How Much Exercise Does a Pitbull Need: The Best Exercises to Keep Your Pitbull Active

🦴 Updated on January 4th, 2023

pitbull-exercising-on-a-yoga-mat

Pitbulls tend to have more energy and stamina than most other dogs. As such, their daily needs for physical activity are higher. 

Unlike regular dogs, which will do with an hour of physical activity, a Pitbull needs much more time for intense and rigorous activity to keep them from indulging in destructive behavior. If you’re a dog owner wondering how much exercise a Pitbull needs, read on.

How Much Exercise Does a Pitbull Need?

Typically, an adult Pitbull needs 45 to 60 minutes of exercise (twice a day) to keep healthy and fit. However, this amount of time varies depending on the type of exercise, the Pitbull’s age, energy level, and health condition, among many factors.

Engaging in different exercises is also necessary to ensure your Pitbull expels all the excess energy. For example, besides fun playtime and walking, 30 to 90 minutes of intense exercise like running keeps them upbeat.

The Best Exercises for Pitbulls

You’re probably wondering how to meet the dog’s exercise needs. Running and walking are the most obvious exercises for most dogs, but for Pitbulls, you need a variety of them to help expend excess energy and keep them mentally stimulated. Here’s an overview:

Walking a Pitbull

Walking is an excellent form of moderate physical activity for the dog and yourself if you love working out. The activity also stimulates their brain and helps them explore the environment. 

The dog owner often takes the lead but allowing the dog to follow their sense of smell is an excellent way to stimulate a Pitbull’s powerful sense of smell.

It also adds variety to a standard 30 to 45-minute walk, so your dog looks forward to the activity. You may increase resistance by adding weights to make the walk more physically involved. Weighted vests and saddle bags come in handy if they don’t weigh more than 10% of the dog’s body weight.

The weights strengthen their muscles and train the dog to carry their supplies when going for outdoor activities like camping or hiking. 

Start slow and avoid strenuous activities like jogging, as it only mounts extra weight on the dog’s joints. Another way to increase resistance when walking is to walk on hilly spots or sand.

Running With Pitbull

Your Pitbull could be more aggressive, and walking might not help them expend as much energy. In this case, running is a better alternative. Remember, their bodies are strong and energetic; they could run an entire day. 

They make excellent running and jogging partners as long as they have developed the capacity to run long distances without developing an injury.

Engage in Purposeful Activities

Besides indulging in activities that help burn energy within short periods, Pitbulls need high-intensity exercises to strengthen their muscles. Such activities include:

Playing Fetch

Fetch is one of the best games to play with a Pitbull as they love playing with toys. The game helps burn pent-up energy, stimulate their brain, and teach commands. Fetch is also an excellent game to play indoors and outdoors as long as you’ve plenty of space.  

Be sure to examine your dog for joint problems, as the game may aggravate them. If your Pitbull has hip dysplasia, a torn CCL (explained below), or other joint problems, you may need to try other games.

Playing the Frisbee Toss

This is another excellent energy-burning activity for Pitbulls. Unlike fetch, which requires the dog to chase and catch the ball, Frisbee calls for coordination, skill, and timing. Roll the Frisbee on the ground towards the dog to allow them to grab it by the mouth.

Start by tossing it at a low level and increase the height progressively. You can rub meat or other treats on the object to encourage the dog to pick it up and bring it back.

Playing Flyball

The game is closely related to playing Frisbee or fetch, except flyball is more athletic. The dog needs to jump through hurdles to retrieve the Frisbee.

Playing Tug

This is a favorite game for Pitbulls as it helps them expend pent-up energy and satisfy the desire to work with other dogs. You can play the game with your pet using a large stuffed toy like a joy ball or tug rope. A joy ball encourages the dog to push and chase, and it’s almost indestructible.

Alternatively, make a spring pole. It provides a more hands-free approach to playing the game, as you don’t have to play with the dog. 

Connect a spring-like object to a rope and attach it to a beam or tree branch with a toy or lure attached to the end. The dog is likely to spend hours playing tug-of-war alone.

Be sure to monitor your pet when playing the game to avoid encouraging their aggressive behavior or developing a habit of biting into things.

Other Exercises

Other physical exercises to help your Pitbull keep active include:

Weight-Pulling

Weight-pulling is an excellent strength and muscle-building exercise. You may use a weight-pulling harness to evenly distribute the weight over the dog’s body. 

You can start with a light load, allowing the dog to pull the weight 10-20 m. Then, allow them to rest and repeat the process while increasing the weight and repetitions.

Cycling

Cycling is another excellent way to keep your Pitbull active while bonding with them. Ride at a low speed, maintaining ample distance between the bike and the dog if using a leash.

Stairs Exercise

This is an excellent activity during the chilly winter months. Throw a ball at the bottom of the stairs and ask the dog to fetch it as fast as they can. Repeat the exercise several times until they have enough exercise.

Playing With Other Dogs

Another way to keep your Pitbull active is to ensure they play with other dogs. They get to burn off energy while socializing with their counterparts.

Using Moving Dog Toys

Dog toys that can roll, shake, rattle, or move alone make great toys for Pitbulls because they stimulate their need to chase and prey on other animals. 

It would also help if you looked for self-playing toys if leaving your Pitbull alone for extended periods. The toys keep the dog occupied physically and mentally without much direct supervision.

Allowing Them To Dig

Pitbulls love digging the ground; allowing them to do it is a great way to keep them busy and active. Allowing them to dig your backyard can leave an ugly scene, so you want to offer alternatives. 

You can buy a toddler’s padding pool and fill it with sand and toys for them to find when digging. Alternatively, look for digging toys for dogs.

What Can Influence a Pitbull’s Exercise Needs?

Although Pitbulls tend to be highly active, their exercise needs vary based on the following:

Age

A Pitbull’s energy level varies by age. Their lifecycle comprises four stages—puppyhood, puberty, adulthood, and senior adulthood—which determine the amount of exercise they need.

Puppyhood

Puppies are incredibly energetic and may indulge in more exercises than older Pitbulls. However, since their muscles, joints, and bones aren’t fully formed, they can’t indulge in intense activity. 

Interactive games, free play using puppy toys, and socialization should be the primary focus at this stage.

Five minutes of moderate physical activity may come in handy for a one to two-month-old puppy, but you must increase the length of activity as the puppy grows old. Here’s a brief guideline:

Puppy’s AgeExercise Duration
3 months15-30 minutes
4 months20-40 minutes
5 months25-45 minutes
6 months30-60 minutes

Puberty

Pitbulls are incredibly energetic during this stage (six months to two years) hence the need for moderate to intense physical activity. An hour or more of walking and strength training exercises may come in handy. 

They’re also bolder and more aggressive, needing as much socialization and training. It is necessary to introduce them to new sounds, places, and things by taking them out often.

Adulthood

Dogs enter adulthood after turning three years. A Pitbull’s activity levels are at their peak at this age hence the need for intense daily activity. A walk twice a day may come in handy, but you need to incorporate mental stimulation exercises.

Pitbulls are intelligent and analytical, and mental stimulation exercises keep them from indulging in destructive activity. It would also help if you introduced them to a new sport or advanced training to keep up with their exercise needs.

Senior Citizen

At this stage, your Pitbull is probably nine to 14 years old and appears less energetic than in its younger years. They also move more cautiously and rest more because they have grown fragile. Physical activity is still important, but it shouldn’t be intense.

Brain games, walks, swimming, and throwing frisbees help keep them active, but you must avoid high-impact activities like running, especially if they have joint disease. Pitbulls often develop joint problems like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other joint issues, which reduce their activity level.

Pitbull Energy Level

Although Pitbulls are energetic animals, their ability to perform a physical activity determines their exercise needs. Some come off as passive-aggressive, not requiring much activity as their counterparts. Assessing their energy levels is critical to determining how much physical and mental stimulation they need.

Health Conditions

Pitbulls are prone to various health conditions that impair mobility and exercise needs. Knee complications are prevalent, with 60% of Pitbulls developing torn cranial cruciate ligaments (CCL).

CCL is the thin tissue connecting the tibia to the thigh bone; excessive movement causes it to wear out over time. A telltale sign that your Pitbull has CCL problems is limping and pain; if they continue with intense physical activity, the condition worsens.

Another health problem likely to affect your Pitbull’s exercise needs is hip dysplasia. It is a condition that causes the hip to deform during growth leading to pain and arthritis. 

This means regular activities like running and climbing the stairs become challenging. The Staffordshire Terrier Pitbull breed is particularly susceptible to hip dysplasia because it is hereditary.

How to Keep Your Pitbull Mentally Stimulated

Another aspect of keeping your Pitbull busy is mental stimulation. All the exercises discussed above stimulate their minds, but you could incorporate other activities focusing on mental stimulation. 

Remember, Pitbulls are intelligent animals; if they don’t indulge in activities that can challenge their minds, they can become destructive. Activities to keep them mentally stimulated include:

Use the Kong

A Kong filled with tasty tidbits keeps your dog occupied by providing them with treats and allowing them to forage and chew. 

They’re mentally stimulated to find the best way to access the delicious treats while its unique shape and unpredictable bounce keep your Pitbull active. One trick to make the game last longer is to fill the Kong with frozen foods.

Use Puzzle Toys

Pitbulls are brilliant animals, and solving puzzle toys is the best way to challenge their minds. The puzzles help them focus on a task alleviating any destructive behavior they may want to indulge in. The toys also enhance a dog’s problem-solving skills.

Teach Them New Tricks

Pitbulls are easy to train and catch on to new rules pretty fast. This means they tend to get bored quickly, and teaching them new tricks keeps them fascinated. You could teach them how to put the lights on and off, the names of different toys, or how to use their nose to touch a target.

How Do You Create a Schedule for Pitbull Exercise Needs?

Pitbulls tend to thrive on structure hence the need to introduce a routine. Scheduling a routine prevents the dog from indulging in bad behavior while meeting its physical and mental demands. 

Since 45 minutes to an hour of exercise seems a lot to people with busy schedules, it’s best to spread out the time throughout the day.

Also, create a week’s plan that includes a variety of exercises while hitting the one-hour exercise threshold. You might not have the time to play fetch for an hour, but you could squeeze in 30 minutes of jogging or running with the dog. A schedule also makes the routine more manageable.

What Happens if a Pitbull Doesn’t Get Enough Exercise?

A Pitbull that doesn’t get enough exercise is likely to indulge in a range of destructive behavior, including:

Whining

If your pet is pacing around the house, it could signify that they have too much energy and are looking for ways to expend it.

Barking Excessively

Another sign your Pitbull isn’t getting adequate exercise is when they bark incessantly. They bark at the slightest provocation because it gives them something to do.

Pestering the Dog Owner

Pitbulls are generally clingy, but when they have lots of pent-up energy, they lure you into playing with them. They may push their bodies in your face or lap, follow you around, or paw at you. At this stage, they tend to be disobedient to any commands given.

FAQs

Here are some of the commonly asked questions about how much exercise a Pitbull needs.

What’s the best way to get a Pitbull to exercise?

Pitbulls don’t need much nudging to exercise as they are highly energetic. However, if they’re bored, giving them a Kong with tasty treats may get them exercising. Also, running up and down a staircase or playing indoor games may be handy.

Can a Pitbull get over-exercised?

Since Pitbulls need a lot of exercise, it can sometimes make them over-indulge in physical activity. Signs a Pitbull has over-exercised are extreme thirst, excessive panting, confusion or lack of focus, stiffness, and sore muscles.

Are Pitbulls high energy?

Yes. Pitbulls originate from the Terrier breed, a high-energy dog known for its love for adventure, exercise, and activity.

How often should you walk a Pitbull?

Pitbulls have enough stamina to walk an entire day, but it’s best to limit the walks to 45 to 60 minutes a day. If it’s not possible, break the walks into two shorter walks, e.g., 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.

Can you run with your Pitbull?

Pitbulls are great running companions. Their energetic nature means they can run with you for long stretches of up to seven miles. However, their running threshold varies by age. A puppy, for example, can only run a mile, while a year-old Pitbull can run more than a mile. Adult Pitbulls (over three years) can handle longer stretches as long as they are well-fed and healthy.

So, How Much Exercise Does a Pitbull Need?

A 45 to 60-minute walk is enough to keep your Pitbull’s energy levels in check. You can increase or reduce the amount of time depending on the Pitbull’s energy level, age, and health condition. 

Younger Pitbulls will do with 15 to 30 minutes of exercise, while adults with health conditions like hip dysplasia can’t walk long stretches.

Moreover, energy levels vary by dog. Energetic Pitbulls may walk for more than an hour, while less energetic ones can do a 30-minute walk. 

It would help if you also incorporated a variety of exercises, as Pitbulls are incredibly intelligent. A mix of physical and mental stimulation exercises keeps them engaged and active.

Jennifer Grucci | Dog Breeds Expert
Jennifer Grucci | Dog Breeds Expert
Our talented copy editor Jennifer ensures all doggie info published on our site is accurate, clear, and perfectly suited for pet parents of all experience levels. When not reading and writing about dogs, Jennifer enjoys playing with her own pets at home.