|Written by Franck Benet
|Sunday, 01 October 2006
American Pitbull Terriers are the most commonly purchased breed of dog in the US. Despite bad press, the breed’s strength and loyalty are still attractive to purchasers. Most dogs are probably purchased after a friend’s or neighbor’s dog had puppies. However, there are also dog breeders.
Dog breeders are often attempting to create the correct mix of characteristics to please show dog owners. This includes the classic features and current fads, which might include droopy jowls or wide mouths. A good merle colored puppy can easily reach $5000, so there is great incentive to pursue the correct mix of features. Additionally, there are still breeders catering to dog fighting enthusiasts. The quickest method to detect this is probably a reference to “game-bred” dogs. Dog breeders are very concerned with genetics and bloodlines, as knowledge of potentially harmful recessive genes can help prevent producing puppies with problems or illnesses that make them hard to sell.
Some dog breeders are actually fans of the dogs, rather than the best return for investment. Look for breeders that specialize in a breed and are knowledgeable. True pitbull breeders should be able to discuss the breed’s characteristics and features. A good pitbull breeder will only let a female breed once every one or two years, and pre-sells the puppies. A good pitbull breeder will interview you to be certain you will be a good owner before selling a dog. A good breeder has a good reputation with other breeders and will very willing to show you the facilities. A good pitbull breeder will be well liked by the dogs instead of running a puppy farm with no chance to know and love the dogs. The kennels should appear clean and spacious, with healthy and happy dogs in them. A good breeder offers registration information and other required or desired paperwork. A reputable breeder will offer a health guarantee and will be a good source of information for a new owner.
There are many things you will need once you have the pitbull puppy. Starting with food and water bowls, not forgetting actual food, then blankets and a sleeping area or dog bed, grooming supplies to clean your puppy and cut nails, not forgetting drying the dog off after the bath, and flea and tick treatments. A collar, dog license tag, leash and treats will be valuable when the time comes to walk or train the dog.
Once you have the pitbull puppy, you need a place to keep the little creature. This should include a place outdoors to live and play. This means there is often a need for a kennel of some sort. This should be big enough for a man to stand up in, and at least five by ten feet in floor space. Thirty-by-thirty is better if affordable as a pitbull kennel needs to be big enough for the dog to play and exercise, and pitbulls can be big dogs. This provides the dog room to romp and a place to rest and have down time after a tough day of being a doggy.
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First, it should be stated that puppies are adorable. There are also good, practical reasons to raise a dog from a puppy. Puppies can be trained more effectively and easily than adults, and raising a puppy around a family and, perhaps, other pets helps socialize the dog so it knows how to behave correctly as an adult. The natural good characteristics of the breed can be encouraged, and those characteristics that can be bad, if uncontrolled, can be moderated and channeled into healthy behaviors. Puppies are also fun.
American Pitbull Terriers have a bad reputation. Much of this is more legend than reality. Sensationalist news coverage and the breed’s popularity with dog fighters has helped to create an expectation that the breed is dangerous, which ensures that any mention of the breed will emphasize that expectation. The American Temperament Testing Society rates the Pitbull at 83.9, scoring as calmer than Gold Retrievers at 83.2 and Beagles at 78.2. There is a modicum of truth. Pitbulls are good-natured, eager to please and loyal, but can be willful and need a strong hand. Pitbulls are protective and can be aggressive towards other animals. This can be minimized by socialization, especially if the puppies are raised with other pets. The puppies will learn from the family, especially the one they think is the Alpha Male, how to deal with other creatures and situations.
Puppies are also a lot of work. Pitbull puppies are notorious for weak bladders, so expect lots of walks and accidents in this stage. Pitbull puppies also teethe, and can be less discriminating in their choice of chew toys. They will even select limbs, so Pitbull puppies should be kept separate from children during the teething process except under close supervision. Pitbull puppies can also be moody, which should be taken into account. This is one of the real dangers, as those who are just seduced by a cute puppy might decide the work is not what they expected, with dogs released or turned over to shelters, or given to other families who will not get this chance to socialize the dog from puppy on up.
When seeking a Pitbull puppy, the most obvious characteristic is color. Pitbulls are mainly white, black, beige and gray. There are rare examples of merle and silver, and those puppies will cost more. Pitbull puppies with red noses also have premium prices. When selecting a Pitbull puppy, seek an alert, curious, playful puppy, showing no signs of fear. The puppy should be interested in friends, but not frantic and out of control.
Grown Pitbulls are normally up to 22 inches tall, and weigh between 35-55 pounds. They have short fur, and are easy to groom. The dogs are muscular, stocky, agile and strong. They are typically active creatures. This means that those who select a Pitbull puppy should also be able to house and keep a large dog, needing exercise and room to romp.