Pets are often the glue that holds families together.
Whether it's a puppy, a kitten, or a parakeet. We love our pets as extended members of our families. And in some cases, pets are treated as one of (or perhaps even better than) our kids. Let’s talk about one of the most popular family pets today - the American Pitbull Terrier.
Loved by many for their goofy tendencies and utmost loyalty to their dog parents, these amazing family dogs have crept right into the hearts of millions of American families.
Here’s a closer look at the growth stages of these beautiful dogs and what to expect at the various stages of growth.
Let’s break the first year of a puppy's life into three notable stages.
It’s during these formative months that a pitbull puppy will develop a lot of the characteristics that will shape the way they react to other animals and humans in the adolescent years.
Birth to 3 months
A healthy pit bull puppy will weigh anywhere from 2 to 4 pounds at birth.
Of course, there are a few factors that will impact just how much (or little) pit bull puppies weigh. Things to consider are the specific bloodline, gender, and overall health. The size of litter is also something that will impact how large the puppies are.
A bigger litter would generally consist of smaller pups, while smaller litters produce stronger puppies as they don’t have to contend with siblings for the nutrients and vitamins that will help them grow big and strong.
Pitbull puppies grow relatively quickly and put on a pound or two in the first weeks. Although they will naturally show interest in solid food from about 4 weeks old, puppies will only be fully weaned from their mother's milk at around 6 - 8 weeks old.
A mother's milk contains an ideal balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with vitamins and minerals, to support their rapid growth and development. So keep a close eye on your puppy when it gets to this transition period to make sure that it adapts to solids without losing too much body fat.
As far as training is concerned, you need not worry too much about anything too serious. Focus your efforts on potty training during the first weeks to save your carpet from permanent discoloring and stains…
3 to 6 months
It’s during this stage of your puppy’s growth that you’ll start noticing some serious physical and emotional changes.
Your puppy will go from being a baby to being an inquisitive toddler. The fine - but oh-so sharp - puppy teeth that helped them get a taste for solids will soon be replaced with more durable adult teeth that will help them consume soft puppy food.
And as with a human baby going through the teething process, puppies also need to find some relief for their sore and itchy gums.
You’ll notice your puppy chewing on different household items - wooden spoons, slippers, TV remotes, and earphones. Nothing is safe during this stage, so be sure to hide anything of value from your puppy if you want it to survive.
You’ll also notice physical changes in your pit bull puppy.
Its legs will grow a bit longer, its tail will find a bit more girth and your puppy's body will also become a bit more slender as it goes through this growth spurt.
Your puppy's skeletal structure will also start changing as it accommodates the newly developed adult teeth. But overall, the most significant skeletal changes take place during the adolescent stages.
This is also the perfect stage to introduce your puppy to routine. Routine is important to the overall well-being and quality of your dog's life.
Feed them at the same time each day, take them on regular walks, and teach them that a crate is not something to be feared but embraced as a safe space - this will make more serious crate training in adulthood much easier!
6 to 12 months
The final stage of the puppy phase happens when your puppy is between 6 and 12 months of age.
Their adolescence will translate to increased activity. Where they might have been content with a short walk around the yard to get used to their collar or harness, your puppy will now need longer walks around the block.
It’s also a great stage to introduce other pets, helping them to get socialized and form a loving disposition. So focus on taking your pit bull puppy to the dog park at least once a week (the more the merrier, obviously)
There are also a few notable physical changes that your pup will go through during this period, with many pet parents noticing the following changes in their pup's appearance:
Weight Gain: As the puppy grows, they will also gain weight. Proper nutrition is crucial during this stage to support healthy development without excessive weight gain, which could lead to obesity. So invest in quality puppy food.
Muscle Development: With increased physical activity and exercise, puppies develop stronger and more defined muscles. Regular play, walks, and age-appropriate exercises contribute to muscle tone.
Coat Changes: Some breeds may experience changes in their coat during this period. For example, a puppy's coat might become denser or change in color as they transition from puppy fur to their adult coat.
This will also be one of the most challenging stages for many pit bull owners. Pit bulls will start challenging for dominance and need to be trained properly to avoid becoming problematic adult dogs.
Adolescence - The Energetic Phase
The next growth stage in your pit bull's life takes place between the ages of 12 and 24 months of age.
This is the second year of your pup's life, and his personality is now fully developed. Your pitty will reach its final height around this time but will continue to grow slowly in stature, bulking as the year passes by.
Your dog will also have higher energy levels, which need to be satisfied. Dogs that don’t get sufficient exercise during this stage of their life will start acting out and can start to show destructive behavior and unwanted aggression.
Most pit bulls need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, especially during this stage of their life.
So schedule regular training sessions that will give them a real challenge. Pit bulls are quite smart and easy to train, so make sure to take the time to do different forms of training. From basic commands to more complex training sessions - you’ll be glad that you took the time to do this as your American pit bull terrier grows.
This is because your dog will show behavioral changes around this time - from the way it eats to the way it reacts to strangers. Its bulky stature will be imposing to those who aren’t acquainted with your dog.
A well-behaved pit bull is much easier to accept than a fear-inspiring, aggressive dog!
Adulthood: Prime Years of Power
Your American pit bull terrier will be fully mature at two years and be in its prime for the following two or three years
Pit bulls are medium-sized dogs, so expect their adult weight to be slightly less than that of large breeds like the American Bully or Cane Corso.
A full-grown female pit bull will weigh around 30 to 60 pounds, and a male pit bull anywhere from 35 to 65 pounds. While females stand 17 to 20 inches tall at the withers, males are slightly larger and stockier, boasting 46 to 63 inches in height.
Depending on diet and exercise routine, your dog will have quite a muscular upper body, with a high concentration of visible shoulder and chest muscles. Pit bulls have a distinctive head shape, boasting a broad, flat skull and a well-defined ‘stop.’
Your pit bull's tail will be proportional to its overall length and generally be medium to long and pointed at the end.
As your dog will by now also reach its peak in physical maturity, it’s also the perfect time to spoil it with some dog clothes that make them feel loved. From matching hoodie sets to onesies made for slumber parties - you can indulge in just about anything these days with premium quality dog clothes.
Fully grown, your pit bulls will be stocky but slender. Avoid overfeeding your pit bull or it might become obese, especially without enough daily exercise.
You’ll notice your pit bull calm down quite a bit during its later years. They won’t display the same energy levels as they had in their prime and thus not be up for as much physical exercise as they once did.
If you have an indoor dog, you’ll notice that they often become couch potatoes, opting to sit around and sleep the entire afternoon rather than run around the garden.
Senior dogs also lose a bit of their muscle mass. Although this isn’t anything to be too worried about, you need to keep a close eye on their feeding patterns and make sure that they still take in enough quality dog food to keep them in tip-top shape.
An aged dog will start displaying grey hairs around their muzzle at first and then also around their eyes, giving them a distinctive salt-and-pepper look.
Head Growth Stages: The Distinctive Features
As your dog grows, there are a few distinctive changes that take place, from the length of their legs to their body mass doubling every other week.
One of those distinctive changes that takes place during their lifetime is the shape and size of their heads. Here’s a closer look at the changes that you can expect your pitties head to go through during its lifetime:
During the puppyhood stage, the skull undergoes significant development.
Bones form and shape to accommodate the growing brain. The emergence of baby teeth also impacts the structure of the skull as the jaw and facial bones adjust to accommodate the new dentition.
Then there are the changes in Head Size and Shape.
The head grows in proportion to the rest of the body during puppyhood. You may observe a more rounded appearance as the puppy's facial features become more defined. The positioning of ears and eyes on the head may shift slightly, reflecting the overall changes in the skull structure.
Adolescence to Adulthood
As the puppy transitions to adolescence, the bones in the head solidify and fuse, establishing a more stable and mature cranial structure.
The muscles around the head area also develop and strengthen, contributing to a more defined and robust appearance.
Certain breed-specific characteristics also start emerging during this phase. This includes the shape of the head, muzzle length, and specific facial characteristics. However, individual variation in head shape and size may still exist based on genetic factors.
In the senior years, there might be a natural decline in muscle tone, including the muscles around the head.
Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help mitigate the loss of muscle mass in the latter years of a dog's life. Visible signs of aging, such as graying of the muzzle, may also become apparent.
Senior dogs may experience dental issues, including tooth loss or gum disease, which can impact the head region.
For this reason, regular dental care is important. Aging can also affect sensory organs in the head, leading to conditions like cataracts or hearing loss. Regular veterinary check-ups can help detect and manage these issues.
In summary, the initial months of a Pit Bull puppy's life are marked by rapid growth and development.
While both male and female pit bulls experience similar growth rates during these crucial months, pet parents will often note that males generally attain a larger size when fully grown.
The eventual adult weight of a pit bull, whether male or female, is influenced by factors such as the dog's diet and exercise routines during their adolescence.
Ensuring responsible care and understanding the impact of these elements on a pit bull puppy's development contribute not only to their overall health but also to the determination of the dog's adult weight and size.
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