Most Common Health Problems of Pit Bull Dogs

Knoji reviews products and up-and-coming brands we think you'll love. In certain cases, we may receive a commission from brands mentioned in our guides. Learn more.
Are pitbull terriers prone to any health problems? What are the common health concerns that pit bull dogs have? Are American Staffordshire terriers at risk for some health problems? Are pit bulls more prone to skin problems? Learn more about some of t

Every breed of dog has some health problems they are prone to. It is always good for dog owners to be aware of the problems their dog may encounter. In some cases if an owner is aware of the potential for some problems they may be able to try to prevent them, in other cases they may just select a different breed of dog. Of course, it should go without saying, that buying a dog from a reputable breeder, one who has taken their dog to shows, and had it tested for genetic conditions (hips, eyes, ears) is usually safer in terms of genetic health, than when buying from just anyone.

When we talk about pit bull dogs it is very important to remember that there is not a specific breed of dog known as a pit bull, rather this term refers to several breeds including the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Skin Problems

Pit bull terrier dogs are more prone to skin problems, especially the lighter colored dogs. They often require special attention to their food, and are sometimes even allergic to grass. As far as food goes these dogs are often extra sensitive to ingredients such as corn, wheat, pork, beef, and soy. The symptoms of such problems can show as hot spots, itchy areas on the skin, or an outbreak of mites, leading to mange.

These dogs tend to be prone to mange in general.


Mast Cell Tumors are another condition that dogs of the bully breeds are prone to. These may look like warts, large pimples, or swollen lumps, on a dog's skin. They are not always malignant (cancerous) but can be. In some cases they are itchy, sometimes hair is lost on the tumor, but not always.

L-2-Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria

L2HGA is a metabolic disorder often found in Staffordshire Bull Terriers. It is inheritable, and breeding dogs should be tested for it. It affects the brain and will often result in epilepsy and dementia like symptoms.


The American pit bull terrier is often at risk of a heart birth defects.

Leg Problems

All pit bull type dogs are prone to some leg problems, either hip dysplasia, or patella problems. Again by having the parents tested before breeding some of these problems can be, hopefully, eliminated in puppies. Dogs with leg problems do require special care and should not be bred.


These dogs are more prone to some eye problems than other dogs. Pit bulls are at risk for hereditary cataracts. They are also often have a condition called Distichiasis, causing them to have an extra row of eyelashes. This is not always a problem and is often not even noticed, but it is linked to heart problems, the only concern for the dog is if the extra eye lashes rub on the eye itself. It can be a full row of eyelashes or just a few random extra ones. Another eye problem seen in pit bulls is Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous, or PHPV, in which vision is affected. This is one of the things that dogs should be tested for prior to breeding.


Michelle McZegle
Posted on Oct 18, 2017
Michelle McZegle
Posted on Oct 18, 2017
Rebecca Callaghan-Reid
Posted on Oct 1, 2017
erin Conway
Posted on Apr 15, 2016
Jewel Chrisner
Posted on Mar 11, 2013
Donna Mcclanahan
Posted on Feb 3, 2013
Account Deletion Requested
Posted on Mar 4, 2012
Nobert Bermosa
Posted on Mar 3, 2012