American Pitbull Terrier vs American Bulldog: Comparison

American Pitbull and American Bulldog puppies may look the same if you are unfamiliar with the two breeds. They genuinely differ greatly from one another in terms of their personalities, stature, and history.

The term “Pitbull” is the subject of many myths. The phrase is frequently misused to refer to a collection of breeds once popular in dogfighting rings. American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pitbull Terriers, and any dog that vaguely resembles these breeds may all be called “Pitbulls.”

Let’s compare and contrast the American Bulldog and the Pitbull and discuss their characteristics in more detail. The American Pitbull Terrier (APBT) will be referred to as a “Pitbull” in this article, and we will also examine the American Bulldog. American Bulldog should not be confused with the “American Bully,” a different dog breed.

American Pitbull Terrier vs American Bulldog


Both the American Bulldog and the APBT were created in America from bull-baiting dogs employed in England until the practice was outlawed in 1835. Let’s look more closely at them since there are no other historical parallels.

It’s a common question, but an American Bulldog is not a Pitbull. Although they are similar to one another in some aspects, these two breeds are distinct from one another. Let’s find out a bit more about each unique breed.

American Bulldog

The Old English Bulldog was developed further in America for farm work by working-class immigrants. The dogs were employed for various farm tasks but excelled in herding cattle and snaring invasive wild pigs.

In the first half of the 20th century, the popularity of the American Bulldog began to fall, and by the end of World War II, it was almost extinct.

Thankfully, a few breeders kept the line alive by focusing on producing family companions instead of farm dogs. They are now more acclimated to the canine pleasures of family life and less focused on their jobs. To help them grow as a breed, the AKC admitted them into its Foundation Stock Service program in 2019.

American Pitbull Terrier

The American Pitbull was originally brought from England to America for dogfighting and ratting, which took place in a pit. These were ferocious sports, where the name Pitbull originated, along with a bad reputation.

Eventually, dogfighting and ratting became illegal, and Pitbull became farm dogs and family pets. Impressively they have a strong bite and are efficient in hunting critters on farms while protecting and staying loyal to the owner.

Despite being a fighting dog, the Pitbull remains loyal and never turns on its owner. Pitbulls are also among the most common dogs for producing new mixed breeds. Unlike the American Bulldog, the APBT is not recognized by the American Kennel Association, but the United Kennel Club does.

Physical Characteristics

We can identify a dog visually through its physical traits. These traits include their size, muscle mass, and even coat color.

Here’s a brief overview of the physical differences between Pitbull and American Bulldog.


Pitbulls and American bulldogs have a powerful, muscular build, yet there are a few subtle distinctions. Bulldogs have large shoulders and a deep, wide chest. They are stocky canines.

Pitbulls have good proportions and are a little bit slimmer. Although their chest is not as big as an American bulldog’s, their muscles are better pronounced.

The form of their faces is one of the more obvious distinctions between American bulldogs and pit bulls. The beginnings of American bulldogs are broad and square-shaped.

They occasionally have a small underbite and a wide muzzle. They are immediately recognized by their facial wrinkles, which are prominent on their cheeks and around their mouth.

Pitbulls have high-set ears and a little more rounded faces. Their nose has a subtle upward curve and wide jaw. They don’t have creases on their face or an underbite.


American Bulldog is the bigger dog of the two. Males are slightly bigger than females and stand about 22-25 inches, while females are about 20 to 23 inches. Male Bulldogs are also heavier at 75 to 100 pounds than females at 60 to 80.

On the contrary, the American Pitbull Terrier is a medium dog that stands about 18 to 21 inches  tall at the withers. The females are slightly smaller at 17 to 20 inches. Pitbulls also weigh less, with males weighing in at 40 to 60 pounds and females at 30 to 50 pounds.

Coat type and Color

A key characteristic difference between the two is the variety of colors each breed can have. For instance, the American Bulldogs are usually white with black, brown, red, or brindle patches. They also often have black “eyeliner.”

Pitbulls, in contrast, can be almost any color, and the only color that isn’t accepted is Merle. Merle is not accepted because it is not considered a true Pitbull color, but these dogs can come in Merle.

Both dogs’ coats are short and smooth and need minimum grooming. The Pitbulls shed slightly more than the Bulldog, but it isn’t too much to worry about.

Psychological Characteristics

Psychological characteristics include the dog’s temperament, aggression, intelligence, social skills, and trainability. So here is a brief insight into these terms.


Due to their similarity to pit bulls, as we’ve already established, American bulldogs have a reputation for aggression. They aren’t genuinely aggressive dogs, though. Instead, they are optimistic, obliging, and devoted. Even pit bulls, in general, aren’t thought of being affectionate and devoted canines.

One of the most obvious distinctions between American bulldogs and pit bulls is their tolerance for other animals, even though both dogs have better temperaments than you would probably anticipate.

American Bulldogs are typically far more tolerant of other animals, such as cats and dogs, than pit bulls. However, proper training and socialization as a puppy are still essential to ensure that they acquire this appropriate conduct from an early age.


The fact that the American Bulldog is often regarded as a very adaptable dog is one of its strengths. They may do search and rescue missions and even collaborate with search and rescue teams. They can be employed as farm dogs to herd huge agricultural animals.

This implies they have the intelligence to adapt to various situations and the capacity to pick up new orders. However, authorities will counter that they are a one-trick pony.

American Bulldogs appear slow to pick up new skills and only consistently execute commands perfectly after several trials. Don’t be deterred if your family already includes a Bulldog. They remain more intelligent than the majority of other large dog breeds.

However, researchers agree that the intelligence of pit bulls is either ordinary or slightly above normal. They pick up new instructions and can quickly pick up new tricks. Pit bulls don’t have a lot of tricks in their repertoire, but they do have excellent problem-solving skills.


American Bulldog

It’s well-known that American Bulldogs are not aggressive toward people. They have a lot of patience with youngsters, especially if they’ve been around kids and socialized from an early age.

However, when hungry, they become aggressive against people and use their resources to defend their food.

They occasionally let their instincts to chase and grab onto anything take over and are also less tolerant of other animals. Therefore, it would be smart to supervise their interactions or keep your cat out of harm’s way.


Selective breeding produces American Pit Bull Terriers, a dog breed with the confidence and ferocity to bite and hold on to enormous creatures like bulls and bears.

Pit bull terriers are popular in various nations. Due to their vicious disposition, pit bull terriers are prohibited in various nations.

However, not all experts concur that every pit bull poses a threat. The American Temperament Testing Society is a well-known and reputable organization that assesses the temperament of various dog breeds when subjected to outside activities like playing in the park or walking.

The test attempts to gather data on a dog’s stability, shyness, aggression, friendliness, and sense of self-preservation in the event of a threat and protectiveness toward its handler.

The group put 870 Pit Bulls through testing; 755 of them passed, while 115 failed. Pit Bulls did indeed pass with an 86% success rate.

The organization also put 785 Golden Retrievers through the same tests as a comparison. With 669 passing and 116 failings, Golden Retrievers had an 85.2% passing rate.

Therefore, based on this test, Pit Bulls are less likely to bite people than those large, golden fur balls that have become familiar and trusted in American households.


Both American Bulldog and American Pitbull Terriers can be trained and obedient. Their trainability is one of the things that makes them so endearing to the owners.

After just a few months of training, these beautiful dogs will protect and listen to you and your family. American Bulldogs crave leadership, and training activities can be very satisfying. But start from an early age to ensure success in training.

Pitbulls are the same, with more energy and thus more need for exercise. Both breeds need to stay active to remain healthy and happy. They enjoy going outdoors and running around in open spaces.

Start with basic training and slowly build up towards more complex commands. Also, keep the movement in short sessions spread throughout the day with breaks and rest in between.

Social skills

When introduced to other dogs at an early age, American bulldogs and Pitbulls get along well. Due to their gregarious nature, they frequently prefer being with other people.

However, this is only true if they have been socialized or learned to play nicely and get along with other animals and people. When a dog is a puppy, between the ages of 3 and 14 weeks, socialization begins.

The American Pitbull exhibits hostility toward other pets in the home and is, thus, less tolerant of other animals or pets in general.

With Other Humans

The American Bulldog has a strong sense of protection and authority. They will protect their owners from attack and occasionally blur the distinction between friend and foe.

Owners must be careful to introduce their dogs to new people at the appropriate time, i.e., not during feeding time, in the proper setting, and when their dogs are calm and playful.

American Pit Bull Terriers have an unwavering devotion to their owners and will defend them to the death. Contrary to popular opinion, they will not intentionally act aggressively against strangers.

With Children

When raised around kids, American Bulldogs are quite accepting of them. They don’t mind playing for a few hours and will defend kids they consider their siblings.

However, their big size and highly powerful jaws can be dangerous to younger children, particularly at feeding times and when they are enthusiastic. As a result, playing should be under adult supervision.

Pit bulls also enjoy playing with kids they know well and avoid interacting with younger youngsters they don’t know.


American Bulldogs live for 10 to 15 years and generally enjoy a healthy life, while the American Pitbull is also the same with a slightly higher life expectancy between 12 to 16 years.

Both breeds have the ability to surpass the expected average life if properly cared for. To ensure they live a long life you must feed them a nice diet and take them to the vet regularly. However, their life can be cut short due to some health issues.


Both dogs enjoy the same diet and eating habits. Since they are muscular and need extra protein to maintain their body, you must feed them a protein diet.

Feed them twice or thrice a day in portions of 1 or 2 cups. You can feed them meats and kibbles with high protein content or recommend a vet-recommended brand.

Health Issues

No matter how healthy an American Bulldog or a Pitbull may be, they still experience health problems like all other dogs. Pitbulls and American Bulldogs generally have similar health problems.

Genes or aging are two factors that can contribute to some generic issues. However, some problems are brought on by the owner’s carelessness and starvation. The issues that both types must deal with are as follows:

1. Hip Dysplasia

It is one of the most common health issues among dogs, regardless of breed. After a certain age, this issue arises in every dog. Due to the hip joints’ malformation in this illness, pain is present.

The hip is malformed when the joint and socket rub against each other. The dog’s pain makes it uncomfortable and challenging to move. These are the signs of this illness:

  • Body appears thin
  • Fewer activities
  • Lameness
  • Difficulty moving and standing up

2. Thyroid Disease

The Pitbull family is afflicted by this illness frequently. Do a thyroid disease examination if you suspect your dog is putting on weight and exhibiting skin issues. The dog’s metabolism is impacted when the thyroid glands cannot produce enough thyroid hormones. These are a few signs of the illness:

  • Loss of appetite Lethargic.
  • Obesity
  • Anemia
  • Skin conditions

3. Knee Complications

Both of these types are extremely energetic and enjoy running. The cranial cruciate ligament is impacted by this exercise, which affects the dogs’ ability to move freely.

This painful health condition causes the dog to limp while walking and starts with a partial tear in the ligament. Usually, the condition worsens due to the dog’s continued physical activity.

4. Cataracts

American Bulldog and Pitbulls are prone to cataracts more than any other breed. Because Pitbulls are more likely to develop this disease than American Bulldogs, it is inherited.

Diabetes, uveitis, and hypocalcemia are a few other diseases that can result from cataracts. Depending on the cataract’s condition, it may be treated with medicine or surgery.

5. Heart Disease

The parent dogs of both breeds are typically the source of heart illness. Aortic stenosis, which affects the health of both Pitbulls and American Bulldogs, is the most prevalent form of heart disease. This condition has no signs at all. It is advised to regularly have your dog diagnosed early so that treatment can begin promptly.

Sexual Maturity

For Male American Bulldogs and Pitbulls

Like any male dog, male Pitbulls and American bulldogs become fertile as they age six months. However, it is advised to wait until 12 months old before breeding them.

When they are between 12 and 15 months old, they become sexually mature. Both males and females of either breed can become pregnant at any time of the year if the male is in good condition.

Once they reach sexual development, bulldogs and pit bulls can mate at any time of the year. Male dogs in their senior years are still fertile and sexually active.

For Female American Bulldogs and Pitbulls

All breeds of female dogs typically reach sexual maturity at 6 to 24 months. Anytime after their sixth month of life, they experience their first menstrual period. It is advised to breed females of both types following their initial heat cycle.

Due to their tiny size, the American Bulldog can have three to four heat cycles per year. Despite being slightly larger than bulldogs, pitbull females have comparable heat cycles to American bulldogs.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Is an American Bulldog the same thing as a Pitbull?

No, the American Bulldog and the Pitbull are two different breeds. The American Bulldog descended from the Old English Bulldog and is a pure breed.

In contrast, the American Pitbull Terrier is a mix of an Old English Bulldog and an Old English Terrier and is considered a mixed breed.

Who is more powerful than Pitbull?

If you consider power based on biteforce alone, many dogs are stronger than Pitbull. The Pitbull has a bite force of 235 pounds per square inch, or psi, compared to the American Bulldog’s 305.

Even the Siberian Husky is stronger than the Pitbull. The Pitbull, unfortunately, has a bad reputation, and that’s all.

Which dog defeats Pitbull?

The Rottweiler is likelier to beat the Pitbull in a fight, but it is best not to let your dogs fight as it is cruel.


The American Bulldog and the American Pit Bull Terrier are different despite being identical in many ways. Despite their differences, they are both enthusiastic and devoted dogs who are frequently characterized as violent. As with any dog, both breeds may make wonderful companions if given the proper attention and love.

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