American Bulldog vs Pitbull: 5 Crucial Differences

By Michael Tarran

January 20, 2020

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Have you ever wondered why some dogs look so much alike but are also so different?

For example, American Bulldog vs. Pitbull - these are the two breeds that people seem to get most confused about!

They have many similarities, from looks to personality, so it is not a surprise why so many people mix them up.

When you see them, they look identical. Both muscular and strong, but cute and playful. Fearless but friendly.

Let’s talk about American Bulldog vs Pitbull. Let me tell you about 5 fundamental differences so you never confuse them again!

If you are curious about what separates them, keep on reading!

Last Updated: October 1, 2020

Don't have the time to read? Check out this video:

Here are the five categories where we will compare American Bulldog vs Pitbull in detail:

1. History and Origin

American Bulldog vs. Pit Bull - History & Origin

There is a reason why American Bulldog and Pitbull appear so similar. They were both bred from the Old English Bulldog. Eventually, Pitbull was mixed with the Terrier and was bred for different purposes.

Historically, Bulldog’s main purpose was to be a farm dog. They performed many tasks on farms, and they were great at hunting and managing the cattle.

During World War II, their existence reached a crisis point, but fortunately, breeders saved them and bred them to be family dogs.

Pitbulls were used for dog-fighting and other blood sports. The breeders wanted a dog that has the agility of a Terrier and the strength of a Pitbull. This is the reason Pitbulls were mixed with Terriers.

When dog-fighting became illegal in the 20th century, Pitbulls were bred to be family dogs.

2. Appearance

American Bulldog

american bulldog in action

Height: 20 - 27 inches (males), 20 - 24 inches (females)

Weight: 60 - 120 pounds

Life expectancy: 10 - 15 years


American Bulldogs are powerful, athletic, tall and muscular. They have a large, square-shaped head and strong jaws. Unlike the English Bulldog, American Bulldogs usually don’t have an underbite.

Their body structure is wide with either a natural or a docked tail, though a natural, thick tail is preferred.

They also have a strong, wide chest which gives them balance and agility.

Male American Bulldogs are typically larger and have heavier bones and stronger muscles than females.

When it comes to fur, it is short and smooth and Bulldogs enjoy grooming. Brushing them once a week should be enough to help manage shedding. 

Today, fur of American Bulldogs can be of any color, including red, brown, black and white, but in the past, they were mostly white with black or red patches.

Pitbull

pitt bul in awareness

Height: 17 - 21 inches

Weight: 30 - 60 pounds

Life expectancy: 8 - 15 years


Compared to the American Bulldog, Pitbulls are relatively shorter.

Their body is very muscular and well-proportioned and their heads are large and slightly rounded.

The eye color in Pitbulls ranges from green and blue to grey and brown.

Their fur is short, shiny and stiff to the touch. It can be of any color with many different patterns. They don’t need constant grooming attention to stay healthy, but nevertheless, you should brush them on a regular basis.

American Bulldog vs Pitbull - key appearance differences

key appearance differences in American Bulldogs and Pit Bulls

Ok, the expression difference was not biased. I swear. ???? 

American Bulldogs and Pitbulls are basically very similar, with few distinct characteristics that separate them.

The main difference is that American Bulldogs are taller than Pitbulls.

They are both very muscular, powerful and agile, but Pitbull’s muscles are slightly more defined.

Although they both have wide chests, Bulldog’s is a bit wider.

While they both have short fur, Pitbull’s fur is stiff and Bulldogs have fur that is much softer to the touch.

There is also a small difference in the shape of their heads. While Bulldog’s head is square-shaped, Pitbull’s heads have a more rounded form.

3. Temperament

Amer Bulldog vs Pitty temperament

American Bulldogs are trustworthy and loyal pets. They are very energetic and need a lot of attention and exercise to burn off that energy.

Bulldogs are surprisingly friendly around children, but they need to be socialized with them from an early age.

They also need to be socialized with other dogs from an early age as well.

Due to their high energy level and social activity, it is not a good idea to keep American bulldogs in apartments and small spaces.

They can be okay indoors if they get enough exercise, but it is recommended to have at least an average-sized yard where they can run freely.

Pitbulls may have a negative reputation for being violent dogs, but this is not necessarily the case. In fact, if trained properly, they are loyal, playful and friendly pets.

Compared to American Bulldogs, Pitbulls are a little bit more aggressive towards other animals, and that includes other dogs.

It can be a little bit hard to keep a Pitbull in an apartment. They need to receive enough exercise. Otherwise, they can become destructive. If a Pitbull is not happy in a small apartment, he may tear your furniture or even chew holes in your walls.

4. Training

Appearance differences between American Bulldog & Pit Bull

American Bulldogs may not be easy to train since they can be very stubborn. This is why you should be very cautious and use proper training techniques.

Since they have a desire to please, you should use positive training methods, like treats, verbal praise, and gentle patting.

As for Pitbulls, training should start from an early age and it must be done in a calm and assertive way. They don’t like harsh tones and generally don’t respond well to them.

Pitbulls can get bored quickly, so keep your training session short. This is why training a Pitbull is a long process that requires a lot of patience.

5. Health

Generally, both Bulldogs and Pitbulls are healthy dogs with strong immune systems. 

Bulldogs can live up to 15 years with good health, but they are prone to Hip Dysplasia.

Pitbulls also have a lifespan of up to 15 years but they can suffer from allergies, cataracts and heart disease.

American Bulldog vs Pitbull: Conclusion

As you can see, even though American Bulldogs and Pitbulls may seem similar, there are some very distinctive characteristics that separate them.

Now that you are aware of all the differences, you will never make a mistake again!

And, who knows, maybe I even convinced you to get one..or both!

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Loved the article? 

Learned all the differences and can now differentiate these two breeds instantly?

Spread the word - help others interested in them learn about it!

If by any chance you have some questions or would love to add something to this guide, please leave a comment!

Michael Tarran

About Me

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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