Pitbull Vs Bulldog – What’s The Difference?

WorldAnimalFoundation.org is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More

One thing that I love about the dog kingdom is that it’s full of different breeds, all with their own unique traits. These characteristics make the pups unique. 

However, there are always a few breeds that people compare side by side, or sometimes, even confuse. That’s the case with the Pitbull and the American Bulldog, or as it’s often called, the American Bully dog breed.

At a quick glance, it’s easy to tell why someone who isn’t familiar with American Bulldogs or Pitbulls could confuse them. Yet, get a little closer, and the key differences are immediately noticeable. 

One thing these two types of bully dog breeds both have in common is that they tend to have a bad reputation, but it’s purely based on stigmas and bias rather than fact. 

Pitbull vs Bulldog: Analyzing the Differences 


If there’s one thing I can say about the American Pit Bull Terrier, it’s that it is one of the most misunderstood dogs out there. For one, it’s not actually a breed the AKC recognizes as it’s a mashup of breeds, believed to be a terrier, sometimes the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, mixed with an Old English Bulldog. 

When comparing the American Bulldog vs Pitbull, the Pitbull was originally bred for blood sports, such as dog fighting, which means they were raised to be aggressive towards other dogs but kind to people. While dog fighting is now outlawed (though it definitely still exists illegally), the pups still get bad press. 

The American Bulldog, on the other hand, was bred to hunt (also bull baiting) and guard. It was commonly used in bull baiting. Because the two types of dogs are often confused, the American Bulldog gets a bad rep by association.

They used to be used as farm dogs, but today, they’re great human companions. The American Bulldog would have gone extinct had it not been for the work of JD Johnson, who helped save it from this irreparable fate. 

Height and Weight

pitbulls vs bulldogs

One of the main differences between the American Bulldog vs Pitbull breed comparison is seen in the dogs’ sizes. Put the two side-by-side, and you’ll immediately notice the American Bulldog is the bigger of the two. This large dog breed stands anywhere from 19″ to 28″ tall and weighs 60 to 120 pounds. 

The Pitbull, on the other hand, is a medium-sized dog and only stands around 17″ to 20″ and weighs 30 to 60 pounds. There is also the pocket Pitbull dog breed, which is much smaller at 12″ to 16″ in size. 

Color and Coat Type 

Each dog has some differences in terms of coat color, too. Because the Pitbull is a mashup, it doesn’t have coat colors that fall into breed standard. It can be any color, from solids to merle and brindle patterns or a mix of several colors. 

The American Bully is a bit different. It’s typically found in solid colors, with the breed standard being white. However, many also have patches in black, brindle, tan, and brown. 

Both of these dogs have short hair and a smooth coat that sheds lightly throughout the year. 


pitbull vs bulldog

Where you’ll find some more differences between the American Bulldog vs. Pitbull are in the dogs’ facial structures. American Bulldogs have a larger, square face with a broad muzzle and, often, a slight underbite that is just the cutest thing.

They have wrinkled faces, as well, which makes for fun smooshing their skin together, and their ears will either stand straight up or fold forward. 

The Pitbull has a softer face that’s more rounded and high set ears. Many people like to crop their ears, a practice I’m not fond of, but if you don’t, they flop down to the side, which is so cute. American Pit Bull Terriers also have a wide jaw.

Physical Build

pitbull vs american bulldog

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to look at the American Pitbull Terrier and American Bulldogs next to each other, you’ll notice right away that the American Bulldogs are the more solid of the two.

They have a stocky, muscular build, whereas Pitbulls are leaner yet still very muscular dogs. In fact, you can tell how muscular they are with just a quick look because they’re well-defined. 


is an american bulldog the same as a pitbull (1)

American Bulldogs are some of the most affectionate, playful pups you’ll encounter, not the dangerous dogs they’re painted to be. They are also very loyal to their humans and eager to please. However, they are also high-energy, so they need a lot of exercise from active families and can be a bit stubborn at times.

is a pitbull a bulldog

The American Pitbull Terrier is a bit like the American Bulldog without the stubbornness. They are content to be around their people — including kids — and will play, sleep, and follow you everywhere. 

Health Issues 

Like most dog breeds, the American Bulldog and Pit Bull have a few health concerns that you should be on the lookout for. American Bulldogs, for example, have a penchant for developing hip dysplasia, as most large breed dogs do. It may also develop skin problems. 

The American Pitbull Terrier commonly suffers from sliding kneecaps, a condition known as Patella Luxation. This isn’t a life-threatening disease, but it can be painful for them.

Life Expectancy

Both of these dog breeds have a pretty lengthy lifespan, though American Bulldogs are a bit more spaced out. This breed lives an average of 10 to 12 years, while the American Pitbull Terrier has a life expectancy of 12 to 14. 


american bulldogs and pitbulls

Whether you plan to have your American Bulldogs or American Pitbull Terrier participate in agility training or water sports or just want them to follow basic commands around the house, the good news is they are both very trainable.

The one difference you’ll encounter though, is that the American Bulldog can be a bit strong-willed, which means he’ll want to have his own way. The American Pitbull Terrier, on the other hand, will be more than happy to show you just how quickly he learns and retains information.

Social Skills of Pitbull and Bulldog 

While both of these pups are known to be affectionate and loyal dogs, the social skills of the American Bulldog vs Pitbull can be lacking in some areas. There’s good news, though! With many of them, this can be remedied with training and early socialization.

With Other Dogs 

If you own other animals, including other dogs, I would recommend American Bulldogs over the Pitbull, only because the Pit Bull has a high prey drive and often sees other animals, like cats, as prey. However, if you get your pittie as a puppy, training and socialization can help with this issue. 

American Bulldogs get along with almost everyone, thanks to their higher tolerance. Still, socialization and training from a young age can help alleviate any issues you might have with aggression toward other breeds. 

With Kids 

Here’s where you’re in luck. Both of these gorgeous dogs are amazing with kids and love children, especially when they grow up with them. All types of Pitbulls and American Bulldogs have guarding tendencies, and they will look at the kids as their property to guard. 

Additionally, their playful nature means your kids and the pups can have a great time romping around the backyard playing, and as a bonus — they’ll both be worn out at the end! 

With Other People

Both of these breeds love their humans. However, they can both be a little wary and standoffish with new people, unless they’re given the okay by their owners. I would caution anyone who visits your home to introduce themselves to the dog with you around and not just walk inside, where both the American Bulldog and Pitbull can be very territorial.

Reasons Behind the Ban on Pit Bulls in Certain Countries

bulldog pittbull

If you’ve done your homework on Pit Bulls, you’ve likely noticed that they are banned in some countries — this is true — and the American Bulldog is not, one of the key differences between the two.

But the reason they are banned is because of the bad reputation they get. The countries see them as a greater risk vs reward, citing Pitbull attack statistics, and just outlaw them completely. 

Additionally, you’ll find that some countries ban Pit Bulls because of their poor breeding history, which can lead to serious health issues, which can then spread among the dog population.


Do Pitbulls Have a Locking Jaw?

Nope! In fact, no dog has a locking jaw, it’s not a thing. What Pit Bulls do have is a strong bite force and strong jaws, along with a penchant for holding on longer, which is where the myth comes from. 

Are Pitbulls Dangerous?

In general, no, Pitbulls are not aggressive dogs. Can some be dangerous? Absolutely. Whenever I get asked, “are Pitbulls dangerous,” I respond the same.

It’s never a good idea to paint one type of dog with the stigma because the truth is any dog has the potential to be dangerous. Pitbulls can be if they are bred to be or if they are neglected and abused, but they are well-known by enthusiasts for being loving, adoring dogs. 

Aren’t Pit Bulls Recognized by the American Kennel Club?

They are not! Because the Pitbull mixed breeds aren’t an actual dog breed, the AKC doesn’t recognize it. However, the American Pit Bull Terrier is recognized by the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). American Bulldogs are recognized by the AKC.

Is the American Bulldog a Good Family Dog?

The American Bulldog is amazingly patient with children and is a great overall human companion, so if you’re thinking of adding one to your family, they do make good family dogs. However, a word of caution — definitely invest in some training and socialization.


When it comes to these two dogs, if you’re considering adopting one, I would recommend either, even in the face of their key differences. American Bulldogs and Pit Bulls are amazing dogs that, even though they have their differences, would warm your heart and soul while they warm your laps.

Just be careful and do your research when you consider breeders, they should be dog lovers too. Make sure they put the dogs’ health first before the dollar signs. You should check out the Blue Nose Pitbull, too, as they are breathtaking. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *