Are Female Pit Bulls More Aggressive?

After exhaustive research into multiple breeds of dogs, you have finally made the decision to get a pit bull. However, you’ve read that pit bulls have a stigma of being aggressive and are now wondering which gender tends to be less aggressive.

Female pit bulls are typically less aggressive than male pit bulls. As in most breeds, female pit bulls tend to be more protective when a litter of pups is involved. 

You may be wondering what other factors should be considered when choosing a gender of pit bull or common characteristics across the entire breed that should be considered. We will cover all of this and more in this article. 

Temperament of Female Pit Bulls

While aggression is an important factor to consider when considering which gender of pit bull to choose, there are other personality traits to consider. 

First of all, remember, “pit bulls” aren’t a breed. The term pit bull is a description of a type of dog fitting certain characteristics, according to the Animal Humane Society and American Kennel Club

That being said, the dogs commonly referred to as pit bulls are more mellow than their reputation gives them credit for. In fact, pit bulls are known to be friendly, loyal, and eager to please. This means that pit bulls can make a great companion for the right family.

A female pit bull may be more headstrong if not neutered or if she is protecting puppies, but aggression is not a “characteristic” of a female pit bull. 

Is Aggression Inherent in Pit Bulls?

Pit bulls tend to get associated with the negative connotation that they are inherently aggressive toward people. This is because the breed has been linked with high-profile stories in the news about attacks on people.

Aggression is a trained trait and not one that is inherently linked with pit bulls. 

While pit bulls may descend from dogs that were bred to control bulls or conditioned to fight one another, today’s pit bulls are generally mixed, random breeds. According to the ASPCA, pit bull behavior isn’t dictated by those same genes – and relies quite a bit on environment.  

How Male and Female Pit Bulls Differ in Temperament

So, can the potential of pit bull aggression vary by gender? It depends. 

Male pit bulls have a tendency to be more aggressive than females; however, if a male dog is neutered, the difference between the gender tends to dissipate

An unneutered male dog may attempt to demonstrate its dominance over the owner at times, but obedience training can help quell this trait. Male pit bulls are protective once they have formed a bond with their owner and his or her family

As mentioned earlier, female dogs can be more protective than males when a litter is involved. 

It is important to note that protective behaviors include barking or growling to alert an owner of trouble, while aggressive behaviors include physical harm like biting or nipping. 

Pit Bulls May Be Aggressive Toward Another Dog

Pit bull’s history of being bred for contrasting and capturing semi-feral livestock, coupled with the current day practice of raising some pit bulls as fighting dogs, makes pit bulls more people-friendly than dog friendly. 

As is true with people, male pit bulls tend to be more animal aggressive, especially when they are not neutered. Female pit bulls are much less likely to start dog fights than males. 

Of course, training and socializing your pit bull at an early age will help mitigate aggression towards animals. We will provide training tips at the end of this article to help you ensure that you can keep your dog out of situations that might lead to aggressive behavior. 

Estrus and Female Pit Bull Temperament 

Once every six months, a female pit bull that is not spayed with go into estrus, or more commonly known as “heat.” This is when the female pit bull is capable of breeding and occurs about every six months for up to two weeks.  

When in heat, a female pit bull will appear restless, urinate more frequently and have a bloody discharge coming from its vulva. 

Female dogs are not more aggressive during estrus, but their restless behavior may make them appear unsettled. Estrus does not occur in female pit bulls that have been spayed.

When a female pit bull is in heat, she may need extra soothing and more potty breaks. Pay attention to what seems to comfort her and give her extra love during this time. 

Are Female Pit Bulls Territorial? 

Territorial behavior is most commonly associated with male pit bulls, as females do not tend to mark. 

Unneutered male pit bulls have a tendency to mark their home by urinating on walls or furniture. This is a territorial behavior that comes naturally to the breed. 

While marking is not aggressive in nature, it can upset a pit bull when another dog or animal is introduced to their “territory.” Therefore, neutering your pit bull may be the best option if you are looking to avoid a potential trigger for aggressive behavior. 

Female Pit Bulls Are Intelligent and Loyal

As a whole, pit bulls are considered to be very intelligent dogs. Their intelligence, combined with their loyalty and friendliness towards people, make pit bulls a great family dog. 

Female pit bulls are fully developed at an earlier age than males, making females tend to be more intelligent than their male counterparts. 

This means that females are typically easier to train than a male pit bull – and a well-trained dog is less likely to be aggressive.  

Physical Characteristics of Male and Female Pit Bulls

Female and male pit bulls tend to differ in certain physical characteristics. In general, males tend to be larger and heavier than females. The measurements below can vary significantly based on the breed. In addition, pit bulls are often cross-bred with other breeds of dogs and therefore would have different measurements.  


Male pit bulls are typically larger than females. The average weight of a female pit bull is 30lbs to 50lbs, while a male is 35 to 60lbs. 

Weight can vary significantly based on the breed of pit bull, and it is not unusual for pit bulls to be heavier than the average weight. The general rule of thumb is that females tend to be about 10 pounds less than their male counterparts

Length and Height

Male pit bulls are usually taller than females, with an average height of 27 to 29 inches from their feet to their head. Females are closer to 25 to 27 inches.

Pit bull length is not gender-specific, but rather is impacted by the dog’s actions like the frequency and position that they sit in. On average, pit bulls are about 31 to 38 inches in length. 

Bone Structure

Pit bulls are not easily distinguishable by their body types. But a few factors can indicate gender:

  • Females can have a longer, more narrow body structure
  • Males tend to appear stockier.
  • Male pit bulls have a wider head
  • Females’ eyes are wide-set. 
  • Although hardly noticeable, female pit bulls will have hair tighter to their lips


Pit bull’s coat coloring can vary from black to white and is non-gender specific. 

Actions That Promote Non-Aggressive Behavior in Pit Bulls

While male nor female pit bulls are not inherently aggressive, failure to train, socialize and exercise your pit bull can lead to depression and boredom, which ultimately will lead to aggression for your dog. 


Make sure to introduce your dog to other animals early and often. Take it slow at first, and always keep your pit bull on a tight leash when introducing them to a new dog. 

Obedience Training

Make sure that you have taught your pit bull basic commands. This is especially important with male pit bulls as it demonstrates your dominance.


Pit bulls are very active dogs and require at least one hour of exercise a day. A tired pit bull is a happy and well-behaved dog. It is recommended that pit bulls have a large, fenced-in area to get the most out of their exercise sessions. 


As with humans, pit bulls are happier when they are healthy. When underfed or sick, pit bulls can become aggressive. Keeping your dog on a consistent feeding schedule and bringing them to the vet for regular checkups will ensure that your dog stays healthy. 

Which Gender Pit Bull Is Right for You?

There are benefits and disadvantages to both male and female pit bulls. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which gender’s personality fits best with you and your family. While females are less aggressive, males tend to be more active and playful. 

Rest be assured that when choosing a pit bull, you can count on getting a friendly, loyal dog that will be a great companion for you and your family.


Encyclopedia Britannica

American Dog Breeders Association


Lane County Animal Services

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