The Pocket Pitbull (A Great Dog in a Small Package)
Pitbulls are one of the most famous breeds in the canine kingdom, something driven by equal parts ownership loyalty and media-fueled controversy. It’s also one of the most popular dogs around, and its popularity has inspired the creation of the pocket pitbull. What should you know about this “designer dog”?
Where Does the Pocket Pitbull Come From?
Like most hybrid dogs that fall under the “designer dog” category, there’s not a specific date of origin as to when pocket pitbulls started showing up on the scene. Because it is not a purebred dog, it is also not officially recognized by most dog registry organizations. However, there are a few groups that do recognize it as its own breed.
What is known is the breeds responsible for creating the smaller-statured dogs. Pocket pitbulls are a cross between the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Patterdale Terrier. While this dog is most commonly referred to as pocket pitbulls, it can go by other monikers like the Pitterdale or the Pocketpit.
The Pocket Pitbull’s Popularity: Size Matters
The hybrid has become very popular in large part due to its size. It offers a lot of the same traits that you may see in a traditional pitbull, such as body shape, coat, and athleticism – just in a smaller package. Indeed, it’s hard to deny the compact pooch isn’t flat-out adorable, particularly when you catch the little guy in a playful mood.
A Look at a Pocket Pitbull’s “Bloodline”
To get a complete understanding of how a pocket pitbull behaves, you need to take a look at the breeds that conspire to produce the little guys. This does require a bit of research for novice dog owners. After all, the Patterdale Terrier isn’t exactly a well-known dog, and the American Pitbull Terrier is engulfed in a mire of misinformation.
The Patterdale Terrier is a small working breed initially bred to hunt vermin. The breed’s black glossy coat, soulful eyes, and stubby tail are nearly Labrador-like in appearance. While they aren’t all that popular in the United States, they do have a pretty sizeable following in Europe.
The Patterdale’s history translates to a tough, smart breed that can flex some impressive athletic muscles. His intellect gives him an independent streak that could make him difficult to train. Yet when properly trained, he can become an excellent watchdog.
While the breed does have a lot of energy that needs to be burned off through daily exercise, he’s not as hyperactive as other members of the terrier family. His calm demeanor also means he’s not prone to becoming too yappy.
A properly trained American Pit Bull Terrier is essentially the exact opposite of the unruly beasts that some people think they are. They are tough, muscular dogs, but they are also bright, gentle dogs that can be excellent around children. They also tend to keep puppy-like tendencies well into adulthood.
They are also highly trainable, and this metric combined with their natural athleticism makes them a natural for dog sports. And while they are loyal family dogs, their zest for life and eagerness to please makes them an immensely friendly dog. It also tends to make them horrible watchdogs.
How Do the Parental Breeds Shape a Pocket Pitbull’s Personality?
The typical pocket pitbull tends to carry the best traits of either parental breed. The dog has physical characteristics that identify strongly with the American Pit Bull Terrier, which is another feature that appeals to owners. They are also loving, playful pooches that run completely counter to the pit bull stereotypes that exist.
Unlike a typical American Pit Bull Terrier, a pocket pitbull makes a top-notch watchdog – a trait directly culled from the Patterdale Terrier. At the same time, this dog is not a barking machine. Pocket pitbulls are also athletic pooches that are easier to train than other pooches.
A typical pocket pitbull will be 11 to 22 pounds and will stand 12 to 16 inches. Even though they are smaller, this hybrid still isn’t suitable a dog for apartment living. This is an energetic pooch that needs space and facilities to help expunge his vigor, and a small or confined space will make his life miserable.
Because you are dealing with two different breeds when you’re getting a pocket pitbull, it is imperative you do your due diligence and make sure your new pup comes from parents with good bloodlines. Doing so will not only give you a glimpse as to what you may expect your dog to behave after training but also how healthy he may be during his life.
What are the Basic Exercise Requirements for a Pocket Pitbull?
Make no mistake: a pocket pitbull is not a laid-back lapdog. Plenty of exercise is required in order to keep him happy and healthy. Expect to take your pooch on a nice long walk or even a jog every day. You’ll also need to carve out an appropriate amount of daily playtime on your schedule, as well.
You should also ensure that some of his playtime taps into his brainpower as well as physicality. Puzzle and athletic-based toys will help your little guy use his noggin, which will allow him to focus his mental energy in positive ways instead of destructive behavior.
Because pocket pitbulls are natural athletes and easy to train, you can teach him various dog sports like flyball and agility course running if you so desire. Because of his working instincts, he'll see these types of athletics as a job to carry out. You'll see it as a way to carry out the saying "a tired dog is a good dog."
What are the Health Issues with a Pocket Pitbull?
Because pocket pitbulls are hybrids that don’t necessarily have narrow bloodlines, the health of the dogs tends to be pretty good. They do have a life expectancy of about 11 to 13 years. This is shorter than the life expectancy of a Patterdale Terrier, but it is relatively comparable to the lifespan of your average American Pit Bull Terrier.
With that being said, pocket pitbulls still may be susceptible to picking up various issues common with their parental breeds. The biggest issue to note here is hip dysplasia; a condition caused by a malformation of the hip's ball and socket joint. This is a painful condition that can affect your pooch much like how arthritis affects humans.
Other issues that may crop up with your pocket pitbull include eye issues like conjunctivitis, allergies, hypothyroidism, and heart disease. Be sure to talk to your vet to see how the threat of some of these issues could be minimized.
What are the Grooming Needs of a Pocket Pitbull?
One of the pocket pitbull’s more attractive features is the fact that they don’t require a whole lot of intensive grooming. The hybrid boasts a very short, smooth coat that is very easy to maintain. While the dog does shed, he won’t necessarily cover your furniture in dog hair like other breeds.
As such, you can get by with a few grooming basics to make your pooch look his best. Regular brushing, routine nail trimming, and consistent teeth, eye, and, ear cleaning are all you really need to do in order to help your dog keep up a proper appearance.
How Much will a Pocket Pitbull Cost Me?
If you want to pick up a pocket pitbull, you can expect to shell out $500 to $3,000. Various metrics such as age and parental bloodlines are considered when the particular price tag is assigned to each pooch.
In a way, the wide range of a pocket pitbull’s cost is as unique as the hybrid. On one hand, because the dog is not officially recognized as its own breed, you won’t have to compete with people looking for show dogs to bring your pooch home. On the other hand, pocket pitbulls are immensely – and increasingly – popular.
There are also other costs you need to consider before deciding to pick up a pocket pitbull. These expenditures include vet visits, registration, food, toys, and other necessary costs needed to make your little guy welcome in his new home. If you’re not near a reputable breeder that produces the hybrid, you may also have to factor in shipping costs.
Do Pocket Pitbulls Carry the Same Reputation as Regular Pitbulls?
Unfortunately, because pocket pitbulls tend to look like miniature versions of the American Pit Bull Terrier, you may experience some of the same backlash that uninformed people reserve for pits. This may not only include people pre-judging your pooch, but also pre-judging you. If you cannot handle this potential ire, you should consider another dog.
However, if you feel you can handle such grossly unwarranted scrutiny, and if you have the proper amount of living space, you’ll find a pocket pitbull to be a sweet, loving companion that’s eager to please and will love you and your family unconditionally. From a dog owner’s perspective, you really can’t ask for much more than that.