5 Reasons Why Your Pit Bull Is Smaller Than Other Pit Bulls

Knowing what size your Pit Bull should be through their stages of development serves as a benchmark for whether your dog is growing healthily. Just as if your Pit Bull was too big, you’d be concerned, the same should be true if your dog is on the smaller side. Why is your Pit Bull undersized?

Why is my Pit Bull smaller than other Pit Bulls? Your Pit Bull may be smaller than other Pit Bulls for the following reasons:

  • Underfeeding
  • Too little vitamins and minerals in food 
  • Incomplete vaccinations and/or deworming
  • Genes
  • Serious injury

As you can see, most of the causes associated with smaller than usual Pit Bulls are not good ones. Keep reading for more information on why your dog may be so tiny and what you should do about it. 

Why Is My Pit Bull So Small? It Could Be Any of These 5 Reasons


Whether your Pit Bull is two months old or two years old, failing to feed the dog the proper caloric load for its size will cause the Pit Bull to be smaller than its breed standard. 

Plenty of reasons exist for why a dog owner might underfeed their Pit Bull. Hopefully, you’re doing it accidentally rather than intentionally.

It’s considered cruel to underfeed your pet. If you’re worried about your Pit Bull packing on the pounds, make sure you’re exercising them for an hour per day, but don’t starve them.

How many calories does a Pit Bull need daily? The amount of calories a pit bull needs on a day to day basis is mainly dependent on their age.

There’s a reliable formula you can use for calculating how much food to give your Pit Bull. First, you need to know the dog’s body weight in kilograms, not pounds. You multiply that number by 30 and then add 30 to get the dog’s resting energy expenditure or RER. 

Here’s the formula in full: 30 x (body weight in kilograms) + 30 = RER

Let’s say your Pit Bull puppy is 7 pounds. That’s 3.18 kilograms. So now you’d take 3.18 and multiply it by 30 to get 95.4. Add 30 to that and the RER of your Pit Bull puppy is 125.4, which I’ll say for simplicity’s sake is 125. 

If your Pit Bull puppy is up to four months old, its total caloric load for the day should be RER x 3, or 375 calories. 

For dogs four months to a year old, the formula is RER x 2. Then, for an adult dog, you feed them RER x 1.6.

Let’s do the formula one more time for an adult dog. Since your Pit Bull is smaller, maybe they only weigh 40 pounds. That’s 18.14 kilograms. Multiplying that by 30 gives us 544.2. Add 30 to that and you get 574.2, which I’ll again round down to 574.

Since your Pit Bull is fully grown (at least for its size), you multiply 574 by 1.6, which is 918.4 calories a day. 

How do you measure calories in dog food? The same way you do every day when making dietary decisions for yourself by looking at food labels. Create a log of the calories your Pit Bull is consuming and make sure it’s around 918 calories.

Do keep in mind that calories come not only from dog food but treats as well. 

If your Pit Bull’s puppy food is more calorically dense than their adult food, this is normal. Your puppy’s body is growing at a fast rate, and thus they’re reliant on the energy from calories to support normal growth. Cutting down on their food will make them smaller. 

Too Little Vitamins and Minerals in Food

What if you’re feeding your Pit Bull the proper quantities of food but they’re still undersized? Sometimes it’s more about quality than quantity. 

All calories are not the same. Some calories provide nutritional value to your Pit Bull through an expansive variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. 

Minerals and vitamins keep your dog strong, build bone structure, and allow for everyday chemical reactions to occur within your dog. 

Carbs–although their reputation is poor–are energy at the end of the day, and they keep a dog’s tissues healthy. Fats are another energy source and also maintain the quality of your Pit Bull’s coat and skin. 

A Pit Bull certainly needs proteins, which are the building blocks of life. Did you know that of the 23 amino acids your dog requires, their bodies can produce just 13 of them? Without the other proteins added to their diet, your Pit Bull is deficient.

The other type of calories in pet food is empty calories. Dog food brands that are heavy on the fillers tend to have more empty calories than nutritionally-balanced ones.

Without the proper nutrition, your Pit Bull is likely to turn out undersized.

What kinds of ingredients should you look for in the dog food you buy? The following 8 ingredients can help your pit grow to be a healthy and common size :

  • Phosphorus
  • Calcium
  • B-complex vitamins
  • Vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • Fiber
  • Starches and sugar, which are carbs
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Linoleic acid

Incomplete Vaccinations and/or Deworming

When you first bring your Pit Bull puppy home, it’s a whirlwind of shots. They’re in and out of the vet’s office all the time. It can feel inconvenient, but this period doesn’t last forever.

Please don’t skip any of your Pit Bull’s shots in puppyhood or into adulthood, as they need vaccinations for a healthy, long, happy life. 

Your Pit Bull should be vaccinated against the following diseases:

  • Rabies
  • Parvovirus
  • Lyme disease
  • Leptospirosis
  • Kennel cough
  • Heartworm
  • Coronavirus (no, not that coronavirus)
  • Canine parainfluenza
  • Canine hepatitis
  • Canine distemper
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica

It’s rarely enough for a Pit Bull puppy to be vaccinated against diseases once, but often several times and in recurring shots.

Here’s the vaccination schedule for you

At six to eight weeks old, your Pit Bull puppy needs vaccinations against parvovirus and distemper. Your vet may recommend a Bordetella vaccine as well. 

When your Pit Bull is 10 to 12 weeks old, they need a shot called DHPP, which protects them against parvovirus, parainfluenza, adenovirus, and distemper. The optional vaccines are for Lyme disease, Bordetella, leptospirosis, and influenza. 

Between 16 and 18 weeks old, bring your Pit Bull back to the vet’s office to get their shots for rabies and DHPP. Your vet may suggest shots against Bordetella, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and influenza depending on your dog’s lifestyle. 

Then, about every year and no later than every 16 months, your grown Pit Bull will need rabies and DHPP vaccine boosters. Optional vaccines include those against Lyme disease, Bordetella, leptospirosis, and coronavirus.

They’ll continue with their rabies vaccine about every year and no later than every three years.

Outside of canine diseases, you also must talk to your vet about deworming your Pit Bull.

Five worm species can invade dogs:

  • heartworms 
  • whipworms
  • hookworms
  • tapeworms
  • roundworms

Heartworms come from mosquitoes. As the name suggests, these worms live in the heart of your Pit Bull and trigger organ damage, heart failure, lung disease, and eventual death. Whipworms may cause anemia, diarrhea, weight loss, and inflammation. 

Your Pit Bull can develop a hookworm infestation through infected mother’s milk, smelling infected dog feces, or even picking it up off the ground. Hookworms drink blood and latch onto your dog’s intestinal wall. Puppies are especially susceptible to hookworm death, and hookworms from dogs can spread to people.

If your Pit Bull has fleas, they can sometimes end up with the double-whammy that is tapeworms as well. Should your dog accidentally eat a flea, the tapeworm eggs within the flea will hatch inside your dog’s intestines. 

Finally, there are roundworms, which are known to stunt a dog’s growth. Vaccinating your Pit Bull puppy can protect against roundworms, which is good, as these worms also affect people.    


Some Pit Bull breeders might have bred for intentionally smaller Pit Bulls than the norm. If you have a crossbreed dog that’s only half Pit Bull, your dog may be smaller than regular Pit Bull standards as well. 

Serious Injuries  

Did your Pit Bull suffer injuries as a juvenile? If so, then depending on the seriousness of these injuries, their development can be impeded.

You see, dogs have what is known as growth plates, which are fresh bone growths that develop on a dog’s long bones. Both ends of the long bones have cartilage-based growth plates. 

Growth plates are important, as their formation dictates what your Pit Bull’s bones will look like when your dog matures, including the shape and length. As you probably could have guessed then, growth plate injuries can affect a dog’s bone structure in a major way, potentially limiting your Pit Bull’s growth. 

Monitoring your Pit Bull during playtime and exercise is the best way to prevent injuries. That goes for when your Pit is at home and out at the dog park too. Should your dog get hurt, take them to the vet immediately. 

How Big Should My Pit Bull Be? 

How do you know if your Pit Bull is too small or just right for its breed? Well, it helps to understand its breed standards. You’ll also have to confirm whether you have a purebred Pit Bull and if so, which of the four breeds it is.

American Bulldog:

  • Female American Bullies: are 20 to 24 inches tall and 60 to 90 pounds.
  • Male American Bullies: stand 20 to 28 inches tall and weigh 66 to 130 pounds.

American Staffordshire Terriers or AmStaffs

  • Females AmStaffs: are 17 to 18 inches on average but weigh 62 to 88 pounds.
  • Male AmStaffs: are 18 to 19 inches and 62 to 88 pounds, so there are not a lot of differences between males and females in this Pit Bull breed. 

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Height: Females are 13 to 15 inches tall and males 14 to 16 inches.
  • Weight: Females are 24 to 34 pounds while males are a bit heavier at 28 to 37 pounds.

The American Pit Bull Terrier.

Female American Pit Bull Terriers: are 17 to 18 inches tall and weigh 30 to 60 pounds.

Male American Pit Bull Terriers: measure 18 to 19 inches tall and clock in at 35 to 65 pounds. 

If your Pit Bull is a few pounds off from these breed standards, that’s not such a big deal. However, you should be worried if your dog weighs 10+ pounds fewer than what its breed should. 

Recent Posts