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Tricolor Pitbull: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

tricolor american bully standing on the grass

There are several misconceptions about Pitbulls, and many people don’t know that they are sensitive, affectionate, and very intelligent dogs. It may be their history that gave them the reputation they carry today, but their history also proves that they are a wonderful breed.

The Tricolor Pitbull is a rare breed, and its coat is the only factor differentiating it from any other Pitbull. In this article, we look back in history to understand the Tricolor Pitbull a bit more, learn how it gained popularity, and touch on whether or not it will make a good family pet.

Height 17–23 inches
Weight 30–150 pounds
Lifespan 8–16 years
Colors Tricolor- black, blue, chocolate, or lilac with white and tan spots.
Suitable for Active families, families with children, and families looking for a guard dog.
Temperament Affectionate, sensitive, loyal, intelligent, playful, caring, energetic

The Tricolor variation has a coat of three colors with one base color and tan patches, spots, or points. The coat’s base color can include black, blue, chocolate, and lilac, which can also vary in dilution and intensity or be patterned like merle or piebald.

A Pitbull pup must receive two copies of the tan point gene—one from the mother and one from the father—to be Tricolor. It’s essential to keep in mind that the term “Pitbull” refers to four Bully breeds rather than a single dog breed. These breeds are:

These four breeds can all be found with the tri-color pattern.

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Tricolor Pitbull Characteristics


The Earliest Records of the Tricolor Pitbull in History

The tricolor Pitbull is identical to other Pitbulls, aside from the number of colors on their coat. The same Pitbull bloodline that originated in the UK in the early 1800s is where tri- colored Pitbulls originate from. Old English Bulldogs and Terriers were originally used to create the Pitbull breed.

The dogs were used for blood sports such as bull baiting, rat baiting, and bear baiting, which was eventually outlawed in the UK in 1835, making room for dogfighting to grow in popularity. From 1845 to 1860, the dogs were brought to America, where the new sport of dogfighting occurred.

Immigrants from the British Isles entered the country, bringing their Pitbulls with them, and at this time, the Pit Bull Terrier breed was referred to as the American Pit Bull Terrier. The history of the tricolor Pitbull is undocumented, and the tan-point gene must have been acquired through crossbreeding.

Tri color Pitbull puppy
Image Credit: PPstudio, Shutterstock

How the Tricolor Pitbull Gained Popularity

In the 19th century, Pitbulls were used for farming, herding cattle and sheep, guarding livestock, protecting families, and watching over children. As time passed, people began to take notice of the dogs’ many heroic deeds, and they increased in popularity. Pitbulls gained more recognition as “nanny dogs” over time. When the parents were absent or working in the fields, they would watch the kids. Their loving and loyal personalities earned them a place as companion dogs. They also excel as therapy dogs and police dogs.

Today, many Pitbulls are still used as service animals and loving companions. Recovery efforts at the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9/11, the NASA shuttle disaster in 2003, and numerous high-profile cases were handled by search and rescue Pitbulls.

In the past, breeders steered clear of the tricolor pattern because it gave the impression that this breed is a hybrid, but over the past 20 years, the appeal of these dogs has grown significantly. Nowadays, breeders go to great lengths to selectively breed Pitbulls of various colors to produce a tricolor.

Formal Recognition of the Tricolor Pitbull

Tricolored Pitbulls are regarded as purebred. The gene is a normal component of a Pitbulls’ genetic makeup, but due to the challenges involved in breeding them, they are less common. Despite being purebred, Tricolors are not recognized by any kennel clubs.

Currently, various coats are accepted for Pitbull breeds by the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club, but a coat with three colors is not included. Rare colors are not accepted as standard by kennel clubs, and due to the rarity of a tricolor Pitbull, they are not regarded as being in the breed standard. However, the American Pitbull registry accepts all coat colors.

american bully lying on the grass
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shuttersrock

Divider 2Top 4 Unique Facts About the Tricolor Pitbull

1. Pit Bulls Are War Heroes

Pitbulls were one of the first dogs used by American soldiers in the 20th century. They served as America’s mascot in advertisements during WW1 and WW2. They were a symbol of both valor and protection. Sergeant Stubby is a famous Pit who served 18 months in 17 battles during WW1.

2. Tricolor Pitbulls Can Change Color

A tricolor Pitbull puppy can change color as it grows. The coat may become slightly darker or lighter as the puppy matures.

3. Their Pattern Is Caused by a Recessive Gene

Pitbulls can only be tricolored if both parents pass on the proper recessive gene. The tan point gene can go unnoticed for generations until two copies are inherited, so even when no tan points are visible, a dog can still carry the trait.

4. Tricolor Pitbulls Are Expensive

Tricolor Pitbulls are rare, which means they come at a price. If you purchase a tricolor Pitbull from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay $1,750 to $2,500. Depending on the quality of the breeder and the dog’s bloodline, the cost could be even higher.

A pocket male American Bully puppy dog is playing with tennis ball on grass
Image By: Zanna Pesnina, Shutterstock

Divider 2Do Tricolor Pitbulls Make Good Pets?

Pitbulls make great family pets. They were named the nanny dogs because of their loyalty and dedication to watching over children and livestock. Pitbulls love attention; they are family-orientated, affectionate, and full of energy.

This breed is suited to an active family with the time and attention to give. Training and socialization are very important for Pitbulls. They may not be entirely suitable for a first-time owner, but most parents should not have much trouble training them. If you decide to adopt a tricolor Pitbull, it is important that they are not alone for long periods of time as they may develop separation anxiety.

Any family who chooses a tricolor Pitbull will have years of wonderful and rewarding companionship.

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Final Thoughts

Tricolor Pitbulls are a breed of Pitbull with a rare colored coat. Their breed dates back to the 1800s when they were bred for blood sports, which were thankfully outlawed in 1835. This allowed the Pitbull to shine in many roles, including farm work, protecting its family, and as an excellent companion. Pitbulls are surrounded by controversy and are often a target of breed-specific legislation. They are, in fact, lovable and affectionate dogs that make great family pets.

The tricolor Pit is rare; therefore, the cost of a puppy may be high, but it will be worth it.

Featured Image Credit: Luxorpictures, Shutterstock

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