The 5 Different Types of Pit Bull Dog Breeds—and Why They Can Make Great Pets

Are you thinking about getting a pit bull? If so, you should be aware that there are numerous breeds of pit bull dogs. The term “pit bull” refers to breeds that can be traced back to the crossbreeding of bulldogs and terriers. People also use the term to describe mutts that contain one of these “pit bull” breeds.

“A pit bull could be a mix of 35 different breeds and crosses that share some of the same physical characteristics,” says Hank Greenwood, president of the American Dog Breeders Association, which maintains a registry for American pit bull terriers.

Continue reading to find out if some of the most popular pit bull breeds are a good fit for you and your family.

Pit Bull Breeds and Their Characteristics

Pit bulls are stocky and powerful dogs with deep chests and blocky heads. They combine the strength, courage, and friendliness of a bulldog with the intelligence and determination of a terrier.

Pit bulls have a bad rep because they were originally bred for bull baiting. When it was made illegal in the mid-1800s, many pit bull breeds became farm dogs and companions. Others, sadly, were bred for dogfighting, which, while illegal, is still practised today. However, responsible breeders have worked in recent years to reduce any aggressive traits and emphasise these breeds’ naturally sweet dispositions.

“These are excellent breeds that, like many others, thrive with appropriate training and socialization,” says American Kennel Club spokesperson Brandi Hunter Munden. “They work well with children and families.” Though the breeds were originally bred to fight or guard, this is no longer their purpose. Responsible breeders have bred them for a friendly and lovable temperament that owners genuinely love and trust for decades.”

Let’s get to know the five different types of pit bull dog breeds.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffy)

Staffordshire bull terriers are loyal and eager to please, so they are quick to pick up on cues. Keep training sessions brief in order to keep their attention! | ADOBE STOCK / EVERYDOGHASASTORY
The Staffordshire bull terrier is a small, stocky breed with a lot of personality. These English-bred dogs, weighing 24 to 38 pounds, can easily fit in the car or on the couch. And they are content to be anywhere as long as they are by your side.

Staffies are always up for an adventure, whether it’s blazing a new running path with you or letting kids dress them up—they’re known for being patient and loving with children. While they are extremely loyal to their owners, they may prefer to be the top (and only) dog in the house.

“Well-bred Staffies are sweet-tempered and thrive with lots of affection.” “Once you own one, they say you’re hooked,” Munden says.

Pit Bull Terrier of America

The American pit bull terrier, despite its name, originated in Ireland and Scotland. These medium-sized pit bulls weigh 35 to 70 pounds and are considered simple to train.

“They’re intelligent, loyal, and have a strong desire to please.” Greenwood, who grew up with the breed, says, “They’ll do anything you want them to do.”

Pitties are playful and enjoy spending time with their owners. They make excellent pets with proper training and daily exercise.

Staffordshire Terrier (American Staffordshire Terrier) (AmStaff)

The American Staffordshire terrier is a larger but equally muscular cousin to the brawny Staffy. These dogs have a lot of energy and can weigh up to 80 pounds. They are also intelligent, which means they require a lot of physical and mental stimulation.

AmStaffs can be difficult for a first-time dog owner to manage. AmStaffs, on the other hand, are good-natured and trustworthy companions if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to train and socialise your dog—good manners are everything when you have a dog this strong, Munden says.

The American Bully

The American bully is a mishmash of pit bull breeds. According to the United Kennel Club, they are a cross between the American pit bull terrier and various types of bulldogs, such as Frenchies or English bulldogs. Bullies come in small, medium, and extra-large sizes, but they all have a muscular build.

Though they appear to be the ultimate tough guys, the American Bully Kennel Club claims they’re big softies. Bullies are known for being gentle and friendly to everyone, including strangers, children, and animals.

The Bull Terrier

A bull terrier will never bore you. These big clown dogs are full of silly spunk. They can be mischievous and stubborn at times. However, if you can play along with them, train them early, and laugh at their antics, you’ll be glad to have this canine as a member of your family.

People don’t think of bull terriers as pit bulls, but they’re one of the oldest pit bull breeds—a terrier and bulldog cross that the AKC designated as its own distinct breed in 1885. “Many people recognise this breed from Target advertisements,” Munden says. “Bull terriers are a wonderful breed that adores their owners.” They have big personalities and are a lot of fun to have.”

Considerations for Owning a Pit Bull Breed

Pit bull breeds are a tough breed with few health issues; they can live up to 16 years. Pit bulls require at least 45 minutes of vigorous exercise per day due to their athletic nature. (think: running or hiking). If you’re looking for a workout partner, consider this a plus. If a couch potato is more your style, they aren’t the breed for you. (How about a shih tzu or a cat instead?)

Consider that pitties have a strong prey drive due to their terrier heritage. Originally, the terrier dog group’s job was to hunt mice and rats. Pitties may chase squirrels, cats, and small dogs, according to Marin Humane. Even fast-moving people, such as joggers or running children, as well as objects like bikes and skateboards, can set off their instincts. So it’s critical to have a yard with at least a 6-foot-tall physical fence and to always keep your dog on a leash when you’re out and about.

When it comes to being a responsible pet parent to a pit bull breed, positive reinforcement training is also essential. Early education and socialisation are critical. These assist pitties in learning good manners and feeling at ease and confident in a variety of settings.

18 thoughts on “The 5 Different Types of Pit Bull Dog Breeds—and Why They Can Make Great Pets”

    • You know that in the late1800 pitbulls were called the nanny dog because of the family oriented care and that the would never do anything but protect their family to their death and make sure that the little ones stayed outta trouble while mom and dad were working

  1. My son has a pit bull with a little lab mix
    Dakota looks all pit! She is such a sweetheart when I visit she jumps into my arms and licks me to pieces. Then leads me to the snack table…

  2. i have a beautiful blue pit we don’t consider her a dog but an angel I talk to her like you and me best friend is an understatement guardian angel is best suited she’s is smarter than any human I know and better than any human I know she loves handicapped disabled she is a healer came straight from Jesus pretty sure of it we take a lot of walks together I talking to her having regular conversations I know what she’s thinking and she I the same but when people come around I tell her to hurry and act like a dog haha I’m blessed

    • My female Paris is a blue nose brindle and every bit of the angel your girl sounds. When picking her out of the 4 females, they were all brindle but she has the silver/blue overcoat “what is that”? Was all I could say, never saw anything like her. If that wasn’t enough to sell me, she then army crawled to my feet. She’s never displayed a hint of aggression, protection maybe but she even loves cats. I too was blessed by an angel!

      • I also have a silver blue brindle female that is gorgeous. Ipsy is all bulldog and very eager to please. I’m so proud of her and love showing her off!!!!

    • I have a Blue Nose female pitbull. They are sweet and loving. We must remember we can’t blame the dogs! It’s the owners!!!

  3. An American Staffordshire terrier isn’t the cousin to Staffordshire bull terrier it’s actually the same as an American pit bull terrier in fact the 1st am staff registered in the AKC was one of John Colby’s pit bulls

  4. I am a pit bull lover and tell me why do people who are not animal lovers hate on the breed so much . They are great w family and protective over there family and they do not just attack to attack like many people put out there. They are misunderstood and very intelligent..

  5. Many places we’ve looked at retiring to do not accept “aggressive” breeds. We have an 8mo full American pit who is very sweet, has been socialized and loves kids. How do we goo about convincing these institutions that our dog is “friendly”?

  6. Bogus bogus bogus.

    There is no such thing as a Breed of Canine called Pitbull.
    FACT: The “Pit Bull” is not an official breed.
    “Pit Bull” is an umbrella term commonly reported to contain the following 3 registered breeds of dogs: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier.

    Many dogs that are classified as “pit bulls” are actually a combination of mixed breed dogs of unknown pedigree or other purebred dogs which bear some physical resemblance. It is not easy to identify a dog’s breed origin(s) from appearance alone, therefore many dogs who are labeled as Pit Bull-type dogs are actually not.
    FACT: While some Pit Bull-type dogs were historically bred for the purposes of “blood sports”, the majority were bred to become family dogs and farm help.
    In the 1970s, dog “blood sports” (i.e., dogfighting, street fighting) began to get more attention by law enforcement and, therefore, the media—making the public much more aware of these cruel practices. The hype drew people to the conclusion that the Pit Bull-type dog’s history of involvement in “blood sports” made them uniquely dangerous.

    The truth is that one cannot predict a dog’s behavior based on what the ancestral breed was “historically bred for.” Instead, each dog should be assessed as a unique individual based upon their overall temperament and upbringing.

    FACT: Pit Bull-type dogs are not born aggressive.

    Ever heard the phrase “nature vs. nurture”? Well, that applies here too. Pit Bull-type dogs, just like any other canine type, follow “learned” behavior taught by the humans who raise them.

    To put it simply: an attentive caring owner will raise a happy well-adjusted pet. A neglectful and abusive owner will raise an unhappy aggressive pet. More often than not, Pit Bull-type dogs who display aggressive behavior are often the victims of irresponsible ownership.

    FACT: Pit Bull type dogs do not have “locking jaws”
    No such “locking jaw” mechanism exists in a Pit Bull-type dog or any other dog type or breed. There is nothing uncommon about the size and functionality of a Pit Bull-type dog’s jaws or teeth. Additionally, there is no evidence which proves that one dog type or breed is uniquely capable of inflicting serious injury to humans or other animals.

    5. FACT: You should consider adopting a Pit Bull-type dog from your local shelter
    If you’re looking to add a new furry family member to your household, think about saving a life and adopting. When a Pit Bull-type dog is properly matched to your family and lifestyle, it is a success story in the making. Pit Bull-type dogs are loyal companions, quick learners, and make great exercise buddies.

    • Yes yes and more YES! Every word is exact truth. Thank you for actual truthful information. I will always be a pitty lover but its a good idea to if your a first time dog owner, start with another breed that isnt as strong willed as a pitty. Your statement about being a caring attentive loving owner will lead to a loving good mannered family dog is exactly that. Its like a kid who gets ignored and starts to act out in bad Behavior just to get any type of attention from their parents, it’s the same for any kind of dog. Not just the pits and I do repeat it’s like that for any kind of dog Not Just pits. Any dog has the ability to show aggression. Simple fact I’ve seen Chihuahuas who are extremely aggressive you can’t even go near them without them attacking you and I’ve seen pit bulls who roll on their back and wag their tail and love up against you and show no sign the aggression. True story my pity is actually terrified of chihuahuas because he was viciously attacked when he was younger by extremely aggressive Chihuahua who was not being taken care of properly by their owner. Every time my dog sees chihuahua he starts shaking uncontrollably and tries to book it the other direction. So not all pits are aggressive and not all Chihuahuas are sweet and none aggressive. Thank you so much for your words and intelligence and non-ignorance we need more people like you in the world.

    • I agree with everything you said except the inherant nature of a pit. I was a Am Staff as a gift. She was the best dog God ever made and since her there has been no other breed for me.
      However she did something once that we never trained her for and she had “NO IDEA” why she did what she did. We were staying at a house that bordered a big ranch.
      One day she bolted for something I couldnt see. But I heard the commotion and a cow bawling mixed in with a low gutteral growl that pit owners will know. Thats right, my sweet obediant dog had a neighbors cow by the nose and quickly had it on its side. She didnt hurt it any more than the puncture marks on its nose but she showed real flare when taking it down. As she released when I shouted “OFF” she came prancing back to me like she had done something well and knew it, but had no idea why. I loved that girl with all my heart but realized then that there were certain things that were born in her that i didnt want but had to anticipate. Morale of the story..
      Be aware of thier capabilities and always anticipate what could happen. They are smart enough to out think a rookie owner.

  7. We have 3 pit mixes
    Our Baby puppy (Stella)she is 6mo Pitt/ Husky mix she has more Energy than ALL of us put together. Super sweet & she WILL lick you to death. She’s learning about cats we have 7 (ranging 5 mo -17yrs).
    Our Baby Doggie (Roscoe) he is almost 5 Pitt/Rottweiler/Lab mix EXCELLENT with all the cats.
    He’s huge 110lbs he has the body style of the Rot, Brindle of the Pitt temperament of the Lab. Super soft sweet heart on him .
    My son’s GF also has a Pitt/Pug mix (Loucious) he’s EXTREMELY Docile as well as very loving with all he doesn’t really care much about the cats 2 of which he’s lived with for over 3yrs.
    ALL 3 of them are SUPER with my grandson who is 3. Along with the neighborhood kids & other dogs.
    Pitts made me nervous, given all the stories until we got Roscoe…. he was almost 5 weeks the mom had passed. He’s been an Excellent dog & doesn’t have a hurtful bone in his body. So the MYTH they are all evil is just plain Wrong.
    When Stella grows up a bit ill let ya know how she does but given her playful & loving lovingness about her I don’t expect she will be anything but

  8. Awesome article full of all the Beauty
    That make up one of my favorite ,loving,funny and very talkative breed.
    People must learn that people and their mean unloving ways that make any animal dangerous.
    Could you tell my about I believe bully pit? Thank you


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