Do Pitbulls Shed? | Uncovering the Facts

One common question amongst potential owners – do Pitbulls shed? Well, buckle up because we’re a ut to peel back the layers on this furry topic! Right up front, I am here to tell you yes – Pitbulls do shed! But wait just one second before you run out to get a lint roller; this post aims to clear your worries by delving into why Pitbulls shed, how much they actually let loose, what causes fluctuating shedding cycles, and more..

Pitbulls are a perfect pooch for owners who don’t want hair everywhere! These lovable dogs have single coats of short fur that require only low to moderate maintenance all year round. Although shedding is an inevitable part of being a pet parent, there are ways to reduce the amount found in your home. 

I am a veterinarian with a special interest in Bully dogs, and I own a rescued Bully. I spend my days with dogs of all breeds, so I am intimately acquainted with the shedding habits of each breed. Some days I look like a walking teddy bear because I have so much hair on me! So Do Pitbulls shed?

Yes, Pitbulls Shed – All Dogs Do!

Some people believe there are dog breeds that do not shed. All dogs shed, including Pitbulls. It is not only hair that is shed. Tiny flakes of skin, known as dander, fall with the hair.

This is a regular part of the hair and skin cycle and cannot be stopped. To stop shedding would be detrimental to a Pitbull’s health.

red pitbull

The Hair Growth Cycle Influences Pitbull Shedding

Scientists have found that hair from all mammals has a growing cycle. The length of the growth stages differs among dog breeds, influencing the amount they shed.

Hair grows in a modified cell known as a follicle, which acts as a pocket in the skin where hair can grow. Hair follicles have an amazing ability to continue producing new hair throughout the Pitbull or other mammal’s life.

Four stages can be seen in the hair growth cycle:

1.     The Anagen stage is the active growing period of the hair. A long-haired dog such as a Siberian Husky, Great Pyrenees, or Afghan Hound has long Anagen stages.

Pitbulls have short hair, in common with their ancestors, the English Bulldogs and English Bull Terriers. They have a short Anagen stage, resulting in hair that is less than an inch in length.

2.     The Catagen stage is when the hair stops growing. The root, nestled in the follicle, shrinks and attaches tightly to the hair.

3.     The Telogen phase is a resting stage in the hair growth cycle. The hair and its root are still attached to the follicle, but a new root is developing under the shrunken hair root.

Some breeds of dogs have hair that rests for a long period. Some long-haired terriers, like Yorkshire Terriers and West Highland Whites, and many toy breeds have lengthy Telogen stages. Pitbulls do not have a long Telogen stage.

4.     The Exogenous stage is the final phase in the hair growth cycle. The old hair and its root are pushed out by the new hair root, entering the Anagen stage.

The hair pushed out falls easily from a short-coated dog like a Pitbull. The falling hair in dogs with longer coats often becomes matted in the coat.

Each hair follicle has its own cycle timing and is not synched with all the other follicles. Fortunately, nature sensibly adapted dogs’ coats to grow this way; otherwise, they would have bald and hairy seasons – a bald Pitbull would not be a good look!

What Factors Influence Shedding?

There are many factors that influence shedding in Pitbulls and other dogs. Some of them we can manage, and others are out of the pet owner’s control.

How Does A Breed’s Coat Affect Shedding?

A dog’s genetics influence the amount and frequency of its shedding. Each breed of dog has genetic markers that dictate how long the hairs stay in each stage of the hair cycle. There can be some individual variation among dogs in a breed, but it is generally minor.

Pitbulls have short stages in the hair growth cycle. This means they have short hair shed in low to moderate amounts throughout the year.

Dogs may have single or double coats, and this makes a big impact on shedding. Double-coated dogs have a thick, soft undercoat and an overcoat of longer guard hairs.

The easiest examples are those dogs that originated in colder climates, like Newfoundlands and Huskies, and needed the double coat for warmth. These dogs do not shed much throughout the year but have spectacular shedding periods in spring. Groomers call this ‘blowing their coat.’

Other dogs have a single coat. Pitbulls fall into this category. They shed throughout the year as their coat is continually being replaced.

Do Seasons Affect A Pitbull’s Shedding?

Pitbulls shed throughout the year, but the amount is influenced by the seasons. During fall, Pitbulls begin shedding less so that the hair can be retained to provide a thicker coat for winter.

Once winter has passed and the temperature warms in spring, the dog does not need the protection of the extra hair. Pitbulls have an increase in shedding during spring as the winter hair falls out and a new thinner coat grows for spring. 

Does Nutrition Contribute To Shedding In Pitbulls? 

Nutrition is critical for maintaining a healthy skin and coat in your Pitbull. If you have volunteered at a shelter, you will notice that rescued dogs usually shed much more. This is because they have had inadequate nutrition to support their skin and coat health.

Dogs need a diet with vitamins, minerals, and fats to keep the skin supple and healthy.

If the skin condition is poor, the follicles cannot hold the hair, and the hair growth cycle is not adequately supported. Shedding increases, and the dog’s coat is thin with many broken hairs.

Hydration Levels Affect Shedding In Pitbulls

The American Kennel Club highlights the problems experienced when a dog becomes dehydrated. If a dog loses more moisture than it takes in, dehydration occurs, affecting many organs in the body, including the skin.

As the skin loses water, it loses its elasticity. The loss of water causes skin cells to shrink, and the hairs loosen in the follicles. In this way, dehydration can significantly increase shedding in your Pitbull.

Dehydration can occur when inadequate amounts of water are supplied for the Pitbull. Pitbulls that overheat need large amounts of water, so ensuring your dog has a cool place to stay in hot summer temperatures is important.

It also occurs during bouts of diarrhea and vomiting and can quickly become dangerous. Other illnesses affecting your Pitbull may make him feel weak and disinclined to drink, resulting in dehydration.   

Why Does My Pitbull Shed So Much At The Vets?

One thing which may puzzle Pitbull owners is when their dog sheds huge amounts of hair when they go to the veterinarian. The dog may be in good health and only going for vaccinations. Some owners find this embarrassing as they feel people may think they do not groom or care for their dogs properly.

Pitbulls and other dogs do not usually enjoy visiting the veterinarian – myself included! The only time they go to the veterinary practice is when they are sick, sore, or need a vaccination – none of these make for a pleasant experience.

The answer is that stress causes hair loss or shedding. Some dogs become stressed by the car ride as they get car sick or dislike the feeling of moving in the vehicle.

Veterinary practices are busy places, with many people and other animals in the waiting room, which can cause stress. For some dogs, the anticipation of pain or an unpleasant experience makes them stressed.

When a Pitbull or any animal becomes stressed, their bodies release adrenalin (also known as epinephrine). Adrenaline causes the hair follicles to release the hair, and massive shedding occurs.

Some Pitbulls may have chronic anxiety and stress, which causes increased shedding resulting in thinning of the coat. Fear of loud noises, an aggressive dog companion, or harsh training methods can cause stress in some Pitbulls. Other dogs may have generalized anxiety that causes increased hair loss.

Do Skin Problems Affect Shedding In Pitbulls?

The skin’s health is intimately related to the amount a dog sheds. Pitbulls are prone to numerous skin conditions.

Pitbull allergies may be caused by food or environmental factors. The skin becomes inflamed and itchy, which causes shedding. When the Pitbull scratches, hair is broken, and more hair will be lost.

Pitbulls get a skin infection known as zinc-responsive dermatosis, which compromises skin integrity. It causes inflammation, oozing crusts and scales. Skin in this condition will not produce good hair growth, and the hair will fall out in the affected regions.

Ichthyosis is an inherited condition in Pitbulls where large flakes or scales form on the skin. These flakes fall off, taking the hair with them. The skin is dry and itchy, causing the Pitbull to scratch, further increasing hair loss. 

Do Parasites increase Shedding In Pitbulls?

Parasites such as mange mites, ticks, and fleas irritate the skin, causing inflammation, itchiness, and dermatitis. This results in poor skin condition, scratching, and shedding. 

Hormonal Diseases Influence Shedding In Pitbulls?

Hormones play an essential role in skin and coat health. Pitbulls are susceptible to hypothyroidism, a condition which occurs when the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroxin. It results in hair loss and dry, itchy skin.

Cushing’s syndrome and sex hormone imbalances can cause shedding as they alter the hair growth cycle.

How To Reduce And Manage Shedding In Pitbulls

Pet owners often want to eliminate shedding completely, but this is unrealistic and unhealthy for the Pitbull.

Shedding allows broken, damaged hair and dead skin cells to be removed so that new hair and skin can replenish the protection a healthy coat gives.

Choose The Right Diet To For Your Pitbull

Choosing the right diet for your Pitbull is essential for reducing shedding. The diet must contain the correct amounts of fat, carbohydrates, and protein, as they are all essential in maintaining skin and coat health.

Pitbulls are a breed that commonly has allergies which may include food. When certain ingredients cause allergies, the skin condition deteriorates, and shedding increases.

It is helpful to work with an animal nutritionist and your veterinarian to determine the right diet for your Pitbull if they have food allergies.

Grooming Helps Control Shedding In Pitbulls

Grooming is an important factor in reducing shedding. It is better for the hair to collect in a brush than for it to be sprinkled over your home. Grooming regularly, even daily, will significantly reduce the hair you find in your house.

Always make grooming pleasant for your Pitbull so that he looks forward to it. It helps with shedding problems and improves the bond between owner and Pittie.  

What Grooming Tools Does A Pitbull Need?

Pitbulls have short hair, so a medium bristle brush or a rubber brush similar to a horse curry comb works well. The rubber brush is excellent at loosening the hair, and the bristle brush can be used to collect it and give the coat a smooth appearance.

Does Bathing Help With Pitbull Shedding?

Bathing can be useful in controlling shedding. The warm water dilates the skin pores, loosening hairs ready to fall out.

It is critical to use a shampoo that does not strip the coat of its natural oils. Speak to your veterinarian about a recommended shampoo for your Pitbull. Bathing can also help with skin allergies, but it is vital not to worsen them by using the wrong shampoo.

Access To Fresh Water Is Important For A Pitbull’s Coat

As we have seen, keeping the Pitbull hydrated is essential for skin and coat health and reducing shedding. It may be helpful to put out extra water bowls for your dog during summer.

Skin Supplements Help Reduce Shedding in Pitbulls

There are many skin supplements on the dog care market. Omega oils, vitamins A, E, C, and B2, zinc, and copper are some of the nutrients you may find in skin supplements. Discuss the best skin supplement for your Pitbull with a qualified person at your veterinary practice.

Tick And Flea Control Is Important For Pitbull Coats

Ticks and flea control is vital in maintaining your dog’s skin and coat. Many options are available on the market, from oral remedies to spot-on treatments and dips.

Choose the correct one, and remember to check it carefully if you are treating a Pitbull puppy. Some remedies are not suitable for young dogs.  

Excessive Hairloss in a Pitbull – What should I Do?

If you are losing the shedding war, it is time to consult your veterinarian for a detailed investigation to determine the underlying reasons. Hair loss may only be a mild symptom of more serious problems.

Some Management Tips For Pitbull Shedding

Here are a few extra tips if dog hair in your home is driving you crazy:

1.     Chair covers or throws can be used on furniture. If these are made from cotton or canvas, they will collect less dog hair. They can be easily washed or removed before guests arrive.

2.     Use a seat cover in your car to stop dog hair from sticking to the fabric of your car seats when your dog travels with you.

3.     There are several new devices that you can put in your washing machine or dryer to collect hair from your clothes while doing the laundry.

4.     Vacuum regularly to pick up the hair easilyMy

Shedding is a part of Pitbull ownership. There are ways to reduce hair fall in your home and manage it, so your home is still liveable. The pleasure of owning a Pitbull far outweighs the inconvenience of hair in your home.

If you found some useful tips on shedding in Pitbulls in this article, please share it.

Emily Andrews