If you visit virtually any animal shelter in the United States, you will notice that the kennels are filled with an overwhelming number of pitbulls. Relinquished, rehomed, and abandoned far more than any other breed type, pitbulls or “bully breeds” are easily the most common kind of dog found at community shelters, animal control kennels, and rescue centers. You might also notice that a lot of them are black.
Pitbulls come in a wide range of colors and patterns, but the most common color is black. Because of this, black pitbulls are some of the most common dogs at shelters and are easy to find from breeders, both ethical and otherwise.
In this guide, we’re going to talk about some of the common misconceptions about black pitbulls, explain why you’ll see so many of these sweet pups in your local shelters, and share ways you can help destigmatize the breed or adopt a black pitbull of your own!
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Why Shelters Have So Many Pitbulls
As briefly mentioned, pitbulls are the most commonly relinquished, rehomed, and abandoned dog breeds in the world. Despite widespread social discrimination against the breed, pitbulls are also commonly overbred, with unregulated and backyard breeding creating a neverending stream of new shelter residents. Additionally, the pitbull’s reputation as “aggressive” has helped to fuel discriminatory housing and residency policies, which force some owners to choose between having somewhere to live and keeping their beloved family pet.
Unfortunately, 40-80% of all pitbulls that find themselves in shelters are euthanized, since there simply are not enough homes or resources to care for the number of new pitbulls abandoned in the U.S.
Social Discrimination & Misinformation
Modern-day pitbull shaming, or hate directed at pitbulls and their owners, dissuades many people from adopting pitbulls from shelters and even prevents people from finding housing, community resources, and access to local stores. Based on biased misinformation and social discrimination, pitbull shaming has even infiltrated governmental policy, with many areas of the world pushing pitbull bans and breed-specific legislation to prevent pitbulls from living in select communities.
Are Black Pitbulls More Aggressive?
No. Absolutely not.
The color of a dog has absolutely nothing to do with temperament unless it is somehow linked to a physical or genetic condition. For example, some all-white dogs are blind and deaf, which can impact that individual dog’s personality and disposition. Black pitbulls are not predisposed to any health conditions that should contribute to behavioral challenges, and develop their personalities and habits in exactly the same way as any other dog.
While black pitbulls are not more aggressive, they do experience more discrimination. In the world of animal rescue, some people refer to the issue as Black Dog Syndrome. There’s nothing wrong with black dogs, but adopters tend to pass them over in favor of dogs with different colors and patterns. Racism, which has contributed immensely to the social bias against pitbulls, may also play a role in this phenomenon.
Insta-Famous Pibbles You’ll Fall in Love With
Okay, that’s enough education for right now, let’s take a little break and fall in love with some house-hippos, shall we? Here are some of the pitbulls of Instagram that we definitely think you should be following!
1. Akira the Black “Pitbull”
Starting off strong with this pearl-obsessed diva: Akira! Follow @akirablackpit on Instagram to see this sweet girl living her best (and most fashionable) life while breaking stereotypes about black pitbulls!
2. The Blue Boys
Darren and Phillip are: @the_blueboys! Pajama wearing Staffy brothers with the world’s cutest smiles, if these two angels don’t convert you to a pittie lover, you can still admire how gentle they are with the human baby they live with.
3. Calista the Pit Bull
Calista’s life didn’t start out well, and she lost her ears to multiple bite wounds after time spent as a bait dog. Luckily, @calistathepitbull was found by rescuers, rehabilitated, and given a forever home where she gets tons of attention, love, and of course adoration from her thousands of fans.
Black Pitbull FAQ
Here are some of the most common questions people have about black pitbulls, and answers to help you make an informed decision about adopting your own pittie.
The term “pitbull” has been co opted as an umbrella term for a variety of dogs belonging to the “bully breed” group including but not limited to: American Pit Bull Terriers, the American Bully, Bulldogs, Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, Boxers, and more. Each of these breeds come in black among other colors.
Tri-color, merle, lilac, and blue are the most rare pitbull colors. While all-black pitbulls are somewhat uncommon (most have a few spots of white), black pitbulls in general are not rare.
White Pitbulls with brown or brindle spots have the cutest name ever: Moo Moo Pitbulls! These cuties look a little bit like cows, and come in lots of variations and patterns. No two Moo Moo Pitties are quite alike and are as unique as a leopard’s (Pitbull’s) spots.
Some breeders advertise their black pitbulls as rare, sometimes earning thousands of dollars for their all-black pups thanks to effective propaganda. A well-bred pitbull in a regular color like black should cost between $1,000 and $2,500 from a breeder, but you can easily find black pitbulls for under $200 at your local shelter!
Bully breeds and Pitbulls have an average lifespan of around 8–16 years. The color of your pitbull won’t impact how long they live unless the color is associated with certain health conditions. Black Pitbulls are not more predisposed to any health problems and can live long lives.
The size of your pitbull will depend entirely on its genetics. As we’ve mentioned, black pitbulls can be a mix of a variety of “bully breeds”, which will help to determine how large they get. Most American Pitbull Terriers weigh around 40-60 lbs., but with little breed regulation, genetic outcomes are not guaranteed, and many grow much larger, or stay small.
No. Blue nose pitbulls have a blue-gray nose, and a blue-gray coat.
“Bully breed” is just another name for the generic term “pitbull.” A cross of any bully breed dog (like the American Pit Bull Terrier or a Mastiff) will produce a “bully” type dog. Don’t let the name fool you: bullies are sweet, gentle, loving dogs!
Colby Kennels was one of the original breeders of American pitbulls. Vital to the standardization of the breed, Colby pitbulls have bloodlines that can be traced back to this famous American kennel.
Mastiffs are typically the strongest of the bully breeds, thanks to their giant size and sturdy bodies.
The term “gator pitbull” was developed as a gimmick by backyard breeders trying to advertise the bloodlines of their pups. Theoretically the ancestors of two famous fighting dogs, gator pitbulls are no different from other pitbulls unless their bloodlines can specifically be proven. Because dog fighting is wrong, illegal, and immoral, seeking out gator pitbulls is frowned upon.
Like Colby pitbulls, Gotti pitbulls are the offspring of dogs in the Gotti bloodline, a well-known American breeder of pitties.
The price of a solid black Pitbull puppy from a reputable breeder will vary enormously based on location, demand, and breeder reputation. In general, you can expect to pay around $1,000-—$2,500 from an ethical breeder.
Beware of breeders advertising dogs as rare or luxury. Many of the “new” varieties of Pitbull are purposefully bred for visual appeal, and not for health or temperament. These breeders may offer incredibly low prices, or sell for incredibly high prices to give the appearance of scarcity. If a Pitbull puppy seems either too expensive or too inexpensive, this could be a red flag.
There is no medical advantage to cropping a Pitbull’s ears. Historically, ear cropping and tail docking were done to protect working dogs from injury. Today, many working dog owners have discontinued this practice.
For regular pets, there is zero reasons to clip a dog’s ears, and the practice is done purely for aesthetics. Most veterinarians will not crop a non-working dog’s ears, which has led to more reports of animal abuse in the form of at-home ear cropping.
It is extremely rare for any dog to simply turn on their owners. The vast majority of dog attacks are due to neglect, abuse, or failure on the part of parents to properly supervise their children and pets.
Pitbulls are no more likely to bite their owners than any other breed, but they are more likely to suffer from abuse and neglect. Similarly, Pitbulls are less likely than many other breeds to be neutered by their owners, which can cause increased anxiety and reactivity in adult male dogs.
Pitbulls have also been broadly demonized by media outlets and racist/classist rhetoric that has associated Pitbulls with crime and violence. This is simply not true, and in fact, Pitbulls account for less than 1% of all dog attack fatalities in the U.S.
Bred by @darkdynastyk9s, Hulk was a 180 lb. American Bully who became famous thanks to his enormous size. A true gentle giant, Hulk was often seen enjoying play with his family’s human children, teaching other dogs to follow the rules, and interacting with the public.
The largest Pitbull breed currently available is the XL Bully. A variety of the American Bully, the XL Bully is selectively bred for size. While there are some fantastic examples of this breed, there is little data to show how XL Bully breeding programs will manage genetic health and temperament.
If you are interested in a giant breed and love Bully breeds, you should check out Mastiffs!
Classic names for black dogs like Midnight or Raven are great, but if you want to switch it up, try giving your Pittie one of these unique names.
-Odin — a Norse god
-Hurricane — a chaotic storm
-Atticus — an ancient Greek name
-Sirius — like the Harry Potter character!
-Snowball — an ironic name for a black Pitbull!
Where To Adopt Pitbulls
So, you want a pitbull of your very own? Excellent! You’re going to love having your very own house hippo. The first place you should always look is your local shelter or rescue. If you live in the U.S., there will be no shortage of pitbulls available to adopt. If you can’t find a pitbull locally, check out one of these fabulous rescues helping to give pitbulls loving forever homes:
Villalobos Rescue Center has been featured on multiple seasons of the hit Animal Planet docuseries Pit Bulls and Parolees, and continues to help pitbulls around the country behind the scenes, too.
Based in Texas, Three Little Pitties Rescue transports pitbulls away from overcrowded shelters, and helps to find them new forever homes.
Biggie’s Bullies is a Pittsburgh based rescue on a mission to get pitties out of shelters and into foster homes and forever families.