Pit Bulls make great defensive dogs and loyal pets.
If you give them the training, grooming, and firm guidance they need to live in a human family, you can have a happy experience with them even if you live in an apartment.
But bringing out the best in these massive natural-alpha dogs takes information, preparation, and work.
In this article, we will tell you six things you need to know about Pit Bulls before you bring one home to live with you and your family in your apartment.
Pit bulls love to be around people
Pit Bulls are, at their heart, companion dogs. They love to follow their people around the house. They should not be left outside, because they become lonely.
Your apartment can’t be too cramped for your Pit Bull to be happy. That isn’t to say your apartment can’t be too cramped for you to be happy living with your Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls enjoy being in a house full of people. Because they are intensely loyal dogs, they may take a while to warm up to visitors and strangers.
But because they love being the center of attention, they quickly take to new people.
Pit Bulls are Smart
Pit Bulls have average to above-average intelligence. Psychologist and dog researcher Stanley Coren surveyed 6000 dog owners of over 100 breeds of dogs in the US and Canada.
Two of the breeds we know as Pit Bulls (more about that a little later), the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier, ranked 84th and 48th of all breeds in learning commands like “Sit,” “Stay,” “Fetch.” and “Heel.”
That’s important because you definitely want to be able to get your Pit Bull to sit when you have guests over to your apartment.
You want your Pit Bull to stay when you are out on a walk and a car passes by.
But where Pit Bulls shine is in adaptive intelligence. Pit Bulls can figure out how to enjoy their lives wherever they are.
If you remember that they recognize familiar objects by scent, and take their favorite blankets and toys along, they adjust to repeated moves. They can even learn to live with cats.
Pit Bulls aren’t the greatest at living with other pets, but they can be trained
If you were to ask “Can a Pit Bull get along with cats?” the honest answer would be “It depends.”
Pit Bull puppies have a period of about seven weeks when their brains are developing the connections between other animals, physical objects, and people with a feeling of security and safety.
There is a time in a Pit Bull’s third and fourth months of life when he will remember happy experiences.
This is the time to introduce your Pit Bull to cats and other small pets, children, vacuum cleaners, car rides, playing with a ball, and people of all sizes, races, voices, and dresses.
Remember, for your Pit Bull, smelling is believing. Years later, your Pit Bull will remember someone he met when he was a puppy is a friend by their scent.
Take advantage of this short time in a Pit Bull puppy’s life to socialize them so they will be friendly dogs later.
Pit Bulls don’t make great watchdogs
Many people are afraid of Pit Bulls. Burglars usually aren’t. That’s because burglars know something about Pit Bulls that the general public doesn’t:
Pit Bulls thrive on attention. They are just as likely to lick on and cuddle with a burglar as they are to bark when they break in.
This doesn’t mean that Pit Bulls don’t offer any protection for you and your family at all. Lots of people are afraid of them.
You will need to provide your friends, neighbors, and other guests with gentle introductions and happy experiences with your Pit Bull for them to feel comfortable.
If you don’t want someone around, don’t introduce them to your gentle Pit Bull. Usually, they will voluntarily stay away.
Pit Bulls do make great service dogs
Under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service dog can be any breed.
In the United States, federal law takes precedence over state laws and city regulations. Even in locations where Pit Bulls are banned, you can have a Pit Bull that has been trained as a service dog.
There are Pit Bull Allergy Awareness Service Dogs, Pit Bull Autism Service Dogs, Pit Bull Diabetic Alert Dogs, Pit Bull Hearing Dogs, Pit Bull Mobility Assistance Dogs, Pit Bull PTSD Service Dogs, and Pit Bull Seizure Response Dogs.
These trained canine companions provide valuable services to their owners, and are permitted in apartments everywhere in the United States.
You may be asked to show how you acquired your service dog, however, before your apartment owner allows you to keep him.
You can have a “Pit Bull” and not even know it
As hard as it is to imagine, you can have a dog that your apartment complex, city, or state regards as a Pit Bull and not even know they are banned.
Part of the confusion is that there are several breeds collectively known as Pit Bulls.
This designation applies to the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bully, the American Staffordshire Terrier, or any mixture of those breeds, or any mixture of these breeds with any other breed that results in certain physical characteristics.
Basically, if your dog looks like a Pit Bull, she will be treated like a Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls are short and stocky, and they all have a short snout. The American Pit Bull Terrier has slightly longer legs.
The other two breeds are more square and stout. In theory, you could cross a Pit Bull with any other large dog and the puppies would be regulated as Pit Bulls.
Why should you care?
If your dog looks like a Pit Bull, your dog will be treated as a Pit Bull.
Enlightened dog owners know that Pit Bulls can make good neighbors. Your municipality and apartment complex may not be run by enlightened dog owners.
In the USA, hundreds of cities ban Pit Bulls. There are 91 cities that have Pit Bull bans in Iowa. Most of them also ban German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, and other dogs that weigh over 100 pounds.
The city of Florissant, Missouri, has a complete ban on Pit Bulls. There are 86 other cities in Missouri that strictly regulate them. There are 80 cities in Ohio that do the same.
Kansas has 77 towns that ban Pit Bulls. Colorado does not allow you to control, own, possess, or transport Pit Bulls, Cane Corsos, Dogo Argentinos, Presa Mallorquins, or TosaInus.
Thirty cities in Arkansas ban Pit Bulls, and Kentucky bans Pit Bulls along with Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Mastiffs, Chow chows, Huskies, Akitas, Great Danes, St. Bernards, and Alaskan Malamutes.
If your state or city bans Pit Bulls, you can’t have one. Similarly, if the owners of your apartment complex can’t get insurance for Pit Bull attacks, they will not allow you to keep one on their property. (There is a gray area in the law about renting apartments to people who own Pit Bull service dogs.)
It is never a good idea to try to flaunt the rules. Law enforcement can work out badly for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions About Adopting Pit Bulls
Q. Can I adopt a rescue Pit Bull?
A. Several rescue organizations specialize in Pit Bulls, like Kennel to Couch. These rescue organizations will make sure you have and know everything you need to give your rescue Pit Bull a good home.
Q. Don’t Pit Bulls get smelly?
A. Pit Bulls can give off a musky odor, but you can keep it under control by giving them a rubdown with a wet cloth several times a week. Don’t wash your Pit Bull when you don’t have to. Excessive washing dries out their skin.
Q, Aren’t Pit Bulls the most aggressive breed of dog?
A. No, the most aggressive breed of dog is the Dachshund.
Small dogs are more aggressive than larger dogs, because they are more easily injured if another animal attacks them first.
The American Temperament Testing Society has found that Pit Bulls are slightly more likely to be good-natured than Poodles (86.4 percent for Pit Bulls, compared to 86.3 percent for Poodles), and about 20 percent less likely to be aggressive than Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Papillons.
Q. Do Pit Bulls have any common health problems?
A. Pit Bulls that have to go up and down stairs develop problems with hip dysplasia, dislocated kneecaps, and degenerative myelopathy.
Their short coats predispose them to mange, but they don’t have as many fleas as long-haired breeds.
A Final Note
Dogs usually become what their humans expect them to become.
If you expect your Pit Bull to become a sweet, loyal, gentle dog that is kind to every member of your family and your neighbors, too, she will.
Have confidence that your Pit Bull can control its temper and become a good neighbor in your complex and a good citizen in your town.
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