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Heritage American Pit Bull Terrier Conformation Standard®

By January 27, 2018January 31st, 2018Conformation Standards

Due to the improper use of the American Dog Breeders Association Inc. Heritage American Pit Bull Terrier Conformation Standard® being used as a breed identifier in proposed laws and ordinances, a breed standard use clause will now be part of our ADBA Heritage American Pit Bull Terrier Conformation Standard® The ADBA APBT Heritage Conformation Standard® now includes an ideal conditioned show weight to be between 30 and 75 pounds.

I. Introduction

A. To truly understand any breed standard, one must know the history behind a breed’s existence.

B. The purpose of a judge is the unbiased selection of quality breeding stock with true breed type.

C. The responsibility of judging is to put up the dogs that conform most to the conformation standard leaving personal bias aside.

II. Overall Appearance 20 points

A. Conforming to breed type

1. Should look like an American Pit Bull Terrier from across the ring

2. Sturdy, three dimensional. Giving the impression of strength, not slight or frail.

3. Appears square, with heavy boned, solid front end with a light and springy back end.

4. Should look athletic, not bulky. Musculature should be smooth but defined.

5. Presentation of an adult dog should be of a lean, exercised animal, showing a hint of rib and backbone (without hipbones showing) with muscles firm and defined. Clean, glossy coat with short trimmed nails. Presentation of dogs in the puppy classes should be of a well nourished puppy, showing no ribs, backbone or hips. Coat should be glossy with short, trimmed nails.

B. Balance

1. Balanced angulation of front and rear assembly – judged best at the trot.

2. Height to weight ratio – the tallest dog at a given weight

3. Head size in proportion to the body, with a neck long enough to have 2/3rds of the head appear above the topline of the back when head is in a normal upright position.

C. Presentation

1. Dog is socialized, showing interest in things around him.

2. Although some degree of dog/animal aggressiveness is characteristic of the breed, unruly behavior will detract from the judges ability to accurately judge an individual dog’s conformation.

D. Health

1. The vitality of the dog’s spirit, the gloss of the dogs coat and the sharpness of the dog’s eye, will exude the healthfulness of the individual animal.

2. Colors or color patterns known to be genetically linked to health problems will be considered a serious fault. Major faults: merle color pattern, albinism (white dog with blue or pink eyes, pink nose, lips, no pigment present on pads, rims of eyes etc.)

III. Attitude 10 points

A. Confident and alert

B. Interested in things around them, in control of their space, not threatened by anything in their surroundings.

C. Gentle with loved ones. Major Fault: shy or timid.

IV. Back end 30 points

A. Loin

1. Broad and long enough to square the dog. Too short can interfere with a dogs flexibility. Too long a loin causes the dog to carry excessive weight and affect a dog’s agility and quickness.

B. Hip

1. Long and sloping with adequate width. This can be judged by the set of the tail, which should be low.

2. Ideal slope of hip should be 30 degrees to the ground.

C. Proportions of the back leg.

1. The femur should be of a length so that the stifle joint is proportioned in the upper 1/3 of the rear assembly.

2. The tibia-fibula is the longer bone of the rear assembly

3. The length of the metatarsal is moderate, with muscles that attach equally on each side of the bone so that the hocks move parallel to each other, deviating neither in nor out. The metatarsals bones, hock and lower part of the tibia will be light, fine and springy.

4. Rear angulation – ratio between the lengths of the bones and the muscles which attach on these bones, causes a bent stifle which leads to a well bent hock. This contributes to the natural springiness that is desired in the rear assembly.

5. The muscle attachment is long and deep, well past the joint ideal for leveraged power, which causes the muscles to appear smooth, but defined. (Not bunchy). Faults: short or flat hip, straight stifle, double jointed or slipped hock, cow hocked, bunchy muscles.

V. Front end 20 points

A. Ribcage

1. Deep and elliptical with a prominent breastbone or prosternum. From the side, the bottom of the ribcage should at least be even with the elbow joint.

2. Well sprung at the top, tapering to the bottom, extending well back into the loin.

B. Shoulders

1. Wider than the ribcage at the 8th rib. Scapula well laid back, 45 degree or less angle to the ground, and broad and flat allowing for adequate muscular attachment for a heavy and sturdy front end.

2. The humerus is angled at an opposite 45 degree angle and is long enough that the elbow comes to the bottom of the ribcage, elbows lying flat against the body.

3. Forearms are slightly longer than the humerus and solid, twice the thickness of the metatarsal at the hock.

C. Feet

1. Small and tight, set high on pasterns.

2. Pads thick, and well built up.

3. Dew claws are natural on front feet, and do not naturally occur on back legs. Faults: barrel chest, narrow chest, fine bones, out at elbows, down in pasterns, splay feet, thin pads, back dew claws.

VI. Head and Neck 15 points

A. Neck

1. Heavily muscled to the base of the skull

2. Long in length B. Head 1. Head size balanced in relationship to the rest of the body. 2. 2/3 the width of the shoulders.

3. Wedge shaped when viewed from the top or side, round when viewed from the front.

4. Cheeks 25% wider than the neck at the base of the skull.

5. The length from the nose to the stop should equal the length from the stop to the back of the head.

6. The bridge of the muzzle is well developed. The fill in under the eyes should be wider than the head at the base of the ears for structural support of the upper canines.

7. The head should be deep from the top of the head to the bottom of the jaw.

8. Straight box like muzzle

9. Lips tight

10. Teeth, incisors should meet in the front in a scissor bite. Canines should be wide at the base and taper to the end, top canines fitting tightly together behind the bottom canines. They should be sound and healthy with none missing.

11. Eyes, small and deep set. Elliptical when viewed from the front, triangular when viewed from the side.

12. Ears- no preference should be given to cropped or uncropped ears, except to enhance the overall attractiveness of the individual dog. Faults: short neck, cheeky, underdeveloped muzzle, lippy, missing canines, overshot or undershot to the extent that the canines do not fit tightly together.

VII. Tail and Coat 5 points

A. Coat

1. Skin thick and loose around neck and chest, tight fitting elsewhere, showing vertical folds around the neck and chest even in a well exercised animal.

2. Short and bristled, the gloss showing overall health of the animal.

3. Color or any combination of colors, except for colors or color patterns known to be genetically linked to health problems.

B. Tail

1. Thick at the base, tapering to the point. Its length should have the tail extending to the point of the hock.

2. Hang down like a pump handle when relaxed.

Major faults: Merle color pattern or albinism. (White dog, blue or pink eyes, lacks pigment)

Faults: Longer coat, fringed hair on tail or elsewhere, bobbed tail or any tail other than straight.

Disqualifications: Man aggression, one sided or both sided cryptorchid, spayed or neutered dogs

The ADBA APBT Heritage Conformation Standard® now includes an ideal conditioned show weight to be between 30 and 75 pounds. Above all, the American Pit Bull Terrier should appear to be an all around athlete. His body is called upon for speed, power, agility and stamina. He must be balanced in all directions. Too much of one thing, robs him of another. In his ideal form, he is a thing of beauty.

American Pit Bull Terrier Conformation Standard

The American Dog Breeders Association Inc. Heritage Basis of Conformation Standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier® as copyrighted works is protected by the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works is composed of 145 member nations of which the United States is one. The Berne Convention calls for national treatment of copyrights. Under the agreement, each member country agrees to give the same protection to copyright holders from other nations as it does its own citizens. Any unauthorized or improper use of the American Dog Breeders Association Inc. Heritage Conformation Standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier® is strictly prohibited.


American Dog Breeders Association Inc. (ADBA) Heritage American Pit Bull Terrier Conformation Standard® Disclaimer

This breed standard is not a breed identifier. It may only be used to judge the standards of quality of the American Pit Bull Terrier, as set forth. It’s purpose is for use by American Dog Breeders Association Inc. breeders, or American Dog Breeders Association Inc. sanctioned judges, in determining the quality of each animal being judged at an American Dog Breeders Association Inc. sanctioned show, or event and for awarding ADBSI points based upon individual quality as reflected by the breed standard of excellence. It may also be used to evaluate the quality of breeding stock by breeders of ADBA registered American Pit Bull Terriers for selecting breeding stock, and for evaluating the quality of individual puppies from ADBA registered American Pit Bull Terrier litters.

Download: Conformation Standard PDF