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Types of Pit Bull Dog Breeds: Understanding the Bully Breeds

When you think of a pit bull, an image of a strong, muscular dog with a broad head likely comes to mind. However, it may surprise you to learn that “pit bull” is not a specific breed but rather an umbrella term encompassing several breeds commonly known as bully breeds. Despite facing unfair discrimination and misconceptions, these dogs are loving, loyal, and affectionate when raised properly. In this article, we will explore the different types of pit bull dog breeds and shed light on their unique characteristics.

American Bully

The American Bully is a relatively new breed that emerged in the ’80s and ’90s. Recognized by the United Kennel Club, this breed originated from a mix of the American Pit Bull Terrier and other bulldog-type breeds. American Bullies are known for their broad, compact build and wide heads. Bred for their gentle and affectionate temperament, they require regular exercise and socialization with both humans and other dogs.

Breed Overview:

Height: 13 to 20 inches
Weight: 65 to 85 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Compact and muscular; short and smooth coat; various colors and patterns

American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed recognized by the United Kennel Club. Originating from 19th-century terriers and bulldogs in the United Kingdom, the American Pit Bull Terrier has unfortunately been involved in dogfighting activities. Despite their past, these dogs form strong bonds with their families and exhibit loyalty and affection. While they may have a high prey drive and be cautious around other dogs, they thrive in an environment with ample playtime, socialization, and exercise.

Breed Overview:

Height: 17 to 20 inches
Weight: 30 to 65 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; short coat; various colors including black, white, brindle, fawn, blue, red, brown, tan, and gray

American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier shares its ancestry with terriers and bulldogs from 19th century England. These dogs are larger than their English relatives and were less commonly used for fighting, resulting in a more mellow temperament. While they may have a high prey drive and sometimes struggle with other dogs, they are loyal, playful, and good-natured with their families. American Staffordshire Terriers thrive in homes with ample time for interaction, play, and exercise.

Breed Overview:

Height: 17 to 19 inches
Weight: 50 to 80 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Short coat; variety of colors including black, brown, blue, fawn, red, liver, brindle pattern, and/or white markings

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Despite their development in the 19th century for dogfighting, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known today for their unwavering loyalty and affection towards their families. These dogs are often eager to snuggle with their owners and display patience and gentleness with children. However, they thrive best in households where they have consistent companionship throughout the day, as they can experience separation anxiety. Staffordshire Bull Terriers require attention, exercise, and training to ensure their well-being.

Breed Overview:

Height: 14 to 16 inches
Weight: 24 to 38 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Muscular build; various colors including black, blue, brindle, fawn, and white

American Bulldog

The American Bulldog traces its lineage back to the 17th-century English Bulldogs, initially bred for bull baiting. However, these dogs transitioned into working dogs on farms and became cherished companions. Despite their large size, they exhibit extreme affection toward their families and often seek close physical contact. While their protective nature is a valuable trait, early training and socialization are crucial to ensure their friendliness towards strangers. American Bulldogs thrive in active households that can meet their exercise and attention needs.

Breed Overview:

Height: 20 to 28 inches
Weight: 60 to 120 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Stocky build; deep chest; short muzzle; typically white with patches of brindle, red, black, or shades of brown or gray


Pit bull-type dogs encompass a range of breeds, each with its own unique characteristics. Despite the misconceptions and discrimination surrounding these breeds, they are often loving, loyal, and gentle with their families. Early training, socialization, and regular exercise are essential for handling their strength and ensuring their overall well-being. If you’re considering adopting a pit bull-type dog, be sure to check your local legislation, as certain areas may have restrictions or bans on ownership.

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