The Best Pit Bull Breed for Families

Pit bulls are probably the most misjudged dogs in America.

They’ve gained such a bad reputation that breed-specific laws have been enacted, and some countries and regions have even banned them.

In reality though, pit bulls are great family dogs.

But which breed is the best for you and your family? Let me try to answer that question.

What Pit Bull Breeds Are There?

As you may already know, pit bull is not a breed, but rather a generic name for a group of breeds that have similar physical appearances.

These five breeds are often referred to as pit bulls:

  • American pit bull terrier
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • American bully
  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • American bulldog

There are other breeds that sometimes are referred to as pit bulls as well, such as bull terrier, bullmastiff and Chamuco. Mixes of these breeds could also count as pit bulls.

Let me give you a short description of each.

American pit bull terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier

Image: Wikipedia Commons

The oldest of the five “pit bull breeds” is the American pit bull terrier (APBT). It’s more than a hundred years old.

These dogs normally reach 17-21″ in height and 30-60 lb in weight. They have solid muscular bodies, and short coats of many different color combinations.

Their powerful physique and some individuals’ aggression toward other dogs have given APBTs a bad reputation, but they are actually great family dogs. APBTs are intelligent, loyal, and very friendly with humans, especially with children.

They do however require the owner to socialize the dog from an early age, and to take obedience training seriously.

American Staffordshire terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

Image: Wikipedia Commons

The American Staffordshire terrier – also known as Amstaff or Stafford – is another popular pit bull breed.

It was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) already in 1936.

It has a short and smooth coat in varying color combinations, and it’s roughly the same size as the APBT, reaching 17-19″ in height and about 40-60 lb in weight.

The American Staffordshire terrier is stubborn, loyal to its pack, and generally friendly towards people.

American bully

American Bully

Image: Wikipedia Commons

A much heavier and more compact pit bull is the American bully.

Although looking like gladiators, these dogs are actually very friendly to people and they are great companion dogs. The United Kennel Club has this to say:

Despite its powerful appearance, their demeanor is gentle and friendly. This breed makes an excellent family dog.

The American bully has an ideal height of 16-20″, and in adulthood they normally weigh 66-110 lb.

The coat is short and smooth, and exist in multiple color patterns, just like the other pit bull breeds.

It’s divided into four subcategories:

  1. Pocket
  2. Standard
  3. Classic
  4. XL

Staffordshire bull terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Image: Wikipedia Commons

The Staffordshire bull terrier is a muscular compact dog, smaller than the other pit bull breeds. Adults weigh 24-38 lb, and they usually reaches 14-16″ in height.

It’s a brave and stubborn dog, but also intelligent and gentle. Staffordshire bull terriers are known to be friendly and very affectionate.

The coat is – yes, you guessed it! – short and smooth, and comes in a variety of color patterns.

American bulldog

American Bulldog

Image: Wikipedia Commons

American bulldogs are muscular and sturdy dogs with relatively large heads.

It’s the heaviest and tallest of the five breeds at 60-130 lb, and 20-27″ in height.

It has a short coat that can be anything from smooth to stiff, and can nowadays be found in most combinations of colors.

There are two types of American bulldogs:

  1. Standard
  2. Classic

American bulldogs are confident and social dogs, as described by the United Kennel Club:

The American Bulldog is a gentle, loving family companion who is fearless enough to face an angry bull or a human intruder.

What Makes a Good Family Dog?

When deciding if a certain breed make good family dogs, there are a few important things we’re looking for:

  • First and foremost, the dog needs to be friendly to humans, and especially to kids.
  • Physically, mid-sized to large dogs are best. Small dogs are more fragile and could easily get injured when being manhandled by kids. Of the same reason, a sturdy body is better than a thin body.
  • In order to cope with kids that are screaming, crying, and pulling the ears, the ideal family dog should be patient, gentle, and mentally stable.
  • Intelligent. The dog needs to be able to learn important rules and boundaries that the owners have set, especially around the kids.
  • Energetic and playful. The dog has to be able to wear the kids out, and not the other way around. A tired dog that’s being chased around the house by screaming kids will eventually snap at them.

What is the Best Pit Bull Breed?

I believe that the American bully is the best pit bull breed for families.

It’s large and sturdy, perfect for careless and playful kids. It’s also gentle and friendly, and makes an excellent family companion.

Words of Advice

Pit bulls are strong and powerful dogs that require a firm and experienced hand. If you’re not an experienced pit bull owner, we would strongly advice you to get help from a professional dog trainer.

Take training seriously. The dog requires more than affection. It needs exercise, mental stimulation, and TIME. Put your smartphone down, and focus on your dog. The way you raise it will determine how it behaves.

Get the right type of leash.

We’d also like to advice you to get your dog from an experienced and reputable breeder. Serious breeders will only use individuals with the right temperament and with a known lineage. The puppies will be handled and cared for in the best way, making sure they get a good start in life.

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