Prey Drive In Pit Bull Terriers

12 Mar 2024, 6 a.m. by Tracey McLennan


Historically Pit Bull Terriers were bred in the UK for activities such as bull baiting and dog fighting that have been illegal for many years. The dogs were taken from the UK to the US by people immigrating to the US. There, the dogs took on a wider role. They became used to help herd sheep and cattle, to hunt for wild animals and help catch larger animals like wild pigs.

Over time the dogs came to be seen less as fighting dogs and more as companions for the working classes. During both World Wars One and Two, they were the mascots of the US and their images appeared in many wartime adverts. However, in the 1980s, the reputation of the Pit Bull Terrier changed and the dogs became associated with crime and illegal dog fights. This has led to them becoming illegal in some parts of the world including the UK.


Predatory Motor Sequence statistics for Pit Bull Terriers. The graph shows the percentage of Pit Bulls in my research study that had no interest at all in each behaviour. This breed is interesting as they also made my top ten list for dogs with a high prey drive.

Bar chart showing the percentage of Pit Bull Terriers with no interest in each part of the predatory motor sequence

Hunt: 12%

Orient: 6%

Eye: 18%

Stalk: 41%

Chase: 6%

Grab-bite: 6%

Possess: 6%

Kill-bite: 12%

Dissect: 12%

Consume: 47%

There were 17 dogs of this breed in my research. As you can see, although the numbers show that they were number three on the list of dogs with no interest in some parts of the predatory motor sequence , that does not mean that the breed has no interest in prey animals. For instance, 59% of the dogs were described in living to hunt and 53% of them were described as living to chase.

If you have a Pit Bull and would describe them as having a high prey drive, you are not alone. The fact is that they are all individuals and many of them have a strong interest in prey. Find out more about your own dog’s preferences by filling in my quiz and letting me give you detailed information about what your dog loves the most when it comes to prey drive.

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Hi - I'm Tracey.

I am the founder of Best Dog Learning and Stuff and a massive prey drive enthusiast. I've lived with high prey drive dogs for over 20 years and I love them. I run the awesome High Prey Drive Club where I help my members learn to have fabulous walks and happy lives with their high prey drive dogs.

I am a published researcher in my field with both my original research and my review of the literature looking at prey drive in dogs being published in the respected journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

I am the author of Canine aggression: Rehabilitating an aggressive dog with kindess and compassion.

I want to show you how easy and fun it can be to have a high prey drive dog.

If you'd like help with your dog, I'm ready to help you right now.