There are hundreds of dog breeds out there, and they all have their unique traits. Naturally, some of these dogs look and act alike. We’re talking about personalities and, of course, physical appearances. And Pitbulls are among the most popular picks. While they don’t always get enough love or recognition, these dogs are truly fascinating.
More importantly, there are quite a few doggos that look almost exactly like Pitbulls. The list includes Bulldogs, Terriers, Boxers, and Mastiffs, to name a few. So, if you’re into Pitbulls but would like to check out other dogs with similar features, we’ve got your back! Read on to learn about the 12 dog breeds that are often mistaken for Pitbulls.
What Is a Pitbull?
The AKC doesn’t recognize Pitbulls as a standalone breed. It’s more of a generalizing term than anything else.
Physically, most Pitbulls are lean, mean, and have strong bones and muscles. These highly active, energetic canines have quite a lot of stamina, too. Other common traits include a smooth, easy-to-clean coat, short tail, large ears, and broader-than-average chest.
The 12 Dog Breeds Similar to Pitbull
1. American Bulldogs
Strong and agile, American Bulldogs resemble Pitbulls in more than one way. They are a bit larger and taller, though, and often reach 28 inches in height (Pitbulls rarely go over 24 inches). American Bulldogs are intelligent, headstrong dogs that can, at times, be stubborn. But, generally, they’re happy to follow commands. With the right approach, it shouldn’t be hard to train a Bulldog.
That makes them a solid choice for a large farm. These furry chaps will not only keep the cattle in line but scare away predators and burglars alike. This breed can also be a great choice for an active family that likes to play and exercise outdoors and keep the dog busy. However, when left alone, American Bulldogs become anxious and destructive.
2. English Bulldogs
If you live in the UK or want to adopt a foreign breed, English Bulldogs deserve your attention. While they’re not quite as similar to Pitbulls as their American counterparts, it’s the muscular bodies and personality traits that put them on the list. Loving and caring by nature, English Bulldogs have that world-famous wrinkly face. Kids love this breed, and the dogs are very caring, patient, and tolerant toward the little ones.
So, families with children in the market for an affectionate, loyal, and predictable doggo might want to go with an English Bulldog. These dogs don’t need hours of training, by the way: in contrast to most Pitbulls, they will be happy with 30–60 minutes of daily activity. Also, British Bulldogs are considerably smaller (the tallest dogs reach 16 inches in height).
3. Bull Terriers
These oh-so-popular doggos have very distinctive features: egg-shaped heads, small, loving eyes, and perky ears. They’re also pretty big (males weigh up to 84 pounds and reach 22 inches) and live for 10–14 years. Rough, tough, and with mighty bones and muscles, these guys are the ultimate guard dogs. With that, they’re also playful, cheerful, and eager to please.
To raise a happy Bull Terrier, it’s very important to socialize it at a young age. In training, be gentle and rewarding, yet make sure the dog recognizes you as the master. Also, in contrast to Bulldogs, Bull Terriers need 1–2 hours of exercise per day to stay fit.
4. Staffordshire Bull Terriers
Wait, don’t these dogs belong to the same breed as Bull Terriers? Well, not quite: while Staffies do come from the same place and have a shared history, they are their own breed. Besides, physically, these two pooches are quite different. Staffordshire chaps are much smaller and shorter (like English Bulldogs, they rarely go over 16 inches in height).
That said, they do make every single inch count. Thanks to the well-built, athletic bodies, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are imposing and can make housebreakers think twice before stepping foot into the yard. Modern-day Staffies are loyal, cheerful, and tolerant toward kids. But they still have some of those pit-fighting genes left. So, early socialization is imperative.
A male Boxer stands 25 inches tall and has an upbeat, sweet-tempered personality. Curious by nature, Boxer pups are a little bit like cats in their behavior. With a little bit of training and positive reinforcement, it shouldn’t be hard to shape them into obedient, well-mannered doggos. That’s why they’re often considered the ultimate watchdogs and protectors for kids.
Do they look like Pitbulls, though? This greatly depends on the breeding. Most Boxers are bigger than Pitbulls, but they share the same color combos. The waist (skinny and pronounced) and chest structure are also similar. The jaws are different, however, and Boxers are generally more susceptible to various health problems.
6. Cane Corsos
Respected by the Romans for their strength and bravery, Cane Corsos, also known as Italian Mastiffs, are often used as watchdogs. Bred to be hunters and warriors, they are aggressive toward strangers yet loving, caring, and obedient around the right people. If you create a strong bond with a Corso, you’ll get an affectionate, devoted, and cuddly furry friend.
These dogs don’t look exactly like Pitbulls, but the resemblances are still there. Both the physical appearance and overall temper of this breed are similar to that of Pitbulls. But they’re bigger, heavier, and stronger. Italian Mastiffs easily reach 120 pounds in weight and 28 inches in height, making for imposing guardians.
7. Presa Canarios
Here, we have another Mastiff breed, only this time around, it’s hailing from Spain. More specifically, Presa Canarios were brought up in the Canary Islands (hence the name). Just like Cane Corsos, these dogs are big and hard to mess with. The peak weight and height for a male are 140 pounds and 26 inches, which is well above the average.
Brought up to fight off (and maybe even kill) other dogs and wolves, Canarios aren’t nearly as affectionate as Pitbulls or Cane Corsos. They are courageous, protective, and self-willed, yet can also be aggressive with fellow pooches and humans, both adults and kids. To tame a Presa Canario, you’ll need a great deal of training and discipline.
As far as the heaviest dogs go, Boerboels are easily in the top 10. They weigh 150–200 pounds and reach 70 cm/27 inches in height. Bred in South Africa as protectors, these giants are often seen on farms and mansions serving as guardians. They also excel at hunting big game: records from the early 20th century show these dogs attacking and killing leopards. In Afrikaans, the name Boerboel means “farm bulldog”.
This is important: Boer Dogs are banned in many countries, including Denmark, France, Singapore, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania. They are courageous, highly protective dogs but aren’t at all patient toward strangers and other animals. It’s very well possible to train a South African Mastiff into a faithful companion, but it will take dedication.
9. Ambullneo Mastiffs
Ambullneos are among the lesser-known Mastiff dogs. That said, they do have a striking resemblance to Pitbulls. Unless you’re a professional breeder or a big fan of dogs, you’ll probably mistake an Ambullneo Mastiff for one. Intelligent, fearless, and ready to eliminate any threat in the blink of an eye, this doggo is a keeper.
It has a diverse color palette, but solid black Ambullneos look especially stunning. So, where did this breed come from? It’s a result of crossbreeding programs from the 80s. These furry buds have the genes of Neapolitan Mastiffs, English Mastiffs, and, of course, Pitbulls. So, if you’re in the market for an exotic yet loyal dog, look no further!
This is the last Mastiff on the list, we promise! Bullmastiffs are closely related to Ambullneo Mastiffs. The reason: they come from the same program. That’s why this breed is also closely related to Pitbulls. What makes Bullmastiffs stand out, though? Well, like all dogs from this family, they are big and bulky (120 pounds, 27 inches).
Originally, they were bred by the British to serve as protectors for wild game (mostly to scare away poachers). Therefore, they’re remarkable guardians. Attentive, dedicated, and very territorial, Bullmastiffs are a bit more serious and less cheerful than most dogs on today’s list. Thus, it will take a bit more time and effort to bond with such a doggo.
11. Dogo Argentinos
Moving on with our list of Pitbull-esque breeds from across the globe, meet Dogo Argentinos. Originally from Argentina (yes, you assumed correctly), they look very much like the average Pitbull. The physique, facial features, and overall attitude say it all. The one thing that’s definitely different is, of course, the color: Dogo Argentinos are famous for their sleek, all-white coats.
Perfectly capable of hunting big game and guarding livestock against predators, these dogs know very well what it feels like to be a leader. That doesn’t mean they’re hard-hearted! On the contrary: this breed has a vibrant, humble, and welcoming attitude toward animals and humans.
12. Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs
These chaps aren’t that popular among Pitbull fans, but they are quite fascinating. Olde English Bulldogges are their forefathers: it’s believed that US breeders from the 18th century were specifically training them for bull baiting. After this cruel sport was banned, the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog turned into herding dogs. For many decades, the Lane family members were the only Alapaha breeders in the world.
Male Blue Blood Bulldogs are almost twice as heavy as females. Both sexes have an eye-catching color pattern: the coat is mostly gray–blue and white, with black dots scattered all over the doggo’s body. And, like most Pitbull and Bulldog descendants, these canines are protective of the people they care about and neutral or aggressive when meeting strangers.
Finding the perfect dog to join your family isn’t a small task. Even if you already know that toy or large breeds aren’t your cup of tea, there are still hundreds of breeds to pick from. At a certain point, it gets a bit confusing, especially when you can’t really see the difference between American and English Bulldogs or Corsos and Canarios.
That’s totally normal: very few pet parents have an eye for that! For today’s list, we hand-picked 12 popular dog breeds that look like Pitbulls. While they’re all unique, these pooches do have similar personalities, physical traits, and behavioral patterns. So, go slow, weigh in all the pros/cons, and only then take your pick!
Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory