American Bulldog vs. Pitbull: What’s the Difference?

American Bulldog vs. American Pitbull

American Bulldogs and Pitbulls are undeniably both amazing dog breeds. However, these two are often mistaken for each other because of their similarities in terms of appearance, size, and temperament. 

The American Bulldog is a standalone breed, while the Pitbull is a family of breeds, which include the American Bully, American Pit Bull Terrier, and more. Bulldogs are slightly larger than Pitbulls in terms of build. However, both share a similar temperament, exercise needs, and care requirements.

In this guide, we will walk you through the differences and similarities between an American Bulldog and a Pitbull, so it will be easier to distinguish the two and decide which one is best suited for you. 

American BulldogPitbull
19 – 28 inches
17 – 20 inches
60 – 120 pounds
30 – 60 pounds
Affectionate, Not Vocal
Stubborn, Loyal
Activity Level:
Activity Level:
10 – 12 years
8 – 16 years
$1,800 – $3,500
$800 – $5,000

Breed History

American Bulldog 

The history of American Bulldogs can be traced back to their Old English Bulldog ancestors in England. 

These dogs were used for bull baiting in the 17th century before they were brought to North America as working dogs to help on farms.

To create the ideal all-around breed for their particular duties, farmers crossed them with other working dogs. These breeds were used as herding and hunting dogs because of their intelligence and agility. 

However, the American Bulldog breed was drastically reduced during World War I and II. 

Luckily, breeders John D. Johnson and Alan Scott were able to repopulate and develop the breed into the American Bulldogs that we now use as companion dog breeds. 

The breed was finally recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1999 and joined the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service in 2019.


Pitbulls originated in the United Kingdom in the 1800s. Just like American Bulldogs, these dogs were also used in bull baiting. However, in 1835, bull baiting was prohibited, and people turned their attention to ratting

The Pitbulls were then used in hunting rats. In fact, the “pit” in Pitbull comes from ratting activity, as the rats were placed into a pit so they could not escape.

As the practice became more popular, Bulldogs were crossed with Terriers to produce more agility and speed. Thus, the origin of Bull and Terriers or commonly known as the first Pit Bull Terrier. 

It was in the 1870s when British immigrants brought Pitbulls to North America, and they were used as working dogs before they became a popular dog breed suited for the family. 


While both American Bulldogs and Pitbulls are sturdy and muscular dogs, Bulldogs have stocky and broad shoulders and wide chests, while Pitbulls are slightly leaner and have more clearly defined muscles than Bulldogs.

The most noticeable difference between the two breeds is their size since American Bulldogs are generally larger than Pitbulls. 

American Bulldogs weigh about 60 to 120 pounds and stand between 19 and 28 inches tall. In contrast, Pitbulls weigh around 30 to 60 pounds and are only between 17 and 20 inches in height. 

An American Bulldog’s face is generally large and square-shaped, with a broad muzzle. These dogs also have visible facial wrinkles on their cheeks and around the mouth. 

Check out this photo of an American Bulldog:

American Bulldog standing on the grass

Meanwhile, Pitbulls feature rounded faces with high-set ears. They also do not have creases on their face like American Bulldogs, and their noses have modest upward curves. 

Check out the American Pitbull below:

American Pitbull standing in the forest

As with their coat colors, Pitbulls can come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. In fact, there are 23 coat color variations of the breed. 

On the other hand, the color of American Bulldogs is usually solid such as white, lilac, brown, blue, and black. However, note that these dogs may also come in brindle, merle, a mix of two colors, and may sport different markings.

To have a visual idea of how a Pitbull and an American Bulldog differ in terms of appearance, you can watch this video.

Pitbull vs Bulldog

Temperament and Personality

American Bulldogs and Pitbulls have very similar temperaments. Although they have a reputation for being aggressive, both dog breeds can get along easily with other people, especially kids. 

The most noticeable difference between the two is how they tolerate other animals. Due to Pitbulls’ recent history in dogfighting, these dogs are generally more aggressive towards other pets than Bulldogs.

Note, however, that while American Bulldogs tolerate other dogs better than Pitbulls, they may still need early socialization before saying that your American Bulldog is safe to be around other dogs and cats. 

Likewise, if you do not like noisy dogs, you should go for American Bulldogs, as they are quieter than Pitbulls. Pitbulls are known to talk a lot as they try to make a variety of vocalizations to communicate with people. 

A friend of mine who has a certain liking for Pitbull or Bulldog type breeds has owned both an American Bulldog and a Pitbull simultaneously in a multi-pet household, along with other breeds. According to him, he never had any issues with both his American Bulldog and his Pitbull, but has a few tips.

One is to ensure that you get them as young puppies so that they can be socialized as early as possible and they can grow along with each other.

Despite their differences, both American Bulldogs and Pitbulls make great family dogs. Both are very affectionate and loyal, in contrast to their intimidating looks. 

Exercise and Training

American Bulldog running on a hiking trail

Both American Bulldogs and Pitbulls have high exercise needs since both were bred to work all day. This means you may need to take your dogs for at least an hour of exercise every day. 

If taking them out for walks is not feasible, make sure you have a high-fenced backyard at home where they can run around and exhaust their energy. Remember that it is best to have them supervised all the time. 

Training-wise, it can be harder to train an American Bulldog because of its stubbornness. That is why this dog breed is better suited for experienced dog owners compared to Pitbulls. 

Regardless, both dogs need an owner who is comfortable being firm in training. 

Further, both American Bulldogs and Pitbulls need to be socialized while still young. Without doing so, other animals are at risk since the two are not known to be friendly with other animals when not socialized. 

Nutrition Needs

Due to the size of an American Bulldog, these dogs will tend to consume more dog food than Pitbulls. On average, you will need to feed around four to five cups of high-quality dog food to American Bulldogs.

Pitbulls, on the other hand, will eat less than the average dog food consumed by the American Bulldog. However, Pitbulls are not picky eaters and will consume whatever you decide to put on their plates. 

To accurately know how much dog food your dog needs, it is best to have its diet checked and assessed by a licensed veterinarian. Each dog will have different feeding needs depending on its size and lifestyle. 

Grooming Needs

American Pitbull taking a dip in the river

Pitbulls and American Bulldogs are both short-haired dogs that are moderate shedders, which means they will require the same level of grooming. Weekly brushing will help manage shedding in both dog breeds. 

However, due to the wrinkles on the face of American Bulldogs, owners may need to extend extra effort and make sure to keep their wrinkles free from excess moisture. This is to avoid bacteria buildup that may lead to infections. 

Like any other dogs, Pitbulls and American Bulldogs need regular baths at least once a month or as needed. Make sure to keep their nails trimmed and their ears cleaned to prevent infections. 

Lifespan and Health Problems

American Bulldogs can live for about 10 to 12 years, while Pitbulls have a life expectancy of 8 to 16 years. Given enough love, care, and veterinary support, they can reach their maximum lifespan.

However, both dogs are prone to several health issues affecting their health and ultimately reducing their lifespan.

Some health issues most common to American Bulldogs are cherry eye, hip dysplasia, and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL). These dogs are also prone to obesity, so it is important to watch their food intake. 

You should also watch out for symptoms of mange, thyroid problems, and bladder stones in your American Bulldogs, as they are also predisposed to these problems. 

Pitbulls, on the other hand, are known to experience gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), aortic stenosis, degenerative myelopathy, and skin problems such as allergies and skin cancer. 

Cerebral ataxia and heart diseases are also common in Pitbulls. If you notice symptoms of these diseases, it is best to have them checked with your licensed veterinarian immediately. 

Both American Bulldogs and Pitbulls are predisposed to life-threatening illnesses. Having a routine check-up with your licensed veterinarian is important to ensure your dog stays healthy.

Likewise, getting pet insurance will also be very helpful if, in any case, your dog encounters medical emergencies in its lifetime. 

Puppy Price

American Pitbull standing on concrete

On average, potential owners wanting to take home an American Bulldog may need to shell out $1,800 to $3,500 for a good-quality puppy. Pitbulls are priced slightly cheaper at $800 to $5,000.

However, expect to spend up to $8,000 on American Bulldogs and up to $10,000 on Pitbulls for puppies of superior bloodlines.

Several other factors affect an American Bulldog and Pitbulls’ price, including its overall quality, the breeder’s reputation, and the breeder’s location. 

It is important to note that both dog breeds are not generally cheap, which means you should be cautious with those selling these dogs at a very low price. Dealing only with reputable breeders of the American Bulldog and Pitbull is a great way not to get scammed. 

Similarities Between American Bulldogs and Pitbulls

The main similarity between American Bulldogs and Pitbulls is their origin. Both of these dogs have ancestry in the Old English Bulldog and were also used for bull-baiting.

In terms of appearance, these two breeds have the same stocky and muscular look, which is why a lot of people confuse them for each other. 

As with their temperament, American Bulldogs and Pitbulls require early socialization to smoothly get around new people and get along with different animals. 

Regardless of which dog you choose, you can be confident that you will be bringing home an affectionate and loyal dog that will not only brighten up your home but also go to great lengths to protect you and your family.

American Bulldog vs. Pitbull: Which Is Better for You? 

Muscular American Pitbull during morning walk

With these two breeds almost identical in appearance and personality, deciding which one to take home can be hard. So, here’s a summary to make it easier for you to decide. 

You should take home an American Bulldog if you’re:

  • Financially and physically ready to take care of a big dog. 
  • An experienced dog owner. 
  • Looking for a dog with a confident demeanor and clown-like antics.
  • Able to provide training and have the time to socialize them. 
  • Have a spacious yard where your dog can run around. 

Meanwhile, you should take home a Pitbull if you:

  • Are looking for a smaller dog than the American Bulldog.
  • Don’t have other dogs at home. 
  • Have a lot of time and attention to give your dog.
  • Have small kids at home. 
  • Are able to provide firm training and gentle discipline.

While the final decision is still in your hands, it is important that you consider everything that was discussed above. This is to avoid getting a dog that is mismatched for you and your lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

American Bulldogs and Pitbulls are equally beautiful dogs. Although they may have similarities, these two dogs have a lot of differences in terms of their purpose, appearance, and behavior. 

Choosing which to take home between the two highly depends on the potential owner’s lifestyle, ability to handle the dogs, and schedule. 

Generally, if you have kids at home and have a lot of time to spare for physical activities, you should get a Pitbull. However, the American Bulldog is a better choice if you are looking for a calm yet protective family dog. 

With the right amount of love, attention, care, and a lot of patience in training, both dogs will surely make a great addition to the right family. 

Have you decided yet which between the American Bulldog and the Pitbull fits your lifestyle and preferences better? Let us know in the comments. 

Leave a Comment

You may also like