Like most dogs, American pit bull terriers have noses that come in various shades of pink or black, and their coats come in many colors. Pit bulls are a distinctive and special breed all the way around, and pigmentation doesn’t make one more special than the other—particularly when it comes to the color of his nose.
During the 19th century, cross-breeding bulldogs and terriers began to take place in England, Ireland and Scotland. Dog fanciers were trying to create a breed with the willingness of a terrier and the strength of a bulldog. What developed is the active, muscular and agile pit bull known today. Eventually, immigration brought these bull-terrier crosses to America. Farmers and ranchers began to use them for hunting or as catch dogs for catching semi-wild cattle and hogs. Their loyal and loving nature also made them family companions.
Folklore tends to surround pit bulls more than most breeds. There are various tales concerning the origins and bloodlines of the red or blue nose, yet this information is rarely substantiated. What is biologically sound, however, is a red or blue nose is a byproduct of selective breeding and a cosmetic working of dominate and recessive genes. For example, the canine melanophilin gene (MLPH) is the gene responsible for coat color dilution. It dilutes a black coat to “blue” and a red or brown coat to “fawn.” This dilution is also used in other breeds such as Doberman pinschers.
Breeders can produce pit bulls in almost every color. Red or blue noses are not rare, nor does it guarantee they’re part of a champion bloodline. Unscrupulous breeders will pitch color in order to charge a higher price to ill-informed buyers. Some believe nose color makes a difference in temperament. Many factors play into the personality role, and nose leather is not one of them. If you're purchasing a red or blue nose pit bull, what needs to be considered are his wellness and the documented health of his parents. A professional breeder will be able to provide this information.
If you’re going to register your pit bull as a breeding dog, the American Dog Breeders Association states that registering his color is for identification purposes only. It does not depict his genotype, or the quality of his breeding stock. Stock quality involves his temperament, structural soundness and overall health. Pit bulls have maintained their breed type for more than 150 years, and their original medium size, solid build and short coat are among the features recognized by the United Kennel Club. The color of his nose has nothing to do with his significance or function.
- United Kennel Club: American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Dog Breeders Association: The Genetics of Breed Color in the American Pit Bull Terrier
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Chromosomal Assignment of the Canine Melanophilin Gene (MLPH): A Candidate Gene for Coat Color Dilution in Pinschers
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