Different Pitbull Breeds: What to Know

Pit bulls have been seen in a negative light over the past decade or two, mostly due to the kinds of people who have decided to adopt these breeds and utilize their loyalty and trainability for bad purposes. 

The term “pit bull” is an umbrella term that covers four specific breeds of dogs. These breeds have been classified as Pit bulls according to guidelines set by the AKC/UKC. 

History of the Pit bull

Historically the name “pit bull” was used to describe the dogs that were horrifically used in battles of “bulls'' (dogs) of any breed at the time. The area that these poor dogs would battle in was called the “pit’. Thus, the name “pit bull'' was coined. 

Back in these terrible days when dogfighting in pits was reigning, these breeds were not classified in any way that was like that of how they are classified now. The current classification of the Pitbull is strictly based on their physical appearance. 

Different Pitbull Breeds

There are several dog breeds that look like pit bulls, but in fact, do not fall under the categorization of being a true Pitbull dog. This is per the standards set by the AKC/UKC. These similar-looking breeds include the Boxer and American Pitbull, among a handful of other breeds with similar physical features. Most of these are dog breeds that get along with pit bulls in most cases. 

There are four specific breeds of dogs that are labeled as Pitbull dogs according to the American Kennel Club. All Pitbull breeds are classified purely based on physical features, having nothing to do with the lineage or genetic makeup of the breed. They all have a generally strong build and rounded head shape. 

American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier is one of the breeds that most often pops into a person's mind when the term “pit bull” is mentioned. They have the well-known slightly rounded yet flat on the top skull shape and intimidating jowls. In addition to their Pitbull-typical skull shape, they also have a solid, muscular build, adding to the intimidation. 

Contrary to popular belief, the American Pitbull Terrier is not as ferocious of a breed as many have made it out to be. This breed is naturally eager to please their human master. This trait has unfortunately been used against the American Pitbull by individuals with bad intentions. Creating the monstrous image of Pit bulls that some people have in their minds. The American Pitbull Terrier can make an awesome and loving family pet when they are treated and trained correctly

American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as the AmStaf has a very similar build to the American Pitbull Terrier. The one more noticeable difference is that they are generally shorter than the Pit Terrier breed. 

AmStaff dogs are known well for their love for physical and mental challenges. This trait makes them incredibly trainable and perfect for competitions as well as show business. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a short stance similar to that of the American Staffordshire Terrier. However, the real difference between these breeds is the appearance of their face. They still have a short and broad face, but their cheek muscles are far more pronounced. 

This breed was once known as the ruler of fighting rings in England. Their breeding over the decades has led this breed to become gentler and more laid back, making them an excellent family breed. Breeding in addition to early socialization of Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies helps to train this breed to have good social manners and habits. 

American Bully

The American Bully is a compact dog, as they have the shortest stature of the four Pitbull breeds that are highlighted by the AKC/UKC. They are an incredibly active and agile breed of dog. Their strength may also surprise someone who underestimates their strength by judging it based on their size. 


Pitbull dogs have been given a bad reputation that misleads from their true personality, which is a gentle and loving one. This is unfortunate seeing as all pit bull breeds make wonderful family dogs for those who are willing to treat and train them the right way as a part of their family. 

There are four breeds that the AKC/UKC classify as Pit bulls. The American Pitbull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and last but not least, the American Bully are the four breeds that carry the title of Pitbull. All four possess similar physical traits while also each having their unique appearance. 

How many different breeds of pit bulls are there?

There are four specific breeds of dogs that are classified as “pit bulls” according to the American Kennel Club. These four dog breeds that are classified under the title of “Pitbull” include the American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bully. These four breeds have features that are unmistakable for a Pitbull breed.

What dog breeds look like pit bulls?

The boxer and the bullmastiff are two of many different breeds of dogs that highly resemble the typical features of the Pitbull type of dogs. They have similar features to true Pitbull breeds, such as the long floppy lips and solid, muscular build about them.

When can pit bulls start breeding?

Typically, a male Pitbull breed of dog can begin breeding around the age of 12 to 15 months of age. However, it’s best practice to wait until your pit bull (male or female) reaches the age of two years old. This is because any health issues they may have will have manifested by this age. That way you know if you will be breeding a healthy litter of puppies, or at least what issues the puppies may face in their life.

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Written by Leo Roux

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