Standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized,
solidly built, short-coated dog with smooth, well-defined musculature.
This breed is both powerful and athletic. The body is just slightly
longer than tall, but bitches may be somewhat longer in body than
dogs. The length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow
to the ground) is approximately equal to one-half of the dog's height
at the withers. The head is of medium length, with a broad, flat
skull, and a wide, deep muzzle. Ears are small to medium in size,
high set, and may be natural or cropped. The relatively short tail
is set low, thick at the base and tapers to a point. The American
Pit Bull Terrier comes in all colors and color patterns. This breed
combines strength and athleticism with grace and agility and should
never appear bulky or muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy.
The essential characteristics of the American Pit
Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed
is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make
excellent family companions and have always been noted for their
love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression
and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner
who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed's
natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers
so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best
choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with
strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic
of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in
performance events because of its high level of intelligence and
its willingness to work.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has always been capable of doing a
wide variety of jobs so exaggerations or faults should be penalized
in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog's versatility.
The APBT head is unique and a key element of breed
type. It is large and broad, giving the impression of great power,
but it is not disproportionate to the size of the body. Viewed from
the front, the head is shaped like a broad, blunt wedge. When viewed
from the side, the skull and muzzle are parallel to one another
and joined by a well defined, moderately deep stop. Supraorbital
arches over the eyes are well defined but not pronounced. The head
is well chiseled, blending strength, elegance, and character.
SKULL - The skull is large, flat or slightly rounded, deep, and
broad between the ears. Viewed from the top, the skull tapers just
slightly toward the stop. There is a deep median furrow that diminishes
in depth from the stop to the occiput. Cheek muscles are prominent
but free of wrinkles. When the dog is concentrating, wrinkles form
on the forehead, which give the APBT his unique expression.
MUZZLE - The muzzle is broad and deep with a very
slight taper from the stop to the nose, and a slight falling away
under the eyes. The length of muzzle is shorter than the length
of skull, with a ratio of approximately 2:3. The topline of the
muzzle is straight. The lower jaw is well developed, wide and deep.
Lips are clean and tight.
Faults: Snipey muzzle; flews; weak lower jaw.
TEETH - The American Pit Bull Terrier has a complete
set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.
Fault: Level bite.
Serious Faults: Undershot, or overshot bite; wry
mouth; missing teeth (this does not apply to teeth that have been
lost or removed by a veterinarian).
NOSE - The nose is large with wide, open nostrils.
The nose may be any color.
EYES - Eyes are medium size, round to almond-shaped,
and set well apart and low on the skull. All colors are equally
acceptable except blue, which is a serious fault. Haw should not
Serious Faults: Bulging eyes; both eyes not matched
in color; blue eyes.
EARS - Ears are high set and may be natural or
cropped without preference. If natural, semi-prick or rose are preferred.
Prick or flat, wide ears are not desired.
The neck is of moderate length and muscular. There
is a slight arch at the crest. The neck widens gradually from where
it joins the skull to where it blends into well laid-back shoulders.
The skin on the neck is tight and without dewlap.
Faults: Neck too short and thick; thin or weak neck; ewe neck; dewlap.
The shoulder blades are long, wide, muscular, and
well laid back. The upper arm is roughly equal in length to the
shoulder blade and joins it at an apparent right angle.
The forelegs are strong and muscular. The elbows are set close to
the body. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are set moderately
wide apart and perpendicular to the ground. The pasterns are short,
powerful, straight, and flexible. When viewed in profile, the pasterns
are nearly erect.
Faults: Upright or loaded shoulders; elbows turned
outward or tied-in; down at the pasterns; front legs bowed; wrists
knuckled over; toeing in or out.
The chest is deep, well filled in, and moderately
wide with ample room for heart and lungs, but the chest should never
be wider than it is deep. The forechest does not extend much beyond
the point of shoulder. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung
from the spine, then flattening to form a deep body extending to
the elbows. The back is strong and firm. The topline inclines very
slightly downward from the withers to a broad, muscular, level back.
The loin is short, muscular and slightly arched to the top of the
croup, but narrower than the rib cage and with a moderate tuck-up.
The croup is slightly sloping downward.
The hindquarters are strong, muscular, and moderately
broad. The rump is well filled in on each side of the tail and deep
from the pelvis to the crotch. The bone, angulation, and musculature
of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters. The thighs
are well developed with thick, easily discerned muscles. Viewed
from the side, the hock joint is well bent and the rear pasterns
are well let down and perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the
rear, the rear pasterns are straight and parallel to one another.
Faults: Narrow hindquarters; hindquarters shallow from pelvis to
crotch; lack of muscle; straight or over angulated stifle joint;
cow hocks; sickle hocks; bowed legs.
The feet are round, proportionate to the size of
the dog, well arched, and tight. Pads are hard, tough, and well
cushioned. Dewclaws may be removed.
Fault: Splayed feet.
The tail is set on as a natural extension of the
topline, and tapers to a point. When the dog is relaxed, the tail
is carried low and extends approximately to the hock. When the dog
is moving, the tail is carried level with the backline. When the
dog is excited, the tail may be carried in a raised, upright position
(challenge tail), but never curled over the back (gay tail).
Fault: Long tail (tail tip passes beyond point of hock).
Serious faults: Gay tail (not to be confused with
challenge tail); kinked tail.
Disqualification: Bobbed tail.
The coat is glossy and smooth, close, and moderately
stiff to the touch.
Faults: Curly, wavy, or sparse coat.
Disqualification: Long coat.
Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors
is acceptable, except for merle.
Height and Weight
The American Pit Bull Terrier must be both powerful
and agile so actual weight and height are less important than the
correct proportion of weight to height. Desirable weight for a mature
male in good condition is between 35 and 60 pounds. Desirable weight
for a mature female in good condition is between 30 and 50 pounds.
Dogs over these weights are not to be penalized unless they are
disproportionately massive or rangy.
The American Pit Bull Terrier moves with a jaunty,
confident attitude, conveying the impression that he expects any
minute to see something new and exciting. When trotting, the gait
is effortless, smooth, powerful, and well coordinated, showing good
reach in front and drive behind. When moving, the backline remains
level with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness. Viewed
from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross
or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge
toward center line of balance.
Faults: Legs not moving on the same plane; legs over reaching; legs
crossing over in front or rear; rear legs moving too close or touching;
rolling; pacing; paddling; sidewinding; hackney action; pounding.
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness
or extreme shyness. Unilateral or bilateral deafness. Bobbed tail.
Note: Although some level of dog aggression is
characteristic of this breed, handlers will be expected to comply
with U.K.C. policy regarding dog temperament at U.K.C. events.