPit Bull, American Pitbull Terrier
Lifespan10-15 years
TemperamentLoyal, confident, tenacious
IntelligenceAbove average
Tendency to barkModerate
Maintenance LevelHigh
Health RiskThis breed has an around average probability of having health issues in its lifetime, hence it is one of the more affordable breeds to insure.

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Pitbull Terrier dog breed Bow Wow Meow

Breed history of Pitbull Terriers

When bear and bull baiting were banned in the UK in 1835, dog fighting became a popular repacement for the entertainment of the struggling classes. The Pit Bull Terrier was subsequently bred from the English Bulldog and some terrier breeds as a smaller and more agile fighting dog than the Old English Bulldog.

When introduced to the United States by immigrants from the UK, the Pit Bull proved to be very useful to pioneering families, and was put to work hunting wild boar, guarding property and people and working with livestock. This all-purpose usage saw the Pit Bull become a popular companion dog in the United States well into the 20th Century.

The American Staffordshire Terrier shares the same lineage as the Pitbull Terrier. However, the American Staffy or Amstaff was developed from the early 1900’s to be recognised as a show breed. Breeders aimed to remove the aggressiveness of the breed while still maintaining the type’s enthusiasm and spirit.

Unfortunately, there have been a number of attacks on humans and other dogs attributed to the Pit Bull. In Australia, they are catergorised as restricted dogs and there are strict conditions regarding their ownership and breeding.

Pit Bull dog breed Bow Wow Meow

Physical description of Pitbull Terriers

The Pit Bull Terrier is a strong and energetic medium-to-large-sized dog with short hair and a stout, muscular build.

Strictly speaking, the Pit Bull is not actually a breed but a term used to describe a number of breeds that are related or have similar physical characteristics. These include the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the larger American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Bull Dog, the Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.

Because Pit Bulls were bred for one elusive quality – gameness, or the refusal to give up, even under the most excruciating pain – their breeders did not place a premium on appearance. Even today, pit bulls vary wildly in size and shape, from slight, Whippet-like builds to burly Bulldog frames.

Weight range22 to 34 kg
Height range43 to 48 cm
ColoursBlack, blue, brindle, fawn & more
Coat lengthShort

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Pit Bull dog breed Bow Wow Meow

Pitbull Terrier personality and temperament

Pitbulls are fiercely loyal dogs with a confident, courageous and tenacious in nature. They are employed successfully as guard dogs and have a reputation for steadfast ferocity when provoked.

While Pitbulls are exceedingly loyal and affectionate to their owners, a great deal of care must be taken when around strangers. They are known to attack unfamiliar people and animals when provoked.

These intelligent and enthusiastic dogs are eager to please and largely obedient, as long as firm, fair and consistent training and discipline is maintained by the owner. They are known to be good climbers so tall and strong fencing is essential.

The breed has been developed to be a companion dog and regular human contact is essential to keep Pitbulls healthy and happy. Separation anxiety and destructive behaviours may manifest if they are left alone without human attention for an extended period of time.

Pitbull Terrier dog breed Bow Wow Meow

Pitbull Terriers with kids and other pets

Despite their reputation for aggression, Pitbulls are quite good with children in their family and show a high degree of care and protection towards them. They are better suited to families with older children, and supervision is always advised and great care should be taken with younger kids.

Because Pit Bulls were specifically bred for fighting, they can show aggression towards other animals, especially other dogs.

Note that as restricted dogs, Pitbulls cannot be left at any time in the sole charge of anyone under 18 years of age. They also need to wear a muzzle and remain on leash at all times when outside of their their enclosure.


Pit Bull dog breed Bow Wow Meow

Pitbull Terrier training and exercise

Pit Bulls are very enthusiastic and highly energetic dogs that need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They must be walked at least once a day, the further the better, and do very well in canine sports and agility.

Strong, consistent training and discipline from a young age is essential. Obedience while walking is very important to maintain your Pitbull’s good behaviour on the street; sitting when commanded, and following behind you instead of in front, are essential.

Importantly, as they are classified as a restricted breed in Australia, when in public muzzles are required and they must not be let off the leash.


Energy levelVery high
Exercise requirementsHigh

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Pitbull Terrier dog breed Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance

Pitbull Terrier feeding and nutrition

The Pitbull should be fed a premium, high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level.

Because they are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia and knee issues, it’s wise to keep your Pitbull trim to curb the need for health issues that can result from carrying excess weight.

Allergies and itchy skin may be related to a dog’s diet. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your Pitbull’s weight or health.

Pitbull Terrier dog breed Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance

Pitbull Terrier care and grooming

With few grooming needs, Pitbulls are generally easy to care for. Their short coats need only a weekly brushing with a soft brush or glove to remove any dirt or loose hair.

Note that because of their short coats, they really don’t appreciate being left out in the cold. They want to be where it’s warm – inside your house with you.

As they are prone to skin allergies, weekly bathing may be needed, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors.

Health issues for Pitbull Terriers

  • Hip Dysplasia is a hereditary condition that is common in many breeds where the hip doesn’t develop as it should, often resulting in prolonged limping and eventually lameness in later life.
  • Congenital Heart Disease is the malformation of valves in the heart, causing serious problems that will often result in death within the first year of life. Those that have more mild forms of the condition will mostly survive but will show a tendency to avoid exercise, may have stunted growth or will occasionally faint. Cardiac arrest can occur at any time, but in most cases later in life.
  • Heart Murmurs are common in the Pit Bull and often indicative of congenital heart disease. A murmur is the sound the heart beat makes when an irregular amount of blood enters one of the heart’s chambers. Heart murmurs can be connected to endocardiosis, endocarditis, valvular stenosis or dysplasia. Many detected heart murmurs will not be severe or require any treatment. Contact your vet for a check-up if your Pitbull is showing low exercise tolerance or faints during exercise.
  • Skin Allergies are common in Pitbull Terriers and regular bathing may be required.

Not all conditions are covered by Pet Insurance. For details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover, refer to the Product Disclosure Statement.

Pet Talk

Jam packed with news, tips and advice on how to provide the best possible care for your Bow Wow or Meow!

Pitbull Terrier facts!

  • It’s a common myth that Pit Bulls have lockable jaws. This is completely untrue, the Pit Bull has no lockable mechanism in its jaw makeup whatsoever.
  • This myth stems from the way that a Pit Bull tends to relentlessly hold onto a victim when it bites down. This enthusiasm can be explained by the requirements for bull baiting, the practice the Pit Bull was initially bred for.
  • Many celebrities have owned Pit Bulls, including Humphrey Bogart, Orlando Bloom, Thomas Edison, Jessica Alba, Brad Pitt, Michael J. Fox and Madonna.
  • The Pit Bull is the only breed to have featured on the front cover of Life Magazine three times.

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