Are you an avid runner? Maybe you're training for a 10K or marathon. Whatever the case might be, it always pays to have a canine companion by your side.
Some dog breeds make fantastic running mates. Going for a lengthy job is a great way to keep dogs fit, expend tons of energy, and improve overall health.
When most people think of running dogs, they picture Greyhounds, Whippets, and Collies. But what about Pitbulls?
Pitbulls are unique, albeit controversial, dogs. The term "Pitbull" is actually an umbrella term to describe a few different types of dogs. For example, American Pitbull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, and American Bullies all fall under that umbrella.
There's a lot of variety in the Pitbull world, but these dogs are all known to be strong, muscular, and fit.
So that begs the question: Are Pitbulls good running companions, and how fast can they run?
Let's find out.
To understand how a Pit performs on runs, you have to look at its history.
The Pitbull has a somewhat dark. The exact origins are hazy, but it's believed that Pitbulls originated in the 1800s and were developed to attack bulls.
Breeders chose traits to maximize speed and agility, turning these dogs into worthy adversaries against bulls. Eventually, that turned into dog fighting.
Fortunately, most Pitbulls these days are nothing but canine companions and loyal guardians for families. But many of those athletic traits chosen during cross-breeding remain.
Pitbulls are some of the most athletic dogs around. They have noticeably muscular bodies and can achieve many impressive feats. They have relatively short legs, stocky bodies, and plenty of muscle strength in their hind legs.
Do Pitbulls Make Good Running Companions?
To put it simply, Pitbulls are great for accompanying you on your runs. They're a mountain of canine muscle, built to accomplish impressive feats of athleticism. Of course, all dogs are different.
There are many types of Pitbulls in the world, and a dog's lifestyle plays a big part in its running performance. A dog used to lounge around all day will not be the best running companion.
That said, starting a Pit early and getting into a habit of daily cardio can make all the difference. These dogs already have the genetics and athletic capability.
Let's look at some other reasons why Pitbulls are excellent runners.
The average Pitbull can weigh anywhere between 30 and 45 pounds. They're considered medium-sized dogs. That's a good thing when it comes to long-distance running.
Larger dogs, while capable of running fast, can't run for as long as a Pitbull. Massive bodies require more energy to move, so training for a 10K with a large-breed dog by your side isn't the best choice.
The same goes for breeds on the opposite side of the size spectrum. Smaller dogs simply can't keep up with your running pace.
Pitbulls are at the perfect middle point. They're easy to manage and aren't lumbering goofs who will escape your grip at the first distraction. They can also keep up with your pace.
Related: How Big Will My Dog Get?
Energy for Days
If you have a Pit, you know all too well that these dogs are insane bottles of energy! They need tons of exercise to stay healthy, and a lack of physical activity can bring out the worse in these dogs. As a result, they're usually more than down for a long run.
Some breeds resist physical activity. Even muscular dogs may not have the energy to power through long runs. That's not the case with Pitbulls.
Powers of Endurance
Another benefit of having a Pitbull as a running companion is its unbroken endurance. These dogs have a history of intense physical activity. They're genetically predisposed to have high endurance.
Other dogs may want to run with you in the beginning before quickly losing steam about halfway through your run. Pitbulls have their limits, too. However, they can keep up the pace for several miles. More on that later.
The Intimidation Factor
Here's where you get to use this breed's aggressive reputation to your advantage. Running can put you in many risky situations. It's impossible to stay in the same area when running for miles.
You may end up running through a less-than-ideal spot. When that happens, having a Pitbull by your side can make a difference.
Many people fear Pitbulls. We won't get into why, but they have a reputation for being one of the most aggressive breeds. People avoid them, and simply seeing one by your side could deter a would-be criminal.
Furthermore, Pitbulls are fiercely loyal to their owners. If someone should try to attack you or put you in danger, your Pit will likely jump into action to help you.
Pitbulls are short-haired dogs. Their fur feels smooth to the touch.
In colder weather, the short fur doesn't provide much insulation. But when you're running for miles on end with your dog, it makes a significant difference. The short hair helps keep your dog cool, allowing them to go longer without the worry of overheating.
Plus, you don't have to worry about mats. Long-haired dogs are notorious for getting matted bits under their armpits due to the friction of running. That's not a concern with Pitbulls.
A Willingness to Please
Finally, Pitbulls make great running companions because they want to please you!
Dogs might have a reputation for being fierce and scary, but any Pit owners will tell you that they're big old babies! They're surprisingly affectionate and want nothing more than to make you happy.
If running makes you happy, your Pitbull is eager to join you and keep up the pace. It can be a fantastic experience that bonds you and your dog for life.
Potential Downsides of Having Your Pit Join You On Runs
Pitbulls love to run and can be wonderful running mates, but there are some potential downsides to consider.
One of the biggest problems you might encounter is your dog's reactive nature. Pitbulls are naturally protective, and they can be curious about their surroundings. They also have high prey drives.
Add all those traits up with the fact that you're running through new areas your dog has never seen, and it can be a recipe for disaster.
Your dog may react negatively to other dogs and humans they encounter. They can also get distracted by a squirrel that crosses your path. If you don't have a tight grip on your dog, they can take off and pull you away. That could present some dangerous situations.
Fortunately, you can minimize those issues with ample training. Invest in training to keep your dog focused on your run.
Another issue is the Pitbull's shorter snout. They have brachycephalic noses that are shorter than other breeds. While not as bad as Pugs or French bulldogs, it's enough to cause breathing problems in some situations.
Pits can have issues getting enough oxygen as they breathe. This poses a few problems. First, a lack of oxygenated blood can lead to substantial soreness and muscle cramps. No dog wants to deal with that!
Secondly, it can be tougher to cool down on sweltering days. Their short coat does much of the heavy lifting, but dogs need to breathe deeply to continue cooling off.
Because of the Pitbull's short snout, you need to be mindful of the temperature when you run.
Related: What Temperature is Too Hot to Walk a Dog?
Not Built for Ultra-Long Distances
Pitbulls are great runners with impressive endurance, but they're not built for super-long runs.
Other breeds can handle 10 miles or more without much issue. But Pitbulls? They tend to tire out after six or seven miles.
That's enough to train for a 10K but not enough for a half or full marathon. Know your dog's limits. Pushing them too much could cause issues.
How Fast Can Pitbulls Run?
So, how fast can Pitbulls run, anyways?
Believe it or not, these dogs can reach max speeds of around 30 miles per hour! For perspective, the average jogging speed for humans is 4 to 6 miles per hour. Your dog will have no problem smoking you in a race!
Of course, that's the top speed, and what your dog can achieve depends on its fitness level. Generally, you can expect dogs to run comfortably at roughly 13 miles per hour.
Don't worry: You don't have to match that. Your Pit will likely slow down to stay by your side and meet your pace.
Pitbulls make good running companions. They're not the best dogs in the canine kingdom. Greyhounds can reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour and run for far longer. However, Pits are surprisingly adept at running despite their muscular bodies.
They can also accomplish many other agility and strength-based feats. These dogs are the epitome of athleticism, so don't be afraid to take them on a run and explore different sports they can excel in doing.