Society often views American pit bull terriers as aggressive and unpredictable. More often than not, however, this is due to poor breeding and training during the first year of life. Reputable pit bull breeders take great care in ensuring only the highest-quality, evenly tempered dogs are bred and that they properly socialize their puppies from the beginning. They also make sure that their dogs only go to loving, good-quality homes. Breeding pit bulls is as much about choosing which dogs to mate as it is taking care of newborn puppies and finding them homes.
A good breeder only breeds dogs that are registered with the United Kennel Club (UKC) and conform to breed standards. While there are certainly unregistered pitbulls that are healthy and well mannered, breeding registered dogs allows breeders to have an idea of the types of dogs in the bitch's or stud's bloodline. This can help to weed out any potential health or temperament issues.
Choosing a Bitch and Stud
Reputable breeders will only mate two quality dogs together, and look closely at the history and bloodlines of each animal. Many follow the UKC breed standards for looks in an effort to maintain the working ability and physical prowess of the pit bull terrier. Once it is determined that the dog meets these standards, temperament and intelligence are taken into account. A reputable breeder will never mate a pit bull that is skittish, shy or overly aggressive. Both the bitch and stud should be easily trained and eager to please. While a slight tendency towards aggression with other dogs is often overlooked, provided the pit bull responds well to warnings from the owner, any signs of aggression towards humans is unacceptable. According to UKC standards, a well-bred pit bull makes a poor guard dog, as they are naturally inclined to be welcoming and loving with people, even strangers. Only a bitch and stud who meet all of these standards should mate. Breeders may use their own dogs or a stud or bitch from another reputable breeder.
Mating and Pregnancy
Once a bitch reaches the estrus stage of her heat cycle, she is ready to mate with the stud. This stage lasts for five to 14 days, and is noted by the animal's discharge changing from a red or pink color to the color of straw. Once it is determined that the female pit bull is pregnant, her breeder and vet monitor her closely. Most pit bulls have 7 to 10 puppies per litter.
Caring for Pit Bull Puppies
Once the puppies are born, breeders take extra precaution to begin socialization as soon as possible. After six weeks of being close with the mother, breeders typically allow puppies to participate in the family life of the breeder. This early socialization is key to ensuring a well-tempered dog. Once the puppies are ready to leave their mother and vaccinated, the breeder begins looking for homes. Outside of choosing which dogs to breed, this is one of the most important aspects of breeding pit bull puppies. A reputable, high-quality breeder will take extra care to ensure that his dogs only go to loving homes that are equipped to properly train and care for this rather unique breed.