Pitbull Breeds & Types of Pitbulls – A List of EVERY Pitbull

American Pitbull Terrier Sleeping
This American Pitbull Terrier is a purebred dog.

With the media attention that Pitbull Breeds get, I’m sure most of us would be pretty confident in identifying this dog immediately.

Would you be surprised to hear that in a study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, a significant amount of shelter workers identified various purebred dog breeds such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog and American Bull Terrier as a Pittie?

This terminology, seems to have morphed into a macro-category used as a metaphor to describe dangerous dogs. How could this confusion happen? Let’s delve a little further into this dog.

What is a Pitbull?

They are a type of dog (not a specific breed), which is often used to classify a number of purebred and mixed breed dogs. Within this type of dog there are a number of Pitbull Breeds including:

  1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  2. American Pitbull Terrier (APBT)
  3. American Bulldog
  4. American Staffordshire Terrier
The Four Types of Pitbulls
Pictured, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (1), American Bully (3), American Staffordshire Terrier (4) and a APBT (2)

Types of Pitbull dogs first originated in Britain.

Historically, the barbaric Brits were fans of these bloodsports known as bear and bull baiting. They would tie a bull or a bear to a post in a pit and set a dog to attack.

The Brits cross-bred bulldogs for their strength with the feistiness of terriers. The aim was to breed strong, powerful and aggressive dogs. Once these bloodsports were outlawed, they turned to dog fighting as it was easier to conceal as an underground operation.

Types of Pitbulls are still used widely to this day in illegal dog fighting rings.

With their history, these dogs have earned a very bad reputation and are banned in a large number of states and municipalities across the US, largely erasing their history of being known as a nanny dog.

Red Nose Pitbull
The reality is that when raised in the right hands, with early socialization and consistent training, they can be be the most loyal and loving dog you could ever wish to meet.

They carry a contagious zest for life which always brightens your day. Had a rubbish day in work? Nothing will beat that smile that welcomes you through the door.

Pits are intelligent and love to please. This makes them trainable and obedient; this is actually their downfall. Pitties will do whatever you ask them to, this is how they get themselves into the wrong hands. If you train them to collect the mail, they will. If you train them to fight, they will.

Whilst we have mentioned that they are a type of dog, we need to get specific with regards to purebreds, mixed breeds and hybrids. American Pitbull Terriers are a type of Pitbull too. We will now discuss the various breeds and mixed breeds which fall under this classification to help you understand.

American Pitbull Terrier (APBT)

The APBT is a purebred dog, but, due to its checkered past is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The APBT stands taller than some of the other Pitbull Breeds, usually around 6-8 inches taller than a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Many breeders argue that the only true Pittie dog is the APBT. Most breed specific legislation applies to the APBT and the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Under the APBT, you may notice that some dogs are named either a Rednose or a Bluenose. These aren’t a separate breed, they are just a particular color of the purebred dog.

They still have all the same qualities and characteristics, if anything, because they can be more sought after, over-breeding can result in more prevalent health problems.

Rednose Pittie

Red Nose Pitbull Puppy
The Red Nose is a type of APBT, not a different breed, just a specific color.

You will easily spot a Rednose from birth; they will have red/copper/brown tones to their fur, nose, eyes and toenails.

Often described as a rare breed, you will notice that the price tags for these incredible dogs are on the high side.

Aside from the color, they really are just like all the other APBTs; intelligent, trainable, loyal and gentle.

They suit most families if they have experience of large, powerful dogs. Give them time and patience, for training and socialization and they will give you their whole heart.

Bluenose Pittie

Blue Nose Pitbull
Another type of a purebred APBT; just in blue.

Just like the rednose, you can easily spot one of these guys too; the bluenose is just that. They will have blue and grey tones to their fur, eyes, toenails and noses!

Again, as a more sought after color, their price tags can be equally as high as a rednose.

Not boasting anything different to the rest of the Pitties, these fun loving guys just adore their family.

They thrive when they are busy, exercising or playing in the yard.

The downside of the Bluenose is their health. As the blue and grey hues are caused by a recessive gene resulting in low melanin levels, it can cause a range of health problems including a weakened immune system, deafness, cataracts, alopecia and a range of heart problems.

Bear in mind that both the rednose and the bluenose are as a result of breeding bluenoses with bluenoses, and rednoses with rednoses to result in the desired color.

The gene pool for both types could potentially be small which can result in more prevalent health issues.

Different Types of Pitbull Mix Dogs

Widening the gene pool, there are some very popular Pitbull breeds which are a Pitbull Mix (i.e. a cross breed).

Rottweiler Pitbull Mix

Rottweiler Pitbull Mix
A Rottweiler and Pitbull Mix can be result in a hybrid dog which is loyal, loving and affectionate (c) Instagram

The Rottweiler Pittie Mix is not a purebred dog but as a result of mating a purebred Rottweiler with a preubred APBT.

We end up with this hybrid dog when we cross-breed a Pittie with a Rottweiler. The result? An incredibly strong and loyal companion known as the Pitweiler.

A muscular dog which some say presents as intimidating couldn’t be further from the truth. When trained and socialized from an early age, you end up with dog yoga by your feet and the biggest smile greeting you.

Whilst it’s impossible to completely predict the temperament from a hybrid dog, both parent dogs have very similar characteristics; loving and confident.

It is worth noting that Rottweiler’s are renowned for sometimes being aloof! You may end up with this quality in your Pitweiler. This can throw a cat amongst the pigeons during training sessions.

For more tips on training your Pitweiler, take a look at our article on the Pitweiler.

Pitbull Husky Mix

Pitsky Dog
Pitsky Dogs are bred by mating a male Pitbull (i.e. sire) with a Husky (i.e. Dam) (c) Instagram

We also have another favourite Pitbull Mix; the Pitsky. This is when a Pitbull is mated with a Husky (this can be an Alaskan Husky or a Siberian Husky).

Here, we end up with a playful and affectionate mix of intelligence and cheekiness.

These hybrids are best suited to busy households with an active lifestyle. As with any hybrid, they could retain characteristics from either parent. A bored Husky will dig, chew and howl; they are also master escape artists.

If your Pitsky is more Husky like, you have to take these behaviors into consideration. Whilst not for the feint hearted, they are an affectionate and enthusiastic mix who will certainly keep you on your toes.

To learn more about if the Pitsky is the right dog for you, take a look at our full article and breed analysis.

Which Is The Best Pitbull?

Red Nose Pitbull Smile If you have experience of large, powerful dogs and have the time and patience to give, what you receive in return is invaluable.

Pitties are loyal, gentle and wear their heart on their sleeve. A dog which carries a contagious zest for life.

We know they get a have a bad reputation, which may take generations to remove, and face bans or restrictions in multiple US cities. We also know that they are involved in the most dog bite related fatalities compared with any other breed.

But, we also know that when temperament tested by the American Temperament Test Society, Pitties pass 87% of the time.

The American Temperament Test Society Temperament Test simulates a dog walk to trigger various experiences to understanding a dog’s ability to different between non-threatening and threatening scenarios. A fail would be aggression in a non-threatening scenario, panic (and no recovery) or strong avoidance (e.g. shyness).

We’re not breed-ist, but looking at a comparable sample size, the Schnauzer had a pass rate of 77%.

What we will say, with a pure bred Pittie, you’ve got more of a chance of predicting their characteristics and temperament. With a hybrid, you never really know what you’ll end up with. You may end up with more Pittie than Husky, or more Rottie than Pit.

7 Pitbull Facts and Myths

# Myth/
Fact
Truth
1 They are involved in the most dog bite related injuries True, however, they also pass the American Temperament Test Society’s test 87% of the time.
2 They are banned or restricted in a number of states or municipalities in the US. True. They are banned in 1089 cities across the US and there is breed specific legislation including bans or restrictions on Pitbulls.
3 They are aggressive True – every dog has the potential to be aggressive. Aggression in dogs is defined as the threat of harm including, snarling, growling, barking, lunging or biting. These behaviors aren’t specific to Pitbulls, studies have shown, the most common cause of aggression in dogs is fear and anxiety; those are emotions that every dog can feel.
4 They are actually really trainable True – Bull terriers come in as an average working dog, who in general will learn a new trick after 25-40 repetitions compared against a Shih Tzu; who on average takes 40-80 repetitions.
5 They make incredible working dogs True – Take the story of Weela who, when the river of Tijuana flooded, guided search teams through the flood to save victims and carried food and resources to those stranded! For this great service she received the Dog Hero of the Year Award.
6 Pitties do actually smile! Well, as we’ve mentioned in do dogs smile?, science isn’t entirely sure if dogs smile, but, ask any Pittie owner and we reckon they do.

Summary

Hopefully, by now, you understand the Pittie is not a specific breed of dog, but, a general classification used to describe lots of different purebred and mix dogs. Most commonly, when discussing Pitbull Breeds, people mean the APBT.

However, there are also other purebred dogs which are types of Pitbulls, such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier or the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Finally, we can get a Pitbull Mix dog which is normally a APBT mated with another breed of dog (e.g. Pitsky).

Whilst we’ve discussed all of the positive attributes of the faithful Pit, we just ask that you are realistic with your capabilities as a dog handler.

Their high intelligence makes them responsive to training and with early and continued socialization, these guys are loving and playful family dogs. The problem is when they get into the wrong hands; whether this be for totally barbaric reasons, or simply that owners don’t have the time to spend with them.

Time, patience and love are all these guys want; in return they will give you their heart (and steal yours in the process).

Would you rather a purebred, a mix, or none at all?! Let us know with a comment below.

John Woods Autho Bio Picture
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

24 Comments

  1. Just got a Pittie puppies and he is absolutely amazing. Great with my kids and a real family dog, he even lays on the dinner table chair while we’re eating. He loves being around us and we love being around him!

    • I adopted 2 dogs from a shelter one was supposed to be a Shepherd Mix and the other dog a black lab. But the Shepherd mix is actually a Staffordshire Terrier, and the black lab is a very small 25 pound pitbull mix. Both dogs are very sweet. Thier tails never stop wagging.

  2. I have a Lab/Pit mix…one of the best dogs ever. Recently I rescued a 10yr old Staffordshire Pit who had been used as a bait dog in a dog fighting ring. Very smart, funny, and incredibly loving. Love my Pits!

  3. I recently rescued a Staffordshire Terrier. Winnie is mostly black with white on her chest and paws. She is a year and 4 months old, weighs in at 47 lbs. She is pure love and she has found her forever home.

  4. After having Rottweilers, Shepherds, Old English Sheep dogs and a Newfoundland we took a chance rescuing a 1yr old Pit. That was 16yrs ago and one of the best choices we’ve made in our life. She practically raised our kids and their friends tolerating many accidental ear pulls, eye pokings and not-so-accidental horseback rides from the 2 year olds. She changed many people’s opinions about Pits. We loved her so much we got a second. We lost Christine a year ago (15yrs old) and everyone that knew her cried as if we lost a child. She was universally loved. Roxy learned from mama Pit and carries on her legacy of a loving, tolerant, happy Pit!

    • Aaah Rich & Kathy, this is such a beautiful story. Before me & hubby were married I often told him that if we were to get a dog one day, I want a Pitbull & he/she will sleep with us on our bed by my feet. My husband always replied that he wants to know nothing about “that dog” only because of what he heard about them. I can choose any dog under the sun except a Pittbull! I tried to rectify that they’re not anything near agressive & it only depends on how their owners raise them. Still I could’nt change his mind about how he felt about them. About 2 years ago I got in touch with my mom’s friend (who knows me before I went to school) after losing contact for about 5 years. She & her husband were living with her husbands brother at the time & didn’t warn us that her brother in law owns a dog (let alone a Pitbull). So we got the surprise at the gate when we met up & my husband’s facial expression told me everything he was thinking without saying one single word. So then I was more determined to prove his mindset wrong about Pitbulls. I asked my aunt does the dog bite strangers & she said no, so I told my husband “watch how wrong you have been all this time believing lies.” I climbed out of the car, greeted my aunt & then when the dog approached me, I stuck out my hand. He was sniffing sniffing at me & then he licked my hand. I started to rub his ear & head & gave him a rub on his back, then I left him & approached my aunt’s front door. So the dog didn’t want me to go inside, blocking me the whole time & my aunt said he wanted more rubs. So I gave him more rubs behind his ears & on his back. Then I hugged him for quite a bit & that dog didn’t show any aggression whatsoever. He just loved the attention from this complete stranger. Last year February I got my little Rednose puppy Bullitt😃😍. Now no one dares to try say anything negative about a Pitbull in front of my husband lol, he’s very quick to quiet & rectify them🤣. He loves the Pitbull more than he loves me lol. Oh ja & Bullitt is to this day sleeping with us on the bed, not just at our feet. Anywhere he feels like plunging down, thinking he’s human & taking over the bed lol. Bullitt also changed many peoples opinion about Pitbulls

    • Sorry for the lose of your beloved Christine your story is similar to mine. We lost our pit Lady Girl after 16 of the most wonderful and amazing years with her being a part of our family she was the most loyal and loveable dog I have ever come to known in my life. She fought thru her sickness trying to not leave her babies (referring to my kids)and my husband and I I assured her that we would be ok. She passed peacefully. All of our friends was so heartbroken over the loss of our amazing pit they all she’d tears and to told the story of the impact she had on their lives. About a week after the loss of our Lady Girl we had a friend call us about a red nose Pitt named Sunshine she was 2 months old and she needed a forever home we got in the car and went to meet her when we rounded the corner she was outside playing with some of her previous owners kids and my husband and I looked at each other and said that is our dog she was so smart and loving we had to make her our Sunshine and 4 almost 5 years later she still is the Sunshine of my families lives. Love my Pitt bull puppers

  5. I would take all. I have a APBT and staffordshire mix now. I have had her since she was 8 weeks old. She is now 13. She is a reverse brindle-blue nose and she does have high blood pressure and now noticing her hearing is starting to go. At age 2 she started becoming animal aggressive to those outside her pack (Pomeranian and rottweiler) but as a responsible owner I made sure, knowing this problem I took all precautions. Although I love rottweilers I was skeptic about the pitbull, which actually was acquired by my son she attached herself to me and I have been an advocate ever since for this breed. I will get another pittbull-mix etc and probably not one but 2 or 3, these are very loyal dogs and will love you and your family unconditionally- my mother calls her her granddog and cancels all her activities when I go out of town to take care of her to make sure she gets the best care. (shes not spoiled).

  6. I would like to know if you can find out about a pitbull breed called a Roscoe breed. Ive been searching to know avail.

  7. I would love to own the purebred pitbull. I know what this means now after reading this article, I think every breeder should be licensed and face charges for anything they are doing wrong (such as over-breeding). With Lots of Love and education this breed will flourish, thank you for writing article and we all have to do our part to protect this breed.

  8. I’ve always been fascinated with this breed and finally took that leap and chose to save a 2 year old fawn/blue red nose APBT from the shelter -which coincidently was confiscated from its original owner (reasons unknown per the shelter). Everything I researched about this breed is absolutely true. My dog Taz has been with me for just a little over 1 year now, and is the most loving, loyal, family orientated, wanting to please, intelligent, nanny dog, etc… best friend I’ve ever had!!! Taz is quite a character – from his snoring, the odd sleeping positions, his nonstop kisses, to his belief that he’s a small lap dog. My family loves him so much!! I ALWAYS remember the following…

    Taz will only be around for a small part of my life, but I am his ENTIRE life!

    • My Pitt is a red nose/blue her mom is a red nose and Dad a blue we took her in when she was 2 months old and we kept the name Sunshine which previous owner we often say we should’ve named her Taz because she loves to run around the yard and while running she has the tendencies to start spinning in circles over and over just like the tazmanin devil from the cartoons lol.

  9. We had 2 Labs, then we got my American Staffordshire terrier (Salome) in 2015, our female Lab died 10/26/2016 and our male Lab died on 4/29/2019. After we got our American Staffordshire terrier I said to my husband I will never get anything but a pit bull again. 2 weeks ago we got an 8 week old Pit bull puppy(Moses), like I said I will never have a different breed again.

  10. Hi, thanks for this article, I have an American Staffordshire Terrier,his name is Chopper, my first dog, i have had him since he was 4months old , he’s 6 now, hes very sharp and aware of his surroundings, lovable, loyal and has the biggest smile, my grandkids are his buddies, loves the attention

  11. I have an American pitbull name Majic, He will be 6 years old on June 28. He is loyal, loveable an he is great with children and adults. I trained him myself and l I wouldn’t trade him for anything in this world.

  12. My baby girl was listed as a Hound Great Dane at the pound. She is 1/4 Golden Retriever, 1/4 American Bull Dog, 1/4 Staffordshire Terrier and the rest is everything else. I have had her 5 years now and she loves people and other dogs. The first 4 years she had to touch me at all times, even sleeping under the covers next to my back. Because of the attachment at daycare they put her with little dogs and she loves them. They can roll all over her and play tag and she lets them win at times. I have never had a dog that loved people and other dogs as much as she does.

  13. I had a mixed breed pitbull for must of my younger life, he was kindest most gentle and loyal dog and I will forever miss him. I recently adopted a blue nose and she has to be the most fun loving dog I have known.

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