Pit Bulls are good-natured dogs. They can be sweet, confident, athletic, protective, and loyal companions.
They also make for good running dogs. If you are wondering how fast pit bulls are, the answer is that at top speed, these dogs can run around 25 to 30 miles per hour. They might not be the fastest dogs on the planet, but their energy and endurance levels make them some of the best running companions.
These may not be the first traits that come to your mind when we say ‘Pit Bull.’ But unfortunately, it is one of the most misunderstood breeds out there.
The breed is a descendant of the Old English Bulldogs. They were typically bred for baiting large animals. When baiting was outlawed in the 1800s, people bred large baiting dogs with Terriers to produce strong and athletic dogs, specifically for dog fighting.
Yes, this may mean Pit Bulls may be more likely to fight other dogs. But this does not mean that the breed is inherently aggressive. According to ASPCA, other Pit Bulls were bred for work and companionship. And they have been popular with families owing to their gentle and affectionate behavior.
The article will explore the history, emotional, athletic, and running prowess of Pit Bulls.
How Fast are Pit Bulls?
As mentioned above, Pit Bulls can be as fast as 30 miles per hour. But these dogs can clock such high speeds over short distances. Running is an excellent exercise and bonding activity you can share with your Pit Bull.
If you run around 3 to 4 miles in a session, the Pit Bull’s speed can average around 13 miles per hour. This speed is still faster than an average human’s running speed.
Humans can complete a mile in about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on their strength and endurance. So, we can say, on average, humans can run about 6 miles per hour.
When you are out running with your Pit Bull, it would be safe to assume the dog will match up to your speed and keep pace through the session.
How Fast are Pit Bulls Compared to Other Breeds?
If we talk about the fastest dog breed in the world, Greyhounds take the crown. These dogs can have a top speed of 45 mph. It is also why they have made a name for themselves in the racing world.
The Saluki breed takes second place with a running speed of 42 mph. Similar to Greyhounds, these dogs will love running around and happily lounging beside their human family.
In third place comes the Afghan Hound. With their lush fur, these dogs will elegantly glide at 40 mph. Other breeds like Whippet, Dalmatians, Jack Russell Terrier, and Borzoi fall in the speed range of 35 to 40 mph.
If we talk about the slowest dogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and French Bulldogs are the breeds to watch out for. They might reach speeds of 12 to 18 mph over short distances and time, but they cannot sustain the momentum, with some dogs running as slow as three mph.
So, Pit Bulls may not be the fastest, but they still can be pretty quick compared to other dog breeds.
What Makes Pit Bulls Fast?
Now that we know how fast Pit Bulls are, let us look at the reasons for their high speeds.
- Pit Bulls are a bundle of energy. They will need a lot of exercise and playtime. So high-energy is a trait that you are bound to find. Some of these dogs were bred to be herding and sporting dogs.
- Some breeds may run fast over a short distance but lose steam over long distances. But endurance is another trait that helps Pit Bulls maintain their speed over certain distances.
- You cannot run a marathon with them, though. Their short snouts do not let them breathe well and cool down like a greyhound’s long nose. Running anywhere around 5 to 7 miles with Pit Bulls should be fine.
The medium-sized build of the dog also benefits them. For smaller dogs, keeping pace over long distances will be difficult. And though large dogs can run well alongside you, their maintenance can be a full-time job. So, a medium-sized Pit Bull makes for a pretty good running partner.
What are the Benefits of running with Your Pit Bull?
If you are unsure about running with your Pit Bull, we will explore a few reasons below that can help you decide.
- Running is an excellent way to exhaust your pet’s energy. Pit Bulls are highly energetic. But, they are also people-oriented pets. So, you cannot leave them to run alone in the backyard.
- A run along with their human parent would be an excellent way to meet their exercise needs and give them the mental stimulation of being around people.
- Running can help your Pit Bull stay physically and mentally fit. As a result, they enjoy a good night’s sleep and are better equipped to handle stress.
You can make the exercise session fun by trying different running routes or creating an obstacle course in the backyard. These sessions will also help you bond with your adorable Pit Bull.
7 Interesting Facts about Pit Bulls
Let us dive into some interesting facts that may help you see Pit Bulls from a new perspective.
1. Pit Bulls Love People
Pit Bulls were indeed bred for baiting, rattling, and dog fights. However, these dogs were bred for other purposes once these cruel sports were outlawed.
For example, according to Pitbull.org, when the breed set foot in America, they were bred for herding, protecting families and livestock. But, most importantly, they were bred to be loyal companions.
Even considering their ancestry, these dogs had to interact well with people. For example, human handlers had to pull the dogs apart and also tend to wounded animals. So, even though fierce in the ring, the dogs had to listen to or obey people around them.
These dogs are predisposed to pleasing humans, making them easy to train. Around the 1900s, in America, these dogs were known as ‘nanny dogs’ because of their gentle but courageous and protective behavior around adults and children.
2. Pit Bulls Make it to the List of American Heroes
Sergeant Stubby is known to be the first canine soldier and one of the selfless heroes of the country. During the 1900s, the Pit Bull breed grew in popularity across America. Their pictures were widely used as a symbol of loyalty and bravery. They were proud representatives of the American forces.
If we talk about Sergeant Stubby, the dog was the unofficial mascot of a US infantry regiment during World War I. The dog participated in 17 battles, saved its unit from surprise gas attacks, and comforted the wounded.
The Pit Bull is the most decorated war dog hero. He was promoted to Sergeant and received many medals for his service.
3. Locking Jaws – That is a Myth
One of the more widespread myths about Pit Bulls is that they have locking jaws. No, that is not the case. Pit Bulls do not have any unique mechanism that helps them to ‘lock‘ their jaws. A simple comparison of dog skull structure is enough to dispel this myth.
Pit Bulls are determined, confident, tenacious, and can have a higher prey drive. So, when they do bite into something, it may seem like they have a locked jaw.
There are indeed bite cases involving Pit Bulls, but the same can be true for other dog breeds. In addition, several industry experts now have the opinion that more than the breed, the way a dog is raised and trained influences its behavior.
4. Debate Around Breed Acceptance
The American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) and United Kennel Club (UKC) recognizes the American Pit. It is not recognized by the AKC, though.
The UKC first recognized the breed in 1898 as American Pit Bull Terrier. However, only in 1936, after the breed’s growing popularity, AKC opened up for registration.
Initially, the AKC dropped the word ‘Pit‘ from the breed name to show its commitment to ending dog fighting. But they received opposition from the English Bull Terriers. It was then named the breed ‘Staffordshire Terrier.’ In 1972, the name was again changed to an American Staffordshire Terrier.
Today, there is a debate about whether we can consider American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers the same breed.
This confusion often leads to Pit Bulls being one of the most misidentified dogs. It is also why you must evaluate every Pit Bull as an individual dog before adopting.
5. Pit Bulls are Not Inherently Aggressive
Pit Bulls may look fierce, but that does not reflect their personality. A test by the American Temperament Test Society found that Pit Bulls were among the least temperamental and affectionate breeds out there.
You would be surprised, but the breed ranked higher than the socially acceptable loving breeds, like Golden Retriever are Beagles.
Yes, there can be cases of a few rotten apples. But one should not use those cases to generalize and label the complete breed as aggressive.
6. Pit Bulls are Excellent at Dog Sports
Apart from their fast running, qualities like strength, endurance, agility, athleticism, and intelligence help them excel at sports.
Let us take the example of the flyball course. Flyball is a type of obstacle course, but it has become an extreme sport for dogs.
Four dogs form a team and complete the obstacle course one at a time. A dog jumps through four hurdles, retrieves a ball, and again passes through the course to the starting point. The other dogs in the team go through the same process. Pit Bulls make for excellent flyball competitors.
The breed excels in dog sports: weight pulling, obedience competitions, and lure crossing. UKC unofficially gives the title of ‘super dog‘ to canines that participate in all-breed events and shine in categories like obedience, agility, conformation, and weight pull. Out of the 115 dogs that hold this title, 34 are American Pit Bulls, while 13 are American Staffordshire Terriers.
7. Pit Bulls Make for Good Search and Rescue Dogs
As we have seen above, Pit Bulls have taken part in battles and fought alongside forces in times of need. In addition, the skills of these dogs can train them to assist in tasks like search and rescue, sniffing out illegal materials, and tracking criminals.
Let us take the example of ‘Little Man,’ a Pit Bull. In 2013, a catastrophic tornado hit Oklahoma City. Molly Gibb found a little Pit Bull puppy five days into the search and rescue mission that had somehow survived under all that rubble. The dog was named Little Man and later on was trained and certified by the National Association for Search and Rescue.
In 2020, the Pit Bull helped a team find an assault victim who was still alive. You can find several stories similar to Little Man; Pit Bulls are making the world a safe and brighter place to live in.
If you are looking for a canine running partner, know that Pit Bulls make excellent companions.
25 to 30 mph answers the question, how fast are Pit Bulls? They are not the fastest dogs on the planet, but they are still pretty quick and can easily keep pace with you. Over a distance of fewer than 7 miles, on average, Pit Bulls can maintain a speed of 13 mph.
Along with speed, other qualities that make Pit Bulls unique are athleticism, agility, obedience, strength, and endurance. These qualities make the breed good at dog sports, search and rescue operations, and other law enforcement activities.
Contrary to the terrible reputation, Pit Bulls are loving, caring, friendly, and positive animals. They will make a great addition to your family.
Elena Gherman is a highly skilled and knowledgeable animal care expert. At the start of her career, she gained practical expertise with multiple animals. In addition to that, she works as a DVM veterinary editor for Joy Pet Products, which focuses on offering reliable information on pet health and wellbeing. She meticulously reviews each piece of writing before it is published to make sure pet owners get the most precise and updated information possible.