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Pit Bull Dog Breeds: Five Types

The term “pit bull dog” or “pitbull” does not refer to one specific breed, but rather encompasses several different but related pit bull breeds of muscular terriers originally bred for bull baiting and dog fighting. While pitties have a controversial reputation, they can make loyal and loving family pets with proper training and care. Here we’ll explore 5 of the most common types of pit bull dog breeds.

Types of Pit Bulls

VIDEO: 5 Different Types of Pitbull - Which is Right for You?
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American Pit Bull Terrier

Pit bull dog playing in the garden of the house. Running and catching the ball. Sunny day.
(Photo Credit: Diego Thomazini via Getty Images)

People most commonly identify the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) as a “pit bull” dog. Originally bred for bull baiting in England, they later transitioned to dog fighting before becoming popular as family companions. They have varying coat colors including blue, gray, black, brindle, white, fawn, red, brown, and tan.

The APBT is a medium-sized, short coated dog. They are extremely muscular and athletic with a broad head and strong jaw. While tenacious and strong-willed, APBTs are typically social, stable, and gentle with humans when properly trained and socialized.

American Staffordshire Terrier

Portrait of an adorable American Staffordshire Terrier looking curiously - studio shot, isolated on white background.
(Photo Credit: vauvau via Getty Images)

Very similar to the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier originated in the United States after bull baiting was outlawed. They were popular on farms for their reliability with children and as all-purpose working dogs.

This stocky breed has a larger head in proportion to its body compared to the APBT. The American Kennel Club recognized the American Staffordshire Terrier as a breed in the 1930s. They make affectionate, people-oriented pets.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Close-up of staffordshire bull terrier sitting on field
(Photo Credit: Dan Baillie via Getty Images)

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier originated in England’s Staffordshire region by combining bulldogs with terriers for bull baiting and fighting. Despite this history, they became known as “nanny dogs” for their gentle loyalty to children.

This compact breed has a short, smooth coat that comes in red, fawn, white, black, blue, or brindle. Though muscular and courageous, good breeding has made Staffies even-tempered companions.

American Bully

A strong american bully dog
(Photo Credit: alberto clemares expósito via Getty Images)

A modern breed, the American Bully was first recognized in the 1990s. They were developed by breeding the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier with other bully type breeds like the English Bulldog.

The American Bully has a thick, muscular build on a shorter body than other types of this breed. They have a larger head with skin folds around the neck and wide set eyes. This breed comes in four size varieties from pocket to extra large size.

Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier looking at camera
(Photo Credit: KSnumber1 via Getty Images)

The Bull Terrier is the least common pit bull breed today. Originating in England in the 1800s, they were bred by crossing bulldogs with terriers to create an agile, strong fighter. Their distinct “egg-shaped” head makes them easily recognizable.

Though bred for the pit, Bull Terriers later became beloved as family pets due to their playful nature and devotion to their owners. They need extensive socialization to curb any dog aggression tendencies. Proper handling brings out their comical, charming side.

Pit Bull Training Tips

Obedience training and early socialization are highly recommended. Their intelligence allows them to excel at obedience work, agility, tracking, and more. Reward-based training builds a cooperative spirit.

Pit bulls respond best to confident, consistent leadership. Their stubbornness warrants patience and persistence. Always use positive reinforcement – harsh methods can backfire. Invest time and effort into making yours a great canine citizen.

Pit bull breeds make wonderful pets for owners who understand their needs for training, activity, socialization, and responsible management. With an informed, dedicated pet parent, a pit bull can be an outstanding companion.


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