I encourage you to have an open mind during this introduction and not get caught up in our mention of dog-fighting but try and develop an understanding of the TRUE APBT
BASIS AND ORIGIN OF THE APBT CONFORMATION STANDARD
In this page I want to contrast and highlight the differences in each of the standards that represent the APBT. First, I want to start with the basis of conformation as stated by the American Dog Breeders Association. This basis of conformation does not hide the fact that the APBT was developed to win dog fights and the basis of conformation for the APBT should reflect this.
As modern day, honorable, and law abiding, APBT fanciers we would never even consider fighting our dogs to prove their worth for breeding, but we should stick as closely to what those proven dogs looked like as possible.
We should not breed for big thick barrel chested dogs because this is what is winning in the conformation ring this year or because that is what the Amstaff looks like, or for bowling ball headed dogs because "we as an individual" think this looks better we should be breeding to preserve the APBT standard.
Judges must stop picking the over-done, overly massive dogs or we will soon have American or English Bulldogs called APBTs.
United Kennel Club - (UKC) http://www.ukcdogs.com/Terriers/AmericanPitBullTerrier.std.htm
American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA)- http://members.aol.com/bstofshw/conform.html
American Kennel Club (AKC) http://www.akc.org/breeds/recbreeds/amstaff.cfm
from ADBA website- edited by Matrix
Those persons whose opinions on conformation have borne the test of years have without exception, come from the ranks of the professionals who use the animals to make money. There are cattlemen who can look at two hundred calves and pick the ten best gainers by looking at their conformation. Race horsemen are the most knowledgeable conformation people you will meet. They all like the same basic things in a horse; although they claim to differ greatly, their differences are minute.
Professionals look for an animal that can get the job done. Amateurs, because they have no way to test their theories, wind up feeding their imaginations. Due to today's laws and social standards, breeding practices are dictated to breeding a dog for looks rather than performance.
In the interest of preserving the most extraordinary animal that man has ever created, let's take a good look at what the American Pit Bull Terrier was suppose to do.
Look to the profession of the dog in establishing the APBT standard, so that our grandchildren will at least see an authentic physical reproduction of a fighting dog.
If we start with the premise that conformation should reflect the ideal for the dogs usage and that this particular animal was suppose to win a dogfight, we come naturally to the question, what did it take to win? 1. Gameness 2. Attitude 3. Stamina 4. Wrestling ability 5. Biting ability. Note that only one of these qualities; wrestling ability, is directly related to conformation. One other, stamina may be partly due to conformation, but is probably as much reliant on inherited efficiency of the heart and circulatory system. Some people seem to feel that the shape of the head determines hard bite, but in practice, it seems there are a lot of other factors involved.
When we talk of conformation we really only mean one thing - - wrestling ability.
Conformation and wrestling ability are very closely related and it's usually the bottom dog in the fight that quits. The dog whose muscle and bone structure doesn't permit him to wrestle on even terms, needs more of everything else to win. So It is believed that wrestling ability (and therefore conformation) is a very important ingredient in a fighting dog.
Our Standard of Conformation can not be based on what someone who never saw a dogfight thinks a fighting dog should look like, but should be based on those physical attributes displayed by winning pit dogs of yesteryear.
The United Kennel Club was the first registry to recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier. U.K.C. founder C. Z. Bennett assigned U.K.C. registration number 1 to his own APBT, Bennett's Ring in 1898.
The American Dog Breeders Association, Inc. was started in September, l909 as an exclusive association of American Pit Bull Terrier breeders.
The American Staffordshire Terrier was accepted in 1936 for registration in the American Kennel Club stud book as Staffordshire Terriers.
The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed's natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work. The American Pit Bull Terrier has always been capable of doing a wide variety of jobs so exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog's versatility.
AKCOver the past 50 years, careful breeding has produced today's American Staffordshire Terrier who is affectionate, reliable, and an especially good dog for children. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a happy, outgoing, stable, and confident dog who makes a wonderful family pet. The American Staffordshire Terrier is adaptable to country or city living, the only thing that will break his spirit and his heart is lack of his owner's fond attention.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, short-coated dog with smooth, well-defined musculature. This breed is both powerful and athletic. The body is just slightly longer than tall , but bitches may be somewhat longer in body than dogs. The length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) is approximately equal to one-half of the dog's height at the withers. The head is of medium length, with a broad, flat skull, and a wide, deep muzzle. Ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be natural or cropped. The relatively short tail is set low, thick at the base and tapers to a point. This breed combines strength and athleticism with grace and agility and should never appear bulky or muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy. and may be natural or cropped. The relatively short tail is set low, thick at the base and tapers to a point.
ADBAA . Conforming to breed type 1. Should look like an American Pit Bull Terrier from across the ring 2. Sturdy, three dimensional. Giving the impression of strength, not slight or frail. 3. Appears square, with heavy boned, solid front end with a light and springy back end. 4. Should look athletic, not bulky. Musculature should be smooth but defined. 5. Presentation of an adult dog should be of a lean, exercised animal showing a hint of rib and backbone (without hipbones showing) with muscles firm and defined. Clean, glossy coat with short trimmed nails. Presentation of dogs in the puppy classes should be of a well nourished puppy, showing no ribs, backbone or hips. Coat should be glossy with short, trimed nails.
The American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He s hould be stocky , not long-legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.
The APBT head is unique and a key element of breed type. SIZE It is large and broad, giving the impression of great power, but it is not disproportionate to the size of the body. Viewed from the front, the head is shaped like a broad, blunt wedge. When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are parallel to one another and joined by a well defined, moderately deep stop. Supraorbital arches over the eyes are well defined but not pronounced. The head is well chiseled, blending strength, elegance, and character. SKULL - The skull is large, flat or slightly rounded, deep, and broad between the ears. Viewed from the top, the skull tapers just slightly toward the stop. There is a deep median furrow that diminishes in depth from the stop to the occiput. Cheek muscles are prominent but free of wrinkles. When the dog is concentrating, wrinkles form on the forehead, which give the APBT his unique expression. MUZZLE - The muzzle is broad and deep with a very slight taper from the stop to the nose, and a slight falling away under the eyes. The length of muzzle is shorter than the length of skull, with a ratio of approximately 2:3. The topline of the muzzle is straight. The lower jaw is well developed, wide and deep. Lips are clean and tight. TEETH - The American Pit Bull Terrier has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite. NOSE - The nose is large with wide, open nostrils. The nose may be any color. EYES - Eyes are medium size, round to almond-shaped, and set well apart and low on the skull. All colors are equally acceptable except blue, which is a serious fault. Haw should not be visible. EARS - Ears are high set and may be natural or cropped without preference. If natural, semi-prick or rose are preferred. Prick or flat, wide ears are not desired.
ADBAB. Head 1. Head size balanced in relationship to the rest of the body 2. 2/3 the width of the shoulders 3. Wedge shaped when viewed from the top or side, round when viewed from the front. 4. Cheeks 25% wider than the neck at the base of the skull 5. The length from the nose to the stop should equal the length from the stop to the back of the head. 6. The bridge of the muzzle is well developed. The fill in under the eyes should be wider than the head at the base of the ears. 7. The head should be deep from the top of the head to the bottom of the jaw. 8. Straight box like muzzle 9. Lips tight 10. Teeth, incisors should meet in the front in a scissor bite. Canines should be wide at the base and taper to the end, top canines fitting tightly together behind the bottom canines. They should be sound and healthy with none missing. 11. Eyes, small and deep set. Elliptical when viewed from the front, triangular when viewed from the side. 12. Ears- no preference should be given to cropped or uncropped ears, except to enhance the overall attractiveness of the individual dog. Faults: short neck, cheeky, underdeveloped muzzle, lippy, missing canines, overshot or undershot to the extent that the canines do not fit tightly together.
SIZE Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop; and ears are set high. Ears Cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held rose or half prick. Full drop to be penalized. Eyes Dark and round, low down in skull and set far apart. No pink eyelids. Muzzle Medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined. Underjaw to be strong and have biting power. Lips close and even, no looseness. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Nose definitely black.
The neck is of moderate length and muscular . There is a slight arch at the crest. The neck widens gradually from where it joins the skull to where it blends into well laid-back shoulders. The skin on the neck is tight and without dewlap.
ADBAA. Neck 1. Heavily muscled to the base of the skull 2. Long in length
Heavy , slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull . No looseness of skin. Medium length .
The shoulder blades are long, wide, muscular, and well laid back. The upper arm is roughly equal in length to the shoulder blade and joins it at an apparent right angle. The forelegs are strong and muscular. The elbows are set close to the body. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are set moderately wide apart and perpendicular to the ground. The pasterns are short, powerful, straight, and flexible. When viewed in profile, the pasterns are nearly erect .
ADBA1. Wider than the ribcage at the 8 th rib. Scapula well laid back, 45 degree or less angle to the ground, and broad and flat allowing for adequate muscular attachment for a heavy and sturdy front end. 2. The humerus is angled at an opposite 45 degree angle and is long enough that the elbow comes to the bottom of the ribcage, elbows lying flat against the body. 3. Forearms are slightly longer than the humerus and solid, twice the thickness of the metatarsal at the hock.
The front legs should be straight, large or round bones, pastern upright . No resemblance of bend in front. Shoulders are strong and muscular with blades wide and sloping .
The chest is deep , well filled in, and moderately wide with ample room for heart and lungs, but the chest should n ever be wider than it is deep . The forechest does not extend much beyond the point of shoulder. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung from the spine, then flattening to form a deep body extending to the elbows. The back is strong and firm. The topline inclines very slightly downward from the withers to a broad, muscular, level back. The loin is short, muscular and slightly arched to the top of the croup, but narrower than the rib cage and with a moderate tuck-up . The croup is slightly sloping downward.
A. Ribcage 1. Deep and elliptical with a prominent breastbone or prosternum. From the side, the bottom of the ribcage should at least be even with the elbow joint. 2. Well sprung at the top, tapering to the bottom, extending well back into the loin.
Well-sprung ribs, deep in rear. All ribs close together. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. Chest deep and broad . Back is Fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. Loins slightly tucked .
The hindquarters are strong, muscular, and moderately broad . The rump is well filled in on each side of the tail and deep from the pelvis to the crotch. The bone, angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters. The thighs are well developed with thick, easily discerned muscles. Viewed from the side, the hock joint is well bent and the rear pasterns are well let down and perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are straight and parallel to one another.
ADBAA. Loin 1. Broad and long enough to square the dog. Too short can interfere with a dogs flexibility. Too long a loin causes the dog to carry excessive weight and affect a dogs agility and quickness.. B. Hip 1. Long and sloping with adequate width. This can be judged by the set of the tail, which should be low. 2. Ideal slope of hip should be 30 degrees to the ground . C. Proportions of the back leg . 1. The femur should be of a length so that the stifle joint is proportioned in the upper 1/3 of the rear assembly. 2. The tibia-fibula is the longer bone of the rear assembly 3. The length of the metatarsal is moderate, with muscles that attach equally on each side of the bone so that the hocks move parallel to each other, deviating neither in or out. The metatarsals bones, hock and lower part of the tibia will be light, fine and springy. 4. Rear angulation - ratio between the lengths of the bones and the muscles which attach on these bones, causes a bent stifle which leads to a well bent hock. This contributes to the natural springiness that is desired in the rear assembly. 5. The muscle attachment is long and deep, well past the joint , which causes the muscles to appear smooth, but defined. (Not bunchy). Faults: short or flat hip, straight stifle, double jointed or slipped hock, cow hocked, bunchy muscles.
Hindquarters well-muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out.
The feet are round, proportionate to the size of the dog, well arched, and tight. Pads are hard, tough, and well cushioned. Dewclaws may be removed.
ADBAC. Feet 1. Small and tight, set high on pasterns. 2. Pads thick, and well built up 3. Dew claws are natural on front feet, and do not naturally occur on back legs.
Feet of moderate size, well-arched and compact.
The tail is set on as a natural extension of the topline, and tapers to a point. When the dog is relaxed, the tail is carried low and extends approximately to the hock. When the dog is moving, the tail is carried level with the backline. When the dog is excited, the tail may be carried in a raised, upright position (challenge tail), but never curled over the back (gay tail).
ADBAB. Tail 1. Thick at the base, tapering to the point. It's length should have the tail extending to the point of the hock. 2. Hang down like a pump handle when relaxed.
Short in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point; not curled or held over back. Not docked
The coat is glossy and smooth, close, and moderately stiff to the touch.
ADBA1. Skin thick and loose around neck and chest, tight fitting elsewhere, showing vertical folds around the neck and chest even in a well exercised animal. 2. Short and bristled, the gloss showing overall health of the animal.
Coat: Short, close, stiff to the touch, and glossy.
Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable.
3. Color or any combination of colors, except for colors or color patterns known to be genetically linked to health problems.
Color Any color, solid, parti, or patched is permissible, but all white, more than 80 per cent white, black and tan, and liver not to be encouraged.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
The American Pit Bull Terrier must be both powerful and agile so actual weight and height are less important than the correct proportion of weight to height. Desirable weight for a mature male in good condition is between 35 and 60 pounds. Desirable weight for a mature female in good condition is between 30 and 50 pounds. Dogs over these weights are not to be penalized unless they are disproportionately massive or rangy.
2. Height to weight ratio - the tallest dog at a given weight preferred
Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18 to 19 inches at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches for the female is to be considered preferable.
The American Pit Bull Terrier moves with a jaunty, confident attitude, conveying the impression that he expects any minute to see something new and exciting. When trotting, the gait is effortless, smooth, powerful, and well coordinated, showing good reach in front and drive behind. When moving, the backline remains level with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance.
Gait must be springy but without roll or pace.