Skip to Content

American Bulldog Vs Pitbull: Unraveling the Key Differences (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

american bulldog vs pitbull

As you compare the American Bulldog and Pitbull, you’ll notice distinct physical differences. American Bulldogs have a more muscular, broad-shouldered build, while Pitbulls have a leaner, more athletic frame.

Their temperaments also vary, with American Bulldogs known for their affectionate loyalty, while Pitbulls require careful training to prevent aggression.

The breeds’ histories further set them apart, with American Bulldogs bred for hunting and guarding, and Pitbulls originally used in blood sports.

Both breeds share a need for socialization and consistent training, but delving deeper reveals more intriguing contrasts between the American Bulldog and Pitbull.

Key Takeaways

  • American Bulldogs and Pit Bulls have distinct physical differences, with American Bulldogs having a more muscular, broad-shouldered build, and Pit Bulls a leaner, more athletic frame.
  • American Bulldogs are known for their affectionate loyalty, while Pit Bulls require careful training to prevent aggression.
  • Both breeds share a need for socialization and consistent training, but their histories and uses have shaped their characteristics, with American Bulldogs bred for hunting and guarding, and Pit Bulls originally used in blood sports.
  • Understanding these differences can assist in valuing the exceptional qualities of each breed and help dispel common misconceptions about their temperament and behavior.

Physical Characteristics

Physical Characteristics
When comparing American Bulldogs and Pitbulls, you’ll notice distinct physical characteristics. American Bulldogs are more muscular with broader shoulders and a square head, while Pitbulls have a leaner, more athletic build with an elongated muzzle.

American Bulldogs

American Bulldogs are known for their powerful and muscular physique. They’re characterized by a large, square head, broad and square muzzle, and powerful jaws. Their eyes are typically almond-shaped or round, with most being brown, but some can have blue, grey, or hazel eyes.

The ears are typically folded forward in a flap and the lips are pendulous. American Bulldogs have a short and soft coat, which is typically white with patches of black, brindle, red, or shades of gray or brown.

They’re generally gentle giants, weighing between 30-58 kg and standing 20-27 inches tall for males and 20-24 inches tall for females.


Pitbulls are a popular breed with unique characteristics and requirements. Here are some key points about Pitbulls:

  • Physical Attributes: Pitbulls are generally leaner and smaller than American Bulldogs, with an elongated snout and a short, smooth coat. They come in various colors and have a muscular physique, strong jaws, and a wide skull.
  • Lineage and Origins: Pitbulls are a product of breeding Old English Bulldogs and Old English Terriers, and were originally used for bull-baiting and dog fighting. They’ve been outlawed from blood sports in many areas.
  • Health: Pitbulls have a life expectancy of 8-15 years and are susceptible to hereditary cataracts, heart disease, and grass allergies.
  • Training and Activity: Pitbulls are keen to please and respond positively to reward-based training. They require early socialization and regular exercise, including walking, jogging, and muscle-building activities such as fetch and frisbee. They may need 30-90 minutes of exercise daily, depending on their age and energy level.
  • Aggression: Pitbulls can display aggression due to a combination of genetics and environment. Factors such as insufficient socialization, mistreatment, neglect, and lack of training can contribute to aggressive behavior.
  • Breed Identification: Pitbulls are often wrongly labeled as aggressive or dangerous due to their appearance and historical use in dog fighting. DNA testing can help determine their breed but may not alter landlords’ perceptions.
  • Landlord Restrictions: Landlords can ban Pitbulls and other bull family breeds, even if leases don’t specify prohibited breeds. They may request breed documentation or make their own judgments, which could result in rehoming or relocation.

Understanding these attributes and requirements is essential for responsible pitbull ownership and can help dispel common misconceptions about the breed.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Temperament and Personality Traits

Shifting gears from the physical to the emotional, let’s delve into the essence of the matter: temperament and personality traits.

Both the American Bulldog and Pitbull deliver a jolt of affection and loyalty, often misunderstood due to their formidable origins. Despite their tough exterior, these breeds are renowned for their amicable disposition, earning Pitbulls the moniker nanny dogs for their gentle nature with children.

However, don’t be misled; training is paramount. Without it, their resolute will can escalate into aggression, making early socialization essential for a harmonious family life.

History and Origins

History and Origins

The history and origins of American Bulldogs and Pitbulls are intertwined, but they’ve distinct differences. American Bulldogs were originally bred for hunting and guarding, evolving from English Bulldogs. They were used for bull baiting and guarding, and were saved from extinction by Dr. John D. Johnson. Pitbulls, on the other hand, were a result of crossbreeding Old English Bulldogs and Old English Terriers. They were used in blood sports like bull baiting, but were later valued for their loyalty and affection.

American Bulldogs are known for their sturdy, muscular build, standing 20-27 inches tall for males and 20-24 inches for females. They weigh between 30-58 kg and have a short, smooth coat in various colors. Pitbulls are smaller, with males standing 18-21 inches tall and females 14-23 kg. They’ve a short, smooth coat that’s easy to maintain and come in various colors.

Both breeds have a strong, athletic build, but their histories and uses have shaped their characteristics. American Bulldogs were bred for working on farms and hunting, while Pitbulls were bred for bull baiting and later for their loyalty and affection. This has led to differences in temperament and behavior, with American Bulldogs being confident, fearless, and socially active, while Pitbulls are known for their loyalty and affection for people.

Despite these differences, both breeds require consistent positive reinforcement training, early socialization, and daily walks and playtime. They also share similarities in their athleticism, loyalty, training needs, and the importance of socialization and exercise.

Training and Exercise Needs

Training and Exercise Needs
As you explore the realm of canine training and exercise requirements, it’s essential to grasp the significance of positive reinforcement, socialization, and steadfast training. These elements are pivotal in molding the conduct of your American Bulldog or Pitbull. Here are four critical aspects to ponder:

  1. Positive Reinforcement: This training approach entails rewarding your dog for exhibiting a desired behavior. It’s a potent means of fostering good behavior and can be employed to alter undesirable behaviors.
  2. Socialization Imperative: Appropriate socialization is paramount for your dog’s psychological health and well-being. It aids your dog in becoming self-assured, well-balanced, and capable of handling novel situations. It can thwart behavioral problems such as fear, aggression, and separation anxiety.
  3. Consistent Training: Regular and steadfast training sessions are indispensable for reinforcing good behavior and rectifying any undesirable behaviors. This helps to forge a robust bond between you and your dog.
  4. Early Exercise and Behavior Modification: Initiating training and exercise routines early in your dog’s existence can help to preclude behavioral issues from emerging. This encompasses both physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep your dog engaged and content.



Both American Bulldogs and Pitbulls share similarities in their socialization significance, exercise demands, athleticism, loyalty, and training requirements. Socialization is paramount for both breeds to aid them in maturing into well-balanced dogs. Regular exercise is vital for their physical and mental health, fostering athleticism.

Both breeds are renowned for their fidelity and affection towards their owners. Training requirements are also akin, with affirmative reinforcement techniques proving effective for both breeds.

Notwithstanding their disparities, these similarities underscore the importance of responsible dog ownership and the necessity for proper training and socialization for all dogs.



As we explore the distinctions between American Bulldogs and Pitbulls further, it’s essential to grasp their distinctive requirements and attributes. American Bulldogs are recognized for their socialization needs, which are vital for their well-being.

Conversely, Pitbulls confront breed biases that can foster misconceptions regarding their true nature. Health concerns are also a consideration, with American Bulldogs being susceptible to hip dysplasia, and Pitbulls to inherited cataracts, heart disease, and grass allergies.

Genetic diversity influences their health and temperament, with American Bulldogs originating from English Bulldogs and Old English Terriers, while Pitbulls stem from breeding Old English Bulldogs and Old English Terriers. Comprehending these differences can assist us in valuing the exceptional qualities of each breed.

Facts About American Bulldog and Pitbull – Common Grounds

Facts About American Bulldog and Pitbull - Common Grounds
In the realm of dog breeds, the American Bulldog and Pitbull share striking resemblances, but they’re separate breeds with unique traits. Let’s explore their commonalities, focusing on genetic connections, breed biases, responsible pet care, and historical misunderstandings.

  1. Genetic Similarities: Both breeds share a common lineage, with the American Bulldog originating from the English Bulldog and the Pitbull tracing its roots to the Old English Bulldog and Old English Terrier. This shared ancestry contributes to their physical similarity and some similarities in temperament.
  2. Breed Discrimination: Regrettably, both breeds often face discrimination due to negative assumptions and misconceptions about their temperament. However, responsible ownership and proper training can help mitigate any potential concerns.
  3. Responsible Ownership: Both breeds require attentive and responsible pet care to ensure they’re well-behaved and safe companions. This includes regular exercise, socialization, and training to help them develop good manners and a strong bond with their families.
  4. Historical Misconceptions: The American Bulldog was originally bred for hunting and guarding, while the Pitbull was used for bull-baiting and dog fighting. However, these historical purposes don’t necessarily determine the temperament or behavior of individual dogs within these breeds.
  5. Temperament Testing: Organizations like the American Temperament Testing Society have conducted temperament tests on Pitbulls, revealing that they’re less likely to show aggression than some other breeds, challenging the common perception of them as aggressive dogs.

Breed Identification

Breed Identification

Exploring the obscure depths of breed identification can be a real quandary. DNA testing offers a glimmer of hope, potentially providing the breed confirmation needed to differentiate your robust American Bulldog from its slender Pitbull counterpart.

However, even with science as your ally, encountering discrimination can still lead to the difficult decisions of finding a new home or relocating. It’s a competitive and unforgiving world out there, and sometimes, even the most well-intentioned plans of dogs and humans go astray.

Landlord Restrictions

Landlord Restrictions
As a landlord, you hold the power to establish pet regulations and impose limitations on breeds. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the legal repercussions and potential outcomes of these decisions. Breed discrimination can result in unjust housing practices and violations of tenant rights. Here’s a comprehensive overview:

  1. Breed-specific legislation (BSL): BSL regulations vary across jurisdictions, with some regions restricting or prohibiting specific breeds, such as Pitbulls. However, BSL is a contentious topic, often criticized for its discriminatory and ineffective nature.

  2. Tenant rights: If a landlord authorizes tenancy for an individual with a Pitbull or another breed deemed aggressive, the landlord may bear accountability if the dog causes harm to a person. Landlords are obligated to abide by the terms of the lease and abstain from discrimination against tenants based on race, religion, ethnicity, or beliefs.

  3. Service animals: Landlords are prohibited from denying occupancy to individuals with disabilities who rely on service or emotional support animals, as these are protected under the Fair Housing Act.

  4. Pet policies: Landlords should clearly and consistently convey their pet policies. For extensive or detailed pet policies, consider creating a separate pet agreement addendum that tenants must sign alongside the lease.

  5. Insurance requirements: Landlords may mandate pet insurance, with themselves listed as beneficiaries.

  6. Fair Housing Act: While landlords can’t refuse tenancy based solely on breed, they can impose breed-specific restrictions in accordance with local laws and regulations.

  7. Eviction: Landlords who decide to evict tenants due to their pets must adhere to the eviction process and provide appropriate notice.

  8. Communication: Landlords should actively encourage open discussions with tenants regarding pet policies and strive to accommodate well-behaved pets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are American Bulldogs and Pitbulls the same breed?

No, American Bulldogs and Pitbulls, though kindred canine cousins, are distinct breeds. While they share muscular builds, their appearances and temperaments vary – one’s a gentle giant, the other a daredevil dynamo. Breed matters, so know your pup’s pedigree.

What is the history of Pitbulls and their use in blood sports?

Pitbulls were bred for bloodsports like bull and bear baiting, using their strength, courage and tenacity. Though these violent practices were later banned, Pitbulls’ reputation as fierce fighters persists today.

How does the temperament of American Bulldogs compare to Pitbulls?

While some may see Pitbulls as inherently aggressive, their temperament can actually be quite gentle with proper training and socialization. In contrast, American Bulldogs are typically known for their loyal, protective, and confident nature. The key is responsible ownership for both breeds.

What are the training needs for American Bulldogs and Pitbulls?

Both breeds need consistent, positive training from puppyhood to channel their energy and strength. American Bulldogs may be more stubborn, while Pitbulls are enthusiastic to please – but both thrive on rewards-based training and early socialization.

Are there any health concerns specific to American Bulldogs or Pitbulls?

American Bulldogs are prone to hip dysplasia, while Pitbulls may face hereditary cataracts, heart disease, and grass allergies. Proper vet care is a must to keep these pups happy and healthy! Don’t let health woes slow your furry friend down.


Ultimately, the American Bulldog vs. Pitbull comparison reveals distinct contrasts in their physical traits, temperaments, and histories. While both require diligent training and socialization, their unique characteristics set them apart.

The American Bulldog is known for its muscular build and affectionate nature, while the Pitbull is generally leaner but potentially more aggressive.

By understanding these key differences, prospective owners can make an informed decision when choosing between the two breeds. Proper care and responsible ownership are essential to ensuring a safe and fulfilling companionship, regardless of the breed selected.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.