Pitbull’s Guide: How Can You Tell What Type Of Pitbull You Have?

Have you ever asked yourself, how can you tell what type of PITBULL you have? In this article, we are going to address this unique question. We will evaluate different types of pitbulls and their unique traits to help you distinguish one from the other.



Common Misconception About Pitbulls 

Many people cite three major Pitbulls types, the American Pitbull Terriers, the American Staffordshire Terries, and the Staffordshire Bull Terriers. In this article though, we will cover five of the most common breeds of Pitbull. Arguably, Bull Terrier was among the first breed of Pit bulls family (refer to the article on owning a pitbull for the first time for further information). On the other hand, the American Bulldog is the ancestor of the mix used to breed the Pitbulls we call pure breeds. We, therefore, believe the two more breeds we’ve included deserves a spot in the family as well.


On visual count, pitbull puppies have close physical traits. As a result, they're difficult to distinguish their pedigree until they mature. However, if you are in doubt of your pitbull breed, you can check the section on the general advice for further clarification

Below is a quick premier of unique traits of each type of Pitbull.

Unique Traits Of Different Types Of Pitbulls


Bull Terriers

American Bulldog

American Pitbull Terriers

American Staffordshire Terries

Staffordshire Bull Terriers


18 – 22 in

20-28 in

19 in

17-19 in

13 – 16 in

Male Weig​ht

50 – 84 lbs

66 – 130 lbs

35-65 lbs

68-88 lbs

28-37 lbs

Female Weight

49-70 lbs

60-90 lbs

30-60 lbs

68-88 lbs

24-34 lbs


10-14 years

10 -15 years 

8 – 15 years 

10 – 15 years 

12 – 14 years 

Body Build

Masculine shoulder accompanied by a strong body

large, heavy with a relative shorter muzzle

medium-sized, solidly-build body

medium-sized, and stocky body

medium-sized extremely muscular body


Shark-head-shaped (egg shaped)

Square, large and muscular build head

Flat, wide and proportionate head

Broad with pronounces cheekbones

Broad, wedged-shaped head


Short Coat

Short and smooth coat

Short and smooth Coat

Stiff and glossy coat

Short Coat and tightly clinging to the body.


Trainable, Keen, Sweet-Tempered, Protective, Active

Friendly, Assertive, Loyal, Energetic, Gentle, Confident, Dominant

Clownish, Strong Willed, Friendly, Stubborn, Affectionate, Loyal, Obedient, Intelligent, Courageous

Friendly, Tenacious, Loyal, Devoted, Attentive, Courageous

Affectionate, Fearless, Bold, Loyal, Reliable, Intelligent, Courageous

Common colors

White, Brindle & White, Fawn & White, Tri-color, Red & White, White & Black Brindle

White, Brindle, Fawn, Brown

Black, White, Brindle, Fawn, Brown, Tan, Blue

Black, Brindle, Fawn, Brown, Blue, Sable

Brindle, White, Black, Fawn, Blue Belton, Tan, Blue, Brindle & White, Red & White, Fawn & White, Blue & White

Bull Terriers Unique Traits

The Bull Terrier Dog

The Bull Terrier Breed

Many people think the Bull Terrier breed is not a pure Pitbull. History on the other hand, tells the opposite. It says it is among the first result of breeding the Bulls with the Terriers. However, it is its distinct features that probably put it on the wrong side of the pedigree. Take for instance the head, it is usually pronounced long and oval or shark-mouth-like. Similarly, the eyes are tiny triangular shape. Even more, the ears are pointy-long and bat-like. Nevertheless, this Pitbull is one of the most masculine and heavily built among its family. No wonder it fits comfortably among the guard canines.

Like the rest of the pit bulls, it’s more of a family dog than a guard fellow. Take the case, it is extremely prone to anxiety separation compared to the rest of the Pitbulls when left alone for a long time. Besides, there is a joke that refers to it as a kid in a dog suit. Isn't it adorable?

Unique Traits About The American Bulldog

Image of The American Bulldogs - Pitbulls

The American Bulldogs Breed

If you want to think of an active dog, go with the likes of the American Bulldog. First, they are big, strong and very brave. In fact, a fully-grown male can weigh up to 130 pounds. In their DNA, they are their ancestors - the no-nonsense type. It is this protective nature that makes them great guard dogs.

Don’t mistake the American Bulldog only as a foot-soldier-boy, like the rest of Pitbulls, they make excellent family dogs. A word of caution though, due to their character, they need an in-depth obedient and socialization training. This will help you to put its manners inline and avoid constant squabbles with other dogs.

One final thought about American Bulldog, they are not boxers nor Bulldogs. They are more of Pit bulls than the two breeds. However, their physical features closely resemble the latter. For instance, they have a muscular head with chubby lips and funny wrinkly brows often making their face look a little bit lazy and silly. In addition, they are not recognized as the pure breed by the AKC (American Kennel Club).

How To Identify The American Pitbull Terriers

Image of The American Pitbull Terrier Breed

The American Pitbull Terrier Breed

The American Pitbull Terrier is the most common type of Pitbulls. In fact, most people will confuse it with other types of Pitbulls. Nevertheless, the dog has a unique recognizable form, often short masculine and weighing between 30 – 65 pounds. Its flat, wide and proportionate head fit gracefully with its yo-yo-goofy smile which is accentuated by its pronounced check muscles - a perfect pair to its broad shape. 

Just like the rest of pitbulls, it’s smart, loyal, and strong. These traits make it a respectable search, rescue, and drugs-sniffer dog. Even more, recently it has been trending as a service dog. But don’t be put off by these serious-doggy attributes. Buried deep within it, is a friendly and docile nature. A watchful family will find it an exciting companion. However, watch out when it’s amid other dogs

How To Tell It Is The American Staffordshire Terries

Image of the american staffordshire terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier Breed

Unlike the counterpart, APBT (American Pitbull Terrier), which is a little bit lighter and a little bit goofy. The American Staffordshire Terrier is exceptionally amiable. Though it does not have chubby cheeks, it’s extremely welcoming. Similarly, it still has a sturdy, short, fine-built body. But a little bit weighty to a tune of 88 pounds. Though not used for heavy lifting jobs like APBT, it’s mostly a great companion for kids.

When it comes to its name, don’t be misled into thinking its origin is Staffordshire, certainly not, it was first bred in Birmingham. Also, when you come across the word Amstaff, it is referring to the same thing - the American Staffordshire. 

Why Staffordshire Bull Terriers Stands From The Rest Of The Pitbull Types

Image of The Staffordshire bull terriers

The Staffordshire bull terriers breed

If you come across A Staffordshire Bull Terrier, compare it to the likes of Mike Tyson during his glory days or Vin Diesel or someone like Dwight Jonson. Certainly, its muscular torso is similar to these celebrities. A sturdy figure, short and built legs, and an exaggerated chest which screams strength and agility. In fact, it’s the most masculine among the Pitbulls – probably the reason it’s also stubborn. However, you may think it’s likely to be taller or heavier than the counterparts, APBT or Amstaff. Nope, it just weighs between 28-37 pounds. 

When it comes to socialization, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier craves for friendship. It wants to love and it’s super playful. However, its tenacity makes it a bit difficult to train. You will need to be a leader to lead before it takes over your house and rain over it instead.

How Can You Tell What Type Of Pitbull You Have: General Advice About Traits.

Even with the previous section discussion, you can still find it difficult to identify the breed of your pit bull. Take the case of the puppies. They all look alike regardless of the breed except for the Pitbull Terriers. Moreover, there are other confusing physical features even among the mature Pitbulls. As a result, in this section, we will discuss various ways to help you determine the type of your Pitbull.

  • Compare Picture Of Your Pitbull With Others Online

    Comparing the picture of your Pitbull to the pictures of the other Pitbulls posted online may feel like chasing a dropping needle amid piles of hays. Luckily, there are massive databases of dog pictures online. Google pictures alone will give you amazing results. Similarly, you can also compare the pictures of the different types of Pitbulls in this article as in the previous section.

    Your effort in this exercise is to closely try to identify the picture of the other Pitbull that has physical similarities to yours. You may look traits like the coat, color, body alignments and so on. Since it’s a visual exercise, it is more of a guesswork. But with luck, you might identify your dog’s breed after a short research. However, if you want a more precise approach continue reading.

  • Consult A Breeder

    Consulting a breeder may be the best advice if you either live near a breeder experienced with Pitbulls or you’re about to adopt a pitbull from the breeder. The beauty about it is that it is their business to know their products. Therefore, it is almost certain that they will help you identify the breed of your dog. And if they are selling you a puppy, the adoption papers will include every kind of information you may need regarding the pedigree of the dog.

  • Peruse Your Pitbull Registration Papers

    Many breeders will include a purchase document which contains all details about the type of dog. Therefore, you can definitely refer to your pit bull registration papers if you are in doubt.

  • Have A Word With A Veterinarian

    If you cannot identify your Pitbull type so far, there is a high chance your local veterinarian will naturally know the breed of your dog. However, sometimes the efforts can be fruitless. If that is the case, then paying for a DNA service may be your last result.

  • Differentiating The Type Of Pitbull Using A DNA Test Kit

    Although this method looks like an overkill, it’s worth the hustle. It usually involves the following steps:

    Determining the type of pitbull: How to use a DNA Test Kit.

    1. Get to the nearest reputable veterinarian.
    2. Buy the DNA kit.
    3. Gather the DNA sample of your dog
    4. Send the sample to the nearest Laboratory (local lab).
    5. The final stage is waiting for 4-5 days for the test results.

    Of all the methods, DNA test is the most assuring method to help you identify the type of the Pitbull you may be owning.

The benefit of identifying your pitbull breed outweighs the hustle

We believe we have exhausted on the two major methods you can use to tell the type of the Pitbull you may have. As a result, there are many benefits of undergoing through this painstaking exercise. 

The gains are far more worth the pain. For instance, you'll have a better idea on how to train your Pitbull, you'll also have a general plan on how to give the best care to your Pitbull, and even more, you'll know the best nutrition feeds for your Pitbull. The list may be long, but the general take away, it's extremely critical to identify your dog's breed for the sake of general pet care.

Final Thought

Admittedly, we could not exhaust all the differences due to the many Pitbull mixes out there.

We, therefore, only covered the five most breeds we could believe they are closer to the “pure breed.” In fact, it could be more challenging if we happened to consider the broader category of hounds (couch potato heads), the likes of coonhounds, basset hounds, or even wolfhounds.

Nevertheless, we believe you now have the bedrock of the Pitbulls.

As a side note, we understand trusting Pitbull breeds may be quite difficult because of their hideous background. Likewise, they tend to be too energetic, agile, and extremely resilient dogs.

You should not hunker over such a strong character. Rather, be excited and embrace it. 

Here is our advice if you are still contemplating about owning Pitbulls.

As first-time owner of a Pitbull, all you may need is to give it early obedient training, socialization, and try to stand as an authoritarian. By doing so, you’ll create this aura of loyalty, dedication, and overall build a strong friendship out of it.


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