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Pitbull Types: Exploring a Powerful and Loyal Breed

"Pitbull" is an umbrella term that covers several types of dogs that descend from Terriers and Bulldogs. People in the United States typically use this term; this is where these dogs are popular.

The three American Pitbull Terrier types are the American Pitbull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the American Bully. There is also the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Although these pooches have a bad rap, they are far from the vicious rumors circulating about them.

With a whole bunch of dogs thrown under one label, it's no wonder there is still confusion about this misunderstood breed! Let's explore the world of Pitbulls.

What is a Pitbull?

Pitbulls are descendants of Bulldogs and Terriers. While Terrier breeds are more commonly known for being agile and feisty, Bulldogs are better known for their strength. Bred together, these two types of breeds make a powerhouse of a dog.

Pitbulls first appeared in Great Britain. Used in cruel, blood sporting events such as bear and bull-baiting, these dogs quickly gained a reputation as violent. Luckily, the Cruelty to Animals Act was passed in 1835, which stopped blood sports involving animals.

Sadly, the violence associated with Pitbulls was far from over. Cruel people soon brought these poor dogs back into the ring, this time to fight other dogs in dog fighting events. The fights were less expensive than the original events and had an underground following. 

Bad reputation

The dog fights gave the Pitbull its bad reputation as being a vicious dog. Something noteworthy about those fights is that the dogs did not attack any human entering the ring. If they did, the organizers would euthanize them.

Once the Civil War ended, immigrants from Britain brought their fighting Pitbulls to the United States. Soon, American dogfighters saw their aggressive potential and wanted to host bigger events, and they began to breed more powerful dogs.

Characteristics of a Pitbull

Ask anyone who owns a Pitbull, and you'll get a different dog each time. Let's explore the three main defining factors used to label a dog a Pitbull.

#1. Appearance 

Athletic and muscular are the most common descriptive words for this dog breed. With a square-shaped head and large almond-shaped eyes, their bodies can range from squatty and wide to tall and lean. 

They have smooth coats of short fur and long, straight tails. The Pitbull also typically has rose-shaped ears, if not cropped.

#2. Color of the coat 

The color of their coat is as diverse as a dog can get. From black to fawn, to brindle, and everything in between! The only color that is not typically part of this canine gene pool is a merle color unless the breed is very mixed.

#3. Temperament 

Pitbulls have similar temperaments. They love their human companions and love spending time with them anywhere and everywhere! They love their pet parents so much, a bed ramp for dogs would be an excellent idea for a Pitbull so that they can get up for cuddles at all times.

Pitbulls have a naturally sweet and sensitive disposition, and are extremely fond of children, giving them the nickname "nanny dog." 

Pitbull dog types

Here we'll examine the various breeds and the differences between them. In addition to the four main pitbull breed types, there are some others worth mentioning, and all of these adorable dogs have different characteristics, for example:

  • Pitbull Terrier

  • American Pitbulls are loyal, courageous, and confident. They are super-aware of their environment and will enthusiastically alert you of an approaching stranger or visitor. 

    This dog comes in at 30-85 pounds with a height of 18-19 inches (males) and 17-18 inches (female).

  • Red Nose Pitbull


  • The Red Nose Pitbull is a rare dog breed because of its reddish copper-toned nose and unique fur, eyes, and nails. They are also a dog breed with a higher price tag than most. 

    The Red Nose Pitbull is a very loyal and intelligent breed with a gentle disposition. It is a thin, muscular dog that weighs approximately 55-66 pounds.

  • Blue Nose Pitbull

  • A variety of Pitbull and not a different breed, the Blue Nose Pitbull, can be easily identified from its greyish blue-toned nose, eyes, fur, and nails. It is an energetic dog that loves to have fun and play,and is highly intelligent. 

    The Blue Nose Pitbull stands at about 1 and a half to 2 feet tall and can weigh between 30 and 85 pounds. 

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers are friendly dogs, especially with children, and are very loyal to human companions. Despite its squat, more muscular build, this dog is still super-agile and loves to play. 

    It is roughly 6-8 inches shorter than its cousin, the American Pitbull, and weighs between 24 and 37 pounds. 

  • American Staffordshire Terrier

  • These dogs are small but very strong. They are bright and can become easily bored if not adequately stimulated through an attentive owner or training. They are generally very friendly towards humans.

    The American Staffordshire Terrier can reach heights of about 16 to 19 inches and weigh approximately 40-60 pounds. 

  • Monster Blue

  • The Monster Blue is a crossbreed of a Dogue de Bordeaux and a Neapolitan Mastiff. It has a strong jaw and a muscular and thick build. Although it is a relatively rare Pitbull type, it still has a lot in common with other types of Pitbull.  

  • Chamuco


  • The Chamuco is a rare Mexican Pitbull that comes from a mix that includes the American Pitbull Terrier, American Bully, Mexican Bulldog, Pitbull Blue, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire, and possibly the Boxer!

    This interesting dog's ears are high-set with the tips falling, and its tail is short with a tapered end. It is around 14 inches tall and can weigh anywhere between 25-40 pounds. The Chamuco is fearless but also loyal and very protective.

  • American Bully


  • The American Bully is a descendent of the American Pitbull Terrier. It is shorter and broader than the American Pitbull Terrier and has a very muscular build. The American Bully weighs an incredible 174 pounds!

    Pitbull myths vs. reality

    Although the Pitbull is known as an aggressive dog, it is not true. With proper training and a loving environment, this dog is quite the opposite. Let's examine the myths and the realities around one of the world's most misunderstood dogs.

    Myth 1: Pitbulls are a dangerous breed

    This is not true. Not every Pitbull type is considered dangerous. The American Temperament Test Society carried out a test (in December 2017) for dog temperament. The average pass rate for over 35 thousand different dogs was 83.7%. 

    The American Pitbull Terrier had a pass of 87.4%, The American Staffordshire Terrier had a pass of 85.5%, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier passed at 90.9%. This shows that these Pitbull types are not inherently dangerous.

    Myth 2: Pitbulls can do the dangerous 'lockjaw'

    Lockjaw doesn't exist. Each and every canine's head and jaw work the same, and a locking function does not exist in any of them. A Terrier is very tenacious, and when they grasp onto a toy or prey, they can keep it held in their mouth, but they do not lock their jaws onto it. 

    Myth 3: Rescued Pitbull dogs were abused, so they're aggressive

    Just like any other rescue dog, some will have suffered abuse, and others not. Pitbulls make up the highest population of rescue shelter dogs simply because there are so many of them, to begin with. Sadly they are also the most euthanized dogs in shelters. 

    Just like any other dog, rescue or not, socialization is the key to having a well-tempered dog. A socialized dog will have a better disposition with less aggressive tendencies.

    Myth 4: Pitbulls smile

    The science paper is out on this question, and it may be true! Any Pitbull owner will tell you that their furry friends give the best smiles. Pitbulls tend to have large mouths and strong jaws, which make their "smiles" all the brighter. 

    Final Thoughts

    It is unfair to link a dog's present to its past, and Pitbulls don't deserve the bad rap they have. Pitbull puppies are adorable! And most of them grow into loyal and loving dogs, especially with early training. 

    There are different types of pitbull breeds, and they have different characteristics and colors. Whether you have a brindle pitbull buddy, a black pitbull companion, a grey one, or a tan furry friend, they can make a gentle, caring, fun family pet with proper training and love. 

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