A long time ago, when I didn’t know much about dogs or dog breeds, when I encountered dogs that look like Pitbulls, they were, for me, all Pitbulls. But, that wasn’t the case, and if you did the same thing as I did, I can’t blame you.
It was quite a job to distinguish Pitbulls from Pitbull look-alikes. Why? Because the American Kennel Club (AKC) doesn’t recognize a Pitbull breed as it is. However, the American Pitbull terrier is a purebred dog originally bred to be an expert player in dog sports. Sadly, they are often connoted as aggressive dogs.
Because of the thought that Pitbulls are dangerous dogs, breed-specific legislation (laws that ban or regulate certain types of dogs to try to reduce the number of dog attacks on other animals and humans) took loving pitties from many families.
To better differentiate Pitbulls from other types of dogs, let’s see the physical characteristics of American Pitbull terriers. We can mainly distinguish them from other dog breeds by their tapered head, triangular eyes, and strong, powerful jaw. Their muscular body is long and sturdy, with a short tail like a lash.
If you need a dog with high energy levels, these dogs are your cup of tea. Whether you need a working dog or a friend that protects you, a Pitbull can fit either part, and be an excellent guard dog. The average lifespan of a Pitbull is 12 to 14 years. However, there are always exceptions.
Even though Pitbulls have fearsome expressions, they are a very calm and friendly breed of dog, and they can be the best dogs if raised and trained properly.
Now, to the point! Let’s compare and contrast dogs that look like Pitbulls!
What Are Some Of The Most Common Breeds That Look Like Pitbulls?
Many dog breeds share a similar or the same physical characteristics such as a muscular body, a strong jaw, and a square face, but nearly all Pitbull-type dogs have a lot of differences in comparison with American Pitbull terrier. What are those? For example, we can see the difference in size, playing, training, socializing, and interaction with other animals and humans.
Many dog owners discard the fact that the Pitbull is a very gentle dog breed, and that he can make a wonderful family member in great conditions.
Now, let’s check dogs that look like Pitbulls that we often mistake them for!
The Bullmastiff is a watchdog that belongs to the Mastiff family. Although they have a similar body type and similar facial features, Bullmastiffs are very large dogs. They have somewhat hanging jowls that you can differentiate from Pitbulls, and they come in a variety of coat colors. They can grow up to 27 inches, and weigh up to 120 pounds.
These dogs were originally bred to be guard dogs protecting game from poachers in England. For that reason, their character is a bit firm and serious, but on the other hand, they are great family dogs that are very protective of their owner.
As a highly intelligent breed, they can adapt to almost any situation required by their owner. However, they need firm training due to the fact that they are quite stubborn. It’s crucial that you show them that you are in control.
Unlike most dogs, they have a shorter lifespan, and they are prone to plenty of health problems. When they are puppies, their energy levels are high, but when they grow up, they are a bit lazier and messier. However, if you own a Bullmastiff, know that he will be loyal to you till the end of time.
2. Presa Canario
Another dog that belongs to the Mastiff family is the Presa Canario – both a working dog bred to herd cattle, and an excellent guard dog. Why would someone think that a Presa Canario is a Pitbull? Well, their muscular body is very similar to the body of a Pitbull, but the Presa Canario is a bit larger.
They are described as very fearless, protective, and confident dogs. Nonetheless, they require a lot of socialization and training since they can be extra aggressive without it. But, that makes them ideal guard dogs with whom you won’t have to worry about strangers in your yard.
Their massive size requires a lot of exercise and running in order to maintain their bulky body and muscles. When they fully grow, it is expected that they will weigh over 100 pounds.
They can be great family members if you offer them intense and proper training, but you also have to be an experienced owner in order to maintain their character.
3. American Bulldog
One of the dogs that look like a Pitbull is surely the American Bulldog. Their muscular, stocky body, powerful jaws, and broad head are probably the main things as to why people mistake them for Pitbulls. They can be taller than Pitbulls, with their maximum height being 28 inches, while Pitbulls are mostly 21 inches at the withers.
As working dogs on a ranch or on a farm, the American Bulldog comes in white patches of color, and can weigh over 100 pounds. Although muscular, they are very light-footed. They need daily activities to fulfill their energy stamina.
American Bulldogs are intelligent, but they can be very stubborn when it comes to training. However, their loyalty and their friendly, affectionate nature make them wonderful family pets. Don’t expect your American Bulldog to guard your house as they are more likely to be friendly with strangers than attack them.
There are two types of American Bulldog: the standard and the bully. The bully is recognizable by its shorter muzzle, but we will deal with the American bully later in the text.
Another big dog that resembles a Pitbull is the Boerboel. The Boerboel was initially bred to protect South African farms from dangerous predators. They can grow up to 27 inches, and weigh as much as the average human. You can check the Boerboel growth chart to see just how big they can get!
Their powerful jaws, blocky and broad head, and muscular body might be the reason why they look like a Pitbull. Boerboels are considered the most agile of all mastiff members. This dog breed is described as very confident and dominant, and eager to learn.
While they might look intimidating, their loving, gentle soul makes them great companions for kids as they love spending time with their loved ones. They are not connoted as aggressive dogs unless there are provocations from the other side.
As puppies, they require socialization and training just as all dog breeds do. If you haven’t had a big dog in your home, this dog would probably be too much to handle.
5. English Bulldog
While having a comparison in its muscular exterior to the Pitbull, the English Bulldog has a big difference in size. The bulldogs are a lot smaller (their height is a maximum of 16 inches at their shoulders, while Pitbulls reach 21 inches in height.
Unlike Pitbulls, they do not need a lot of training because they have low stamina. And, for the most part, you can distinguish them by their pushed-in nose, small ears, loose skin on their head, and their rolling gait. With those facts, I’m sure you can tell which dog breed is a Bulldog.
Also, this dog breed is considered well adaptable. With their friendly, loving nature, they easily win the hearts of children and we “big kids” who adore cute little canines that are ready to curl up in your lap as soon as they have the chance.
Despite their low stamina for exercise, English bulldogs love to go on walks to keep you company.
Why are Boxers considered to be dogs that look like Pitbulls? At first glance, their height is a few inches higher than the average height of Pitbulls, their color patterns are similar to the ones of Pitbulls, ranging from brindle, white, fawn, and multicolored – and, of course, they have a muscular body with a strong square jaw.
But, how can we tell the difference? As we said, Boxers are larger and have a more compact muzzle. Their high-energy levels are similar to the ones of pitties. In order to have a dog with a great temperament and a loving personality, you need to train them big time. But, knowing the fact that they are intelligent, that shouldn’t be a problem.
If you’re looking for a dog that you can laugh with, then know that they are very fun, plus they are loyal, and they can make friends with anyone who shows them kindness.
7. Cane Corso
Besides the misconception that the Cane Corso is a fighting dog, the Cane Corso is most known for its large head. We also call it the Italian Mastiff, and it was bred to be a powerful hunting dog.
The Cane Corso doesn’t belong to the Terrier family, but it has a similar attitude and appearance to that of a Pitbull. When comparing a Cane Corso and a Pitbull, we can say that a Cane Corso’s face is wider just like a Pitbull’s face, but a Cane Corso tends to have a floppier face, and they are heavier – weighing about 120 pounds, and standing up to 28 inches.
The name says it all. When we translate it from Italian to English, we get “dog protector”. There is no need to say that they are magnificent guard dogs that are devoted to keeping their family and home safe. However, they are not aggressive dogs when trained and raised properly, despite the fact that some owners use them for fights.
As a very agile and athletic dog breed, they are adaptable, and they can help you keep your livestock safe on the farm.
8. Bull Terrier
At first glance, you may think that you saw a Pitbull because of their stocky body full of muscles, and they being low to the ground at a height of 22 inches. However, their small, pointed ears and oval-shaped face placed in their sleek head make them easier to distinguish and differentiate from a Pitbull.
The Bull Terrier belongs to the Terrier family, so that’s why we see the resemblance between the two concerning mannerisms and activity. In order to thrive, they require a lot of attention and exercise.
They are a great fit for a large family as they don’t prefer being alone for too long. Their goofy personality will make you smile all day long. As all dogs, they require proper training. They can also do the job of protecting the property, and you can expect them to chase anything smaller than them on four legs.
9. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the breed that is most similar to the Pitbull. With their similar head shape and body, and the same large neck and square face, they are often mistaken for Pitbulls. The fact that they were considered to be the same breed tells you a lot.
They stand 16 inches maximum at their shoulders, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they are a very powerful breed.
When you see their muscular body and fierce stare, you may think that they are extremely dangerous. But, that appearance is just a disguise of a wonderful dog that cannot wait to be your new family pet.
With proper training, they can develop great muscles in their torsos and legs. They are great with strangers, and their playful nature and loyalty to their owner are things worth having in your life.
Although they are very intelligent, Staffies often get themselves in trouble because they don’t think twice when going into dangerous situations.
If you find Staffies as an interesting dog breed, you can take a look at our list of 10 reputable Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeders from all over the US!
10. Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is definitely one of the dogs that look like Pitbulls. Their color patterns are really something else. They can come in white or gray-blue, with some black spots of different sizes.
The Pitbull was a part of this old breed just like the Catahoula Leopard Dog, and the Black Mouth Cur. It is no wonder why they have resemblance in looks to a Pitbull with their muscular body. The Alapaha Blue Blood bulldog stands at 26 inches, with their shoulders being very broad.
They require training and socialization in order to behave properly. This dog breed is described as very loving, and they can be great guard dogs as they are very possessive and protective of their loved ones.
11. Dogo Argentino
The Dogo Argentino is very similar in facial structure and build to a Pitbull, but their color patterns are different. This dog breed mostly comes in pure white all over its body. They were bred in Argentina in order to hunt and protect their owner.
They are described as a very friendly and cheerful breed, so to be precise, they are great family members that will stay loyal to you. Because of their hunting and protective genes, they can be aloof with strangers and they could show aggression.
Even though they have almost the same wide snout, strong jaws, and muscular body, they are much larger than a Pitbull, and they are known to be a much calmer breed than a Pitbull.
They are excellent guard dogs with whom you don’t have to be scared of anything. However, they require a lot of training and exercise, so don’t expect them to be good with other animals in the house.
12. Ambullneo Mastiff
Photo from: @presidentialk9
The Ambullneo Mastiff is not a very popular dog breed, but that doesn’t change the fact that it belongs to one of those dogs that look like Pitbulls. What are their similarities? Well, it is their facial and bodily build, their pointy ears, and their short, droopy face – but they are significantly larger, weighing up to 150 pounds.
The Ambullneo Mastiff is a new breed created to be the optimal guard dog, and it comes in black or deep gray colors. They are developed from three types of bulldogs and three types of European Mastiffs. That’s how Ambullneo came into this world.
Because of that, we now have a dog that is fast to bond with a new family, loyal till the end, and a great snuggle buddy despite its fearsome appearance.
However, they require training in order to do their job of guarding while not being dangerous to others.
13. American Staffordshire Terrier
A long time ago, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pitbull Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier were the same dog breed; however, they no longer are. Now, they are all different breeds.
Amstaffs look like Pitbulls as they have a similar stocky, muscular body type, with a broad head and well defined jaws. They stand at a maximum of 19 inches at the withers.
Their cheekbones are really pronounced, and their round, dark eyes are set wide apart. If you choose an Amstaff from a responsible breeder, you may expect your dog to be well-socialized, trustworthy, and loyal, with their lovable personality making them ready to play whenever you want.
They are easily trainable, so make sure to provide them both physical and mental activities as they adore them.
14. American Bully
The American Bully is also a member of the Pitbull family, and their popularity is high in the United States. Despite their popularity, neither the AKC nor the Kennel Club has accepted them as a purebred dog.
The main difference you can tell when looking at an American Bully and a Pitbull is that American Bullies have shorter legs and are strongly muscular. Their easy-going nature is a lot easier to handle than the character of a Pitbull.
Their cheek muscles are very pronounced, their head is broad, and on top of that, their ears are high set, with their muzzle rounded on the upper side.
Their loving nature results in adoring lap time with their favorite human, so it’s fair to say that they are great companion dogs.
15. Olde English Bulldogge
With the Olde English Bulldogge, they tried to recreate the old bulldog of the 1800s. This breed picked up their genes from the Bullmastiff, the American Pitbull Terrier, and the English and American Bulldog.
Although sharing the same lineage, the Olde English Bulldogge is a different breed. At first, they may look similar, but this dog has a larger head, being generally thicker, as well as having a shorter bulldog snout.
The Olde English Bulldogge is a great therapy dog, but it also enjoys competitions. They are less aggressive than the bulldogs of the 1800s.
16. Dogue De Bordeaux
The Dogue De Bordeaux is one of the most muscular and powerful dog breeds that resembles a Pitbull quite a lot. It belongs to the mastiff family, and it can stand up to 27 inches tall. Its large head is quite a catch. With their strong jaws and stocky body, they are often mistaken for a Pitbull.
They are very agile and fast when they need to intervene. Although a very stubborn breed, they are very loyal to their owner. However, you need to show them that you are the boss if you want to have control over them, and you can achieve that with firm training when they are puppies.
With their sweet and sensitive soul, I’m sure that you will get along in an instant.
The Dogue de Bordeaux shares the same history as the Pitbull as they were used in the hideous practice of bull-baiting.
By providing you with 16 dogs that look like Pitbulls, I hope you now have learned the differences, and you can show off to your friends next time you discuss the dog breeds you see.
It is a known fact that Pitbulls have a bad reputation due to the fact that they have been trained to fight. They are considered very dangerous and aggressive. But, I have seen more aggressive breeds like German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, and even Chihuahuas to be more likely to bite and ambush than a Pitbull.
Any dog with proper training and great conditions and environment is more likely to be a wonderful family member, and also the best dog you can welcome into your family.