Honestly, I wanted a Poodle. My boyfriend brought home a Pit Bull instead. At a very young 6 weeks old, Beans was my third Pit Bull in life, but the first one I had to train and raise, all on my own.
Beans was the runt of the litter, less than half of the size of his brothers and sisters. His small size was the most appealing thing about him, at the time. Strangely enough, he grew to be much larger and stockier than each sibling, and weighs in now, at 2 years, to about 75 lbs.
Pit Bulls are very protective by nature, willing to tear an unwanted intruder to shreds. They require a very firm alpha figure, which is generally the master. They are generally docile, good with children, but at the same time they have adventurous personalities and I often find myself chasing Beans down the street at 2 am because he gracefully slipped out of the door behind me.
Pit Bulls are also notorious for being good climbers, as they often climb trees to hunt prey, like cats or squirrels, or climb fences to escape the feeling of being enclosed.
Pit Bulls are very powerful for their normal short, stocky sizes. Their jaws are huge and powerful, and they are fairly agile considering their build.
Most Pit Bulls are very friendly despite their sometimes intimidating look. My dog is socialized, as we have an older Rottweiler who roughed him up as a puppy, but Beans is also very gentle with smaller dogs.
My favorite characteristic of a Pit Bull is their development of human emotion. They are eager to please their master, and generally know when they did something wrong. They show emotion very well, and use different tones and noises to describe their feelings. We have established a “time out” location for our dog. When he does something he knows he isn’t supposed to do, like digging holes and eating shoes, we tell him simply to “go lay down” and he takes his time out post in the corner next to the couch until he is coaxed out of his spot with a coo or a treat. This works well for us because, just like a child, he tends to stray from his obedience from time to time. I found it fairly easy to house train him, which was about a 3 week training process, and he knows simple commands like sit down, heel and paw (which we actually call “high five”).
Pit Bulls are also very affectionate. Ours is a cuddler, and although I’m allergic to his short hair, he loves nothing more than sleeping on top of my feet. The dogs have reign of the couch 24/7 as they are inside dogs, but Beans would prefer sleeping on the tile floor of our bedroom just to know that we’re close. He gets extremely jealous of human intimacy, and if he is close by when my boyfriend leans in to kiss me, he’ll jump in and slobber his tongue all over my face.
He isn’t skittish at all, and has no problem with pushing his block head through a half open door or jumping into the pool when he’s warm.
Common problems that arise with Pit Bulls are seasonal allergies and allergies to grass that cause them to bite their fur fiercely (often called hot spots) or to throw up a lot due to grass ingestion, respectively. Other issues could include Cataracts and congenital heart disease.
Their general life span is about 12 years, which is very good considering their place within the Mastiff group. There are many different Pit Bull blood lines, I am very partial to the blue nose low rider types.
They really are fantastic family pets with the proper obedience training, diets, exercise and pack leader.
I suggest purchasing or adopting any pet from a licensed breeder who practices proper, human procedure in breeding. You want to stray away from Pit Bull breeders who breed specifically for fighting.