Dog Breeds That Look Like Pit Bulls, (similarities & differences)

Last Updated: June 26, 2023

This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

dogs that look like pitbulls

Pit Bulls are unique dogs that have a bit of a controversial history. They're known for their squared faces, perked up ears, and signature "Pit smile." However, to those that are less familiar with these canines, the term "Pit Bull" conjures up thoughts of aggression.

As a result, many jurisdictions are introducing breed-specific legislation. Pit Bulls are banned from communities, housing complexes, and entire cities across the country just because of their perceived aggression.

As with any dog, the temperament and attitude of a Pit Bull is a direct result of their surroundings and care. Many Pit Bulls are raised to be loving members of the family.

They're fiercely loyal to their owners and enjoy snuggles just like any dog. Unfortunately, these pooches can be taken away simply because they have some defining characteristics that people fear.

With that being said, these characteristics aren't unique to Pit Bulls. There are many dog breeds that share the same physical features. These can include the familiar square face, strong jaw, muscular bodies, and much more.

In some cases, these dogs can face the same type of discrimination that Pit Bulls do because they fall into the same confusing category. Here's a list of some dog breeds that look like Pit Bulls.

9 Dog Breeds with Striking Similarities to Pit Bulls

Number 1. Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier

Bull Terriers have a very recognizable appearance thanks to their sleek heads and triangular eyes. They're a bit smaller in size than your average Pit Bull and don't typically have the same level of muscle definition.

However, Bull Terriers are quite similar to Pit Bulls when it comes to activity and mannerisms.

These canine companions need plenty of exercises to thrive. As a result, they can be a bit of a handful to deal with. They can get into trouble if they don't have the opportunity to get rid of their energy or if they're left alone for too long. They're not recommended for new dog owners, but can be a fun member of the family when they're properly trained.

One thing you'll have to keep an eye on is their territorial nature. This breed is excellent if you're looking for a dog to keep your property safe. However, they'll also chase around small animals every opportunity that they can.

Number 2.  Boxer

Boxers are often mistaken for Pit Bulls at first glance because of their general shape and color. They have a relatively square face and often share the familiar fawn color with Pits. Upon closer inspection, that's where the physical similarities stop. Boxers are larger that Pit Bulls and have a more compact snout.

Boxers dog resembling a pitbull

Much like Pit Bulls, Boxers are high-energy creatures that require daily exercise. To ensure that they're raised with a gentle temperament, they also need plenty of training.

These dogs are quite intelligent. They have no problem grasping the concepts of behavioral training and will listen to you when you give them an order.

When it comes to loyalty, these dogs aren't picky. They'll easily bond with every member of the family, including children. They'll even show affection to family friends and guests.

Number 3.  Staffordshire Bull Terrier

When it comes to appearance, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the dog breed that most closely resembles a Pit Bull. They're the most common dog to be mistaken for the breed because they have a similar body and head shape. These pups have that same square face and large neck. Depending on their activity levels, they may also develop noticeable muscle definition in their legs and torso.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Despite their aggressive appearance, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are relatively calm. They're known for their low aggression levels and playful attitudes. When they meet strangers, they're more likely to respond well and provide licks rather than bites.

They enjoy affection and stay loyal to their owners throughout their lives.The breed is also known for their intelligence and fearlessness. 

They take to training quite well but have moments of boldness that can lead to some troubles. They can confront dangerous situations without even giving it a second thought.

Number 4.  American Bulldog

At first glance, it's easy to mistake an American Bulldog for a Pit Bull. They have that same muscular body, broad head, and intimidating jaw that the Pit is known for. However, the American Bulldog is significantly larger than the Pit Bull. In fact, they have a good 40 pounds on the Pit. Not only that, but they tend to have more prominent muscle development.

American Bulldog striking simularities with pitbull appearance

These dogs, like many on this list, require a lot of exercise to stay healthy. They perform well as working dogs and love to spend time playing.

However, they aren't as boisterous as a Pit Bull. They're surprisingly friendly with people despite their intimidating appearance. 

As a result, don't rely on the American Bulldog to guard your premises. They're more likely to make friends than attack. These pups are great for virtually any type of living environment as long as they can expend all of the energy they have on a regular basis.

Number 5.  Bullmastiff

Bullmastiffs are highly intelligent creatures. They're a familiar breed that has a long and illustrious history. They've been bred as guard dogs for centuries, so modern pets will have no problem adapting to that role. They're fiercely protective and loyal to their owners.


With that being said, they do require some strict training. These pooches are known for being a bit stubborn and testing their limits. It's important to maintain a strict behavioral routine to keep them in check.

While they may have similar facial features to a Pit Bull, there's no mistaking the Bullmastiff's size. They are very large dogs that are, unfortunately, prone to a slew of health problems.

Bullmastiffs have a shorter lifespan than most dogs. In terms of energy, younger puppies are rambunctious and playful. As they get older, these dogs tend to mellow out a bit. However, regardless of their age, these canine companions are known for being messy animals. Despite all of their shortcomings, Bullmastiffs are beloved dogs that will stay by your side no matter what.

Number 6.  Presa Canario

If there's any breed that should be deemed the ideal guard dog, it's the Presa Canario. They're not the right dog for a novice owner by any means because they require some intense training.

Presa Canario

These dogs can be very aggressive without the proper foundation early on. Even with it, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better dog that will keep strangers off of your property.

These dogs have a very striking resemblance to Pit Bulls. They have similar facial structures and bodies. Even the colors are the same. However, the Presa Canario is larger. They can weigh over 100 pounds fully grown.

They need to be able to run and play to maintain their muscular figures throughout their lives. Their massive size makes them a great work dog as well.

With the proper training, these dogs are great with families. They can be relatively passive around people that they trust. It's only when a stranger gets near that they'll let their fiery side out.

Number 7.  Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino is another dog that was exclusively bred for keeping their owners safe. This history of guard dog breeding has continued even today, so you can expect to encounter some aggression if you come across a Dogo Argentino that isn't yours.

Dogo Argentino

These dogs are also commonly mistaken for a Pit Bull because of their appearance. They have short wide snouts, noticeably muscular jaws, and fit bodies. This breed is much larger than a Pit Bull and generally calmer.

Dogo Argentinos aren't as hyperactive. With that being said, they do best with an owner that has the time to exercise them.

As mentioned earlier, these pups are guard dogs through and through. They'll keep you protected, even from other creatures.

Most dogs of this breed won't do well with another animal in the house. They don't follow that pack mentality unless it's with human family members. This may be changed if the dog is introduced to another animal in their early puppy years, but even then it can be difficult.

Number 8.  Cane Corso

The Cane Corso's personality is displayed right in the name. "Cane" comes from the Italian word for "dog" while "Corso" comes from "Cohors," which means "protector." They were bred to keep their families safe and continue to do so even today.

Cane Corso

These dogs have a very unfortunate reputation because of the common misconception that they're fighting dogs. While some unscrupulous owners have undoubtedly done that in the past, they're not known for any unbridled aggression.

They're relatively reserved and even-tempered. These dogs pick up training quite well and can be used as working dogs to keep livestock safe.

They have a wider face like Pit Bulls. However, they tend to have saggier faces and weight much more than a Pit. They weigh well over 70 pounds as a grown adult. Because of their large size, they do best with experienced owners.

Number 9.  Ambullneo Mastiff

Ambulleneo Mastiffs are a comparatively newer breed that was strategically created. They were bred to become the optimal guard dog. The breeding process involved three types of European Mastiffs and three types of Bulldogs. The final outcome was this unique pup that's known for its protective temperament.

Ambullneo Mastiff

They attach quite quickly to their owners and are very sensitive to human emotions. As a result, they need owners that can provide firm training without being overly harsh.

Training this dog is important to ensure that they can do their jobs keeping the family safe while not being a danger to other humans. They do well in family settings and offer great companionship.

While they may have a similar appearance to Pit Bulls, they are dramatically bigger. Large males can weigh up to 150 pounds when they're fully grown. They are very muscular and have an intimidating face that will scare away any intruder.

Purebred Pit Bulls: the Dogs That Don't Exist

Pit Bulls are targeted all across the country because of the notion that they're unnecessarily aggressive. If you have ever owned one of these dogs, you've probably experienced some form of discrimination.

Whether you weren't able to rent an apartment or you've been given fearful looks, it's something that goes with the territory. In many locations, these dogs are outright banned, requiring owners to give them up to shelter.

pitbull in front view looking in camera

With all the controversy surrounding these dogs, it's not uncommon to hear the term "Pit Bull" being used to describe a breed.

In reality, Pit Bulls aren't a breed at all. They're not an official pedigree with the American Kennel Club and there's no such thing as a "purebred Pit Bull."

The name "Pit Bulls" is actually used to describe a type of dog.

Some of the most common breeds that fall under that "Pit Bull" umbrella are the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bully.

The term is also used to describe a dog that shares any of the same physical characteristics associated with a Pit Bull. Many dogs that are labeled as Pit Bulls are actually mutts with lineages that include a variety of dogs outside of the main four. They may not have any of those breeds in their DNA at all.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of dogs across the country that are unfairly discriminated against because they have muscular bodies and a block-like head. Because there's no actual Pit Bull breed, even professional veterinarians and shelters have a hard time distinguishing Pit Bulls from other dogs.

Breed Neutral Legislation

This lack of control has lead to a number of issues with the breed-specific legislation that's present across the nation. Dogs continue to be separated from their families all based on ideas that have no basis whatsoever. Luckily, change is happening.

Many states are introducing breed-neutral legislation that regulates dogs on an individual basis. It's more focused on actual behavior rather than appearance or outdated ideas about temperament. With this change, those block-headed lovable creatures are being looked at in a much better light.

Also Read:


Related Posts

About the author 


Steve is a writer with over 10 years of experience in dog training and nutritiion.

His goal is to educate dog owners about the ins and outs of canine behavior as well as keeping up with the latest scientific research in the field.