Of all the dog breeds in the world, Pitbulls are some of the most misunderstood. Ask anyone who's never spent much time around these dogs, and they'll likely bring up the same old talking points:
Aggression, breed bans, and fear. Pitbulls, indeed, have a long history of violence. But Pitbull owners know that these creatures can be some of the most affectionate around.
Pitbulls are balls of love and energy. They're fiercely loyal to owners and have no qualms about showing it! It's one of the more surprising aspects of owning a Pit. These dogs have such a strong reputation that many people are surprised to see the breed's more loving side.
It's cute and certainly makes owning a Pit a rewarding experience. But have you ever wondered why these dogs love to cuddle so much? What is it about their temperament and habits that make them always down for some skin-to-skin contact?
Understanding Pitbull Affection
Pitbulls show affection in many ways. Unlike other breeds, they're anything but aloof!
If you have a fantastic relationship with your Pit, it will not be afraid to shower you with affection. While these dogs will be loyal to every family member and "pack," they often have a favorite.
The favorite usually shows the most dominance in the home and is directly responsible for their care.
If you're the one who's constantly feeding your Pitbull, you're likely the human it loves most and the target of its affection. Here are a few ways that these unique dogs show their love.
Of course, there's no better way to show admiration than skin-to-skin contact! Pits love to get up close and personal. They're not exactly keen on the concept of "personal space."
Pitbulls will take any opportunity they get to give you slobbery kisses. So every time you bend down to tie your shoe, get on the ground for yoga, or complete a project on the floor, you're fair game to your dog!
But it's not just kissing. It's common for Pits to lean on their owners or get on top of them in some way.
Some dogs can develop bad habits of jumping on those they love, so be prepared to take action and nip that issue in the bud.
Wags, Wiggles, and General Excitement
You don't have to rely on physical contact to see that your Pit feels loving and affectionate.
Have you ever been lucky enough to see that signature Pitbull smile? It's a thing of beauty and often indicates that your dog is feeling safe, comfortable, and happy. You can also turn to their tail. A wagging tail and general excitable behavior are standard forms of affection.
When your dog feels exceptionally loving, it might lay on its back for belly rubs. Consider that a significant sign of trust because the position is when dogs are most vulnerable.
Here's something you've probably experienced at some point.
You notice that your dog is suspiciously quiet, so you look over and catch them staring at you with big, open eyes. Then, they do what sounds like an exasperated sigh.
That sigh may also come when you get close and personal with their face. Don't worry. That sign is another sign of affection and contentment.
In addition to sighs and stares, Pitbulls can provide other gentle non-contact forms of affection. One of the most common is following you around.
Whether working in the backyard or doing chores inside, Pitbulls often act as your shadow to follow every move.
Pits also have a knack for offering presents. When your dog brings you a toy or snack they love, it's their way of showing their gratitude and appreciation.
Common Reasons Why Pitbulls Love to Cuddle
We can never know for sure what dogs are thinking. But we can look at other behaviors and quirks to grasp why they do what they do.
Here are some of the most common reasons why Pitbulls want to cuddle so much.
Believe it or not, the need for cuddling and this dog's overly affectionate tendencies may be a product of its historical upbringing. It's one of the more beautiful things to come from the breed's sordid past.
As you might know, Pitbull dogs were used for some horrific sports. They baited bulls, participated in organized dog fights, and more. Even today, these dogs partake in those activities in some parts of the world.
Being aggressive is in their DNA. But, they were also specifically trained to be the opposite with handlers.
Dog handlers didn't want to be on the biting end of a Pitbull. But it's easy for any canine to turn their aggression to anyone who distracts them accidentally.
Imagine how awful it would be if Pitbulls turned on their handlers for simply pulling them away from a fight.
Early breeders specifically trained them to be affectionate towards owners and handlers. It's a big part of their ancestral training, and those remnants stuck around as Pitbulls left fighting rings and entered family homes.
There's a good scientific reason why Pitbulls cuddle.
Physical contact releases a hormone called Oxytocin. This hormone serves many important biological functions, but it's also responsible for creating those warm fuzzy feelings you get when embracing a loved one.
Some people refer to it as the "love hormone."
Dogs need Oxytocin, too, and some will try to use it strategically. For example, dogs grappling with anxiety or some other canine stress will often seek affection from their owners. The cuddles are a form of stress management!
When they're near you and feel your touch, Oxytocin floods their bodies to help them feel good and melt the worries away.
Related: Top 5 Best Shampoo for Pitbulls
We all know that dogs are pack animals. Long before humans started domesticating them, wild canines ran in packs to survive. Dogs have a well-studied pack hierarchy. At the top of the social pyramid is the alpha dog, AKA the pack leader.
Today, dogs don't live in a traditional pack like their wild counterparts and ancestors. But that pack mentality still remains.
It's so hard-wired in their brain that they view your family as a pack that needs constant protection. Guess who the alpha leader is. Spoiler alert: It's you!
You're the top dog your canine companion wants to protect and impress continually. Some canine experts believe Pitbulls have a stronger pack mentality than other breeds. We have the dog's colorful history to thank for that.
Either way, your position as the pack leader makes your dog want to shower you with love. Those cuddles are meaningful. They show adoration, submission, and commitment.
A Need for Warmth
Here's a more practical reason why dogs like cuddling. Pitbulls typically have short hair. While that hair offers good protection, it's not the most insulating in cold environments.
If you keep your AC on blast, your home could be too cold for your Pitbulls. So, they turn to cuddle to get some of your body warmth!
It's akin to curling by the fireplace on a winter's evening. Your dog wants to get warm, and feeling your body heat is a great way to do that.
The best thing you can do to help your dog and possibly limit invasive cuddling is to provide opportunities to get warm. Have a few thick blankets around your home that your Pit can wrap itself in when it gets cold.
You can also invest in a cocoon-style bed or use one that has an insulating cover.
Related: Best Heated Dog Beds
The last possible reason for constantly wanting cuddles is the simplest: Your dog loves you!
All things considered, it's a pretty good problem to have! The bond you form with your furry friend is nothing short of magical, and those cuddles are a perfect representation of the love you share.
Your Pitbull wants to spend as much time with you as possible. Can you blame them?
If cuddling does become a problem, the best solution is to divert their attention to something more productive. For example, you can provide mental stimulation toys and puzzle feeders.
Those objects challenge the mind and give a solid distraction. It doesn't take away their love for you, but it can buy you some time to get things done without your Pitbull shadow!
Here's a video of a pitbull that just can't get enough of it's human daddy's cuddles
A Final Word
Whether or not cuddles are a problem is up to you. Some dog owners don't mind and welcome the non-stop affection. But you're not a monster from wanting some "me time," too.
If it gets to be a little too much, use the reasons from above to provide an alternative. When it's cold, provide blankets. When it's your attention they want, give some distraction.
If it's a product of pack mentality, you can use your role within the family unit to direct them to do something else. Ultimately, your dog wants nothing more than to be around you and make you happy.
Give your pup cuddles when you're comfortable doing so and set boundaries when you don't. It's OK not to want that physical contact every second of the day, so don't hesitate to take action when necessary. Your dog will love you all the same.
Also read: Best Dog Food for Pitbulls 5 Reviews