The Pitbull is a magnificent and muscular breed that has earned a bad reputation for various reasons. The American Pitbull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the American Bully all fall under the Pitbull category. Since many people desire muscular Pitbulls, some breeders inbreed these dogs to concentrate the best genes. With an emphasis on creating purebred dogs, inbreeding has become a big issue among various dog breeds.
While some believe inbreeding is beneficial in maintaining the best characteristics of a particular breed, it can also cause issues. Inbred Pitbulls are no exception and can suffer from a variety of issues due to their genetics.
What Is Inbreeding?
Dog breeders have been creating new dog breeds for nearly 4,000 years. The purpose of breeding is to concentrate desirable characteristics, i.e., increase the chance of them appearing in future generations. For example, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have been bred to have droopy ears and soft fur. Similarly, different characteristics are desirable for other breeds. Unlike Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, the Chihuahua’s ears are preferably upright rather than droopy. Sometimes, mutations are also desirable, like the Shar-Pei breed whose unique wrinkles are the result of a hereditary disorder.
You might have heard of the term “pedigree” or “purebred.” This refers to dogs who have a line of ancestors with the exact same characteristics. Breeders achieve this by matching dogs with similar DNA and breeding them through a process called “inbreeding.” This could mean breeding a mother and son, father and daughter, or siblings. Linebreeding is another form of inbreeding, where breeders match dogs that share a specific ancestor without being closely related.
Linebreeding and inbreeding, especially with close relatives, pose certain risks for Pitbulls as well as other breeds. The greatest risk is that the offspring has multiple health issues. The reason this happens is because the puppy can inherit recessive genes that are responsible for health issues from both parents. For example, Pitbulls are genetically predisposed to developing hip dysplasia. If breeders breed a Pitbull mother with her son, the puppy has a higher chance of developing the condition. Inbreeding can lead to your dog having a short lifespan and frequent visits to the veterinarian.
Inbreeding is an unethical practice that makes life very difficult for dogs. It can cause puppies to be born with birth defects and a variety of health issues. The American Kennel Club (AKC) encourages dog breeders to breed responsibly.
Why Inbreeding Occurs in Pitbulls
When breeders inbreed any dog breed, it is for the sole purpose of preserving desirable characteristics. When it comes to Pitbulls, these desirable characteristics include a heavily-muscled body that is strong and athletic. It is also these “purebred” Pitbulls that are the most expensive. Often, breeders might also choose a male dog that has won competitions to distribute “winner genes” among future generations. This could also lead to inbreeding since the dog in question could also be inbred.
Some Pitbulls are also bred for color, particularly the Blue Nose Pitbull and Red Nose Pitbull. The distinct characteristic of these types is a blue-gray or amber hue to the skin, eyes, nose, and toenails. This remarkable coloring can only occur when two parents who have recessive coat-color genes breed. These recessive genes decrease the production of melanin, which can affect the coat color. This can dilate colors such as black and brown to create a new color altogether.
It is quite rare to find two recessive-gene parents to create a Blue or Red Nose Pitbull. Due to this, some illegitimate breeders may use inbreeding to create more puppies with this coloring. Blue and Red Nose Pitbull puppies are some of the most expensive dogs with prices ranging from $1000 to $3000. Unfortunately, the limited gene pool can lead to these unique Pitbulls developing a host of health issues. The lack of melanin can affect their immune and nervous system. It can also cause sensitivity to the sun and poor coat quality.
The Risks Associated With Inbreeding Pitbulls
While some breeders assume that inbreeding two dogs with strong genetics will lead to the perfect litter, that is not always the case. Inbreeding can lead to drastic consequences for a particular breed in the future. Even if two dogs show no signs of problems, they can still carry recessive genes that will affect future generations. If you are adopting a Pitbull, you should have full knowledge of your puppy’s lineage. A responsible breeder will be transparent about any genetic health conditions.
Inbreeding two closely related Pitbulls can lead to the following issues:
Limiting The Gene Pool
“Gene pool” is the term for all available genes that can be passed down to a puppy. A diverse gene pool means there is a wider array of genes that can be passed on. Inbreeding Pitbulls can significantly reduce their gene pool. Since the two parents are from the same family, they carry similar genes. From an evolutionary standpoint, this can be problematic for future generations. Inbred Pitbulls will have a higher chance of inheriting “bad genes.” i.e., the ones responsible for diseases. As inbreeding occurs in future generations, the lifespan of these Pitbulls can also decrease.
Inbred Pitbulls have weaker immune systems than their outbred counterparts. Breeders have consistently noticed that puppies born through inbreeding have a higher rate of autoimmune diseases and get sick often. Common infections such as a flu or cold can cause severe symptoms in inbred Pitbulls. It has also been noted that inbred dogs are much more aggressive and less intelligent than dogs with a diverse gene pool. This can cause issues with training and socialization.
Before genetics became a widely studied subject in science, livestock breeders observed a phenomenon called “inbreeding depression” in inbred cattle. They observed that inbred cattle had issues related to vitality, fertility, and mortality. The presence of harmful genes can affect the Pitbull’s ability to thrive and reproduce. When inbreeding occurs in future generations, it can reduce the gene pool and multiply bad genetic material. At some point, the dogs born out of inbreeding can have a significant number of health issues that affect their lifespan.
The effects of inbreeding usually start to show after a few generations. It might seem as if inbreeding causes no issues, but dogs born through inbred ancestors develop many health issues down the line.
Issues In Inbred Pitbulls
Inbred Pitbulls can suffer from a variety of issues, ranging from birth defects to health issues. Hereditary conditions are common in inbred Pitbulls, much more than those with diverse ancestry. Inbred Pitbulls can suffer in the following ways:
Inbred Pitbulls have a high risk of being born with birth defects. These birth defects can include a cleft palate, dwarfism, and extra toes to name a few. Genetic defects can also lead to birth defects.
As the Pitbull’s gene pool becomes limited, defective genes can increase in number. Birth defects can cause significant issues for a puppy. A mother might even reject puppies with birth defects, assuming they are too weak to survive.
Weaker Immune System
Inbred Pitbulls have weaker immune systems compared to outbred dogs. This means that they get sick often, with severe symptoms, and take longer to recover. Even common illnesses such as a flu or cold can quickly progress to a severe health issue. In inbred Pitbull puppies, this could also affect their ability to fight parasites or bacterial infections. Puppies are already vulnerable and compromising their immunity further can have serious consequences.
If your dog gets sick often, this also means frequent trips to the veterinarian. Taking care of an inbred Pitbull is expensive since they will require medical attention more often.
The Pitbull breed is prone to many health problems such as allergies, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, skin conditions, and cataracts. When Pitbull parents from the same litter are bred for a puppy, these genes that carry these health issues increase in number. An inbred Pitbull borne through several generations of inbred dogs has a higher risk of developing inherited health issues. They can also develop more health issues since there is an abundance of genes that carry the alleles responsible for them.
As inbreeding occurs over several generations, these health issues can multiply. Inbred Pitbulls may suffer from various inherited health issues.
Difficulties With Training
Pitbulls are affectionate and eager to please their owners. They are highly intelligent dogs with an alert nature. Inbred Pitbulls rarely show these traits and can even inherit mental illnesses from closely related parents.
They can be very difficult to train due to their low intelligence. The Pitbull breed is already difficult to train so inbred Pitbulls can be a big challenge. They can find it difficult to learn and follow commands. Even after training an inbred Pitbull for a long time, you will have difficulty taking control of your dog. These dogs can also be highly impulsive, making it even more difficult to train them.
Inbred Pitbulls are much more aggressive than their outbred counterparts. While there is a common misconception that Pitbulls are inherently aggressive, that is not the case. Most Pitbulls are gentle, affectionate, and have even served as “nanny dogs” to children in the past.
When your inbred Pitbull reaches sexual maturity, aggression can become worse. While a normal outbred Pitbull will only show aggression towards other dogs, inbred Pitbulls do not discriminate. They can be aggressive towards humans and other animals. Unfortunately, most people don’t learn about their dog’s behavioral issues until they bring them home.
Inbred Pitbulls have a much shorter lifespan than outbred Pitbulls. This is due to the high risk of developing single or multiple health issues. Studies have shown that inbreeding can reduce a dog’s lifespan by six to ten months. The number of health issues present and their severity can also lead to a shorter lifespan. Inbred Pitbulls not only have a shorter lifespan, but their short lives can also be difficult due to the myriad of health issues they suffer from. They frequently get sick, develop severe symptoms, and some might even die as puppies.
Issues With Overall Health
Inbred Pitbulls struggle with overall health issues other than ones that are inherited. Many breeders describe inbred puppies as “lacking vigor.”This could be due to inbreeding depression along with a number of health conditions. Their compromised immunity also plays a large role in their lethargic appearance. Inbred Pitbulls struggle to survive since their health is affected by a variety of factors.
Issues with overall health also manifest as your dog getting sick enough. An inbred Pitbull’s allergies could flare up at any time. Additionally, they are also at risk for joint and eye issues.
Inbreeding can cause many issues with puppy litters and fertility. The mother may give birth to only a few healthy puppies while others could be born with birth defects. Some of the puppies may even die after birth. Inbred Pitbull males also have fertility issues so breeding may not always be successful. One or two inbred litters may be born with zero issues. However, as inbreeding occurs over generations, puppies will have an increased risk of developing health issues.
Inbred Pitbulls can be born with numerous physical and neurological deformities. This can increase the puppy mortality rate. This can include issues with eye placement or a crooked jaw. Sometimes breeders even breed dogs with physical abnormalities that are desirable. For example, the French Bulldog’s small snout may seem adorable but comes at a great price. These dogs suffer from a condition called Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome. Dogs who are born with such defects at birth are often neglected or euthanized.
Inbred Pitbulls are dogs born through breeding two dogs with similar genes. The inbred puppies can suffer from a number of health conditions and some are even born with birth defects. As these puppies grow older, issues such as aggression and impulsivity start to show. The behaviors that earn Pitbulls a bad reputation are due to human negligence and irresponsible breeding.