The Pit Bull has seen a rise in popularity since 2008 when Sports Illustrated covered the rehabilitation of Michael Vick’s Pit Bulls. The story covered how organizations were able to find homes for the rescued “Vicktory Dogs.”
Among the variants of Pit Bull that continue to gain in popularity is the Blue Nose Pit Bull. Some unscrupulous kennels seek to take advantage of the dog’s popularity and relative newness to pass off several dogs as Blue Nose Pits.
How can you tell if a Pit Bull is a Blue Nose Pit Bull? To tell the difference between a Pit Bull and a Blue Nose Pit Bull, look for a nose that is grey to light black with a hint of blue. While it may not be obvious at first glance, you should be able to tell after a closer look at the front of their nose. Many breeders maintain that a true Blue Nose Pit Bull is an American Pit Bull Terrier, while others include other Pit Bull “types.”
If you’re considering inviting a Blue Nose Pit Bull into your home, this article will help you to decide if this is the right breed for you.
What exactly is a Pit Bull?
The American Veterinary Medical Association points out that the Pit Bull breed “type” is particularly ambiguous since it encompasses more than one official breed (source).
These breeds include the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff), the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and some would even include the American Bull Dog and the American Bully.
Organizations like Pit Bulls Against Misinformation assert that the American Pit Bull Terrier is the only true Pit Bull, and the issue can be quite controversial (source). A lot of the controversy has to do with the fact that there’s a lot of money to be made by kennels selling Blue Nose Pit Bulls.
Due to a spike in the dog’s popularity, a Blue Nose Pit Bill can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. Some breeders may even charge more, especially if they have the proper paperwork to show the dog’s bloodline.
Blue Nose Pit Bulls are not a separate breed, but they came about when breeders sought a dog with a bluish-grey coat. One theory holds that the blue coat and nose came from the Mastiff genes within the American Staffordshire Terrier breed.
Most images you see on the internet of Blue Nose Pit Bulls are usually American Staffordshire Terriers or American Bull Dogs since the trait appears to be less common among American Pit Bull Terriers.
The Pedigree Breeds
Many breeders market their dogs as Blue Nose Pit Bulls under the CDC’s broad definition of a generic “Pit Bull type,” while others specifically breed Blue Nose American Pit Bull Terriers. If you’re seriously considering purchasing one of these dogs, you must understand the different pedigree breeds so that you don’t pay more than is necessary.
The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT)
The American Pit Bull Terrier is recognized as a distinct breed by both the American Dog Breeders Association and the United Kennel Club. The UKC was the first to do so in 1898 (source). The AKC, on the other hand, has never recognized the American Pit Bull Terrier.
The Kennel Club of England recognized the closely related Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is smaller than the American Staffordshire Terrier, in 1935. The American Kennel club then recognized their own Staffordshire Terrier in 1936 (source).
Since the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff for short) is significantly larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England, the AKC finally recognized these as two separate breeds in 1974.
The American Bulldog and American Bully
The ancestors of the American Bulldog came to American a little earlier than Pit Bulls in the 17th century. They were especially renowned in the South for their ability to catch wild hogs and were used primarily as farm animals.
The American Bulldog was preserved from extinction by a World War II veteran named John D. Johnson, and the UKC recognized this breed in 1999.
The American Bully was not recognized by the UKC until 2013. They are basically a variant of the American Pit Bull Terrier that contains some mixture of “American Bulldog, English Bulldog, and Olde English Bulldogge” (source).
The Origin of the Blue Nose Pit Bull
The AKC breed standard for the American Staffordshire Terrier states that the nose should be black, while a Dudley nose, a flesh-colored nose, should be penalized (source). The UKC breed standard states the nose of an American Pit Bull Terrier can be “of any color.”
The blue nose is caused by the inheritance of the recessive dilution gene from both parents on the D Locus. This results in the genotype dd, which affects the level of the natural pigment eumelanin. Instead of black, the dilution gene lightens the color to a grayish-blue, silver, or light black color (source).
The dilution gene also affects the dog’s coat color, turning any fur that would have been black to a shade of grayish-blue. For this reason, most Blue Nose Pit Bulls will have a blue coat as well.
The dilution gene is known among Staffordshire Terriers (AmStaffs and SBTs) and American Bulldogs, but many breeders claim that it does not come from the nature bloodlines of the American Pit Bull Terrier. It is possible that it was introduced by breeding an AmStaff with an APBT.
Some dogs may actually carry a graying gene instead of the dilution gene and will have a black nose with dark eyes. It can be difficult to tell if the nose is blue or black at first glance. Get your dog to sit so you can get a thorough look at the front of the nose. You should be able to detect a lighter nose with a hint of blue.
Blue Nose Pit Bulls do not have merle coat patterns. Both merle coat color patterns and blue eyes are considered serious faults for the American Pit Bull Terrier (source).
Thanks to a group from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University, we now know that the merle color pattern in Pit Bulls and other breeds is caused by a gene designated SILV or PMEL17 on the M Locus or merle locus (source).
Blue Nose Pit Bull Physical Characteristics
Pit Bulls are very muscular with a broad head and powerful jaws, which can make them very intimidating. They also have very high pain tolerance inherited from their ancestors which were used for blood sport. While they’re stocky, they’re also very agile, excelling at agility competitions.
While also having broadheads, the cheek muscles of Staffordshire Bull Terriers tend to be more pronounced than those of the American Pit Bull Terrier (source).
The weight of a Blue Nose Pit Bull will vary depending on its pedigree. A Blue Nose Staffordshire Bull Terrier will be the smallest at between 28 and 38 pounds, while the American Bull Dog can reach up to 100 pounds! An American Pit Bull Terrier normally weighs no more than 60 pounds.
|Blue Nose Pit Bull Chart: Size, Weight, and Lifespan|
|American Pit Bull Terrier (UKC)||Male: 35-60 lbs |
Female: 30-50 lbs
|American Staffordshire Terrier (AKC)||Male: 55-70 lbs|
Female: 40-55 lbs
|Staffordshire Bull Terrier (AKC)||Male: 28-38 lbs|
Female: 24-34 lbs
|American Bulldog (AKC)||Male: 75-100 lbs|
Female: 60-80 lbs
|American Bully(UKC)||Not Specified||Male: 17-20”|
If someone tries to sell you an extra-large Blue Nose Pit Bull, you can guarantee that you’re getting a Blue Nose American Bulldog. The UKC acknowledges that they have a Pit Bull base bred with other bulldogs, but websites like therrealpitbull.com regard these as “poorly bred” Pit Bulls (source).
The AmStaff has longer legs and can be as much as twice the size of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. American Pit Bull Terriers tend to be smaller than AmStaffs as well but not as small as regular Staffies (source). If you want to learn more about the differences between pit bulls and American bulldogs, read this article.
All of these dogs have very short coats, making them very sensitive to weather as well as ticks and fleas. They also tend to sweat a lot, so you will need to give them regular baths.
One of the main observable differences between male and female Blue Nose Pit Bulls is that the males are larger with wider heads. Females are less aggressive but are very protective of their young. Males are known to mark their territory, and females go into heat twice a year.
Blue Nose Pit Bull Personality and Temperament
Pit Bulls are renowned for their courage and confidence, and they can be very smart, loyal, and good-natured with training from a responsible owner. Properly bred Pit Bulls are intended to be friendly towards humans, but they are very aggressive towards other animals.
Due to their natural human friendliness, Pit Bulls are not considered ideal guard dogs. They’re not known to bark that much, but they will protect family members. However, they’re not particularly protective of property from other humans.
One of the friendliest breeds of the Pit Bull “type” is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Staffordshire Bull Terriers have a particular reputation for being affectionate and family-friendly.
Despite their reputation as “Nanny Dogs,” Staffordshire Bull Terriers continue to have a strong prey drive. Very carefully socialize them with children and never leave them, or any Pit Bull, alone with children.
Is a Blue Nose Pit Bull Dangerous?
Pit Bulls face a great deal of scrutiny, which is understandable given the number of attacks reported in the media. Properly bred Pit Bulls should be friendly with humans, and Pit Bulls that are extremely shy should be viewed with suspicion. In such cases, many breeders recommend that they are put down before someone gets hurt.
Pit Bulls need to be socialized early, but even then some will never be friendly with other dogs. For example, the AKC warns that the AmStaff should never be left alone with another dog.
The Pit Bull Terrier is currently one of four dogs banned according to the Dangerous Dog Act of 1991 in the United Kingdom. There have even been attempts to include the Staffordshire Bull Terrier on this list which has not been successful so far (source).
If you’re considering getting a Pit Bull, make sure that you choose a reputable breeder. The American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, and the American Dog Breeders Association provide links to national breed clubs and rescue groups that will help.
If you’re asking yourself, “Are Blue Nose Pit Bulls more aggressive?” the answer is no. The Blue Nose Pit Bull will be no more or less aggressive than the specific pedigree breed it comes from.
The Pit Bull’s Origins in Blood Sports
According to the AKC, the Bull Dog was originally bred during the reign of King John (AD 1166-1216) for the bloody sport of bullbaiting. The unfortunate bull was tied to a stake while a group of dogs would attack him.
Bloodsports were finally outlawed in Great Britain in 1835, but this merely drove the practice underground. This made other forms of bloodsports common in cellars, like pitting the dogs against one another or a sack full of rats.
To increase their speed and agility, these bulldogs were crossbred with terriers. This resulted in the “bull type” terrier group, producing the ancestors of the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Pit Bull Terrier in the early 19th century.
The Pit Bull Comes to America
These Pit Bull variants arrived in America along with the waves of immigrants from the U.K. in the middle of the 19th century. The earliest kennels clubs would emerge late in the 19th century.
The American Kennel Club was founded in 1884 and was geared more towards show dogs. In contrast, the United Kennel Club was geared more toward working dogs at its founding in 1898.
One of the main focuses of the UKC was, in fact, the pit fighting dogs with the American Pit Bull Terrier being recognized in 1898. The AKC would only recognize the closely related American Staffordshire Terrier in 1936.
The Our Gang comedies helped to increase the Pit Bull’s fame. The original Pete the Pup (1924-1930) was an American Pit Bull Terrier, while the second Pete the Pup (1929-1946) was one of the first registered American Staffordshire Terriers.
Pit Bulls have been used as working dogs, especially for scent detection as it relates to drugs, explosives, and search and rescue. Pit Bulls also have earned a reputation as good therapy dogs.
Dogfighting only officially became illegal in 1976 in the United States. Despite this, dogfighting actually increased in the 1980s, and many began to breed Pit Bulls for aggressiveness. By 1987, Time Magazine was portraying the Pit Bull as “Friend and Killer” (source).
The Pit Bull’s reputation has since revived after the successful rehabilitation of Michael Vick’s dogs after they had been used for such illegal dogfighting. However, interested dog lovers should carefully consider if they’re willing to put in the time, research, and training before purchasing a Pit Bull.
Training a Pit Bull
It bears repeating that this is not a dog for irresponsible trainers. Pit Bulls, like German Shepherds and many other breeds, required regular activity and exercise. Pit Bulls require at least two hours of activity a day, otherwise, they can become very aggressive and destructive.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are noted by the AKC for being particularly stubborn while being friendlier than the AmStaff. All varieties of Pit Bull tend to be very strong-willed, making obedience training an absolute necessity.
Learn some facts about training your blue nose pit bull in this short video:
It’s especially important that you begin bite training early, probably around eight weeks old. Since they have terrier blood in them, they are also notorious diggers. You must establish yourself as the alpha with calm and assertive energy. If you’re a nervous person with an unstable personality, you shouldn’t have a Pit Bull in the first place.
With their powerful muscular form, Pit Bulls are incredible jumpers. You will definitely need to train them when it’s acceptable for them to jump and when it is not.
Blue Nose Pit Bull Diseases
One of the great things about Pit Bulls is that they are a particularly hardy breed that does not suffer from many ailments. Since the Blue Nose Pit Bull carries the dilution gene, they are at an increased risk of contracting Color Mutation Alopecia or Blue Dog Disease.
A dog with Color Mutation Alopecia may lose fur on the head or along the spine. It also results in dry, itchy, flaky skin and infection when the dog scratches. This usually occurs sometime after the first six months to three years of life (source).
Not all blue dogs that carry the d allele will carry this disease. Instead, it results from a faulty version of the dilution allele known as dl. Pit Bulls, in general, are known to have skin issues like mange, hot spots, and allergies due to their short fur.
Cerebellar Ataxia is a condition that affects Pit Bulls where the cerebellum becomes inflamed, resulting in a loss of muscle coordination (source). According to the AKC, this appears in the first three to five years in the AmStaff.
Other ailments common to Pit Bulls include hip dysplasia, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, cataracts, and allergies.
A properly bred Blue Nose Pit Bull can make a great pet for a responsible owner, but you will need to exercise great caution in choosing a reputable breeder. Carelessness when handling these dogs can produce tragic results.
These can be exceptionally affectionate and warm-hearted companions, but there is a ferociousness that lurks within these animals. If you are not willing to put the time and effort necessary to train these animals, please stay clear of them.