American Bulldog vs Pitbull - What Is The Main Difference

American Bulldog vs Pitbull - What Is The Main Difference

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: May 03 2023


If you are not an insider in the canine kingdom, mixing some dog breeds can be fairly easy. People who fear dogs usually don’t know the breed they encountered, so when bites happen, many testimonies are incorrect. Some of the breeds that often get mixed up are the American Bulldog and the Pit Bull Terrier. Here are some of the main differences between these two popular breeds.


We need to mention that both of these breeds are not recognized by the governing cynology association in the US. However, the difference is that the American Bulldog is included in the Foundation Stock Service, which is the last step before full recognition. American Pit Bull Terrier is not recognized, but it has a strong fan base in the US fighting to change the status of these dogs.

American Bulldog vs. Pit Bull Terrier

If you are familiar with different dog breeds, the difference between these two should be pretty straightforward. However, we can certainly understand why the general public has issues in differentiating them. The first thing we will take a look at is their history.


Both American Bulldogs and Pit Bull Terriers have a shared history. These dogs are descendants of the bull-baiting dogs of the old. Bull-baiting was a popular sport in England in the Middle Ages. It was a blood sport that required dogs with specific traits. These dogs should be powerful, agile, and fearless. Those traits can be associated with modern-day Pit Bulls and American Bulldogs.

American Bulldog history

American Bulldog is a direct descendant of the now-extinct Old English Bulldog. OEB was the most popular baiting dog, so when English and Irish immigrants moved to the US, they brought their dogs with them. These dogs were “refined” and repurposed as all-around farm dogs, which is how the modern-day American Bulldog came to life.

American Bulldog puppy

RELATED: American Bulldog Fun Facts

Pit Bull history

The Pit Bull was brought from Ireland, where these dogs were used for blood sports. They were used in ratting pits and dog fighting. These dogs are very agile and brave, which makes them ideal blood sports contenders. Pitties were created when dog owners wanted to create a more agile fighting dog, so they mixed the Old English Bulldog and the Black and Tan Terrier. Both of these breeds are now extinct.


RELATED: 7 Fascinating Pit Bull Fun Facts


Although many believe the American Bulldog and the Pit Bull Terrier are very similar, some key differences are fairly easy to notice. Here are the two most prominent differences in appearance between these two breeds;


The most apparent difference between these dogs is their size. American Bulldogs are a lot larger dogs, and if you place these breeds next to each other, the difference is easy to notice. The American Bulldog is usually 22 - 27 inches tall, while Pitties are 17 - 21 inches tall. The American Bulldogs are also a lot heavier; they typically weigh 60 - 120 pounds. Pit Bulls weigh 30 - 60 pounds in general.


The second clear difference between these two breeds is their color. A breed’s color can define an entire breed, so you should check the dog’s color, and you might know which breed it is you are seeing. American Pit Bull Terriers can come in nearly all colors, but American Bulldogs are white with black, brown, or red. Plus, they often have black “eyeliner.”


If you are a future owner and are thinking about getting an American Bulldog or a Pit Bull, one of the most important things to look at is their temperament. This is another thing that sets these dogs apart, and here are the main differences;


The main difference in temperaments of the Pit Bull and the American Bulldog is how they tolerate other animals. Both breeds come from long lines of fighting dogs, but American Bulldogs tend to do better around other pets. Luckily, both breeds can be socialized early on, significantly impacting their relationship with other animals.


Both breeds share many character traits that make them great family pets. Pit Bull advocates and lovers say these dogs are amazing with their families, especially kids. Both breeds are loyal, devoted, and highly social. They hate being left alone for long periods and love being close to their family. These dogs might be excellent guard dogs, but their characters should be developed in that direction.

cute pit bull in jacket

If you want to know more about the temperament of the American Pit Bull Terrier, check out this article - Pit Bull temperament.

Biting incidents

There is one thing that must be mentioned- the Pit Bull holds the top of the list of fatal dog attacks. These powerful dogs can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. If their owners are not careful with their upbringing, training, and socialization, Pitties can become aggressive. That is also true for most dog breeds in existence, but only a few can deal as much damage as Pit Bulls can.

RELATED: The 15 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds


American Bulldogs and Pit Bulls come from long lines of working dogs, so it is not surprising they both have tremendous amounts of energy. These dogs will require plenty of activities during the day. It is not enough to physically exhaust them; you have to provide them with mental exercise as well. They are intelligent, but they are also very stubborn. Make sure you take your time and train them as they should be trained.

In conclusion

American Bulldogs and Pit Bull Terriers are similar in many different things, especially in their character. However, American Bulldogs are a lot bigger in every sense than Pitties. Pit Bulls come in all colors, and American Bulldogs can be white with black, brown, red, and brindle. They can be great family pets if they are treated right, but these powerful dogs can become dangerous in the wrong hands.

World Dog Finder team

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