Controversy aside, many American Pit Bull Terriers have proven to be very good family pets. With the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), owners are always cautioned to know the breed's temperament and know it well. It is recommended that only people who can commit to the proper training and upkeep of the APBT attempt to own one. In large part, this entails knowing what to expect from the dogs regarding safety around other dogs, animals, and children. But as responsible breeders and breed-supporters will argue, when owners are well-informed and accommodate for the known temperament characteristics of the breed, an American Pit Bull Terrier can make a very good family pet.
The American Pit Bull Terrier And Children
The American Pit Bull Terrier is touted as a loving dog who loves all people-children not excepted. Breeders say that the APBT especially loves children and become very devoted watchers of their 'wards'. In fact, the dog has in the past been referred to as the "Nanny's Dog".
Pit Bulls love to play and rough-house. Breeders say this makes them ideal children's dogs because they crave high-energy outlets as much as children do, and are not phased by the rough-play of children.
The only caution breeders of American Pit Bull Terriers give is that because of their large size, small children become easily overwhelmed with their high-energy, exuberance, and bumps, and sometimes young children do not take to the dogs well.
Of course, as with any breed, children must learn how to act around APBT's and must know the ground-rules in order to be safe among them (i.e., not disturbing sleeping or eating dogs, etc.).
The American Pit Bull Terrier And Other Dogs
The American Pit Bull Terrier is not a dog that is generally recommended as a companion for any other dog. Historically, pit bulls were bred to fight other dogs, and the trait has lived on in many of them (especially because APBT's continue to be bred for illegal dog fights).
There is a range to dog-aggression in American Pit Bull Terriers. Some dogs never show any dog-aggression, but others cannot tolerate any other dog, even of the opposite sex. Also, dog aggression in an APBT does not always present early in life; many American Pit Bull Terriers are friendly and social with other dogs as puppies, but turn as they age. Often this happens around the time of sexual maturity (8-12 months), but owners are cautioned that dog aggression can present at any age and without warning.
In sum, it is recommended that APBT owners do not own other dogs or put their pit bull in close contact with other dogs. APBT's should only ever be near other dogs when leashed and under strict supervision, and they should never be left alone with other dogs-including housemates.
Of important note, however, is the distinction between dog aggression and human aggression-APBT's typically love people, and dog aggressiveness should not be confused or taken for human aggression which is another temperament aspect entirely.
The American Pit Bull Terrier And Other Pets
The American Pit Bull Terrier is generally considered pet-friendly, even cat friendly, if the dog is raised with the pets, properly trained and socialized with them. APBT's have even been used as working herd-animals. Some caution should be noted, however, because when pit bulls are not properly trained they may be aggressive towards other family pets.
In another word of caution with APBT's and pets, breeders will warn that sometimes American Pit Bull Terriers have difficulty distinguishing small pets from chew-toys. APBT's are a very playful, energy-filled breed of dog that loves to chase, chew, and toss, and when they are not taught that small animals such as chickens and rabbits are pets to be respected, they will often kill them accidentally.
All in all, American Pit Bull Terriers are known as very good pets, but with the stipulation that owners know what to expect of them and rear them well. A well-cared for and well-trained pit bull is said to make an excellent family companion.