Sadly, the history of the Pitbull — extensively used and bred for dogfighting and blood sports since the early 19th century — helped to give them the active genes they have today. But, how much exercise does a pitbull need?
Now a beloved family dog with an unfairly bad reputation, Pitbulls need at least one hour of daily exercise. Their daily exercise should be a combination of walking and playing.
To better understand Pitbull exercise needs, it’s essential to understand their genetics.
Pitbulls aren’t a recognized breed of dog. A Pitbull or “Pit Bull” describes four bully breeds. The American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
This article details more about the Pitbull, giving you a better understanding of what makes them an active breed. By the end, you’ll know the exercise needs of your Pit during their puppy, adult, and senior years — plus walk away with additional exercise ideas.
- Why are Pitbulls active dogs?
- How often do Pitbulls need to be walked?
- How long should a Pitbulls walk be?
- How much exercise does a senior Pitbull need?
Why are Pitbulls active dogs?
Like most dog breeds, their origin story dictates today’s temperament and need for exercise.
Bred from Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs, The American Pit Bull Terrier received the gameness — a working or fighting dog quality with traits of eagerness despite the risk of injury — from a Terrier and the athleticism and strength of the Bulldog.
Originally known as the Bull and Terrier, their fearlessness and athleticism made for an excellent bear and bull-baiting dog.
Old English Terrier, a now-extinct breed, was a popular working terrier breed in the 1800s. Breeders gave the namesake terrier to dog breeds that hunted underground. Chasing rabbits and foxes in their dens.
Old English Bulldogs are believed to have been a small Mastiff — an ancient war dog. With the popularity of bull-baiting in London, the Old English Bulldog was a specialized breed for the brutal blood sport.
While there isn’t a clinical “hyper dog” breed, there is a genetic sense for many dog breeds to need to burn off energy. Without the proper exercise, that energy can cause your Pitbull to become anxious and destructive.
How often do Pitbulls need to be walked?
Pitbulls need to be walked at least once a day and preferably twice.
Walking is an essential exercise for dogs. It helps them use up some of their energy and gives them a chance to explore the world around them.
Over time, and after their growing phase, you can increase a Pitbull’s fitness level to become jogging or running companions.
While some breeds, like the Labradoodle, excel at long-distance running, it’s recommended to only run with a Pitbull for a maximum of seven miles.
Running with your Pitbull too early can cause joint issues, so check with your veterinarian before starting.
Besides walks, what other exercises can you do with your Pitbull?
Pitbulls are excellent trail runners and hiking dogs. They handle agility well, which makes rough terrain an easy challenge.
The stamina of a Pitbull also makes them great jogging or running partners. Pitbulls have strong jaws and love to chew on toys and play tug of war.
Pitbulls aren’t known as strong swimmers but love water. Consider light swimming and playing in the water when the heat isn’t safe in the summer months.
There are many ways to supplement a walk when the weather doesn’t permit, but your best friend will always appreciate early morning walks.
How long should a Pitbull’s walk be?
A Pitbull’s walk should be at least 30 minutes to an hour. You can start with a shorter walk at a young age and gradually increase the time as they finish growing.
Pitbull puppies need 5 minutes of exercise twice a day for each month of age.
At 18 months, your Pitbull is an adult and through the twelve phases of growth and development. Once fully grown, Pitbulls have tremendous stamina and can run for up to seven miles.
It’s essential to test your dog’s stamina first by looking for signs of fatigue. You can avoid exhaustion by slowly increasing endurance.
Pitbull health risks.
Many dog breeds are at risk of developing hip dysplasia — a painful condition affecting the hip joint ball and socket — including Pitbulls.
Regular checkups with your veterinarian can help catch early signs of hip dysplasia, preventing your Pitbull from overworking and worsening the issue.
Aside from hip dysplasia, your Pitbull is at risk of developing hypothyroidism and heart disease. Early signs of hypothyroidism can include weight gain with no increase in appetite, and lethargy in an otherwise healthy dog.
Pitbulls are at the most risk of aortic stenosis — a heart disease that occurs when the heart’s aortic valve narrows.
If your Pitbull isn’t receiving daily exercise, always keep a close watch on your dog’s weight and adjust their food and snacks accordingly.
After all, 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight.
Due to their short hair, you can easily identify if your Pitbull is overweight. Look for a noticeable taper in your Pitbull’s waist, and be sure you can locate their ribs while feeling for them.
Pitbulls are active dogs that require more exercise than most breeds.
How much exercise does a senior Pitbull need?
As your Pitbull gets older, they slow down and won’t need as much exercise as when they were a puppy. But, a Senior Pitbull should still get 30 minutes of exercise a day.
The lifespan of a Pitbull depends on its breed. However, the average indoor pitbull should live between 12-15 years.
You can consider your Pitbull a senior at around 9 to 10 years old. As a senior, your dog may start experiencing pain in their joints.
By maintaining a regular exercise program with your senior dog, you can better identify injuries and any decrease in your dog’s stamina — a heavy panting at mile two when mile three was the slowdown point last year.
Consider supplementing their walks with swimming or playtime to help them burn off any excess energy.
Avoid overworking your Pitbull.
Your dog’s age, health, and weight are essential when determining how much exercise is appropriate. An overweight dog should work into a more strenuous exercise once conditioning increases and weight decreases.
If your senior Pitbull has any health problems, check with your veterinarian before starting or changing their exercise routine.
Without the dark background of blood sports, your Pitbull wouldn’t have the wild, fun personality you love today. But, managing that energy is the key to staving off destruction and chaos.
So, how much exercise does a Pitbull need?
- Pitbull puppies need 5 minutes of exercise twice a day for each month of age. Short, structured walks should be part of the daily routine, along with playtime.
- Pitbull adults need a minimum of an hour of exercise each day. You should exercise twice a day. More playtime in between will make your pup even happier.
- Senior Pitbulls still need 30 minutes of exercise each day — unless instructed otherwise by a veterinarian.
When it comes to exercise, every dog is different. It’s essential to find what works best for your Pitbull and start slow.
Don’t forget, we call it exercise, but to our pups, it’s playtime.
Do you have any tips for exercising with a Pitbull? Share this story on social media and share your tips.