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Pitbull Pros and Cons 13 Things to Consider Before Buying 

Last Updated: February 14, 2024

Exploring the pros and cons of Pitbulls is essential for potential owners, given that they are among the most popular yet media-scrutinized breeds. To make your decision, it’s important to distinguish between the negative media portrayal and the reality, understanding both the advantages and drawbacks of owning a Pitbull.

The pros of Pitbulls are that they are very smart, loyal, and obedient, and they genuinely care for their family. The dog’s reputation is also intimidating enough to keep intruders away. The cons are that Pitbulls can be aggressive if untrained, need lots of exercise, and can suffer from separation anxiety.

There is no doubt that Pitbulls are loved by many dog owners as they constitute about 20% of America’s dog population. Yet many people do not care for this breed.

In this article, we will look further into the individual pros and cons of Pitbulls, including what you can do to minimize the drawbacks and maximize the advantages of having a Pittie.

Let’s get started!

A healthy Pitbull running in a field.

What Are The Pros and Cons of a Pitbull?

When you get a dog, you’re opening your doors for him to become a part of your family. You don’t get to choose your siblings, kids, or parents. But the beauty of inviting a dog into your family is that you get to choose him.

If you choose poorly, you have to deal with the consequences of your choice. But for the most part, a simple look at the pros and cons of a dog breed can prevent regret and ensure satisfaction.

Here are the pros and cons of Pitbulls at a glance:

Pros of PitbullsCons of Pitbulls
Pitbulls can protect you with their presence alonePitbulls are banned in some states making travel difficult
Pitbulls love people if socialized wellPitbulls can be aggressive if untrained
Pitbulls seek love and acceptancePitbull owners may get treated negatively
Pitbulls keep you young and healthyPitbulls are destructive when anxious or bored
Pitbulls become part of the familyPitbulls require plenty of exercise
Pitbulls are intelligentPitbulls can be hard to train as adults
Pitbulls require minimal grooming

Pitbulls were bred in England in the 1800s by crossbreeding Old English Bulldogs with the now-extinct Old English Terriers.

People wanted to combine the gameness and drive of terriers with the power of bulldogs to create a powerful and muscular breed to fight in pits for bull baiting.

The cruel blood sport of bullbaiting was outlawed in 1835, but people began to engage the dogs in illegal fighting.

Nonetheless, owners nurtured them to be kind, loyal, and affectionate to humans as they had to be sure that they could handle them without the danger of being bit themselves. 

Today’s Pitbulls continue to receive more positive media attention after illegal dog fighting highlighted the breed in the 1980s. No longer are they predominantly associated with “urban thugs,” crime, and poverty, but they’re now seen as family members and companion pets.

Learn More About Pitbulls In This Video…

Pitbull Pros

The advantages of having a Pitbull are similar to having almost any big dog with a big heart. Because the cons are overpublicized, knowing everything good about Pitbulls is crucial before you decide to get (or not get) one.

Here is every joy and benefit you can expect when buying a Pitbull puppy and raising it right.

Pitbulls Can Protect You With Their Presence Alone

Pitbulls are known to be great family protectors. Due to their dark past, they’re often mistaken as dangerous, but consider the fact that fighting breeds were trained to be fond of humans but aggressive towards other animals.

While many stereotypes about Pitbulls get them judged unfairly by some people, it works in your favor. A Pitbull is seen as a threat by people who don’t know any better, which makes them good dogs to have in your home if you want to discourage intruders and troublemakers.

Nonetheless, there is a slight reason for worry regarding this ‘benefit.’ Your friends might be intimidated by your Pitbull and may not want to visit often.

You can avoid this by socializing him while he is a puppy. Once your Pitbull learns not to bark at everyone, he will not be as intimidating to guests.

Pitbull Sitting on a farm

Pitbulls Love People if Socialized Well

Pitbulls might have a fierce reputation because of their dog-fighting ancestry. But Instagram and TikTok have exposed that when these dogs are treated well as puppies and socialized at a young age, they love to be with people. One of their favorite spots is the human lap. Is there anything more adorable than that?

Pitbulls can grow quite big, being muscular and athletic, but view themselves as puppies. If they’re treated well and assimilate into the human social experience, they’ll climb onto you and your family members’ laps, which can be hilarious and exhausting. It makes for a good lap workout, though.

Pitbulls Seek Love and Acceptance

Extending the previous point, Pitbulls actually love compliments. They generally seek pats, “good dog” compliments, and loving gestures. Their people-pleasing tendencies can help them behave well. But for that to apply, you need to be excellent at communicating what you want from your dog.

Given the number of restraining orders against ex-spouses in America, it is clear that there is such a thing as too much love. And Pitbulls can definitely cross the line in chasing love. Think of your ex who won’t stop texting but with a 235 psi bite force. That’s a Pitbull if you don’t set boundaries early on.

A Pitbull Keeps You Young and Healthy

Pitbulls remain young at heart. They also require a lot of exercise, which keeps you young. While exercising a Pitbull can be a chore if you’ve never taken long walks, hiking or strolling with one can be quite engaging if you’re physically and mentally prepared.

Before you get a Pitbull puppy, know how much exercise he will need at different stages of his development. In a nutshell, adults need 1-2 hours of daily exercise. If you don’t want to move around a lot, you can outsource walking to professional dog walkers.

Pitbulls Become a Part of the Family

Pitbulls have become notorious for treating whatever they see as “the other.” As dogs who descend from a fighting ancestry, they have a very strong “us” vs. “them” mentality.

But the “us” aspect can be expanded to encompass all humans through appropriate socialization. A Pitbull is loyal to whoever he sees as a part of his family.

A Pitbull’s love for your family shouldn’t be considered an indication of his general nature. He can still be dangerous to outsiders if he hasn’t seen many strangers. Counterconditioning and desensitization can be used early on in a Pitbull’s life to ensure he doesn’t put God’s fear in random pedestrians’ hearts.

Pitbulls Are Smart

Pitbulls are very intelligent and can understand human body language. They can also read people’s moods and align their own accordingly. If you establish yourself as the guiding alpha, your Pitbulls’ intelligence contributes to his discipline.

A Pitbull’s intelligence works in his favor in a decent environment and against him in poor conditions. When a Pitbull is surrounded by love, he can genuinely tell that humans love him and are his friends.

He can also tell right from wrong if you establish yourself as the authority. But he starts testing his limits if he knows you love him too much to take a stand.

Pitbull Chewing Bone while sitting on the floor

Pitbulls Require Minimal Grooming 

Although Pitbulls shed all year round, their short, thin coat is very low maintenance, and you can bathe them pretty quickly. Their fur is not naturally odiferous, and they do not need to get doggie haircuts, unlike Poodles.

As a Pitbull’s coat is very short and lies flat against the body, it is very low maintenance. Bathing should be infrequent to preserve the natural oils that protect their skin and fur. You should only bathe a Pittie 3-4 times a year or when the dog gets excessively dirty.

Pitbulls are single-coated breeds and don’t have an undercoat responsible for heavy shedding in some breeds, such as the German Shepherd’s coat. Nonetheless, they still require regular brushing 2-3 times a week, but it doesn’t take long, and your dog will enjoy it.

Cons of Pitbulls

Most drawbacks of having a Pitbull are associated with how people view and treat them, their legal status, and whether they are trained appropriately.

Many of these aren’t actual disadvantages of the breed but inconveniences of getting a Pitbull. Still, they qualify as cons you must deal with once you get a Pitbull.

Here are the drawbacks you should be prepared to deal with if you get a Pitbull.

Pitbulls Are Banned in Some States, Making Travel Difficult

There are some states where Pitbulls are subject to some kind of ban known as breed-specific legislation. These range from most of these states’ cities banning Pitbull breeding to some outright bans treating Pitbull ownership or possession as illegal. 

This can make moving states and domestic tourism (with family) nearly impossible if you have a Pitbull.

In some cities, legislation might change overnight, making an existing Pitbull illegal to own. This is one of the most significant drawbacks of having a dog that belongs to a breed with a poor public image.

Interestingly, the American Veterinary Medical Association is against breed-specific legislation, stating it does not prevent dog bites, but that is a topic for another conversation.

Pitbulls Can Be Aggressive If Untrained

Pitbulls can bite when startled. They have an immense prey drive, and unless socialized to see other animals and dogs as friends, they can bite random animals.

Sometimes, Pitbulls can accidentally bite a dog or a pet just because he is full of energy and is engaging in rough play.

That’s why it is crucial to safely release a Pitbull’s pent-up energy even if he is appropriately socialized.

Pitties don’t do well in a house with other pets due to their high prey drive. Even with intense training, you can never totally eliminate the breed’s instinctive aggression towards other pets – after all, it’s just genetics.

Their bite strength and willingness to follow through make them far more lethal when aggressive. That said, Pitbulls’ bite force is also exaggerated. These dogs have a bite force of 235 psi, which is lower than that of a German Shepherd’s bite – and I feel perfectly safe with my German Shepherd.

Pitbull Owners May Get Treated Negatively

If you get a Pitbull, you have to accept there is prejudice, and you’ll be judged negatively by people whose research doesn’t go beyond a few headlines. They might think you are irresponsible and may stay away from you. In a way, that can be a plus. Still, enough people judging your dog as a menace can have real consequences. 

As mentioned in the legal status drawback, Pitbulls can get banned overnight, sometimes due to human factors affecting canine behavior. On a more local level, anxious looks can communicate to your doggo that he is not welcome by humans. This can reflect poorly on your Pitbull’s self-image.

“This seemingly minor issue can have far-reaching consequences because of the negative feedback loop that occurs from ill-treatment.” – World of Dogz

Your Pitbull won’t take anxious looks neutrally. He, too, will be on edge around people, pushing them further into the anti-pitbull bubble. This downward spiral stops in a beating, bite, or snapping, which can lead to ostracization.

Please consider your neighborhood before getting a Pitbull. A community with many kids isn’t a good place for this breed because kids don’t know any better. A city with news reports of Pitbull accidents isn’t a good place either because the matter can get political at any point in the dog’s life.

The only way to be secure in your Pitbull purchase is to be in a city that isn’t just neutral regarding the breed but is pro-Pitbulls. Cities that are big on anti-cruelty and states with maximum property rights are the best places to be if you want to get a Pitbull.

Pitbull Chewing a Spade.

Pitbulls Are Destructive When Anxious or Bored

This is by far one of the most impactful cons of owning a Pitbull. When a Pitbull gets bored, he can turn every biteable thing in your home into a chew toy. And given his bite strength, almost everything is biteable.

Pitbulls can also exhibit this behavior when stressed or anxious, such as when suffering from separation anxiety, to which the breed is prone. Pitbulls are very sensitive and affectionate and don’t do well when separated from their owners for long.

However, if you raise him well and help your Pitbull be secure in himself and his surroundings, he won’t be anxious. Of course, this potential drawback is manageable unless you’re too busy to have time for your dog.

Pitbulls Require Plenty of Exercise

Pitbulls are hyperactive and need constant physical and mental stimulation. While exercise won’t fix your dog’s anxiety, it can eliminate his boredom and excess energy. This can reduce behavior problems, like destructive chewing, and overall aggression levels.

If you’re not up for exercising your dog daily and can’t get someone else to do it, you shouldn’t get a high-energy dog. And you definitely shouldn’t get a Pitbull.

They will need 1-2 hours of daily exercise and playtime, such as fetch, agility, and off-leash running, in a safe environment, which also helps with ongoing socialization.

Pitbulls prefer living in a house with a yard instead of an apartment to expend their energy. Remember, if they don’t get their exercise, they’ll get frustrated and become aggressive.

Two Pitbulls chewing a rope.

Pitbulls Can Be Hard To Train as Adults

This negative doesn’t apply to breeder-released puppies. In general, Pitbull pups learn commands with ease due to their high intelligence. But when you adopt one from a shelter, you don’t have a choice. If adults are all they have, an adult Pitbull is all you can get.

Pitbulls should be trained when young to counter the breed’s inclination towards bossiness and stubbornness, as combined with its strength, which can make it hard for you to handle your dog if he doesn’t learn that you are the true boss.

That said, you can get an adult Pitbull if he is trained but given up for adoption because the family is moving to a state with anti-pitbull laws.

Often, people give up Pitbulls for adoption after having a baby, too. These dogs are usually well-trained, but the owners are too nervous about having them around a baby.

Take the example of the comedian Bill Burr, who famously had a Pitbull he couldn’t stop talking about. But because he wasn’t educated on training Pitbulls, his dog was as energetic as him. As soon as he had a baby, he gave up his dog for adoption and emotionally broke down, making that choice.

On the other hand, many families with babies and young children have Pitbulls if the dog was introduced as a puppy and grew up with them.


Can Pitbulls coexist peacefully with other pets?

With proper socialization and training from a young age, your Pitbull can learn to coexist peacefully with other animals. However, you must still supervise interactions closely at first. With patience and consistency, your Pitbull may accept and even bond with other furry family members.

Do Pitbulls require special training or handling?

While any dog needs training, your Pitbull does require some special attention. As a strong, energetic breed, you must establish yourself as a calm, confident leader through early socialization.

Be consistent with basic commands and handling. With positive reinforcement training, your Pitbull can learn manners. Regular exercise and mental stimulation will also help your Pitbull behave well.

Final Thoughts

Pitbulls and their many mixes are a popular breed. They are loved because they have fun-loving personalities, are loyal and protective, and are affectionate towards their family. Pitties also love to please their owners and easily learn tricks and commands.

But Pitbulls do have some limitations; they are aggressive towards other pets and dogs due to their ancestry, especially if unsocialized and untrained. They have a high prey drive, need lots of exercise, and don’t do well in apartments, preferring to have a yard to run around.

Pitbulls are best suited to owners with good discipline and firm training. They’re very social and don’t like to be left alone for long periods, so if you’re busy at work all day, you shouldn’t get this breed.

If you’re thinking of owning a Pitbull, I hope learning about these Pitbull pros and cons has helped you with your decision.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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