Pitbull types & Breeds (Quick Overview)

Pitbulls are popular dogs that are often misidentified and misunderstood. Oftentimes, when people hear about Pitbulls, the American Pitbull Terrier comes to mind.

Pitbulls are not a single breed. The term emerged about 200 years in Great Britain for dogs that share Old English Bulldog and Terrier ancestry. They combine the strength and tenacity of Bulldogs and the Terrier’s agility. 

These dogs were developed for blood sports (bear and bull-baiting). They were then involved in underground dog fighting sports hence the aggressive reputation.

There are four breeds that fall under the Pitbull classification;

  • American Pitbull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Bully

They have similar appearances and temperaments. These dogs are muscular, stocky, tenacious, and have short coats. They are also affectionate, energetic, adaptable, and friendly but are often mislabeled as aggressive.

Pitbull identification

Pitbull Breed Size (Height & Weight)TemperamentCost
American Pitbull Terrier17- 21″
30- 60 lbs
Stubborn, friendly, loyal, gentle, intelligent, obedient, and strong-willed$800- $3000
American Staffordshire Terrier16-19″
40- 70 lbs
Friendly, devoted, attentive, courageous, loyal, and tenacious $800- $3000
Staffordshire Bull Terrier14-16″
24- 40 lbs
Intelligent, reliable, loyal, courageous, affectionate and family-oriented$700- $3000
American Bully13-23″
50-85 lbs
Loyal, loving, gentle, friendly, bold, and outgoing$2000- $7000

Pitbull are not a recognized dog breed. In all honesty, Pitbull is such broad terms and there is no agreed way to define what a Pitbull is.

Several muscular and mixed dog breeds are often mislabeled as Pitbulls even by experts. These breeds include;

  • American Bulldog, 
  • Boxer
  • Bandog
  • Presa Canario
  • Boston Terrier
  • Cane Corso
  • Other Pitbull mixed dogs (Mutts)

Visual indicators are not the most reliable way to identify Pitbulls as it’s not a defined breed. As such, to be sure, DNA testing is used to determine if the dog falls under the 4 Pitbull types.


Pitbulls vary in size. They should be athletic, strong, powerful, and have incredible stamina regardless of size. 

They are not supposed to be huge but some are bigger than others but not huge. The American Bully is the shortest but weighs over 60 pounds. Staffordshire Bull terriers about 30 pounds on average, but are taller than Bullies. American Pitbull Terriers and Staffordshire Terriers are of equal height.


Pitbulls often share similar characteristics such as;

  • Large, strong jaws, 
  • Wide square-shaped heads and rounded on the front, 
  • Thick necks and muscular bodies
  • Big almond or oval-shaped eyes, 
  • square fleshy noses, muscular bodies, 
  • Short snouts, 
  • Broad shoulders, and 
  • Long and straight tails. Their 
  • Ears tend to be rose-shaped or pointy and set back high on the head

They all have short, smooth, or bristle single coats that stress their muscular appearance. They come in any coat color apart from merle. No Merle Pitbull is 100% Pit as they might have been mixed with other Merle breeds at some point. They can be black, white, brindle, light fawn, chocolate, or a color combination.

Temperament & personality;

Pitbulls are sweet, loving, loyal, smart, fun, friendly, energetic, domineering but sensitive. They thrive on human attention, love family activities, and earned the moniker “nanny dog”. These dogs are intelligent, active, and eager to please and thus easy to train and exercise with.

But remember each dog has individual characteristics and will be unique in its own way. It will also depend on how you raise, take care of him, training and socialization.

Are Pitbulls dangerous?

No particular dog is aggressive or dangerous based on breed. Despite their reputation, Pitbulls are not more dangerous or aggressive than other dogs. They pass the temperament test at a higher rate than other breeds such as the Golden Retriever.

Most fatalities are by unneutered, neglected, abused, or not well-socialized dogs. Under irresponsible ownership, any dog can become aggressive or violent. The breed has nothing to do with it.

Socialize and train your Pit from a young age to make him social and mellow.

Types of Pit Bulls

1. American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT)

  • Height– 17 to 21 inches
  • Weight– 30 to 60 pounds
  • Origin– American Terrier x English Bulldogs
  • Cost-$800- $3000
  • Recognition– Recognized as purebred by UKC but not AKC due to their violent past.

This is the dog most people think of when they think of the pit bull. He is the tallest of all Pitbull breeds.

There are 2 color variations of the American Pitbull Terrier that are;

  • Blue Nose American Pitbull Terrier– Has a blue nose, eyes, lips, and toenails. Their coats tend to be Charcoal grey.
  • Red Nose American Pitbull Terrier– Has Pinkish Red nose, lips, eyes, and toenails. Their coats are auburn or reddish brown in color.

2. American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff)

  • Height– 16 to 19 inches
  • Weight– 40 to 70 pounds
  • Origin– American Terrier x English Bulldogs
  • Cost-$800-$3000
  • Recognition– Recognized by AKC. UKC recognizes the American Pit Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Terrier as the same breed.

This dog is often confused for the American Pitbull Terrier but is a separate breed for over 50 years now. He has a formidable exterior, and is a great guard dog but is a sweet family companion.

3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffy)

  • Height– 14 to 16 inches
  • Weight– 24 to 40 pounds
  • Origin– Old English Dog X Black & Tan Terrier
  • Cost– $700 to $3000
  • Recognition– Recognized by all major kennel clubs. 

They are friendly, affectionate, brave, clever, playful, loyal, and tenacious. He is great for smaller spaces as he is smaller than other types but quite powerful and muscular.

4. The American Bully

  • Height– 13 to 23 inches
  • Weight– 60 to 85 pounds
  • Origin– American Pitbull X American Bulldog in the 1980s.
  • Cost– $2000 and $7000
  • Recognition– Not recognized by AKC but recognized by UKC

The American Bully is Bulkier and thick but more compact. Their legs are stubby with drooped eyes and wrinkled faces.

There are 4 versions/classes of the American Bully based on the size that include;

  • XL Bully– 19 to 23 inches
  • Standard Bully– 16 to 20 inches
  • Classic Bully– Under 17 inches
  • Pocket Bully– 13-17 inches

They are excellent, sweet-natured, and loving family dogs.

To Sum up

In general, Pitbulls are intelligent, family-oriented, and affectionate. They need quite some exercise and strong supervision around children.

You can choose to buy but an adoption is also an option for a lower price. This is because many Pitbulls end up in dog shelters

There you go WOOOF!