American Pit Bull Terrier
Pit Bulls are typically loyal, tenacious and bold. Unfortunately, those traits have been exploited in dog-fighting rings. But with socialization, training, attention and love, Pit Bulls can be docile, affectionate companions. Before you get a Pit Bull, it’s important to realize that there’s a lot of misinformation about them, and there are campaigns to outlaw the dogs. Check local laws and ordinances to make sure you can legally own one of these dogs where you live and do your research about the breed, so you can educate yourself, as well as friends and neighbors, about its merits.

Learn more about the American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier — the two main breeds usually considered Pit Bulls and the ones covered together in this article, because they’re so similar. Owning one of these breeds is a big responsibility, and it’s important to ensure you’re making the right decision before you get one.

There’s actually no breed with the name “Pit Bull.”

When the term “Pit Bull” is used, it’s usually referring to the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier, or sometimes the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a British breed. It’s also a label given to a dog who resembles those breeds, even if he’s a mix and has little or no Pit Bull in him.

These dogs generally love people.

Though the Am Staff and APBT may look intimidating enough to scare off a potential intruder, they’re typically outgoing, affectionate and enjoy people, especially if they’re in the hands of loving owners and have had training and socialization from a young age.

Animals, however, can be a different story. They’ll likely view cats and other smaller animals as prey, and they may not get along with other dogs.

They’re often confident and smart.

Am Staffs and APBTs tend to be smart, strong and even a little pushy sometimes. It’s generally not in their nature to back down. Training and socialization are important from an early age to help them be their best.

They tend to be athletic.

Am Staffs and APBTs can make good running and exercise partners. These typically playful dogs also can enjoy swimming and retrieving and usually do well in dog sports like agility trials and tracking.

They can be clowns.

Am Staffs and APBTs are usually playful, with a certain joie de vivre. Because of his fun-loving, mischievous personality, the APBT is sometimes even referred to as “the kid in a dog suit.”

More on Vetstreet: