A pocket Pitbull is a smaller version of one of the popular Pitbull breeds.
Pocket dogs are bred by outcrossing with smaller dogs, deliberately introducing dwarfism to a breeding line, or selectively breeding from runts over several generations.
The size of a pocket Pitbull depends upon the method used, and so does the health they’ll enjoy, too.
Introducing The Pocket Pitbull
Pocket Pitbulls are becoming increasingly popular.
They appeal to Pitbull fans who want a smaller dog that’s easier to care for.
In fact, these dogs are part of a growing trend towards creating littler versions of many popular breeds.
We’ll take a closer look at the miniaturization phenomenon that’s been sweeping the canine world and answer questions like:
- “How big is a pocket Pitbull?”
- “Where do pocket Pitbulls come from?”
- “Does being small cause any health problems?”
This article will weigh the pros and cons of the pocket Pitbull.
The Pocket Pitbull Vs The Pitbull
First of all, let’s be clear that the term pocket Pitbull is misleading.
You may be picturing a Pitbull tiny enough to fit into a pocket, but this is definitely not the case.
A pocket Pitbull, or a miniature Pitbull, is simply a smaller version of the parent breed.
There’s one more thing to clear up, and that’s the fact that there actually is no Pitbull breed.
Rather, this is a generic term used to describe a number of different dogs descended from Olde English Bulldogs.
The American Pitbull Terrier is the most popular of these dogs and the one usually used to create the pocket Pitbull.
This medium-sized breed typically stands from 17 to 20 inches and weighs anywhere from 30 to 60 pounds.
These athletic dogs are distinctive for their large, wedge-shaped heads.
They have a longstanding reputation for being aggressive. Much of this has to do with their history of fighting bulls, bears, and other dogs.
However, if you talk to a Pitbull owner, they’re more likely to tell you that their dog is loving, gentle, and very affectionate.
The Appeal Of The Pocket Pitbull
Imagine all of the things you love about Pitbulls, but in a more manageable package.
It’s not hard to see why these pocket pups are so appealing.
People who live in smaller homes will find miniaturized dogs more adaptable to compact living spaces.
Not only do they take up less room, but they also usually require less exercise, which is a big draw for busy people.
Then there’s the cuteness factor.
And this is often the one that tips the scales in favor of a scaled-down Pitbull version.
There’s no denying that there’s something very appealing about a dog who retains the adorable physical attributes of a puppy.
Where Do Pocket Pitbulls Come From?
There are essentially three ways for breeders to produce a pocket Pitbull.
The first way is to breed a Pitbull with a smaller dog.
While this method can create miniature Pitbulls, there’s always a chance that the offspring will look and act like the other breed.
Introducing the gene for dwarfism can create a dog with shorter than normal legs.
Finally, some breeders will repeatedly breed from runts to get very small puppies.
Mixing With A Smaller Breed
Crossbreeding a Pitbull with another breed is the most humane method of achieving a miniaturized version.
It offers the added bonus of genetic diversity and the possibility of decreasing inherited health conditions.
Let’s take a look at some pocket Pitbull possibilities.
The American Pitbull Terrier And Patterdale Terrier Mix
In fact, these dogs are sometimes referred to as the Pitterdale.
The Patterdale Terrier is an English dog bred almost exclusively for their ability to hunt. They’re a fairly new breed, only in existence since the early 1900s.
And they’re still quite rare, especially outside of the UK.
These small dogs typically stand about 12 inches and weigh in the 11 to 13 pound range. Confident, lively, and stubborn, these dogs can also be quite laid back.
However, they still have lots of energy.
Both of these breeds are loyal, affectionate, smart, and protective.
Unfortunately, they also share some health concerns, including allergies and eye diseases.
The Patterdale Terrier is also prone to patellar luxation and portosystemic shunts.
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Pitbull Yorkie Mix
Although the Pitbull Yorkie mix combines two terrier breeds, these dogs couldn’t be much different in terms of appearance.
The Yorkshire Terrier is instantly recognizable for their long, silky, luxurious coat of steel blue and golden tan, highly in contrast to the Pitbull’s short, shiny coat.
Although they stand just 6 to 9 inches and weigh under 7 pounds, Yorkies have a spirited terrier temperament.
Believe it or not, these lap-sized dogs were originally bred to chase and kill rats.
This mix is likely to be courageous and energetic, with a high prey drive.
There’s a good chance that a Pitbull Yorkie mix will be smaller than a Pitbull, but this is not a common pairing and may be difficult to locate.
Boston Terrier Pitbull Mix
The Boston Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier have a lot more physical characteristics in common.
In fact, these dogs are distant relations.
The Boston Terrier stands from 15 to 17 inches and weighs up to 25 pounds.
You can expect these puppies to have a short, smooth coat, and triangular ears.
As Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic breed you would want to choose a puppy who has the Pitbull’s longer muzzle to avoid the respiratory and other health issues associated with the flat face conformation.
Introducing The Dwarfism Gene
Dwarfism is a medical condition in dogs known as chondrodysplasia.
It’s caused by one of many types of dwarfism genes that give dogs short limbs, large heads, and long bodies.
However, it’s also possible to introduce a dwarfism gene to create smaller than average puppies in other breeds like the Pitbull.
While this does create a dog of shorter stature, there are serious problems with this method.
Skeletal defects and growth abnormalities can be painful depending on the severity.
Other health risks associated with dwarfism include heart defects, skin aberrations, and even behavioral issues like aggression.
Breeding From Runts
The final way that breeders can produce a pocket Pitbull is to breed from increasingly smaller dogs.
This method is a surefire way of ensuring that all of the Pitbull’s physical characteristics and normal conformational proportions are intact.
But it can take several generations before a smaller version is achieved.
And breeding from runts carries a high risk of passing along numerous health problems.
Since the smallest dogs are often the weakest it can make it very hard to produce healthy puppies this way.
Is A Pocket Pitbull Right For Me?
Choosing a pocket Pitbull that’s the result of crossbreeding with a Patterdale Terrier will produce a muscular, well-proportioned dog that stands from 12 to 16 inches and weighs from 11 to 22 pounds.
However, they still need to be kept active with daily activities to avoid negative behaviors.
These dogs are better suited to homes with a fenced yard where they can run and play than they are for apartment living.
Despite their tough appearance and reputation, pocket Pitbulls can be very sweet-natured.
Early socialization and training with positive reinforcement methods that use plenty of rewards and praise are crucial for a dog known to be territorial and protective.
They do make excellent watchdogs.
Pocket Pitbulls are known to be intelligent and eager to please, but also independent and stubborn.
This could make training difficult for first time owners.
Finding A Pocket Pitbull
Since pocket Pitbulls are becoming increasingly popular, finding a puppy may be easier now.
However, finding a reputable breeder is paramount to ensure a happy, healthy pet.
Remember that the key to appearance and temperament is largely due to what the parents are like, so it’s important to see them before selecting a puppy.
A responsible breeder will be happy to introduce you to the parents and show you where the puppies have been raised.
Finally, they should be well versed in any genetic health problems and have documentation to prove that their stock has been health tested and is free of any genetic conditions.
Alternatively, you can consider getting an older dog from a shelter. This option ensures you can see exactly what kind of dog you’re getting.
Do you have a pocket Pitbull? Tell us about them in the comments.
References and Resources
- Parker, HG, et al. “An Expressed Fgf4 Retrogene Is Associated with Breed-Defining Chondrodysplasia in Domestic Dogs,” Science, 2009
- Gow, AG, et al., “Whole Blood Manganese Concentrations in Dogs with Congenital Portosystemic Shunts,” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 2010
- Brenig, B, et al., “Analysis of Blood Clotting Factor Activities in Canine Legg‐Calvé‐Perthes’ Disease,” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 2008
- Woo HM, et al., “Intraluminal tracheal stent fracture in a Yorkshire terrier,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2007
- Kimmel, SE, et al., “Hypomagnesemia and hypocalcemia associated with protein-losing enteropathy in Yorkshire Terriers: five cases (1992–1998),” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2000
- Kock, DA, et al., “Brachycephalic Syndrome in Dogs,” Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practising Veterinarian -North American Edition, 2003
- Parker, HG, et al., “An Expressed Fgf4 Retrogene Is Associated with Breed-Defining Chondrodysplasia in Domestic Dogs,” Science, 2009
- Jezyk PF, “Constitutional Disorders of the Skeleton in Dogs and Cats,” IVIS, 1985