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Pocket Pitbull: understanding the breed

Pocket pitbulls a complete guide

Pocket pitbulls a complete guide

Most dog guardians have heard of the Pitbull breed. However, have you heard of the pocket Pitbull? The Pocket Pitbull is sometimes also referred to as the pocket bully or miniature Pitbull. This breed is a shorter version of the American Pitbull terrier. In this article, I will discuss everything that you need to know about the Pocket Pitbull, their temperament, exercise needs, behavior, and whether it is a good breed for you to adopt

Pocket pitbulls

Pocket Pitbull

The Pocket Pitbull was created by breeding the American Staffordshire terrier or American Pitbull with the Patterdale Terrier. Because of breeding with the Patterdale Terrier, the pocket Pitbull is quite a small breed. However, they are larger than the teacup cups. They show many of the characteristics that are found in the Pitbull terrier.

Understanding the history of the Pocket Pitbull

As I mentioned above the Pocket Pitbull is a result of the breeding between an American and a Patterdale Terrier of small size. The primary reason behind the generation of this breed was to induce the good qualities of the parental breeds and eliminate the undesirable ones. The breeders were primarily looking to get the friendly and active traits that come from the Staffordshire Terrier in a dog that is compact in size like the Patterdale Terrier.

Since the Pocket Pitbull is a hybrid dog, it is not recognized as a dog breed by the American Canine Hybrid Club, National Hybrid Registry, International Designer Canine Registry, or the American Kennel Club. However, this is not enough to put dog lovers out. There are tons of people who love this dog for the compact size and the amazing characteristics of the Staffordshire terrier

Origin of the breed

There is no set data about the creation of the Pocket Pitbull. There is a chance that the first generation of puppies came into existence by mistake. However, this breed has been purposefully brought into existence in the last 20 years. At this moment, a lot of information is not available about their origin. Dog experts and behaviorists are looking at the parental breed to get an idea of the origination of this breed.

Patterdale Terriers

The Patterdale Terriers belong to the Lake District region of northern England. These resilient dogs were primarily used by the people to guard the livestock in the area. Since the lake district region is an extremely hilly and rocky region, tough dogs were required. The Patterdale terriers made their entry into the United States around the 1960s.

Pitbull Terrier

The Pitbull terrier however was created in England in the 19th century. The primary reason for the creation of this breed was for bear baiting and bullfighting. These dogs were thought to be extremely aggressive fighting dogs. However, they were also known to be extremely gentle with humans and made for amazing family dogs.

The Pitbull terriers eventually came into the US accompanying their immigrant guardians. Once they entered the US soil, they were adopted as all-round farm dogs. The jobs of the pitbull terriers ranged from hunting wild games to providing companionship to their guardians. In the year 1898, the UKC (United Kingdom Kennel Club) renamed this dog as the American Pitbull terriers. These dogs gained recognition from the AKC in the early 1930s as the American Staffordshire Terrier. The reason these dogs were given the name Staffordshire Terrier was to distinguish this particular breed from the other ones that were known for engaging in fighting. This is why you will not find American Pitbull terrier in the AKC registry

Understanding the traits of the Pocket pitbull

Understanding the specific characteristics of the Pocket Pitbull has been hard because they have not been characterized by the AKC. However, based on the temperament of the dog and its parental heritage, several traits have come into the light. By the looks of it, the dogs look much more like their Pitbull parent instead of looking like their Patterdale terrier parent. Normally these dogs are born in litters involving two to five puppies.

Pocket Pitbulls

Growth pattern of the Pocket Pitbull

In most cases, these dogs look like their Pitbull parent. However, this trait can vary. The Staffordshire Pitbull take around two to three years to reach the age of maturity. The Patterdale terrier reaches maturity by around 14 to 16 months of age. In the case of the Pocket Pitbulls, they will require two to three years to completely mature. However, they will reach their full height by the time they are 14 to 16 months of age. After this., the growth mainly involves filling out.


The Pocket Pitbulls are very compact and muscular drugs with a wide and low chests. Their legs are generally short but pretty muscular. They also have bulky necks and large heads which is the characteristic of the Pitbull breed. This breed is sturdier and muscular than most of the other miniature toy breeds. This is very good news for dog guardians. This means that they are much less fragile and less prone to accidents compared to the other small breed dogs.

Since the Pocket Pitbull comes under the category of brachycephalic breeds, they have flat faces. This can lead to breathing issues. Therefore, guardians have to be very careful when taking care of this breed. Their ears are wide-set and floppy. They have medium-length thin tails. In terms of size, the Pocket Pitbull can range from 11 to 20 pounds and can stand between 9 to 11 inches in height. If the puppies grow any larger than this size, they will not be considered Pocket or miniature Pitbulls. They will be considered as a Pitbull mix. Simply put, you can classify Pitbulls as being twice the size of teacup pups.

Fur coat

Pocket Pitbulls generally have a short coat that is shiny and smooth. They are normally available in tan, cream, white, black, brown, or gray colors. These dogs shed but not a lot. Their shedding can easily be controlled via regular brushing. You do not have to give these dogs baths regularly. You can schedule them for baths every two or three months. However, if your dog has been playing in the mud all day, the bath schedule will probably change.

Temperament and personality

Since these dogs are derivatives of the Staffordshire Pitbull, most people think that these dogs will naturally be aggressive. However, this is not the case. Since they look more like Pitbull, this has often attracted those dog guardians who want to have fighting dogs. Because of this, this breed has received a reputation that it is not fit.


Pitbulls are extremely loving and affectionate dogs when they have been treated right and are brought up in a caring family environment. Any dog will become aggressive if they are not treated right. If you put shock collars on your dogs, punish them et cetera, you cannot expect your dog to not become aggressive. Treat your dogs the way you want to be treated. Your dog is a part of your family, not a commodity to be used and thrown away. If you are affectionate towards your dog, no matter which breed your dog belongs to, they will always be affectionate and protective towards you.


Pocket Pitbulls are highly intelligent. This makes them very easy to train. They are also very perceptive toward their human. Therefore, they can pick up on what you want them to do without actually telling them to do it. Always bring up your dog (belonging to any breed) with positive reinforcements. Do not use punishments as a method of training. Aversive training forms will only encourage negative behavior in your dog. If you train your dog with intimidation, your dog is more likely to become aggressive than loyal.


These dogs are naturally curious. Therefore, they will require a ton of mental stimulation from you. Be ready to offer them toys that mentally engaged them. Do not leave these dogs alone for long periods of time. They may develop separation anxiety and depression. Therefore, if you have to go to work and won’t be home for a period of 4 to 8 hours, a good option is to enroll your dog in a dog daycare. This way your dog will also have company while you are at work.

If you’re planning to leave your dog at home when you are out, you should give your dog some ‘find the treat’ toys, treat dispenser, ball thrower, kong etc. It will also be a good idea to have a good-sized backyard when your dog can run around and spend his energy while you are at work. Make sure that you keep aside some time every day to play, engage entry in your dog. The more time you spend with your dog, the stronger the bond will be between you and your Pocket Pitbull.

Expert nanny dogs

If you socialize a Pocket Pitbull with kids from a very early age, they can become amazing nanny dogs. These dogs have the amazing traits of being gentle and protective, thanks to their Pitbull parent. They will easily take the kids under their own wing and treat them as their own pups. If you have a very small child, it is preferable that you do not leave your kid unsupervised with the dog. Even though the dog is affectionate, loyal and loves your child, there is a chance that the puppy may not be aware of their own strength and may knock the child over while playing.

Territorial behavior

Pocket Pitbulls can be very territorial. However, this is what makes them amazing watchdogs. If you are looking for a dog that is small in size but is an amazing watchdog, a Pocket Pitbull might just be the answer. They make it their duty to notify you if anyone whom they do not know is approaching the house. However, you will have to reduce their overly territorial behavior. This way, they will not claim the society or the colony as their own. Your house is your dog’s territory. However, your neighbor’s garden should not be your dog’s territory.


Every dog needs to be socialized from a very early age. This will train them how to behave right with the other dogs. You should start working on getting your puppy socialized once your pup has received all the appropriate vaccines and is allowed to be out of the House. Socialization will teach your dog how to behave in the presence of other dogs, how to initiate play, which behaviors to engage in and which are not the appropriate behavior etc. Since Pitbulls are fairly intelligent, they can figure out very easily what type of behavior you want from them. Therefore, socialization should not be too difficult. However, do not leave it for a later time.


Care and exercise

Both the parent breeds, the Staffordshire Terrier and the Patterdale Terrier are working dog breeds. Therefore, you will have to provide enough physical stimulation to your dog. Pocket Pitbull is a little dog who is super energetic, active fearless, and resilient. They may have little legs, but this does not mean that they do not require exercise. They actually require a ton of exercise. When you have a Pocket Pitbull, it is imperative that you exercise them twice a day. Each exercise duration should be of 30 minutes.

As I mentioned before, if you have to be out of the house, having a backyard where the dog can run and spend energy would be a good idea. However, do not take the backyard as a substitute for exercise. If you are someone with a very active lifestyle, who prefers to go on hikes and other sorts of outdoor adventures, the Pocket Pitbull is the perfect dog for you. However, there may be times when you have to pick up your dog and help him navigate because of its short stature.

Food habits

Since pocket Pitbulls are of diminutive size, dog guardians easily get confused with how much food to give the dog. It is very easy to overfeed such dogs. Therefore, you must be very careful when rationing portions for your puppy. Try not to give your dog extra treats or food from your own plate. Any treat that you give your dog should be included as a part of the daily meal.

In the case of Pocket Pitbulls, you only need to provide them with 400 calories every day. However, this is not true for each and every Pocket Pitbull. Every dog is different. Therefore, you may have to tweak the number a little bit to find out the correct amount for your puppy.

Health issues

Every dog is prone to some or other form of health issue. Even though the mixed breed dogs are healthier compared to purebred ones, they also do inherit the health concerns of their parents.


In the case of miniature Pitbulls, they have a tendency towards developing hypothyroidism. In the case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland stops reducing enough thyroid hormone. This causes symptoms like unexplained weight loss and lethargy. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, do not delay in taking your dog to the vet. Your vet will prescribe a healthy diet that will help in balancing out this condition. However, your dog may have to take medication for the long term.

Health issues

Hip dysplasia

Another problem that Pitbull commonly face is hip dysplasia. It is also seen in miniature Pitbulls However it is not as common in Pocket Pitbulls as it is in the case of the American Pitbulls. In the case of hip dysplasia, the ball and socket joined in the hip does not grow properly to fit one another. This causes a ton of pain and can lead to early arthritis in the dog. One of the primary reasons why this problem occurs is because of overexercising. Therefore, exercise your puppy for 5 minutes, four times a day.

As a responsible dog guardian, you must make sure that your dog is receiving plenty of chondroitin, glucosamine, and omega-3 in their diet. These three supplements can help your dog counteract the condition of hip dysplasia.

Heart problems

Patterdale terriers are extremely prone to facing heart issues. This also gets manifested in the Pocket Pitbulls. The primary symptoms that you should be on the lookout for are weight loss, coughing, fatigue, appetite loss, trouble breathing, and trouble sleeping. One way by which you can minimize the chance of this disease occurring is to maintain your dog at a proper weight and limit the salt intake.

Allergy issues

The Pocket Pitbulls are also prone to developing skin allergies. Therefore, if your dog seems to be excessively itching, do not take it lightly. The itchiness primarily affects the ear, belly, and feet sections of the dog’s body. Pocket Pitbull exhibits either seasonal or food-related allergies. If it’s a food-related allergy, you can consult the veterinarian and get a specialized diet for your dog. If it’s seasonal you may have to keep your dog indoors more during the specific season.


Now that you know what a Pocket Pitbull is, the temperament, characteristics, care methods, and exercise requirements, do you think this job will be a good fit for your family? Do you have a Pocket Pitbull? How has your experience been? How does your miniature Pitbull behave with your kids? Please mention your experiences in the comments section below. Your experiences may answer questions that potential dog guardians may have in their minds.

If you have any queries about this blog post or any others on The Happy Puppers, you can reach me live on Twitch. I do who working and mental health steams. The co-working streams are conducted everyday basis from 11 AM to 7 PM IST. The mental health sessions take place on Tuesdays and Fridays from 4 to 6 PM IST. Alternatively, you can reach me on any of my social media channels. I will be happy to help.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are Pocket Pitbulls dangerous?

No! If treated properly and with respect, the Pocket Pitbull makes for the perfect family dog.

How big is a pocket pitbull?

The Pocket Pitbull can range from 11 to 20 pounds and can stand between 9 to 11 inches in height.

When is a Pocket Pitfull full grown?

A Pocket Pitbull is full grown by 2-3 years. However, by the age of 14-16 months, they reach their full height.

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