Pitbull vs American Bulldog: What Is the Difference

Are you a dog lover trying to understand the difference between a Pitbull and an American Bulldog?

Or perhaps you’re considering adopting one of these remarkable breeds and want to make an informed decision?

In this article, we’ll explore the unique characteristics of both the Pitbull and the American Bulldog, and help you decide which one would be the perfect addition to your family!

What are Pitbulls and American Bulldogs?

Pitbulls, often referred to as American Pit Bull Terriers, are a breed of dog known for their strength, loyalty, and intelligence. They were originally bred for bull-baiting and dog fighting but have since become popular family pets and working dogs. 

American Bulldogs are a separate breed, descended from the Old English Bulldog. They are muscular, athletic dogs with a strong, stocky build. American Bulldogs were bred for farm work, including guarding livestock and catching feral pigs.

Physical Characteristics of Pitbulls and American Bulldogs

Physical Characteristics of Pitbulls 

Pitbulls are medium-sized dogs, typically weighing between 30-70 pounds. Their muscular and athletic build is complemented by a short, sleek coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. 

Pitbulls have a broad, flat head with powerful jaws, and their ears can be cropped or left natural. The eyes are typically almond-shaped and can range in color from blue to brown. Their tails are usually short and tapering. 

Physical Characteristics of American Bulldogs 

American Bulldogs are larger than Pitbulls, weighing between 60-130 pounds. They have a sturdy, muscular build, with a wide chest and thick bones. 

Their head is broad and square, with a strong jaw, and their ears can be cropped or left natural. The eyes can be any color, and their short, smooth coat comes in various shades of white, brindle, and other combinations. American Bulldogs have a strong, thick tail that can be straight or slightly curved.

Differences in Temperament and Personality

While both the Pitbull and the American Bulldog have their unique temperaments and personalities, there are some notable differences between the two breeds. 

  • Pitbulls are known for their high energy levels, loyalty, and determination. They are often affectionate and friendly with their families but may exhibit wariness towards strangers.
  • American Bulldogs, on the other hand, are known for their devotion, courage, and protective nature. They are typically more laid-back and can be more amenable to getting along with other pets and children.

It’s essential to remember that every dog is an individual, and their temperament and personality may vary depending on factors such as genetics, socialization, and training.

Pitbulls Versus American Bulldogs: Which is More Aggressive?

When it comes to the question of aggression, many people wonder whether the Pitbull or the American Bulldog is more aggressive by nature. While both breeds have a strong and muscular appearance, their temperaments can be quite different. 

Pitbull Aggression 

Despite their reputation, Pitbulls are not inherently aggressive dogs. In fact, they have been historically bred for their loyalty and friendly disposition. However, irresponsible breeding and poor socialization can lead to increased aggression in individual dogs. 

American Bulldog Aggression 

Similarly, American Bulldogs are not naturally aggressive. These dogs were bred for working and guarding purposes, which means they can be protective of their family. Like Pitbulls, improper breeding and socialization can contribute to aggressive behavior in some American Bulldogs. 

Similarities Between Pitbulls and American Bulldogs

While Pitbulls and American Bulldogs have their differences, they also share some common traits that make them both beloved by dog enthusiasts. Here are a few similarities between the two breeds: 

  • Strong and Muscular: Both breeds are known for their impressive muscular build, making them strong and athletic companions.
  • Loyal and Protective: Pitbulls and American Bulldogs are fiercely loyal to their families, and their protective nature makes them excellent guard dogs.
  • Intelligent: These breeds are both highly intelligent, making them easily trainable and eager to please their owners.
  • Social and Affectionate: Though they may have a tough exterior, both Pitbulls and American Bulldogs are known for their friendly, affectionate, and social nature, making them great family pets.
  • Energy Levels: Both breeds have a high energy level, requiring regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Which Breed is Best for Families?

Choosing the perfect canine companion for your family involves considering factors such as temperament, size, and energy levels. Let’s compare the Pitbull and the American Bulldog to see which breed is best suited for families. 


  • Temperament: Pitbulls are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, making them great family pets.
  • Size: Pitbulls are medium-sized dogs, with most weighing between 30-65 pounds, making them easy to manage around children.
  • Energy Levels: Pitbulls are energetic and require regular exercise, making them a great fit for active families.

American Bulldog 

  • Temperament: American Bulldogs are also affectionate and loyal pets, with a good-natured disposition towards children.
  • Size: American Bulldogs are larger, with most weighing between 60-120 pounds, so supervision around smaller children is advised.
  • Energy Levels: While energetic, American Bulldogs may require slightly less exercise than Pitbulls, making them suitable for families with varying activity levels.

Training Differences Between Pitbulls and American Bulldogs

When it comes to training, there are some key differences between Pitbulls and American Bulldogs. Understanding these distinctions can help you make the best choice for your future furry companion. 


  • Intelligence: Pitbulls are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train.
  • Energy Level: They have a high energy level, so consistent, positive, and engaging training sessions are important to keep them interested and focused.
  • Socialization: Early socialization is crucial for Pitbulls to ensure they are well-rounded and can interact well with other dogs and people.

American Bulldogs 

  • Stubbornness: American Bulldogs can be more stubborn, which might require extra patience and persistence during training.
  • Strong Willed: They are strong-willed and independent, so establishing yourself as the pack leader is essential for successful training.
  • Exercise Needs: American Bulldogs also need physical exercise, but their energy levels are generally lower than Pitbulls, making them somewhat easier to manage during training sessions.

Common Health Issues for Pitbulls and American Bulldogs 

When it comes to the health of Pitbulls and American Bulldogs, there are some common health issues that both breeds face. It’s important for potential dog owners and breeders to be aware of these issues and take preventative measures to ensure that their dogs live long, healthy lives. 

Pitbull Health Issues 

  • Hip Dysplasia: This genetic condition, in which the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone, can cause pain and arthritis. Regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent or manage this condition.
  • Allergies: Pitbulls can suffer from skin, food, and environmental allergies. Regular vet visits and monitoring for signs of allergies can help keep your dog comfortable.
  • Heart Disease: Pitbulls can be prone to various heart conditions, including valve defects and cardiomyopathy. Regular check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or manage these issues.
  • Thyroid Issues: Hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, is common in Pitbulls. Regular blood tests and monitoring for symptoms can help catch this issue early.

American Bulldog Health Issues 

  • Hip Dysplasia: Like Pitbulls, American Bulldogs can also suffer from hip dysplasia. Regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent or manage this condition.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: This condition affects the elbow joint and can cause pain, arthritis, and lameness. Regular vet visits and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent or manage this issue.
  • Cherry Eye: American Bulldogs are prone to this condition, in which the gland of the third eyelid swells and becomes visible. This can be corrected with surgery, and monitoring for signs of cherry eye can help catch it early.
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: Due to their short muzzles, American Bulldogs can suffer from breathing issues related to the narrowing of their airways. Maintaining a healthy weight and monitoring for signs of breathing difficulties can help manage this condition.

Remember, regular veterinary check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are key to preventing and managing health issues in both Pitbulls and American Bulldogs.

Comparing Pitbull and American Bulldog Health Issues 

Health IssuePitbullAmerican Bulldog
Hip DysplasiaYesYes
Heart DiseaseYesNo
Thyroid IssuesYesNo
Elbow DysplasiaNoYes
Cherry EyeNoYes
Brachycephalic SyndromeNoYes

While both Pitbulls and American Bulldogs share some common health issues, there are also differences between the two breeds. By being aware of these health concerns and taking the necessary precautions, you can help ensure your furry friend stays healthy and happy.

Legal Considerations for Pitbulls and American Bulldogs

When considering adopting or owning a Pitbull or an American Bulldog, it’s essential to be aware of the legal implications surrounding these breeds. 


Pitbulls have faced breed-specific legislation (BSL) in many countries and states. This may result in restrictions or bans on owning these dogs. 

  • Ownership restrictions: Some areas require Pitbull owners to adhere to specific rules, such as having a muzzle on the dog in public spaces, or obtaining liability insurance.
  • Breed bans: In some locations, Pitbulls are completely banned, making it illegal to own or import this breed.

Before adopting a Pitbull, research the local laws and regulations in your area to ensure you can meet the requirements.

American Bulldogs 

While American Bulldogs don’t face as many legal challenges as Pitbulls, they may still be subject to certain restrictions. 

  • Breed confusion: Due to their similar appearance to Pitbulls, American Bulldogs can sometimes be mistaken for the restricted breed, leading to potential legal issues.
  • Local regulations: Some areas may have specific rules for large or muscular dog breeds, which could include American Bulldogs.

It’s important to be informed about your local laws and be prepared to advocate for your American Bulldog if needed.


The choice between a Pitbull and an American Bulldog ultimately depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle.

Both breeds offer unique qualities that make them fantastic companions, so take the time to consider their differences and see which one would fit best in your family.

Whether you choose the strong and loyal Pitbull or the gentle giant American Bulldog, you’re in for an adventure filled with love, devotion, and lots of tail-wagging happiness!