Tri-Color Pitbull – Genetics, Temperament & More


The Tri-Color Pitbull has a unique and stunning look which are formed from a rare genetic combination. Due to the beautiful shade and uniqueness, this color is always high in demand and comes at a premium.

Tri-Color Pitbull Genetics


The Tri-Color is caused by a recessive gene, this requires both parents to possess and pass the gene on to offspring. All Tri-Color Pitbull’s are not colored the same and there are even rarer combinations within. Finding colors such as Lilac are incredibly rare and demand an even more premium price-tag. The easiest way to fully understand the colors shown on a Tri-color bully is through a DNA test

Pitbull’s consist of 4 different breeds, all of which can come in the Tri-Color combination. However the rarity between each 4 of the breeds can vary.

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Bully

The important gene for a Pitbull to possess to achieve the Tri-Color is the at Tan-point recessive gene. The other parts of the genetics are part of the agouti coloring. This means that within this you can have a dominant color of Black, Chocolate or Blue.

History of Tri-Color Pitbulls

Their is no documented history of when this coloring first appeared in Pitbull’s. Naturally a purebred Pitbull would not have the Tan-Point recessive gene, this will have been obtained through cross-breeding. Large amounts of cross breeding has always happened within the Pitbull breed with the breed itself being a mix of bulldogs and terriers.

It is only in more recent years that the popularity of this coloring has exploded with it’s appearance at dog shows increasing. Whilst it is difficult to make Tri-colors due to the recessive gene there is now a large enough amount of this color that finding a Male and Female to create offspring is becoming increasingly easy.

Are Tri-Colored Pitbull’s Merle?

Merle Pitbull

Pitbull’s classified as Tri-Color are not due to the Merle genetic mutation. The Merle coloring is due to differing levels of pigments creating patchy areas of different colors. Whilst a Merle Pitbull can have a number of different colors it will appear in a spotty pattern whilst Tri-Colors will have more solid blocks of color.

Merle Pitbull’s come with a range of health issues and breeding of them should not be encouraged. In rare cases where a puppy inherits Merle genes from both of it’s parents it will be born with a huge increase in risk to hearing and eye issues. In addition to enhanced skeletal, heart and the majority of common health issues present in Pitbull’s.

How much do they cost?

Pitbull Puppy

You should expect to pay in excess of $5,000 for a Tri-Color Pitbull Puppy from a breeder that can provide medical history. This however can increase all the way up to $35,000 – $50,000 if you are looking for a specific color such as Lilac or a particular bloodline.

We would expect the average Pitbull to cost in the region of $1,000 so this shows that your are realistically looking at 5x premium to purchase a Tri-Color Puppy.

Are they aggressive?

Pitbull’s have a stigma attached with many people considering them aggressive. A lot of this comes from their original role in society from the early 1800’s as bull baiters. There are also still a number of illegal dog fighting operations running of which Pitbull’s are the dog of choice.

Studies have shown that Pitbull’s do not show higher aggression than other dogs especially towards people. The only area where they scored higher than average on aggression was towards other dogs. It is important to note they still weren’t the highest ranking breed.

There are a number of myths around Pitbull’s which fuel fear around these caring dogs.

  • Locking Jaws – Pitbull’s jaws are not anatomically different from other dog breeds. They cannot lock their jaws and they can be trained as with other dogs to leave and drop anything they get hold of. Their instinct to grab something and shake is the same as a large number of breeds.
  • They have high pain tolerance – Anyone that has ever owned a Pitbull can tell you that they can be very wimpy at times. Don’t be surprised if you see less Pitbull’s out in the cold or rain they’re often not fans of even these conditions let alone high pain.
  • They’re unpredictable – Any dog taken out of it’s routine and comfort area can have an increased level of unpredictability. There is no data to show a Pitbull has any increased chance of acting in an unpredictable way.

Do Tri-Color Pitbull’s have health issues?

Pitbull Puppy

You should not expect to have any additional health issues with a Tri-Color Pitbull. There are however a number of health concerns you should be aware of which are common across all Pitbull’s. If you are going for a specific sub-breed of Pitbull which has been altered such as a Pocket Bully you might expect some additional issues.

Hip Dysplasia – This is a common issue amongst a number of dogs. It is however especially present in larger breeds. The easiest to spot symptoms will relate to a reduced range of movement of the hind legs along with a reluctance in jumping, running and climbing stairs.

Heart Disease – Pitbull’s can be prone to heart disease including a congenital heart disease in the form of aortic stenosis. It is important that you buy from a reputable breeder and discuss this issue with them to ensure your dog has been bred to have a healthy heart.

Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism is where the thyroid produces incorrect hormone levels, this will present itself in the form of increased weight or lethargy and is often first identified in middle-aged dogs. If these signs are showing then a vet should be contacted who will perform blood tests to identify if the issue is thyroid related. This is often treatable using medication and will likely also be combined with a diet plan.

Is a Tri-Color Pitbull difficult to raise?

As long as you are prepared for a minority of people to be worried you have a Pitbull they aren’t difficult to raise in comparison to other dogs. They are great around the family and are kid friendly. The main area you should seek to address is their friendliness with other dogs. We highly recommend with any puppy but especially Pitbull’s to enrol in a class with exposure to dogs.

Their grooming requirements are not excessive with similar brushing, ear, teeth and nail care to the average dog. They are loyal dogs which tends to make them more receptive to these treatments. It is important to start this from an early age as this is when they are most open to starting this routine.

Training any dog can be a long process, you shouldn’t expect it to be any easier/difficult with a Pitbull however. It is important that you introduce consistency in your reactions. In addition to this you should use a positive reinforcement strategy as this has been proven to be the most effective training method.

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