Everything you need to know to buy or adopt an American Pit Bull Terrier puppy or adult dog.


BE PREPARED

For Your New

American Pit Bull Terrier!

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Raise and train your dog the RIGHT way and he will live a long, healthy, well-behaved life – and both of you will be happy!

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American Pit Bull Terrier dog breed

Buying or Adopting an American Pit Bull Terrier

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog


Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs


Is an American Pit Bull Terrier the right breed for you?

American Pit Bull Terriers: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

American Pit Bull Terrier Health Problems


Are YOU right for an American Pit Bull Terrier?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
  • No young children in the household
  • No other dogs in the household
  • No cats in the household
  • Extra safety precautions – ongoing supervision and surveillance of what's going on around your Pit Bull Terrier, especially the presence of strange dogs who might start something your Pit Bull might finish in a tragic manner
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your American Pit Bull Terrier stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, flyball, schutzhund, tracking, carting, weight pulling); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a smaller dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Pit Bull Terriers are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with moderate shedding
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Pit Bull Terrier to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior or aggression
  • Commitment to establish the proper Leader-Follower relationship with your American Pit Bull Terrier, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female American Pit Bull Terrier?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?


Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new American Pit Bull Terrier be?


Where can you buy or adopt an American Pit Bull Terrier?

American Pit Bull Terriers are a very common breed in the United States. You won't have any trouble finding a Pit Bull to buy or adopt. But you might have trouble finding a GOOD one to buy or adopt. I hope you've read my American Pit Bull Terrier Review.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Lots of American Pit Bull Terriers (and Pit Bull crosses and mixes) are available from Dog Rescue groups.

American Pit Bull Terriers may be turned over to Rescue because they need more exercise and interesting activities to do than the owner expected. There might be dominance issues, or destructiveness, or aggression toward other animals. The dog might simply be too much for the owner to handle. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking. Other Pit Bulls are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
American Pit Bull Terriers are found here by the droves, at least in communities where it's legal to offer this breed for adoption. Some communities euthanize any Pit Bull Terrier that comes into their shelters. Also be aware that a large number of dogs labled by shelter staff as American Pit Bull Terriers are crosses or mixes rather than purebred.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy an American Pit Bull Terrier from a show breeder, who breeds Pit Bulls to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.

Or you can buy a Pit Bull Terrier from a performance breeder, who emphasizes an energetic temperament and strong "prey (chasing) drives" for hunting wild boar, or for participating in protection dog sports (schutzhund) or weight pulling competitions.

Some breeders are a combination of show/performance, though how they prioritize those two goals can vary greatly. You can also buy an American Pit Bull Terrier from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an American Pit Bull Terrier puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have a normal thyroid
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or a report from a veterinary cardiologist – dated within the past year – certifying that the dog has had an Advanced Cardiac Exam and has a normal heart

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your American Pit Bull Terrier ends up with hip dysplasia.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
I don't see American Pit Bull Terriers in pet shops in my area. Maybe the stores are afraid of the legal liabilities, I don't know. But I do have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!


Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good American Pit Bull Terrier Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of American Pit Bull Terrier puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.


Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered American Pit Bull Terrier puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.