Did You Know?
The name 'pit bull' is loosely used to describe any dog that has a menacing look and behaves like a bully. It's a shame, really, because the term can only be used for American Pit Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers―all of whom happen to be extremely loyal and loving dogs.
A designer dog is basically a cross between two purebred dogs―in this case, we have the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the Standard Poodle. A purebred dog comes from a long line of ancestors who have more or less the same temperament and physical characteristics. With hybrids or designer dogs, it gets a little tougher to predict the outcome, since crossbred puppies borrow traits from both parents, and end up with some rather unique characteristics of their own.
Thus, things aren't too different with the pit bull-poodle mix either―this dog will inherit physical and behavioral traits from both parents, which is why it is important to first acquaint yourself with the parent breeds.
AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER
◾ APBTs were known as the 'nursemaid's dog' for long; it's just that their reputation took a beating following some very irresponsible human interference. Pit bulls were, and still are used in dog fights―it is rather unfortunate how their people-pleasing traits are exploited to make them aggressive and attacking.
◾ Pit bulls are, in fact, one of the most loving and loyal breeds there are. Temperament tests have even placed pit bulls above poodles, owing to their affable personalities. These dogs are kind, sensitive, and tend to worship their favorite humans, to the extent that they will follow their every instruction.
◾ Physically, pitties are stocky and muscular, with a wide head and a broad jawline. To some, they may look intimidating, but that's just until you get to know them well.
◾ Poodles are known for their striking good looks, more than anything else, and it is astounding how people tend to dismiss them to be fluff pieces or arm candy. Historically, Poodles were rather prized water retrievers, helping hunters to fetch water fowl.
◾ As is the case with all retrievers, Poodles are immensely intelligent dogs who seek out physical activity. They are also very loving and tend to have a naughty streak in them. You can always count on their loyalty, and their people-pleasing nature means that they are very trainable dogs.
◾ Poodles require regular grooming, making them high maintenance and expensive to keep. They don't shed much―therefore their coat requires daily brushing.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR PIT BULL-POODLE MIX
TEMPERAMENT AND PERSONALITY
◾ Both parents being loving, family dogs, you can expect their offspring to be in the same mold. The Poodles have a reputation of being a bit aloof, but each dog also has its individual personality traits.
◾ You can expect your dog to be a little stubborn and mischievous. Any dog, irrespective of the breed, needs to be trained to follow basic commands, and the right time to do this would be since puppyhood.
◾ The Pit bull-Poodle mix will be very loyal and protective of his turf and his people. Therefore, socializing this dog is of utmost importance. Introduce him to other animals and people and encourage interaction as much as possible, so that he does not view outsiders as a threat.
◾ Your Pit-Poodle will be very playful, energetic, and loving with everyone in the family. It is very likely that she will maintain a puppy-like demeanor throughout her adult life. Remember, several people have exploited the Pit Bull's tendency to please―training them to be deliberately aggressive. Pit Bull mixes thrive on love and attention, and they will go to any lengths to please you. Ensure that you thoroughly educate yourself about them before you bring one home. Devote ample time to their training and socializing, and you'll end up with the best dog you will ever have the pleasure of keeping.
HEALTH AND GROOMING
◾ Your Pit-Poodle is expected to have a clean bill of health, as long as you have picked a responsible breeder. Never, ever choose a dubious breeder or make a purchase from a puppy mill, as these dogs are subject to a lot of torture under the name of breeding. They aren't scanned for inherited illnesses, as a result of which, the litter will be unhealthy.
◾ Pit Bulls are short-haired, and do not require much grooming. However, if your mix takes after the Poodle, you will have to invest in regular grooming sessions, and devote time to brushing his coat daily.
◾ Pitties enjoy their chew toys, so ensure that you provide them with lots of sturdy ones, which cannot be chewed up and eaten.
◾ These dogs have an average lifespan of 9 - 10 years.
As unfortunate as it is, Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes are among the highest to be abandoned or returned to a shelter. We can't stress enough on the importance of understanding this breed and its needs before you bring one home. Also, Pit Bulls are almost always counted under Breed Specific Legislation, so be sure that you have the requisite permits to own one in your area. Your efforts will go a long way in restoring this oft-misunderstood breed's reputation.