during the nineteenth century, dog fanciers in England, Ireland, and
Scotland began to experiment with crosses between Bulldogs and
Terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier
with the strength and athleticism of the Bulldog. The result was a dog
that embodied all of the virtues attributed to great warriors:
strength, indomitable courage, and gentleness with loved ones.
Immigrants brought these bull and terrier crosses to the United
States. The American Pit Bull Terrier's many talents did not go
unnoticed by farmers and ranchers who used their APBTs for protection,
as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, to drive
livestock, and as family companions. Today, the American Pit Bull
Terrier continues to demonstrate its versatility, competing
successfully in Obedience, Tracking, Agility, Protection, and Weight
Pulls, as well as Conformation.
The United Kennel Club was the first registry to recognize the
American Pit Bull Terrier. U.K.C. founder C. Z. Bennett assigned U.K.C.
registration number 1 to his own APBT, Bennett's Ring in 1898.
American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built,
short-coated dog with smooth, well-defined musculature. This breed is
both powerful and athletic. The body is just slightly longer than
tall, but bitches may be somewhat longer in body than dogs. The length
of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) is
approximately equal to one-half of the dog's height at the withers.
The head is of medium length, with a broad, flat skull, and a wide,
deep muzzle. Ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be
natural or cropped. The relatively short tail is set low, thick at the
base and tapers to a point. The American Pit Bull Terrier comes in all
colors and color patterns. This breed combines strength and
athleticism with grace and agility and should never appear bulky or
muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy.
essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are
strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please
and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family
companions and have always been noted for their love of children.
Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of
its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully
socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed's natural agility
makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a
must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog
since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive
behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly
undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because
of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has always been capable of doing a wide
variety of jobs so exaggerations or faults should be penalized in
proportion to how much they interfere with the dog's versatility.
head is unique and a key element of breed type. It is large and broad,
giving the impression of great power, but it is not disproportionate
to the size of the body. Viewed from the front, the head is shaped
like a broad, blunt wedge. When viewed from the side, the skull and
muzzle are parallel to one another and joined by a well defined,
moderately deep stop. Supraorbital arches over the eyes are well
defined but not pronounced. The head is well chiseled, blending
strength, elegance, and character.
The skull is large, flat or slightly rounded, deep, and broad between
the ears. Viewed from the top, the skull tapers just slightly toward
the stop. There is a deep median furrow that diminishes in depth from
the stop to the occiput. Cheek muscles are prominent but free of
wrinkles. When the dog is concentrating, wrinkles form on the
forehead, which give the APBT his unique expression.
The muzzle is broad and deep with a very slight taper from the stop to
the nose, and a slight falling away under the eyes. The length of
muzzle is shorter than the length of skull, with a ratio of
approximately 2:3. The topline of the muzzle is straight. The lower
jaw is well developed, wide and deep. Lips are clean and tight.
Snipey muzzle; flews; weak lower jaw.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has a complete set of evenly spaced,
white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.
Undershot, or overshot bite; wry mouth; missing teeth (this does not
apply to teeth that have been lost or removed by a veterinarian).
The nose is large with wide, open nostrils. The nose may be any color.
Eyes are medium size, round to almond-shaped, and set well apart and
low on the skull. All colors are equally acceptable except blue, which
is a serious fault. Haw should not be visible.
eyes; both eyes not matched in color; blue eyes.
Ears are high set and may be natural or cropped without preference. If
natural, semi-prick or rose are preferred. Prick or flat, wide ears
are not desired.
is of moderate length and muscular. There is a slight arch at the
crest. The neck widens gradually from where it joins the skull to
where it blends into well laid-back shoulders. The skin on the neck is
tight and without dewlap.
Neck too short and thick; thin or weak neck; ewe neck; dewlap.
shoulder blades are long, wide, muscular, and well laid back. The
upper arm is roughly equal in length to the shoulder blade and joins
it at an apparent right angle.
forelegs are strong and muscular. The elbows are set close to the
body. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are set moderately wide
apart and perpendicular to the ground. The pasterns are short,
powerful, straight, and flexible. When viewed in profile, the pasterns
are nearly erect.
Upright or loaded shoulders; elbows turned outward or tied-in; down at
the pasterns; front legs bowed; wrists knuckled over; toeing in or
chest is deep, well filled in, and moderately wide with ample room for
heart and lungs, but the chest should never be wider than it is deep.
The forechest does not extend much beyond the point of shoulder. The
ribs extend well back and are well sprung from the spine, then
flattening to form a deep body extending to the elbows. The back is
strong and firm. The topline inclines very slightly downward from the
withers to a broad, muscular, level back. The loin is short, muscular
and slightly arched to the top of the croup, but narrower than the rib
cage and with a moderate tuck-up. The croup is slightly sloping
hindquarters are strong, muscular, and moderately broad. The rump is
well filled in on each side of the tail and deep from the pelvis to
the crotch. The bone, angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters
are in balance with the forequarters. The thighs are well developed
with thick, easily discerned muscles. Viewed from the side, the hock
joint is well bent and the rear pasterns are well let down and
perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns
are straight and parallel to one another.
Narrow hindquarters; hindquarters shallow from pelvis to crotch; lack
of muscle; straight or over angulated stifle joint; cow hocks; sickle
hocks; bowed legs.
are round, proportionate to the size of the dog, well arched, and
tight. Pads are hard, tough, and well cushioned. Dewclaws may be
is set on as a natural extension of the topline, and tapers to a
point. When the dog is relaxed, the tail is carried low and extends
approximately to the hock. When the dog is moving, the tail is carried
level with the backline. When the dog is excited, the tail may be
carried in a raised, upright position (challenge tail), but never
curled over the back (gay tail).
Long tail (tail tip passes beyond point of hock).
faults: Gay tail
(not to be confused with challenge tail); kinked tail.
is glossy and smooth, close, and moderately stiff to the touch.
Curly, wavy, or sparse coat.
color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable, except
and Weight ________________________
American Pit Bull Terrier must be both powerful and agile so actual
weight and height are less important than the correct proportion of
weight to height. Desirable weight for a mature male in good condition
is between 35 and 60 pounds. Desirable weight for a mature female in
good condition is between 30 and 50 pounds. Dogs over these weights
are not to be penalized unless they are disproportionately massive or
American Pit Bull Terrier moves with a jaunty, confident attitude,
conveying the impression that he expects any minute to see something
new and exciting. When trotting, the gait is effortless, smooth,
powerful, and well coordinated, showing good reach in front and drive
behind. When moving, the backline remains level with only a slight
flexing to indicate suppleness. Viewed from any position, legs turn
neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As
speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance.
Legs not moving on the same plane; legs over reaching; legs crossing
over in front or rear; rear legs moving too close or touching;
rolling; pacing; paddling; sidewinding; hackney action; pounding.
or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Unilateral
or bilateral deafness. Bobbed tail. Albinism. Merle.
Although some level of dog aggression is characteristic of this breed,
handlers will be expected to comply with U.K.C. policy regarding dog
temperament at U.K.C. events.