Home Animals What’s the Difference Between an American Bulldog vs Pitbull?

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The American Bulldog and Pit Bull are often confused as being the same breed due to their similar physical appearance and equal classification as working dogs in the Molosser family. However, a trained eye can easily distinguish that these two breeds are actually very different.

Since Pit Bulls have been falsely given a bad reputation for ferocity and violence through widespread public ignorance, American Bulldog owners can be extremely offended when their prized pooch is mistaken for a Pit Bull.

In addition, some housing districts have enforced a strict rule against enabling residents to own a Pit Bull on their premises and made it difficult for American Bulldog owners to prove their furry friend is not part of the restricted breed. Therefore, read on to learn the important characteristics that clearly divide the American Bulldog vs. Pit Bull breeds.

How Are They Different?

American Staffordshire Terrier & American Pit Bull Terrier - both pitbulls.

American Pit Bull Terrier & Staffordshire Terrier- both Pitbulls.

First of all, the name “Pit Bull” is actually used in reference to three separate breeds of dogs, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Staffordshire Terrier. Developed by crossbreeding various Terrier breeds, Pit Bulls were created as strong, agile, and tenacious workers to help farmers manage their cattle.

In contrast, the American Bulldog is a descendent of the Mastiff and cousin to the Bullmastiff, instead of being an offshoot from the Terrier clan. These bulldogs can be classified as being Bully, Standard, or Hybrid types, depending on their size. American Bulldogs were first bred for bull baiting, hunting, cattle management, and homestead protection throughout early American history.

Pit Bulls can be distinguished for their block-shaped heads that form a rounded tip towards the muzzle and unique pointed ears. Most Pit Bull breeds possess a significantly longer snout than skull at a ratio of 40:60. However, the opposite is true for the contrasting American Bulldog, who has a distinctly shorter tapered snout at a ratio of up to 80:20 for skull to snout.

American Bulldogs can be identified by their box-shaped wide and short snout outfitted on a well-muscled rounded head. Due to its Mastiff lineage, American Bulldogs also carry the signature facial wrinkles around their doggy foreheads and mouths. When the skin of the face is pulled tight without a wrinkle in sight, you can rest assured that you are looking at a Pit Bull.

In general, the American Bulldog is usually considerably larger and bulkier than Pit Bulls. Due to their Terrier blood, Pit Bulls normally weigh from 40 to 60 pounds and only stand about 18 to 22 inches off the ground at the shoulder. While American Bulldogs may weigh a minimum of 60 pounds, the breed has the capability of becoming massive and exceeding 125 pounds. The standard height for American Bulldogs at the withers of the shoulder blades falls between 24 inches and 27 inches. Despite the fact that Pit Bulls have a muscular frame, they are not as heavy as the extremely muscular American Bulldog with its broad chest and head.


American bulldog

American bulldog

Apart from the skin deep visual differences between the two breeds, there are other equally important differences that are less obvious. Without a single drop of Terrier blood in their bodies, American Bulldogs are known for having a stable temperament and a more laidback attitude and even-temper.

Since Pit Bulls are genetically linked to the “small dog” tendencies of the Terrier group, they naturally are more hyperactive and require a great deal of exercise to keep the energy from turning into frustration and/or aggression. Despite the bad rap for Pit Bulls, both breeds can be reliable, loyal, and gentle companions when properly raised from a young pup age.


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