Spotlight on...American Pit Bull Terrier

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

American Pit Bull Terrier

Size:  Medium to Large (30-85 lbs.)

Grooming needs:  Low

Exercise:  High Needs

Environment:  Indoor/Outdoor, Indoor with Outdoor Exercise

Temperament:  Enthusiastic, Friendly, Loyal

Life Expectancy:  12-14 years

Interesting Fact:  The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), often called Pit Bull or Pittie, is different from the American Staffordshire Terrier. The American Kennel Club does not recognize the breed, and the United Kennel Club was formed expressly to recognize and register APBTs. The breed originated with dog fanciers in England, Ireland and Scotland who crossed Bulldogs with Terriers to get a strong, athletic dog (Bulldog) that was driven like a terrier. The first APBT was registered in 1898.

According to, there are more American Pit Bull Terriers available for adoption than any other breed — currently about 5,435 dogs waiting for homes.

Appearance:  The APBT has a stocky, muscular, long body — typically only about 17-19 inches tall at the shoulder. They have a broad, flat head, wide jaw, and small to medium ears that are naturally semi-prick (erect with folded tips). They have a short coat that comes in many colors and a short, whip-like tail.

Personality:  Pit Bulls want to be with their people. They are alert and intelligent, with a herding instinct thanks to their Terrier ancestors. Their strong desire to please and playful temperament make them a fantastic dog to train. Training, socialization and exercise is key to a well-behaved dog. APBTs often enjoy agility, rally, obedience, and other organized dog sports. These fun-loving dogs are always up for playtime, and often like chewing on Kong-like toys.

Common Health Problems:  This healthy breed often lives longer than other dogs in its size group. Health issues, when they do occur, can include hip dysplasia and skin problems.

Best Match:  Pit Bulls are energetic and active. They tend to have a high prey drive, so prospective pet parents able to provide 40 minutes or more of daily walking are a good match. There is stigma against Pit Bulls, and even states in which owning them is outlawed, so owners should expect some questions and conversations around their pet’s temperament. Helping your dog become a “breed ambassador” can help eliminate the stigma.

Guardians say their Pitties are comedians who will perform their full repertoire of tricks to get a treat. And while not a small dog, don’t assume they are not lap dogs — many within this affectionate breed love to lay on their people and sibling pets! Many Pit Bull owners report such a strong bond with their smart, sweet dog that they’ve become breed loyalists.

Featured Adoptable:  Sway is a 7-year-old Pit Bull who is a real gentleman. He is completely housetrained, appropriate when left home alone (won’t chew your things), sleeps soundly through the night, and loves to ride as your co-pilot in the car. He also has a very high emotional intelligence. If someone is upset or mad, he's very sensitive to their moods. Sway is a cuddly couch buddy, but he also needs daily exercise and enjoys playing fetch or going for a jog. No cats, but may do well with a female dog housemate. Read more at or to discuss meeting Sway, please contact Angela at

Megan Mahan lives in Eugene with her boyfriend, Jacob, their adopted yellow Lab Maddie, many saltwater fish, and two miniature Silver Appleyard ducks, Louie and Olive.