American Pit Bull Terrier: Facts, Traits & History

American Pit Bull Terrier dog breed
Our American Pit Bull Terrier, Axle, has been identified as everything from a Boxer mix to a Labrador mix.
Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by Dogster Team
Quick Facts
  • Weight: 20 – 55 pounds (9.07 – 24.9 kg)
  • Height: 15 – 20 inches (38.1 – 50.8)

The Look of a American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier has a strong, muscular and alert look. A typical APBT has a brick-shaped head—in proportion to the rest of its body—with round eyes. A thick, powerful neck slopes down to a broad, powerful chest, muscular legs that seem always ready to dart forward, and long tapered tails. American Pit Bull Terriers can come in just about any color.

American Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier courtesy Leesia Teh.


  • Powerful and muscular
  • Agile and quick
  • Eager to please
  • Protective
  • Brave and intelligent

Ideal Human Companion

  • Singles
  • Families with older children
  • A-type personalities
  • Sportsmen and outdoorsy types

What They Are Like to Live With

American Pit Bull Terriers are affectionate, loyal and happy dogs with loads of energy and a natural eagerness to please their guardians. This breed has sadly gotten a bad reputation in the media due to owners who raise them for the wrong reasons. With proper socialization and training, as with any dog, your American Pit Bull Terrier can be an exemplary member of the family.

They love to play fetch, go for runs and accomplish tasks – American Pit Bull Terriers are natural workers, excelling in agility trials, search-and-rescue and obedience trials. Keep them busy and loaded with positive reinforcement, and they’ll continually surprise you with an upbeat and steady temperament.

Things You Should Know

American Pit Bull Terriers may sometimes display protective or competitive instincts around other dogs and animals. They are strong enough to handle rough play from a child, but strangers and unfamiliar dogs can sometimes trigger their suspicions.

APBTs might not be the best apartment dogs, though as long as they get plenty of outdoor exercise they’ll be happy. Ideally, a fenced yard suits them best, not to mention daily games of fetch.

A healthy American Pit Bull Terrier can live as long as 12 years. Common health problems include hip dysplasia and some allergies.

American Pit Bull Terrier History

Bred from Bulldogs and Terriers in 19th-century Britain, the American Pit Bull Terrier eventually became a helpful farm dog and family pet. Two organizations were formed to legitimize the breed—the American Dog Breeder’s Association and the United Kennel Club. In the United States, American Pit Bull Terrier owners also sought to legitimize the breed, and in 1936 the AKC registered them as “American Staffordshire Terriers.” Today they are one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.

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