What Type of Pitbull Do I Have? The Ultimate Pitbull Guide

Dogs | Pitbulls

Owing a pitbull breed of dog, is one thing. But knowing it's type, is another thing altogether. So - how can you tell what type of Pitbull you have?

But you may ask, are there any real benefits by knowing this?  

Knowing the breed of your Pitbull is advantageous for a few reasons that we are going to address in this article.

First, we will start by discussing 5 common types of pitbulls, and will also look into their distinctive traits. 

Later on, we'll discuss on how to correctly identify a pitbull using a step-by-step guide.

different types of pitbulls

Step 1: Compare Picture Of Your Pitbull With Others

Comparing your Pitbull to pictures of other Pitbulls posted online may feel like finding a needle in a haystack. 

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 the following sections of this article..

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.

Step 2: Consult A Breeder

Consulting a breeder is 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 this is that, it is the breeder's business to know their products. 

Therefore, it is almost certain that a good breeder skilled with his art, will help you identify the breed of your pitbull before you even adopt the dog.

But even better, the adoption papers will include all details regarding the pedigree of the dog.

Step 3: Review 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 of the breed.

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: Differentiating The Type Of A Pitbull Using A DNA Test Kit

Although this method looks like an overkill, it’s the only sure way. It usually involves the following steps:

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

  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.

Now that I have answered you question on how can you tell what type of PITBULL you have, let me further take you on some major types of the pitbulls so that you can clearly tell the differences.

But first let me clarify something.

How Can You Tell What Type Of Pitbull You Have: Types of Pitbull

Common Misconception About Pitbulls 

Before we even get into the bottom of this matter, let's demystify why people discuss only three types of pitbulls instead of five breeds.

First, it's clear according to the AKC, there are only three pure pitbulls breeds.

Underline the word pure here because, this is the true reason why many people out there argue there are only three major types. Namely: 

  1. The American Pitbull Terriers,
  2. The American Staffordshire Terries
  3. Staffordshire Bull Terriers.


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

But as we all know, a pitbull dog, is not a dog of any breed type. The name refer's to a group of dogs with similar traits.

That therefore means, there are many more breeds of dogs that can fall under this classification of pitbulls. To get into details on this matter, refer to our article on owning a pitbull for the first time.

As such, in this article, we will discuss on five widely known types of pitbulls. 

With that said, here is a sneak preview of unique traits of each of the five breeds 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 Weight

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

The Bull Terrier

How Can You Tell What Type Of Pitbull You Have - The Bull Terrier Dog

The Bull Terrier Breed

Many people think the Bull Terrier breed is not a pure Pitbull.

On the contrary, it is among the first result of breeding the Bulls with the Terriers.

However, it is its distinct features that may have contributed for it's placement on the wrong side of the pedigree.

Here is why. 

Unlike the other breeds of pitbulls, it's head is usually pronounced, long, and oval or shark-mouth-like. Some people even call it egg-like.

Similarly, the eyes are tiny triangular shape.

Even more distinct, 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.

Despite this trait, like the rest of the pit bulls, it’s more of a family dog than a guard fellow. There is even a joke that refers to it as a kid in a dog suit. Isn't it cute?

But take caution if you own this dog.

Here is the thing, if you are the owner of this dog, you'll have to engage it more often with regular exercises and company. Else, you risk putting it in a anxiety separation situation. 

As we all know, pitbulls are tamed beast. So, channel it's energy somewhere else.

Nevertheless, if you are up to the Bull Terrier's demands, you'll surely own a life long loyal partner that will always keep you engaged.

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 these protective nature that makes them great guard dogs.

But don’t mistake the American Bulldog only as a foot-soldier-boy only, like the rest of Pitbulls, they make excellent family dogs. 

A word of caution though.

Due to their character, the American Bulldog need an in-depth obedient and socialization training. Through this training, you'll put naughty 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 a Pitbulls than the two breeds. 

However, their physical features closely resemble them.

For instance.

American Bulldogs 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).

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, the American Pitbull Terrier is 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

The American Staffordshire Terries 

Image of the american staffordshire terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier Breed

Unlike the counterpart, the APBT (American Pitbull Terrier) is a little bit lighter and a little bit goofy.

As such it is exceptionally amiable.

Though it does not have chubby cheeks, it’s extremely welcoming.

Body wise, 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. 

The Staffordshire Bull Terriers

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.

Here is why. 

It has a sturdy figure sandwiched between heavily built short legs with an exaggerated torso which screams strength and agility. 

In fact, among the rest of pitbulls, it’s the most masculine breed – 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. 

But 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 it before it takes over your house and reign over your life.

The benefit of identifying your pitbull breed outweighs the hustle

So far, we have covered a vast ground and I believe, by looking on specific steps of identifying a pitbull and discussing on different types of pitbulls, you can now easily identify the breed of a pitbull.

Like we said earlier in the introduction, there are many benefits of undergoing through this painstaking exercise. 

The gains by far outweighs the pain pain of the effort. 

So, here are some few gains you'll get by carrying this exercise.

  • 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
  • You'll understand the health drawbacks that comes with some pitbulls especially, when your pitbull grow old. This will enable you to be psychological prepared and also plan ahead on treatment and care.

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, I could not exhaust everything here due to the many Pitbull mixes out there.

As a result we covered the five most common breeds I believe they are closer to the “pure breed.”

In fact, it could be more challenging if I happened to consider the broader category of terriers (couch potato heads), the likes of coonhoundsbasset hounds, or even wolfhounds.

Nevertheless, I believe you now have the bedrock of the types of Pitbulls. 

Besides, I believe you are now in a position to identify any breed of pitbull on your own.

As a side note, I 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 my general 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.

Until next articles, happy petty.


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