Is a Pitbull an American Bulldog: Sorting Out the Confusion

You know what they say about assumptions making you look like a donkey’s behind? Yeah, this is one of those times. If you’ve ever looked at a pitbull and an American bulldog side by side and thought “same diff”, you’re barking up the wrong tree, my friend. While these two pups may look like close cousins at first glance, they’ve got some key differences that even a novice dog lover can spot.

Before you let that pitty love fool you into thinking he’s just an American bulldog in disguise, keep reading to sort out where the confusion comes from and how to tell them apart. You’re about to become a bully breed expert, so grab some treats and let’s get started!

What Is an American Bulldog?

The American Bulldog is a powerful, stocky breed descended from the English Bulldog. Unlike the English Bulldog though, the American Bulldog is taller and more athletic.


American Bulldogs are large dogs, weighing up to 130 pounds. They have a stocky, muscular build, broad head, short muzzle, and loose skin around the head and neck. Their coat is short and stiff, and comes in colors like white, brindle, brown, red, or piebald.


American Bulldogs are intelligent, loyal, and friendly. They can be aloof toward strangers but are very devoted to their families. They need a confident owner who can set clear rules and boundaries. With proper training and socialization from an early age, American Bulldogs make great family companions. However, their size and strength mean they may not be suitable for households with young children.

Exercise Needs

Despite their size, American Bulldogs are energetic dogs and need daily exercise. Take your American Bulldog for walks, jogs, hikes, and play active games like fetch to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Without enough exercise and attention, these dogs can become bored, restless, and destructive.


American Bulldogs are generally healthy, living 10-16 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Major concerns include hip dysplasia, heart disease, hypothyroidism, allergies, and certain types of cancer. Be sure to get your American Bulldog from a reputable breeder who can provide health clearances for the parents.

With the right owner, environment, training, exercise, and healthcare, an American Bulldog can make an wonderful companion for many years. These friendly “bullies” may look intimidating, but they have a lot of love to give to the people they call family.

Is a Pitbull an American Bulldog
Pitbull dog

What Is a Pitbull?

Pitbulls, also known as American Pit Bull Terriers, are powerful dogs with a bad reputation. Unfortunately, irresponsible ownership and breeding has given pitbulls an undeserved stereotype as an aggressive breed. The truth is, pitbulls can make loyal and loving companions with the right owner.

A Complicated History

Pitbulls descend from bulldogs and terriers, originally bred in the UK for bull-baiting and dog fighting. After these bloodsports were outlawed, pitbulls were bred as companions. Some unethical breeders, however, continued to breed pitbulls for aggression and fighting.

Breed Traits

Pitbulls are medium-sized, stocky dogs with a short coat, square head, and strong jaws. While they have a lot of energy and strength, pitbulls are playful, clownish and enjoy human affection and activities when properly socialized. However, pitbulls require patient, experienced owners that can set clear rules and provide daily mental and physical exercise.

Without attention and training, pitbulls may develop behavioral issues due to boredom or anxiety. But pitbulls are not inherently aggressive – irresponsible ownership, abuse, and training for aggression are the real reasons behind pitbull attacks.

Are Pitbulls and American Bulldogs the Same?

Pitbulls and American Bulldogs share some similarities in appearance, but they are two distinct breeds. American Bulldogs are larger dogs bred for farm work like herding cattle, with a squarer head and less terrier-like features. While American Bulldogs can also make good family dogs, they require more space and have an even more active temperament than the average pitbull.

So while these breeds are often confused, there are key differences in their history, size, appearance and energy levels. The most important factor in the behavior of any dog, however, is not its breed – it’s the level of responsibility taken by its owner. With the right guidance and training, pitbulls and American Bulldogs alike can become beloved and trusted members of a family.

Pitbull dog
Pitbull dog

Key Differences Between Pitbulls and American Bulldogs

Pitbulls and American Bulldogs may look similar, but there are several key differences that set these breeds apart.


American Bulldogs are generally larger in size than Pitbulls. Males can weigh up to 150 pounds, while Pitbulls typically top out around 65 pounds. American Bulldogs are also taller, standing 22-28 inches at the shoulder compared to Pitbulls at 18-22 inches.


The American Bulldog has a short, stiff coat that lies close to the body, while the Pitbull has a slightly longer, smoother coat. The Pitbull coat may require more frequent brushing to keep it looking its best. The color of the coats also differs, with the American Bulldog coat most often white or brindle, and the Pitbull exhibiting a wider range of solid colors and patterns.


Both breeds can make good family dogs, but the American Bulldog tends to be more territorial and protective. Pitbulls are often more friendly towards strangers and other dogs. American Bulldogs also tend to be more aggressive and reactive, so they require experienced owners and early socialization. Pitbulls are often called “nanny dogs” because of their affection towards children.


On average, the American Bulldog has a shorter lifespan of 10-15 years, compared to 12-16 years for a Pitbull. Some of this difference comes down to the larger size of the American Bulldog, but genetics and health issues also play a role. Conditions like hip dysplasia tend to affect larger breeds more severely.

While Pitbulls and American Bulldogs share some characteristics, there are distinct differences in their size, appearance, temperament, and lifespan. Make sure you understand these differences before choosing between these two powerful breeds. With the right owner and environment, both can make loyal and loving companions.

Pitbull dog
Pitbull dog

Are Pitbulls and American Bulldogs Related Breeds?

Pitbulls and American Bulldogs are often confused for one another, but they are actually two distinct breeds. While they do share some genetic ancestry and physical characteristics, there are several differences in their breeding and appearance.


Pitbulls were originally bred in England in the 1800s by crossing bulldogs with terriers to create a stocky, muscular dog for bull-baiting. American Bulldogs, on the other hand, were bred solely from bulldogs brought over from England. American Bulldogs were used as all-purpose farm dogs for guarding property and livestock, and for hunting feral hogs. Due to their different purposes, American Bulldogs tended to be larger in size and stockier in build than the more agile Pitbull.


At a glance, Pitbulls and American Bulldogs may look quite similar with their square heads, muscular bodies, and medium-length fur. However, there are distinctive differences. American Bulldogs typically have a larger head, thicker neck, and shorter muzzle. Their ears are often uncropped, folding over at the tips. Pitbulls usually have a more defined, chiselled head, longer muzzle, and often have cropped ears that stand erect.

While Pitbulls and American Bulldogs share some genetic links, they have been bred separately for different purposes. Through selective breeding over many generations, each has developed its own unique characteristics and appearance. However, their shared ancestry and physical similarities often lead to confusion between the two breeds. With an understanding of their distinct origins and features, you can properly identify these misunderstood breeds.

Is a Pitbull an American Bulldog? FAQ

Pitbull dog
Pitbull dog

Are Pitbulls and American Bulldogs the same breed?

No, Pitbulls and American Bulldogs are two separate breeds. Pitbulls were originally bred as fighting dogs, while American Bulldogs were bred as working farm dogs. Although they share some physical similarities, such as a stocky build and square head, there are differences in their size, coat, and temperament.

Do Pitbulls and American Bulldogs have the same origin?

Pitbulls and American Bulldogs originated in different places. Pitbulls descend from bulldogs and terriers bred in England. American Bulldogs descend from English Bulldogs brought to America by settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries. American Bulldogs were bred specifically for guarding and herding livestock in the American South.

What’s the difference in appearance?

American Bulldogs tend to be larger in size and have a shorter coat than Pitbulls. An American Bulldog male can weigh up to 130 pounds, while a Pitbull rarely exceeds 70 pounds. Pitbulls also tend to have a more muscular, athletic build, while American Bulldogs have a stockier frame. In terms of color, Pitbulls display more variation, while American Bulldogs are typically white with patches of other colors.

Do they have the same temperament?

While both breeds can make good family companions, American Bulldogs tend to be more easygoing and less aggressive than Pitbulls. Pitbulls were bred for dog fighting, so they may be more reactive towards other dogs. Both breeds require early socialization and training to curb aggressive tendencies. American Bulldogs are also typically more independent and less energetic than the highly active Pitbull.


  • So there you have it. While Pitbulls and American Bulldogs may seem similar at first glance, they’re actually two distinct breeds with some key differences.
  • At the end of the day, American Bulldogs tend to be bigger and stockier, while Pitbulls are more athletic and agile.
  • But in many ways, they’re more alike than different – both make loyal, loving companions if properly trained and socialized.
  • The most important thing is to do your research before bringing one of these powerful pups home.
  • Learn about the breed history, typical temperaments, exercise needs, and health issues.
  • That way, you can make the best choice for your family – whether that’s a bouncy Bully or a plucky Pit.
  • Whichever breed you choose, you’ll gain a devoted friend for life.

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