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7 Real Reasons Why Pit Bulls Are So Small (Updated 2023)

Why Are Pit Bulls Small

There’s no denying it…

Pit Bulls have a controversial reputation as they used to be fighting dogs.

And it makes you wonder…

Why is such a small dog pitted for fighting?

But most of all…

What’s up with their size?

Continue reading to learn: 

  • 3 alarming causes of growth stunt in Pitties.
  • 9 Pit Bull breeds that are smaller than others.
  • 7 real reasons why Pit Bulls are so small (#3 and #7 are a must-read).
  • And so much more…

Average size of a Pit Bull

The average size of a Pit Bull depends on the breed. 

And you might be confused with that statement there…

You see, Pit Bull is an umbrella term. Which means it’s used to describe different types of dogs. 

For clarity, here are the 4 breeds classified as Pit Bulls:

  • American Bully.
  • American Pit Bull Terrier.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
  • American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

While these Fidos all look and act alike…

They still have a few differences, such as their size. 

For their average height and weight, check out this table: 

BreedAverage heightAverage weight
American Bully13 to 20 in (33 to 50 cm)44 to 132 lbs (20 to 60 kg)
American Pit Bull Terrier17 to 21 in (43 to 53 cm)30 to 60 lbs (13 to 27 kg)
Staffordshire Bull Terrier14 to 16 in (36 to 41 cm)24 to 37 lbs (11 to 17 kg)
American Staffordshire Bull Terrier16.9 to 18 in (43 to 48 cm)50 to 80 lbs (23 to 36 kg)

Note: This chart is for fully grown adult Pit Bulls. Also, this table only refers to their common height and weight. In the end, each breed may still vary in size. 

Now that you’re aware of their minor size differences…

It’s easier to understand why some Pit Bulls are so small.

Why Pit Bulls are so small – 7 reasons

#1: You got a Pocket Pit Bull

As I mentioned above…

Not all Pit Bulls have the same size.

While some are big, others can be small.

That said…

Your Fido might be a Pocket Pit Bull. 

“What does that mean?” 

It’s another term for miniature Pittie. 

And this Fido’s a cross between these 2: 

The American Pit Bull and the Patterdale Terrier.

By mixing these 2 furry friends…

You get a smaller Pittie with a size of: 

  • 12 to 16 in (30 to 40 cm).
  • 11 to 22 lbs (4.9 to 9.9 kg).

But as you can tell…

They’re not as small as a toy breed should be.

So, don’t expect Pocket Pit Bulls to fit in your pocket. 

These dogs would still be muscular in appearance.

Moreover, most Pocket Pitties act the same as any Pit Bull despite their size.

#2: Nutritional imbalance

Sometimes, diet can affect Fido’s size. 

Especially in younger puppies. 

And since Pit Bulls are already a small to medium breed…

A poor diet can make them tinier than they should be. 

“How could that happen?” 

For example…

A diet rich in calcium may lead to hypercalcemia. 

That means your Pit Bull may be eating too much of the following: 

“But what does it have to do with my Pittie’s size?” 

Apparently, a study found: 

5.2% of dogs had bone cancer due to too much calcium. 

With this…

Some Pit Bulls could have a growth stunt. This means their bones can’t develop properly. 

As a result, Fido’s size would turn out to be different.

Not to mention…

Another research claims: 

Excessive calcium can lead to another issue. Specifically, hyperthyroidism. 

This condition means… 

Fido’s body makes more hormones than it needs. 

So what happens if your pooch has this concern? 

Well, the most common sign is weight loss. 

And with that, the affected dog might seem smaller than usual.

“What should I do if my Pit Bull has this problem?” 

Vets say it’s best to take your pooch to the clinic ASAP. 

That’s because hyperthyroidism may need surgery. 

Meanwhile, if your Pittie only has too much calcium…

Then you should only give them a balanced diet instead. 

Tip: Consult an expert for a more accurate nutritional plan for Fido.

#3: Genetics

Pit Bulls Are So Small Due To Genetics

Pit Bulls are small due to their DNA. 

To be specific, it’s just natural in the breed. 

How so? 

If you look at the history of Pitties…

These dogs were bred for fighting. 

And for most people, they’re not the size that they expect for fighting dogs. But Pitties had to be small and fast to win easier. 

Due to this fact, some Pit Bulls are shorter than others.

Aside from that…

Fido’s DNA might also have issues, such as: 

  • Genetic disorders.
  • Hereditary conditions.

“Wait, what’s the difference between these two?” 

The first one’s about DNA mutation. 

This means any dog could have genetic disorders. 

For example, research states: 

Canine dwarfism is a gene defect in dogs.

And though it’s rare in Pit Bulls…

It’s not an impossible thing. 

Even if the parents aren’t dwarves…

The puppy could still have this defect.

With dwarfism, Pitties would look smaller than others.

As for hereditary conditions…

It’s a disease inherited by a puppy from their parents. 

Here are a few examples: 

  • Cancer.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Elbow or hip dysplasia.

And since these issues can affect Fido’s growth…

Pit Bulls might look tiny compared to other dogs.

Wanna see what dwarf Pitties look like? 

Watch this video: 

#4: Staffordshire Terriers are smaller

If you look back at the size table of Pit Bulls…

You’ll notice that a certain type of Pittie is smaller than the rest.

And it’s the lovely Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

This pooch is the smallest among Pitties.

So don’t be surprised if Fido isn’t as big as their cousins.

“But why are they smaller than other Pit Bulls?” 

That’s because of their history.

As I mentioned in reason #3…

Their past as fighters is the reason for their small size.

Originally, Bulldogs were much bigger. 

But due to new laws against animal cruelty…

Breeders mixed the smaller Terriers with Bulldogs. 

As a result, they get a tinier but faster pooch.

And that’s the Staffordshire Terrier that you know today.

#5: They’re a crossed breed

Similar to reasons #1 and #4…

Some Pit Bulls might be smaller if they’re a crossed breed. 

A few popular examples would be:

  • Pitzu.
  • Pitchis.
  • Bullpug.
  • Corgi Pit.
  • Bull Dach.
  • Beagle Pit.
  • Toy Poodle Pit.

With these 7 mixes…

Expect your Pittie to be as small as their tiny parent.

Check out also: Pitbull Chihuahua Mix: 21 Pitchi Facts, Traits & Pics 

#6: Physical injuries

Did you know? 

Injuries could also make a dog look small. 

How so?

Experts say that a damaged growth plate could affect Fido’s size. 


Even a mild injury could lead to this concern. 

And that’s why even if your pooch seems strong…

It’s best to avoid risky activities for them, such as:

  • Climbing up trees.
  • Jumping off high places. 
  • Running down the stairs.
  • Intense training or exercises. 

Especially if your Pittie’s still a puppy. 

After all…

The growth plate is in charge of Fido’s leg development.

When it’s damaged…

A dog’s forelimb might not reach its normal, fully-grown size.

“What should I do if my Pittie has this problem?” 

The best thing you can do is take Fido to the vet. 

Why so? 

Internal injuries are hard to check on your own. 

So if your pooch needs serious help…

Only a professional can tell you what to do. 

And as for their size…

Your furry friend will remain as small as they are. 

That’s because this isn’t something that you can reverse.

You might also like: Can Dogs Climb Trees? The Truth (7 Reasons + 7 Videos)

#7: Illnesses

Now, for the last reason…

Some Pit Bulls can be small due to illnesses. 

To be specific, I’m talking about worms. 

And this applies to Fidos without vaccination. 

Which is something you’d expect in puppies. 


Even adult Fidos could be a victim of worms. 

For example, rescued dogs may not have gotten their shots. 

This means they’re still prone to having infections.

And when this occurs…

Pitties with hookworms tend to be small

Why so? 

It’s because these parasites make your dog’s body weak.

At the same time, they can also cause weight loss. 

Since Fido’s not getting the proper treatment they need…

Their body isn’t able to grow like normal. 

“How will I know if my Pit Bull has worms?” 

As per AKC, here are the signs to watch out for: 

Warning: These parasites could cause sudden death. So if you suspect worms in your dog, take them to the vet right away. 

That aside…

Let’s say your Pittie doesn’t have worms anymore. 

So why are they still so small? 

That’s because you can’t undo the damage to your pooch. 

Once they’ve reached their adulthood…

Most Pit Bulls stop growing around 18 months old.