The AADR Standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier
From the AADR website.
American Pit Bull Terrier


The APBT began his remarkable journey in parts of Ireland, England and Scotland as far back as the early 1800s
when cross breeding between working terriers and bulldogs were popular. This loyal breed found its way to the
United States alongside Irish and English immigrants seeking a better life. The APBT excelled in hunting, herding,
catching and protection. While his role has changed in many ways, the APBT is still the most versatile breed known
today, excelling in weight-pulling, hunting, tracking, agility, obedience and conformation, and of course his role as
“Family Dog”.


The APBT should be bold and confident. He should be curious with his environment, eager and willing to please and
responsive to his handler and gentle with family members. The correct temperament for the APBT is extremely
friendly toward all human beings and nothing less is acceptable.


The size of the head should be in proportion to the rest of the body, roughly 2/3 as wide as the shoulders, and
almost as long from the tip of the nose to the stop, as it is from the stop to the back of the top of the skull
(occiput). The muzzle is broad under the eyes as well as deep, tapering only slightly toward the nose, and the top
line of the muzzle is straight when viewed from the side. The cheek muscles are powerful and well developed at


The incisor teeth should comprise a scissor bite, with the top teeth fitting tightly in front of the bottom. The canine
teeth should also fit together tightly and be wide at the base. As long as the canines are tight fitting, a level bite
or a reverse scissor bite (where the bottom teeth close tightly in front of the top teeth) are permitted but not
preferred. A chipped or broken canine tooth is only considered a fault and not a disqualification.


The eyes should be elliptical and deep set, with no looseness or sagging of the eyelids. The color of the eye is
relative to the color of the nose pigment. Red nose dogs will naturally have a lighter eye, usually golden or
sometimes hazel, and on rare occasion they may be green.


Natural or cropped. The natural ears should ideally be medium sized and rose shaped (folded back), but half prick
(semi erect) or half drop ears are acceptable. Full drop and fully erect (bat) ears are undesirable. The ears should
be set on the skull so that an invisible line could be drawn from the outside corner of the eye to midway between
the top and bottom of the inner formation of the ear (burr), when viewed from the front.


Accepted nose colors are black, blue, chocolate and red. A solid color nose is preferred over a bi colored (”
butterfly”) nose. A completely un-pigmented (”Dudley”) nose is a serious fault, and should not be confused with a
diluted shade of red nose.


The neck should be muscular, and long enough that when the dog stands naturally on a slack leash, the bottom
line of the jaw is level with, or just above the top of the center of the spine when viewed from the side. About
3/4ths the width of the jaw where it joins the skull, the neck widens gradually until it transitions smoothly into the


With the dog standing square, the shoulder blade should ideally lay back at a 45 degree angle to the ground with
an upper arm of equal length that returns at a right angle to the shoulder blade. The shoulder should be a little
wider than the ribcage at the 8th rib. When viewed from the front, the lower arm should appear straight and solid,
twice as thick as the rear pastern and longer than the upper arm.


A ribcage is elliptical in shape, broader at the top but tapering as it reaches its maximum depth between the
elbows. The loin should be well developed, broad and fairly short, but not so much that it reduces the dogs’
flexibility. There should be breadth across the pelvis so that the back feet are placed somewhat farther apart than
the front feet for added stability.
Anatomy Of The American Pit Bull Terrier

Copyright 2005 Jade.  All Rights Reserved.


Standing square, the rear pastern will be vertical from the hock to the ground and be placed slightly behind the
rear point of the hip. The slope of the hip should be a 45 degree angle to the ground when measured from the top
point of the pelvis. The leg bones (tibia and fibula) should be longer than the thigh bone.


The feet should be round and compact with well cushioned pads. Naturally open feet with longer toes, more like a
rabbit are common and acceptable, but less preferred. The nails should be trimmed regularly so that they do not
cause the toes to splay. Single dewclaws are acceptable and naturally occur on the front feet, but double
dewclaws or dewclaws on the rear feet are a fault.


The dog’s tail is carried low and resembles an old-fashioned water pump handle, tapering at the point of the hock.
When moving with purpose, the correct tail is carried about level, as an extension of the top line. The tail should
never be docked or altered.

Skin and Coat

The skin and coat are indictors of good overall health. The coat should be short, slick and glossy and the skin
should be thick. The jacket should be tight fitting except at the neck, where some looseness of skin is expected,
but should not be excessive.


All coat colors are acceptable. No preference is given to one color over another and no color or coat pattern is to
be discriminated against.


The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium sized dog, most often falling within a 30 lb. to 60 lb. range. Balance of
proportion and balance of height to weight are more important than a specific size. Females are preferred to be 50
lbs or less and males are preferred to be 60 lbs or less, and no mature APBT should be smaller than 30 lbs.


The dog should move out with a flexible but level top line and a ground-covering stride with no wasted movement.
From forward most extension through rearward follow through the feet should move in close proximity to the
ground. High stepping, crabbing sideways, rolling or pacing are undesirable for this breed. Feet should not cross
over or interfere with each other.

CLICK HERE to register your dog.

Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved.  AADR breed standards are the exclusive intellectual property of the All
American Dog Registry, LLC, and may not be used by any Federal, State, County or Municipal government, or any
other legal entity for the purpose of trying to identify the breed of a dog residing within their jurisdiction.
Permission is granted to reproduce this breed standard as published, in whole or in part, for the ongoing education
of dog breeders, exhibitors, judges and the public at large.