American Pit Bull Terrier Temperament

American Pit Bull Terrier Temperament

We’ve all heard that the American pit bull terrier temperament is unpredictable and dangerous. We’ll let’s look at some myths and truths about the American pit bull terrier. Starting with their history.

History and Reputation

Contrary to popular belief, pit bulls aren’t overly aggressive dogs. Originally bred to work as farm dogs and dogs for protection, they have been known historically to be great family pets. 

Pit bulls and their bad reputation have a long history. They were originally bred in England as work dogs and were eventually brought into America through immigrants. They’re a mix of the bulldog and the terrier. In England, bulldogs were used for the sport of bull-baiting. Once bull baiting was outlawed by Parliament, other dog-fighting sports were born. Many years later in America, negative associations with immigrants caused the American pit bull terrier to become stereotyped. To this day they are sometimes bred and used for illegal dog fights. 

Fun Fact: During World War I, American Pit Bull Terriers were used as a mascot in military propaganda posters. 

Because of this bad rep, you may experience some hardship. There may be some legal barriers to owning a Pit Bull terrier, so be sure to check out your local and state laws. Some dog parks ban pit bulls. So be prepared for human fear of your pet.

They were once given the nickname the ‘nanny dog’, because of how gentle they are with children. They’re now known as great family dogs, and great guard dogs for protection. They’re easily found at adoption centers.

Physical Traits

American pit bull terriers are medium-sized dogs. They weigh from about 30lbs to 80lbs. They’ll max out at about 20 inches tall. They’re very muscular and athletic. Because of this, they need plenty of exercise, at least one hour per day. They are also super playful. If you make sure you’re pit is getting enough exercise and stimulation, it can do well indoors! 

They have a pretty long lifespan, about 12-15 years. So if you’re looking for a long friendship, they’re a great breed!

They’re handsome pets. They have a short coat and don’t need much grooming. They aren’t well suited for cold temperatures. They come in many fur colors, like grey, black, white, brown, and red. They can also have blue, hazel, or brown eyes. 


As with any species, there will always be dogs that are aggressive and unfriendly. But most American pit bull terriers are friendly and obedient. Overall, they’re very gentle and calm around children. They aren’t too talkative, and they love attention and affection.

They don’t do too well unattended indoors for long periods. They tend to get anxious when alone. This can lead to barking, whining, and destructive behavior. Although American pit bull terriers are super friendly to kids and strangers, there can be issues when encountering other dogs. 

They are extremely loyal pets. They are friendly to who you are friendly to, and can get aggressive with those who they perceive as threats. Also, they don’t tend to get along with other dogs. Socialization is very important for this breed.


Pit bull terriers can be very obedient if properly trained. They can be pretty hard to train for a first-time dog owner. So be sure to check out training programs with professionals to learn how to properly train it. A younger pup would be earlier to train, but you can also consider adopting an adult that’s already trained. You’ll need to have the time and patience to be consistent in your training for it to be effective.

Legal Issues

You may run into some legal issues while owning an American pit bull terrier. Some apartments have restricted dog breed lists, and pit bulls are commonly on them. Before getting your pup, check what your insurance policy says about owning this breed! Some insurance policies have restrictions or bans on owning American pit bull terriers. 

American Pit Bull Terrier Temperament: Conclusion

Overall, the American pit bull terrier’s temperament is gentle and calm. They are a great breed of dog for people with patience and willingness to put in time and effort in discipline and consistency. Here’s a quick pros and cons list to help you make your decision, but instead of pros and cons, I’ve organized this list into traits and tasks that may be easier and more difficult.


Gentle with kids and strangers

Easy grooming



Does well in apartments




Needs lots of training and consistency

Needs plenty of exercises

Be prepared for lots of play

Needs to not be alone indoors for long periods unless trained 

Difficulty renting 

Needs socialization

Do you think an American pit bull terrier is for you? While you’re doing your research, be sure to research similar dog breeds, such as the American bulldog, the bull terrier, and the boxer! 

Written by: Genesis Cooper

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