Difference between the American Bulldog and the Pit Bull

Even though the American bulldog and the pit bull have a comparable physical appearance, they are not to be confused as being of the same breed. If you are a pet lover, especially of dogs, then you should have the ability to tell between the two breeds.


American Bulldog
American Bulldog

The American Bulldog is a pure-bred animal. Originally bred for hunting and guarding, American bulldogs are believed to have evolved from English bulldogs and are thought to be the descendents of the mastiff and cousins to the Bullmastiff. It is easy to classify Bulldogs into categories of bully, standard or hybrid depending on their size.

American Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull is actually in essence used in reference to three distinct breeds of dogs, namely the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. Bred to help farmers manage farms, Pit Bulls are agile, strong and tenacious workers.

Comparison chart

American Bulldog American Pit Bull
Tall and lean with broad chest with weights ranging from 40kg to 65kg when fully grown Short and sturdy with lesser weight when fully grown
General head/snout ratio of 50/50 Varying head/snout ratio ranging from 55/45 to 80/20.

American Bulldog vs Pitbull

What is the difference between the American Bulldog and the American Pit Bull? When exploring the difference between the two breeds, the focus is centered on their physical appearance, size, reputation and temperament.

  • The American Bulldog is a tall and wiry dog with a deep and broad chest. Known for their loyalty towards their owners, American bulldogs are socially active and have a high athletic potential. They weigh between 30-58 kg as adults and measure nearly 20 to 26 inches when fully grown. American Pit Bulls, on the other hand, are shorter and weigh even less when fully developed. Due to the differences, most dog owners joke that the maximum size of a Pit Bull is the minimum size of an American Bulldog. Apart from the obvious size dissimilarity, the head and snout also show distinctive features when comparing the two types of dogs. Pit Bulls generally have a 50/50 head / snout ratio, meaning that half of the head’s length is the skull and the other half is the snout. Conversely, the American Bulldog has a range from 55/45 to 80/20 head / snout ratio. Though there is a large inconsistency in variation according to the breed type, the head/ skull is always longer than the snout in all breeds of Bulldogs. Also, American Bulldogs exhibit wrinkles on their heads, specifically around the mouth, a clear sign of their mastiff lineage. Pit Bulls do not exhibit any of these wrinkles and have much tighter skin.
  • Pure breeds of American Bulldogs are known to have a stable temperament and an attitude that is by and largely laid back. Pit Bulls, with their genetic linkage to the terrier breed, are known to have ‘small dog tendencies’ that make them more energetic and playful. Pit Bulls require a lot of training from a tender age to ensure that the energy is not turned into aggression.


This video will help demonstrate the difference between the two dog breeds.