**These traits are attributed to American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers (also called "pit bulls") by the AKC and UKC. **
Your dog may not have all of these traits, or may vary in some fashion. Your dog's personality can also change with experiences (good or bad) or with maturity. He may also be a mix. Each dog is an individual. Socialization, training, and management is always helpful.
Traits we see in the pit bull personality:
- Highly affectionate toward people, even strangers and
- Loves physical affection and attention
- Never redirects aggression on humans even during
times of high arousal
- Confident and not anxious (calm, cool, and collected)
- Obedient; eager to please
- Balanced, emotionally stable
- Submissive but not to a point of lacking confidence or
- A certain amount of reactivity or sensitivity toward other dogs is normal and acceptable in a pit bull and in many breeds of dogs
Traits that aren't expected in pit bulls:
- Nervous or "stressed out"
- Intolerant of handling or touching - avoids affection
from humans or tries to get away
- Territorial around humans; resource guarding
- Aggressive toward humans
- Willing to redirect aggression on humans when highly
- Overly aroused with no "off switch"
- Extremely mouthy
More on Dog-to-Dog Issues:
Dog directed aggression and human-aggression are entirely unrelated. They are completely separate behaviors and do not cross over. Some dogs (especially well-socialized ones) may always be social with other dogs throughout their lives while others will have minor to severe levels of dog-to-dog issues, even if they have been well socialized. Those that show leash reactivity can be trained to be calm around other dogs while on-leash. Pit bulls that have issues with other dogs can be very manageable. Each individual dog should be evaluated based on his own level of reactions to dogs, not because of his breed. Additionally, the human connection that pit bulls have is very helpful in managing reactions to dogs as they aim to please us. Over-the-top or extreme dog-to-dog aggression is not expected or acceptable in pit bulls. In any multi-pet household, you should always separate your companion animals when you leave. When there’s no one around for guidance and structure they can get into all sorts of trouble.
Marthina McClay, CPDT
Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer
Certified Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs, Inc.
AKC Certified CGC Evaluator
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