5 Types Of Pit Bull Dogs | Impostor vs The Real

Surely you already know that it is a controversial topic. When talking about pit bulls, opinion often varies depending on the breeder or owner.

How many types of pitbull dogs are there? Take a look at the following overview of the different popularly recognized “types of pit bulls,” where they come from, how they differ… and much more.

What Is a Pitbull Exactly?

Pitbull is the name under which the type of dog descended from the bulldog and terrier breeds. In other words, the so-called pit bulls emerged as a “type of dog”, not as a breed. They share similar physical characteristics and can be purebred or mixed. Many of them are not even recognized by international associations and kennel clubs

What Are The Types Of Pit Bulls?

Strictly speaking, we cannot say that there are types of pit bulls. The authentic pit bull is the American Pit Bull Terrier or APBT, a unique dog of which there are no variations. However, that is a widely used term to refer to other related, albeit independent bloodlines. They are considered bull-type terriers.

It is common that all these dogs are still grouped under the common name of “Pitbulls”, especially in the popular sphere. Generally, there are 5 types of pit bull dogs :

  1. The American Pit Bull Terrier ( American Pit Bull Terrier )
  2. The American Staffordshire terrier ( American Staffordshire Terrier )
  3. The American Bully ( American Bully )
  4. The American bulldog (American Bulldog)
  5. The Staffordshire bull terrier

Let’s see what its main characteristics are and how they differ …

1. American Pit Bull Terrier

This is the one and only true pitbull. It is said that from it the other bull-type terriers were created. Contrary to what many think, aggressiveness is not a pronounced trait in their behavior. The American Pit Bull Terrier has a friendly and balanced personality, possesses high intelligence, and displays a good disposition for work.

Their weight can range between 28 and 55 pounds, reaching 6-8 inches taller than other pit bulls; for example, it is usually taller than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Although it has traditionally been bred as a fighting dog and still retains certain aggressive traits, the truth is that the American Pit Bull Terrier is friendly and obedient by nature.

American pit bulls can be either the red nose type or the blue nose type. This does not mean that there are two separate varieties or breeds. Both specimens have the same physical characteristics and the same temperament.

Note: Red nose pit bulls and blue nose pit bulls are the result of breeding red noses with red noses, or blue noses with blue noses, depending on the desired color.

Red-nosed pitbull

Characterized by their red nose and copper-colored fur, these specimens are highly admired among lovers of pitbull dogs. It is said that they come from an Irish line called Old Family Red Nose (OFRN), they were brought to America by the Irish, who traditionally used them as coworkers in the fattening of bulls.

You will be able to identify a “red nose” from birth; puppies are born with the distinctive reddish color not only on their nose, but also on their eyes, nails, and fur. It should be noted that the shade can vary between reddish, brown or copper.

The red-nosed pit bull is: intelligent, trainable, loyal, and gentle. It suits most families, especially when you have experience dealing with large, powerful dogs.


Blue-nosed pitbull

The blue-nosed pit bull is distinguished by its bluish-colored nose and coat. Many breeders tend to market it as a rare type of pit bull, hence it is extremely desired and admired. Like the red-nosed pitbull, it can also be easily recognized from birth; puppies are born with blue noses, showing blue and gray tones in their nails, eyes, and fur.

It’s a great lover of family fun. It thrives very well while being kept busy exercising or playing in the yard, but the “blue nose” has a downside, and it comes down to its health.

Because the blue and gray tones are caused by a recessive gene that produces low levels of melanin, these dogs can experience a variety of health disorders, including a weakened immune system, deafness, cataracts, alopecia, and heart problems.

Blue fawn pitbull

2. American Staffordshire terrier

The American Staffordshire terrier is another “pit bull” or bull-type terrier, whose origin describes it as a working dog. Their breeding is said to date back to the 1970s when Americans preferred a versatile working dog.

It’s considered to be the strongest and tallest among the different types of pit bulls, weighing approximately 60 to 90 pounds and an average height of 17 to 19 inches. However, their drive to perform very heavy tasks and their level of natural aggression are usually relatively lower.

Fans of the American Staffordshire Terrier will find specimens with a smooth, bicolor or spotted coat. Despite the fact that It’s described as a calm pitbull, it is important to note that it still retains its strong instincts.

american staffordshire terrier

3. American bully

Also included in this group, there is no doubt that the “bully” is a very peculiar dog. It is the result of the cross between the American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire terrier, and the English bulldogs. It can measure between 16 and 20 inches, reaching a weight proportional to its height.

The American bully possesses a strong fighting instinct and a strong drive for hard work, both traits inherited from its parents, but that doesn’t stop it from being an excellent family pet.

Being such a popular dog with breeders, different breeding lines have already emerged. These are the types of American bully recognized so far:

  • Standard
  • Classic
  • XL
  • Extreme
  • Pocket-size

Note. Due to the evolution and standardization of this dog as a separate breed, many have stopped considering it as a type of pit bull. 

american bully

4. American Bulldog

Another of the most popular and controversial so-called pit bull breeds, the American bulldog, emerged as a watchdog, working, and tracking dog. It was commonly assigned the task of guarding the house or performing tasks that required strength and endurance. It is an assertive, loyal and affectionate dog, hence it is also considered a good companion for the family.

american Bulldog

5. Staffordshire bull terrier

The Staffordshire bull terrier is considered a lightweight dog, whose weight can range between 24 and 38 pounds and its height between 14 and 16 inches. As its name suggests, it was first bred in Staffordshire, England, where coal miners began looking for a lighter, faster and more reliable working dog.

It is a compact, muscular and agile dog. While some bull-type terriers may display territorial behavior towards other dogs and animals, they display a friendly nature, particularly with children. Staffordshire bull terriers are smart, funny, and full of vitality. The strong bond they develop with their owners makes them one of the best family dogs.

Note. It should be noted that these are not the only specimens labeled as pit bulls. Mixed dogs such as the Chamuco (Mexican pitbull), Spike, Monster Blue, Colby, Stuffawler, Cobra, Tex Mex, Johnsons, Villaliberty, and the Pynat are usually included in this group, but the truth is that they are not officially recognized as breeds or like pit bulls.

staffordshire bull terrier

Quick Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Unlike other breeds and types of dogs, Pit Bulls don’t fall into one category; There is a wide variety of breeds that are considered pit bulls. Due to the absence of a central registration system, breeders have some freedom to breed dogs according to their choice and preference, with virtually no authoritative body to oversee them.

This is coupled with the fact that most pitbull breeders and owners are of a younger generation. Many of them prefer their bloodline to be known to have certain physical characteristics, abilities, or attributes, rather than the traits stipulated by a standardized system.

Sometimes this process leads to remarkable results, inspiring other dog breeders to follow the same path. That is why new bloodlines and unofficial subtypes continue to appear, without much structure or organization.

What breed is closest to the original pit bulls?

In terms of physical characteristics, as well as a bloodline, the American Pit Bull Terrier is the only one and closest to the original Pit Bulls. Like these, the current American pit bull shows traits of tenacity and courage. It can be aggressive towards other animals but is generally friendly and obedient to humans.

What dogs are wrongly classified as pit bulls?

Many people often mistake the muscular build of some dogs for the robust appearance of the Pit Bull, but in reality, they are not. These are some of the breeds mistakenly considered types of pit bulls :

The boxer

The Boxer is a brave and devoted dog, originally bred in 19th century Germany. It’s often mistaken for pit bulls due to its muscular body and confident posture.

The mastiff or presa canario

This dog was originally bred in Spain for livestock work. Its firm posture and muscular body lend it a strong physical resemblance to many of the pit bulls.

The Italian Mastiff

This muscular dog of Italian origin is among the most popular watchdogs in the world. Its large head is the most notable feature, although its muzzle is probably the cause for some to think it is a pit bull. The truth is that it is a much taller dog, with characteristics inclined towards the mastiff breed.

The Argentine Dogo

Without a doubt, a strong and powerful dog against which few attackers could have a chance. Firm posture and well-formed muscles are also the main causes of confusion in this case.

The bull terrier

Of all the dogs we’ve mentioned on this list, the bull terrier is the least similar to traditional pit bulls. Its particular head, similar to the shape of a shark, distinguishes it from all other races. However, its stubbornness and muscular body make it look like a potentially aggressive dog, hence why many people mistake it for a pit bull.

Are there mixed American pit bull terriers?

Two of the most recognized mixed APBTs are:

  • The pitweiler (cross between pitbull and rottweiler). It is a muscular dog that, although it may seem intimidating, the truth is that it is far from it. When trained and socialized from an early age, the Pitweiler makes a loving and loyal companion.
  • The pitsky (a cross between pitbull and husky). The pitsky can be obtained by crossing a pit bull dog and an Alaskan husky or a Siberian husky. The result is a playful, intelligent, and affectionate mix. It is considered suitable for families with an active lifestyle.

Are Pit Bulls Aggressive?

While it is true that they have been linked to many cases of bite injuries, it is important to know that aggressiveness is not a specific behavior of Pit Bull types. Each dog has the potential to be aggressive in different situations, especially situations of fear and anxiety.

Final thought

I hope that the article has been to your liking and its content has served to clarify your doubts about pit bulls and their different “types”. We invite you to continue reading about the origin and history behind these dogs, as well as any other publication of interest on Shelterapet.com


  • Amanda Wheatley

    Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..) Why Trust ShelterAPet? At ShelterAPet, our collective is composed of writers, veterinarians, and seasoned animal trainers with a deep passion for pets. Our team of esteemed professionals delves into extensive research to deliver trustworthy insights on a broad spectrum of pet-related subjects. We anchor our evaluations on direct customer experiences, meticulous testing, and comprehensive scrutiny. Our commitment is to uphold transparency and integrity for our cherished community of pet aficionados and prospective pet parents.

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