American Pit Bull Terrier vs Australian Shepherd - Breed Comparison

Both American Pit Bull Terrier and Australian Shepherd are originated from United States. Both American Pit Bull Terrier and Australian Shepherd are having almost same height. Both American Pit Bull Terrier and Australian Shepherd are having almost same weight. Both American Pit Bull Terrier and Australian Shepherd has same life span. Both American Pit Bull Terrier and Australian Shepherd has almost same litter size. American Pit Bull Terrier requires Low maintenance. But Australian Shepherd requires Moderate maintenance

Basic Information

Group:
Terrier dog
Herding dogs
Origin:
United States
United States
Height Male:
43 - 56 cm
16 - 23 inches
51 - 58 cm
20 - 23 inches
Height Female:
40 - 53 cm
15 - 21 inches
46 - 56 cm
18 - 23 inches
Weight Male:
16 - 30 kg
35 - 67 pounds
25 - 32 kg
55 - 71 pounds
Weight Female:
14 - 27 kg
30 - 60 pounds
16 - 30 kg
35 - 67 pounds
Life Span:
8 - 15 Years
13 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 10
6 - 9
Size:
Medium dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
Staffordshire Fighting Dog, Pit Terrier, Pitbull, Pit, Half and Half, Bull Baiter Dogs, Old Family Dog - the Irish name, Yankee Terrier - the Northern name, Rebel Terrier - the Southern name
Aussie
Colors Available:
Red, Black, Fawn or Bucksjin
Tri-colour - blue, blue merle, black and red merle, white markings
Coat:
Smooth, Shiny, Short, Single layer
thick - medium length - straight to wavy
Shedding:
Minimal
Constant
Temperament:
Affectionate, Courageous, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Playful, Stubborn
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social
Grooming:
Low maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
No
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
No
No

History

The history of the American Pit Bull Terrier might be a confusing one to some dog lovers and certainly to the general public that tends to lump all the “bully” breeds into a category called “pit bull”. This is because of the negative reputation this group of breeds has acquired over the past 30-50 years due to misuse and mis-breeding by the dog fighting industry. This categorization includes the American Pit Bull Terrier, The American Staffordshire Terrier, the Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

There is major confusion and disagreement on the difference between the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. The AKC does not recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as a separate breed, but its founder and the UKC, ADBA do so. In the 1930’s the American Pit Bull Terrier was a recognized breed and in response to the negativity of pit-fighting, they renamed it as the American Staffordshire Terrier.

The American Pit Bull Terrier was developed to be a little larger in size than the Staffordshire in both height and weight. This breed comes from crossing various Bull and Terrier breed to get a working dog. The Amstaff for the most part is bred to be a show dog and is not usually a “street dog” used in dog fighting rings. The direct ancestors of the APBT are the Old English Bulldogs and the Old English Terriers. These dogs are great family dogs, gentle beyond comparison unless raised to fight. They make great therapy dogs as well as police dogs. They are not by nature cruel, aggressive or attack dogs.

Both professional confirmation breeders and street fight breeds have developed new strains of the American Pit Bull Terrier. A few are worth mentioning here.

Old Family Red Nose

One of the oldest strains of the American Pit Bull Terrier they are red in color and that red is a very unique tone. They have a copper colored coat and nose with red nails, red lips and amber or red eyes. These dogs were originally from Ireland and when they came to America they had the red nose. Originally bred for gameness, it is the red color that is sought after now.

Colby Pit Bulls

These are another old breed, but they have black noses and were initially bred by John P. Colby in the late 1800s. These dogs were known to be indominable fighting dogs and were bred into almost every line of American Pit Bull Terriers that exist today. The line is still maintained by the Colby family.

The Australian Shepherd, known fondly as ‘Aussies’, is actually an American breed, with the first official registry being in the 1950s. Basque Shepherds from Spain settled in Australia at the end of the 19th century, later moving to the United Stated with their dogs in tow. It is from these dogs that the breed originated. In the UK too, this breed of dog has many enthusiastic followers.

For many years, the Australian Shepherd has been recognized for their wonderful abilities as stock- or herding dogs, and today in Australia they continue to work as stock dogs and often take part in herding trials.

More recently, this working dog breed has been selectively bred to develop both Toy- and Miniature Aussies, and the American Stock Dog Registry actually recognizes 3 sizes today.The Australian Shepherd Club of America was also founded in 1957 to promote the breed.

Description

True to their reputation as fighters, the American Pit Bull Terrier looks like one – powerful, strong and well built. This belies their gentle disposition but too often they are judged by their looks. With a broad, brick shaped head, thick neck and deep chest, they are stocky, muscular and agile. They usually have cropped ears, but the tails are not docked. Their legs are strong and hindquarters especially muscular. These dogs are much stronger than they look. Round soulful eyes are one of the traits that people who keep these dogs as companion animals love about them. They have a scissor bite and one of the strongest jaws of all domesticated canines.

Coat

Similar in appearance to the Border Collie, the Australian Shepherd is a medium sized dog and has a medium length coat which is straight to wavy with a weather resistant undercoat. The range of coat colours is amazing, and you’ll find blue, blue merle, black and red merle and all of these are with or without tan points. The Australian Shepherd is a drop-eared breed where prick ears are sometimes seen. Some Aussies are born with naturally bobbed tails while most have full, long tails.

Different Eye Colour Combinations

There is variety in the eye colour too, and they are often heterochromatic, which means that they can have two different coloured eyes or the one eye can even be bi-coloured. Most times the eyes are brown, but they can be blue too.

Health Problems

Though the American Pit Bull Terrier is healthier than most large dogs, they do have an issue with hip dysplasia. Breeders have been working to breed this out of the APBT and their work in this area has helped with the other issues with the patella, heart and thyroid. The APBT can have skin allergies and Demodex Mange. This condition can be either deadly or just a localized skin issue. Immunizations and testing is essential for this breed. When not immunized, American Pit Bull Terrier puppies have a greater incidence of parvovirus than other breeds. They also might have cataracts and congenital heart disease.

Aussies are a healthy breed and won’t cost you a fortune at the vet. However, like every other breed, they are also prone to certain health conditions such as cancer. When choosing a puppy, always look for a good, reputable breeder who can show you health clearances.

We look at some common health ailments to be alert about

Hip Dysplasia

This is a dog ailment that can be inherited. It is where the femur doesn't fit properly into the pelvic socket of the hip joint. Also, as the dog ages, arthritis can develop.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy an hereditary disorder where the seizures your dog gets can be treated and controlled.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans, commonly known as OCD is an orthopedic condition which comes about because of improper growth of cartilage in the joints. It can cause painful stiffening of the elbow joint for instance.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA is a degenerative eye disorder that can finally lead to blindness. Reputable Aussie dog breeders have their dogs' eyes certified regularly by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Your Aussie Puppy Needs Vaccinations

Your newborn Australian Shepherd may well be strong and healthy, but he isn’t immune from life-threatening illnesses. Vaccinations are imperative for your Aussie puppy, with vets usually recommending that puppies be vaccinated for the first time from 6 to 8 weeks of age.

These vaccinations will include the 5-in-one and includes Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis and Parainfluenza. Later on the puppy will get his first rabies shot and he will also require booster vaccinations.

Caring The Pet

Feeding

How you feed your American Pit Bull Terrier puppy is important to her health as an adult and long life. The adult dog should be fed one and a half to two and a half cups of high quality food twice a day. Puppies should be fed more often as they grow. DO not feed your APBT soft or canned dog food. Their food should be dry. Be careful not to feed too much as you do not want an obese American Pit Bull Terrier.

Health issues

As previously mentioned this is a healthy breed with problems with:

Cataracts

These are usually inherited, and the pup may show signs early, or they could be developed later in life. They can be removed.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia as in many larger, stronger breeds this can be a major problem. Breeds should test for it and APBT breeders are attempting to breed it out of the APBT.

Congenital Heart Failure

This is a congenital issue that breeders are also breeding against and if they have it your American Bit Bull Terrier was likely born with it.

Allergies

Many APBT are allergic to grasses or out outside allergens. Shots or medication can deal with these.

Exercise and games

This is an athletic, joyful breed that loves to play, love sports and loves any activity that bonds it with its family. Some of the many sports the American Pit Bull Terrier likes to participate in include: agility, obedience competition, weight pulling, lure coursing and fly ball. He also needs backyard exercise and daily walks.

When walking your American Pit Bull Terrier, make sure she is on a leash as the breed has a tendency to be aggressive with other dogs coming into their space. The APBT loves to work. They are good therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, even service dogs.

General Grooming

With his medium length coat, the Australian Shepherd sheds. In fact this particular breed sheds his hair the entire year round, but you’ll notice that with the arrival of Spring, he sheds more as this is when he is losing his Winter coat. You will most certainly need to brush his coat at least 2x a week to get rid of all those tufts of hair and to also prevent matting.

Feeding

A puppy will need 4 bowls of vet-recommended food a day. How much your adult Australian Shepherd gets will depend on his age, size and activity levels.The quality of food you buy will make a difference as it will keep your Aussie in good shape. Remember to include raw or cooked meat into his diet once a week or so. For more on feeding your Aussie, speak to your vet. Always ensure a constant source of fresh, cool water.

Training and Socialization

The Australian Shepherd is a strong willed dog, used to playing the dominant role with the herding of livestock. He’ll need firm training and socialization if you want to make him an amicable family pet.

Like many herding dogs, Australian Shepherds are loyal to their family and don’t easily take to strangers. Aussies make awesome companions for families with kids who have been taught how to treat dogs and other pets with kindness and gentleness. Just like a dog needs socialization, a child needs to respect a sleeping, feeding dog and to leave him in peace.

Characteristics

For those who live with the American Pit Bull Terrier there is no better dog. The APBT loves people and loves children. They think they are lap dogs, and they certainly are watch dogs. They love their people but their barks at strangers at home are not because they are protecting their people but rather they are greeting the strangers into their home. Unfortunately, they will not greet another dog in the same way. However, when their people are seriously threatened they will give their lives to defend them.

These are strong, confident dogs who want to please their people. They love children and make great family dogs but require a strong owner and a strong pack leader. The need to be under control around other dogs and because of their strength, need a strong owner. It is their aggression towards other animals that must be controlled.

The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent dog, learning quickly. As a herding dog, he also has strong guarding instincts and will make a good watch dog. The dog has a balanced, even disposition, and even though he may show some reserve, he is certainly not a shy dog and isn’t aggressive.

He Craves Human Companionship

Your Aussie is a kind, loving, and devoted pet. He loves his human family and wants to spend lots of time with them. Don’t leave him without human companionship as he craves it and forms strong bonds with his family. Provide him with good care and with lots of fun and games and you’ve got an exceptional friend for life.

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