types of pitbull

Types of Pitbulls: Learn Their Differences

Over the years, Pitbull breeds haven’t acquired the best reputation due to their unfortunate involvement in dog fighting. However, as more enlightening information travels across the internet and through word of mouth, Pitbulls have become a popular pick in homes worldwide.

Throughout this article, we will be detailing the most popular types of Pitbulls and providing additional information about the breeds, including frequently asked questions. Read on to learn everything you need to know about these well-loved canines.

Pitbull is not a Dog Breed

Generally, there is a lot of confusion surrounding pit bulls. Many people believe that a pit bull is a standalone dog breed however it is an umbrella term for four dog breeds descended from Terriers and Bulldogs.

The Pit Bull Name

The breed name originates from the British Isles in the 19th century. This was when bull baiting was created. This horrific and cruel “sport” involved an enraged bull tethered to an iron stake before dogs (typically bulldogs) were set to immobilize it. This is essentially where the name Pit Bull came from. Thankfully this blood sport, along with cock-fighting, was formally banned in 1835.

A Short History of Pit Bulls

After bulldogs and terriers were used as fighting dogs in bull-baiting, these two were eventually bred, resulting in pit bull-like dog breeds.

In the late 19th century, pit bulls were introduced into the US, where they built a name for themselves as hard-working dogs. Over time, the pit bull became known as a nanny dog as they loyally watched over children in family homes.

The pit bull’s reputation only improved as they were often seen with celebrities and politicians. They were perceived as the canine embodiment of bravery, strength, and loyalty by dog lovers across the country.

Throughout their existence, pit bulls of all variations have had a rocky reputation however, in recent years, they have become one of the most well-loved options for dog owners. The American Bully, in particular, is a common choice for families in the US.

However, there are still a number of those who still believe these dogs to be violent and aggressive when, in fact, they are typically gentle.

Sadly, they are still used in illegal fighting rings, which doesn’t help their character. With the easy spread of misinformation, one unfortunate article doesn’t help fix the negative stereotype. Although, owners and aspiring pit bull owners should understand that their dog’s surroundings, training, and upbringing can heavily impact their characteristics and temperament when they mature.

How Can You Tell What Kind of Pitbull You Have?

Cute small puppy pitbull

It may be a little hard to tell to begin with however, there are a few subtle differences between the types of Pitbulls. These Pitbull dog breeds will mainly vary in weight and height with minor differences in their physical characteristics.

  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers can typically weigh between 24 – 38 pounds and grow to be between 14-16 inches in height. These guard dogs are, therefore quite short and light compared to other pitbull-type dogs.
  • American Staffordshire Terriers can grow up to be up to 19 inches and weigh anywhere between 40 – 70 pounds, according to the AKC. The typical American Staffordshire Terrier is sturdy and visibly muscular in its appearance.
  • The American Bully is easily distinguishable from the other Pitbull breeds as it is usually the smallest however they tend to weigh a lot more. As a result, these smaller Pitbulls appear stocky but still muscular.
  • The American Pit Bull Terrier is known to grow up to 20 inches in height and can weigh up to 65 pounds. An American Pit Bull Terrier is also a tall dog with durable and strong muscles however they seem to be leaner in comparison to other dogs.

Note: The height and weight of a dog can also depend on the gender, with females sometimes being smaller.

Breed Specific Legislation

Despite extensive research into Pitbull behavior and breed information, some types of Pitbulls are still under scrutiny, which means that they may be unavailable in certain areas. Before setting your heart on one, make sure you do your research according to your state or country as they may even be banned from particular dog parks, apartments, and other public areas.

Different Kinds of Pitbulls

Today, there are four pitbull-type breeds however, when someone describes a pit bull, they typically refer to the American Pit Bull Terrier. Not to mention, several other dog breeds fall under the pit bull term umbrella. The main four breeds are listed below however, surprisingly, not all of them are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire bull terrier

Staffordshire bull terriers are described as intelligent, courageous, and gentle dogs. Like other pit bull-type dogs, these canines are muscular, although they may not stand as tall as the other Pitbulls.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an immensely affectionate dog that loves children, one of many reasons they make an excellent family dog. These dogs tend to have mounds of energy, so playtime with the kids is one of their favorite things. However, they will remain watchful where their family is concerned.

The drawback is that they are incredibly social dogs and revolve around their family. They can be prone to separation anxiety. Dog owners may be tempted to get another canine companion to quell the stress. However, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known to conflict with other dogs if they aren’t appropriately socialized from an early age.

American Staffordshire Terrier

American staffordshire terrier in action. Power of dog.

Like the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier is intelligent and confident however this pit bull isn’t known to be as affectionate and loving towards children. This isn’t meant to imply that this dog breed is aggressive or not recommended for families, as they are known to be adaptable and friendly canines that are also family orientated.

The American Staffordshire Bull Terrier is trustworthy and protective. They may not be as playful as other pitbull dogs. However, you can be sure they will love their owner’s praise and affection.

Although they are considered a low-maintenance breed, these loyal dogs will require frequent training at a young age and plenty of exercise throughout their life. American Staffordshire Terriers are often mistaken for the American Pitbull Terrier, except the former is officially recognized by the AKC.

American Pitbull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier running in the field

American Pit Bull Terriers are the first pitbull types to come to mind when discussing these dogs despite not being recognized by the AKC. Their intelligence, athleticism, and desire to please their humans led the American Pitbull Terrier breed to become farm dogs when they first arrived in the US.

American Pitbull Terriers tend to be the largest of the four dogs with a leaner appearance. These athletic dogs are very clever, often picking up training with ease when young. Although large compared to other pitbull types, an American Pit Bull Terrier is considered a medium-sized dog.

Although the AKC has not identified American Pitbull Terriers, the United Kennel Club recognizes them as purebred dogs. It is often debated that the American Pit Bull Terrier is the same breed as the American Staffordshire Terrier however, over time, the breeds have developed the significance that would separate them into individual dogs.

Red Nose Pitbull

pit bull red nose portrait

Despite what some may say, the Red Nose Pitbull is not a different breed of dog. The American Pitbull is known to have a rare variation in which the canine will have a red nose with copper/brown coat colors.

The rare color of this pit bull breed means that they can often be bred unethically by untrustworthy breeders. However, these dogs can develop health conditions and genetic defects due to the recessive gene.

Blue Nose Pitbull

Pit bull dog playing in an open field at sunset.

Here is another rare color the American Pit Bull Terrier can come in. The blue nose pitbull also has blue or gray nails, lips, and eyes. The unusual and unique coloring of these pit bulls will mean that buying one will not be cheap, and some unethical breeders will try to breed more which will provoke horrid health conditions.

American Bully

beautiful dog on an active walk with the owner in the park

Last but not least, we have the popular American Bully breed. Although recognized by the United Kennel Club, this bully breed is yet to be identified by the American Kennel Club as an official breed.

The American Bully dog is a relatively new breed but hasn’t stopped dog owners from getting to know them. Many dog lovers frequently comment that this bully breed makes excellent family dogs as they are known to get along well with other pets and love playing with children.

The American Bully is often compared to the American Bulldog and the English Bulldog due to their smaller size however, these pups were originally bred from American Pit Bull Terriers. Due to its heritage, this loving dog is loyal, social, playful, and outgoing, so there’s no wonder why they are so popular.

Other Pitbull Breeds

As mentioned previously, several other breeds are classed as Pit bulls however you may find that they are not often mentioned in articles as they are not as common or popular.

Many Pitbull enthusiasts will be fully aware of the breeds below, although if you’re curious, why not take a look:

  • Colby Pitbull
  • Villaliberty
  • Gotti Pitbull
  • Stuffawler
  • Bull Terrier
  • Pynat
  • Chamuco (The Mexican Pitbull)
  • Spike Pitbull
  • Cobra Pitbull
  • Monster Blue Pitbull

Popular Pitbull Mixes

Pitbull mix dog enjoying a sunny day at the park

Pitbulls have some wonderful traits. These include loyalty, intelligence, and bravery as the most notable, so when you combine these with the traits of other well-loved dogs, owners hope to get the best companion they could hope for.

Some of the most common and popular pitbull mixes are as follows:

Typically, these breeds are bred with the American Pitbull Terrier, as this type of Pitbull is the most popular and common in the US.

Common Pitbull Myths

Terriers walk on the water at sunset

When it comes to Pitbulls, there are many misconceptions that prevent people from getting to know the loveable canines. Below are some of the most common myths about Pitbulls.

1. Pitbulls are Aggressive Dogs

Nope. Pitbulls are loyal and protective dogs, and they are far from aggressive.

Any canine breed can develop aggression as a result of a bad upbringing so it’s possible for a Pitbull to be vicious. However, it’s not in their nature. As with any dog, if you show them love, discipline, and care your pitbull will develop into devoted and warm-hearted companions.

2. Pitbulls are Stubborn and Difficult to Train.

Dogs have all kinds of personalities; you will occasionally have one with severe stubbornness running through them. However, it is a common misconception that Pitbulls are hard to train.

In fact, due to their working heritage, intelligent nature, and devotion to people, they can be relatively easy to train given the correct method. It won’t be all sunshine and roses training a puppy, and you will undoubtedly run into some issues however, persistence and praise are key to training a pit bull.

3. Pitbulls don’t Get Along with Children and Other Animals

Pitbulls have a strong jaw and a history of dog fighting, but this doesn’t mean they will intentionally pursue and harm other animals or children. Indeed, some Pitbulls haven’t gotten along with smaller animals however, if you plan on getting yourself a Pitbull puppy, this can often be combatted with socialization training.

As far as children are concerned, Pitbulls have been known to be incredibly fond of young ones. In many cases, Pitbulls have been protective of children and love nothing more than to run around and play with them relentlessly. The only problem here is that Pitbulls sometimes don’t understand their strength and can accidentally knock them down when playing, causing minor injuries.

4. Pitbulls’ Jaws Can Lock, and They Have the Strongest Bite

Pitbulls don’t have the strongest bite, and their jaws certainly won’t lock into place when clamped down on something.

There’s no denying that the Pitbull has a strong bite however there are several other canine breeds that have a much stronger bite strength.

When playing games such as tug of war, they may appear as though their jaws are locked firmly into place however this is simply because they play tirelessly and are enthusiastic about playing with their humans.

Breed Misidentification – Dogs That Look Like Pit Bulls

Puppy Dogo Argentino plays in grass

As we have identified four different dog breeds that fall under the Pitbull umbrella term, there are other dogs and even mixed breeds that are misidentified as Pitbulls. These are all listed below.

The Pitbulls we’ve detailed above don’t typically grow past 20 inches in height, whereas the purebred dogs listed above are no smaller than 20 inches when they reach maturity. Pitbull mix dogs may differ depending on what other breeds lie within their lineage.


  1. K.R.Olson, Inconsistent Identification of Pit Bull-Type Dogs by Shelter Staff – Science Direct
  2. Pitbulls: Everything You Need to Know – Best Friends Animal Society
  3. What’s a Pit Bull? – Animal Humane Society


Considering all Pitbulls are said to be friendly animals it's difficult to simply pluck one out as the most adoring. If we're choosing a Pitbull from our list above, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is perhaps one of the friendliest of the breed overall. Far from aggressive dogs, these Pitbulls love children and are immensely loveable.

Although the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is said to be protective of their families, their openness towards strangers is another adoring trait.

Another popular friendly Pit Bull is the Razor Edge Pit Bull. These dogs are not purebred but are said to have loveable and trustworthy personalities. A Razor Edge is not an aggressive dog and will likely only bark at strangers as a greeting and way of showing their excitement

The American Blue Nose Pit Bull Terrier is regarded as a rare breed along with the Red Nose Terrier due to its unique coloring. Of the different types of Pitbulls, these tend to be the most sought after, and as a result unreliable and money-hungry breeders will try to take advantage of these dogs.

Often these breeders will mate two of the same together in order to make more to earn more money. However, as mentioned previously, this can provoke harrowing health conditions.

Gator Pitbulls were originally bred from Plumber's Alligator Pitbull and Rodriquez's Gator Mouth Pitbull. Sadly, this is another Pitbull type specifically bred for the purpose of being a fighter dog.

However, like other Pitbull-type dogs, the Gator Pitbull is intelligent and tough. Not to mention they are extremely affectionate and dedicated towards their owners.

Typically, if raised in the appropriate environment and given training from an early age, both male and female Pitbulls should develop into affectionate and trustworthy companions. In addition to this, it's worth understanding the impact spaying and neutering can have on a dog's behavior as unneutered canines can behave more aggressively.

Razorback or Razor Edge Pitbull dogs are American Pit Bull Terriers mixed with other canine breeds and are known for having an outgoing, friendly, and sociable personality.

It is currently unknown what other dog breeds were used in the development of the Razorback however it is thought that the American Bulldog, English Bulldog, and Mastiff are present in their bloodline. The use of these bully breeds are what has contributed to its stocky and muscular appearance.

One of the most popular and oldest bloodlines in the US is the Colby Pitbull. The bloodline is said to feature Irish and English dog lineages and was the work of a breeder named John Colby in 1889.

Going back over 100 years the Colby Pitbull still remains another popular choice for Pitbull enthusiasts. This Pitbull breed has a significantly luscious coat that is prone to excessive shedding, although it's worth it when you have the affection and trust of a loyal dog such as this.

The Gotti Pitbull is a recent breed having been first bred in the 1990s after a breeder bought a dog named 'The Notorious Juan Gotty'. This dog went on to sire the first pups that would later be named Gotti Pitbulls.

These dogs are closely related to the American Pitbull Terrier and have a very similar appearance and temperament. These are also pitbull-type dogs that hold a bad reputation despite being immensely loyal and affectionate dogs.

Black Pitbulls are beautiful dogs however they are not considered rare despite what some breeders may claim.

A Merle Pitbull isn't a breed, it's just the term used for a Pitbull that has the merle coat color/pattern. Often, these dogs will have shades of black, red, white, and blue in their coats consisting of patchy patterns of swirls and/or dots.

There are no significant differences in personality or temperament however two dogs with this coat pattern must not be bred due to the possibility of health issues forming in the pups.

Blue fawn is the result of a recessive gene. The blue fawn occurs when a Pitbull inherits one dilute gene from each parent.

This coloration means that a Blue Fawn Pitbull can be rare and breeders will often increase the price.

Hulk is said to be a mix between an American Pitbull Terrier and Bull Terrier. Although this mass of adorable pitbull is loving and affectionate it is not recommended to breed a dog to this height and weight. Doing so will invite a multitude of health problems as well as mobility and structural issues.

In addition to this, bully breeds sadly still provoke negativity to this day, and breeding larger versions do not help their public image despite them being adoring and incredibly loyal canines.

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