Pitbulls have gained an unfortunate reputation over the years of being aggressive and dangerous, with certain countries banning them as pets owing to their history as fighting dogs. However, despite this reputation, they have an avid following of pitbull-lovers wanting to show the world how gentle and kind they can really be.
However, like all breeds, Pitbulls do have their drawbacks, with some owners noticing a tendency to shed more frequently than you might expect a short-haired breed to shed. Pitbull shedding can be a bit of a nuisance but easily kept under control. So here we’ve taken a look at the different causes for a pitbull dog’s coat to shed, and ways that you can keep on top of it.
Do Pitbulls Shed?
Many people assume that short hair dog breeds don’t really shed their fur, however, this is untrue. Excessive shedding is not exclusive to long-haired breeds and in fact, all dogs shed to some degree unless they are hypoallergenic (such as poodles). Pitbull shedding is not overly difficult to deal with, as thankfully they fall within the category of not being very heavy shedders. However, there are some conditions that can cause heavy shedding and require careful care.
The Pitbull Coat
Pit bulls generally have short, wiry, dense coats that provide them with a good amount of protection against the elements. They have single-layered coats, meaning there is no thick undercoat to keep them warm. This also means they don’t tend to shed quite as much as double-layered dogs do.
The smooth texture of their fur is also intended to prevent rain from penetrating their single coat, as the rain will usually hit the top layer of fur and roll off – much like a raincoat. Although, the pitbull is not a single dog breed, but rather a term used for several breeds of dog, each with slight difference that could affect the type of coat that they have.
The Different Pitbull Dog Breeds
- American Pitbull Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- American Bulldog
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Red Nose Pitbull
- Blue Nose Pitbull
- Bull Terrier
These are the most common pit bull breeds, and whilst each of these breeds has fur very similar to the next, some can have more shape to their fur or may have thicker fur around the neck area which could be more likely to hold onto dirt and debris. If you notice this with your own dog then be sure to take extra care around that area to ensure it is properly maintained.
Caring For a Pitbull’s Coat
Dog hair, much like human hair, requires constant care, not only to keep the fur itself clean and hygienic but to protect the dog’s sensitive skin underneath it. If your dog’s loose fur is left to accumulate, it can trap dirt and bacteria which can cause skin irritation. Additionally, if you keep up with grooming your pitbull’s coat regularly, the knock-on effect of protecting its skin will prevent your pitbull from shedding as much in the future.
Get a Good Quality Pitbull Shedding Brush
Getting a grooming brush for your pit bull may seem like a simple task, but you need to ensure that you’re purchasing a high-quality grooming brush that is designed to look after short, thick-haired dogs. Pitbull terriers have short, dense coats, and so you need to be able to reach through the entire coat of fur to avoid the accumulation of bacteria or dirt. We feel that the best pitbull shedding brush would be something like a Furminator, as it is specifically designed for that purpose.
Keep Up a Regular Brushing Routine
Once you’ve got the right kind of brush you’ll want to maintain a routine in which you brush your pit bull regularly to remove loose fur and check your dog’s skin for any signs of irritation. Ideally, you should aim for once every couple of weeks. This doesn’t have to be a chore and can be done in the evening whilst watching the television. In fact, many dogs respond better to being brushed if it’s less of an event and more of a casual task.
Bathe Your Pit Bull Regularly
During shedding season your pitbull may become itchy or irritable once it starts shedding excess hair. Bathing your dog’s entire body once a week during the heavy-shedding periods can help to remove some loose fur and soothe any itchy skin they might have as a result of shedding. Additionally, you can purchase shedding shampoos to help the process and itch soothing shampoo if they seem to be really struggling.
Feed Them a Balanced Diet
To key to a healthy coat and skin is to ensure your dog is eating the right kind of food. Bad skin or a dull coat is usually the first sign that they’re missing something in their diet. Stick with high-quality dog food options that contain omega fatty acids for that extra boost to their coat. Vitamins and minerals are the keys to keeping your dog fit and strong in all areas, not just their fur.
Why Do Pitbulls Shed So Much?
Pitbulls are not exceptionally heavy shedders by any means. However, they do have shedding cycles, like all digs, and will shed their coats and grow in new fur at certain times of the year. The shedding of dog fur is done both to protect the skin and rejuvenate the skin, and whilst this can be exceptionally frustrating for dog owners the world over (especially owners of fluffy thick-coated dogs), it is a natural form of hair-care for creatures that don’t ordinarily have the capability of brushing their coat themselves.
Pit bull shedding can help to prevent infections and irritation of the skin by shaking loose the damaged and dead hair to replace it with a fresh coat, free of imperfection. But there are also some health problems that can cause a pitbull to shed more than usual, which should be taken care of immediately.
Anxiety or Stress
If pit bull terriers experience high levels of stress or anxiety they can begin to show it physically. Much like with humans, stress has a way of projecting onto the towards appearance. With pit bulls, it can result in excessive shedding. Furthermore, your pitbull might start chewing at its legs as a self-soothe gesture, which can lead to additional hair falling out or being ingested. If too much fur gets ingested during this time it can cause stomach irritation, which in turn can trigger vomiting or diarrhea.
You should always try and find the cause of your dog’s anxiety – be it separation anxiety, a change of environment, a certain sound in the house, a new smell (such as carpet cleaner), or lack of exercise. Once you’ve discovered the source you can then work to ease your dog’s anxiety, therefore reducing the likelihood of excess shedding.
A Poor Diet
As previously mentioned, your dog’s coat can be heavily impacted by the food it eats. Pit bulls do not have as much fur to spare as double-coated dogs, and so it is especially important that you try your best to maintain a healthy diet for them, that will in turn look after their coat. If your dog is lacking in certain vitamins or minerals their coat will begin to deteriorate and the skin will become dry and itchy. If you find that a change in diet doesn’t seem to be improving the situation then there is a chance it could be caused by an alternative health concern.
Skin allergies can be triggered by your dog’s surroundings causing your dog’s shedding to ramp up in the areas that are most heavily affected. Pitbulls are more susceptible to reacting to their environment on contact when they have their light summer coat, as there is less fur acting as a barrier. Many pet owners find that the allergies are triggered by a change of cleaning product that the dog is likely to be exposed to, such as carpet cleaner or mop solution. However, it’s not always that simple, and may take some trial and error to figure out.
Seasonal allergies are the result of excessive pollen, grass, or even mold. Your dog will be affected by its seasonal allergies every year around the same time, so if you have noticed a similar pattern with your pitty it may mean they too are struggling with seasonal allergies. These allergies typically result in severely itchy skin, which your dog will attempt to itch constantly, leading to excess hair loss and bald patches in untreated.
A dog can develop allergies to certain foods, or be born with those allergies. Either way, a symptom of food allergies is often irritated skin. Though you will usually find that a food allergy is often accompanied by additional symptoms such as digestive distress, sickness, lethargy, bloating, and cramping.
Fleas, Mites, or Parasites
Fleas and parasites can cause severe irritation of the skin, rashes, bald patches, itching, bleeding, crusting, and sensitivity. An allergy to flea bites is also quite common with dogs of all breeds, as they can be affected by the flea’s saliva. A dog shedding excessively may have a parasite infestation cause the fur to fall out as the skin reacts, and as the dog scratches at the irritated areas.
A dog with an infestation may require medication to kill the fleas before the skin can be properly treated and the hair can be able to grow back. However, in some cases, a home flea treatment and flea shampoo can also do the trick, depending on the severity.
The most common medical condition to cause a dog to shed fur excessively is pregnancy and nursing. This is due to a constant fluctuation in hormone levels which can lead to shedding at the wrong time of year, or additional shedding post-birth, much like with humans. It is also possible for your dog to develop thyroid problems which can also cause excessive shedding.
Q: How often do pit bulls shed?
A: Pitbulls, like most dog breeds, shed twice a year. Ordinarily the most shedding will take place as the weather is warming up, and as the weather is cooling down so that they catch switching between their summer and winter coats.
Q: Do pit bulls shed a lot?
A: Pitbulls are not particularly heavy shedders outside of shedding season, like most single-coated dog breeds. However, they do shed year-round nonetheless. They are also low maintenance when it comes to grooming, with it recommended that they be brushed once every couple of weeks.
Q: Are pit bulls hypoallergenic?
A: No, pitbulls are not a hypoallergenic breed and are not recommended for households where someone might have a dog dander allergy.
How many coats do pit bulls have?
A: Pitbulls are single-coated dogs, meaning they do not have an undercoat for additional warmth. This results in less shedding overall, however, they are also more susceptible to cold weather conditions owing to the lack of insulation and additional protection that other double-coated breeds have.