It is well known that many breeds are mistaken for pit bulls, as people do not make a difference.
We have to mention that American pit bull terriers are a distinct breed, and it belongs to a group which descended from the Molosser dog.
This makes them look similar to many other breeds.
Furthermore, the term “pit bull” refers to many breeds of terriers: American pit bull, the bull, the American Staffordshire, and the Staffordshire bull terriers, which also leads to misunderstanding and confusion.
So how to know whether it is a pit bull or it is not?
Firstly, the true American pit bull terrier is people-friendly.
Then, it weighs no more than 60 pounds.
So as to make things clear, we decided to write a short guide that identifies the top 10 breeds that are mistaken for pit bulls.
You may notice that we did not include the American Staffordshire terrier in this list.
This is due to the fact that people consider American Staffordshire and American pit bull terriers to be essentially the same.
The American Bulldog
The American Bulldog is white or predominantly white with patches of color.
Yes, they are very friendly animals, but they can weigh in at over 100 pounds.
It is a working dog and a wonderful family pet.
You can find it working on a farm or relaxing in an apartment, but it needs to get enough exercise.
The American bulldog has both characteristics of a hunting and sport dog.
It comes in two types: standard and bully, and what makes it different from the American pit bull terrier is that both types of American Bulldog are larger and physically distinct.
The Presa Canario
The Presa Canario is quite different from the American pit bull terrier as it is a very large mastiff-type dog.
It can weigh 150 pounds which makes it quite powerful.
This working dog is frequently used for herding cattle and guarding, but the only way to make it obedient is if a very experienced owner who can handle its size and attitude works with it.
Due to its aggressive temperament, this huge dog that is aware of its largeness can be problematic if not socialized properly.
When compared to the pit bull, which is much smaller and has a much friendlier temperament, it can be easily concluded that the Presa Canario is a natural guard dog, with innate suspicion toward humans which makes it quite distinctive from pit bulls.
The Cane Corso
The Cane Corso (pronounced Kah-nay kor-so) is also a huge dog, famous as the Italian mastiff.
The Cane Corso weighs from 70 to 100 pounds, and it is both a guard dog and a working dog.
This breed is not known to be aggressive toward other dogs, but its innate suspicion towards people makes it an ideal guard dog.
However, due to its size, it is recommended to be kept only by the most experienced handlers.
He is a very protective dog that easily bonds with usually one family member in particular.
It is important to get it socialized from an early age, so as not to become overprotective.
The difference between the pit bull and the Cane Corso is that pit bulls are very social and also much smaller.
The Bull Terrier
Among all those mentioned on our list, the bull terrier is the most frequently mistaken for the American pit bull.
When it comes to its personality, this dog is so stubborn, tenacious, and a true terrier.
Even though the bull terrier is smaller in size than our previously mentioned breeds, it is very muscular, has a highly-developed prey drive meaning that it is ready to kill smaller animals.
It is a combination of the bulldog-terrier lineage: strong, tenacious, and stubborn, which makes it not an ideal choice for inexperienced handlers.
You can easily differentiate the bull terrier from the Americal pit bull, as it has an “egg-shaped” skull and triangular eyes.
If we take into consideration the most popular breeds in the USA, the boxer is definitely among them.
This breed is known as a working dog and a hunter, which can be an ideal guard dog.
The physical appearance is what makes it differ from the American pit bull, as it is quite tall and proud, and can reach up to 80 pounds.
It has a fawn-colored coat, but it can also be white, brindle, or multi-colored.
This makes it easily confused with the pit bull, being that the majority of people have not seen boxers of any color other than fawn.
When it comes to personality, the boxer is intelligent and high-energy, stubborn, and protective.
It is very friendly, especially towards children but it is also prone to bad behavior if not trained, such as excessive barking and chewing.
The boxer and pitbull are both stubborn, have high energy, and are excellent with children, but the difference is that the pit bull is smaller and does not have the boxer’s shape.
The Dogo Argentino
The Dogo Argentino is quite a distinctive breed as it is bred for hunting wild boar, mountain lions, and protecting the owner to the death.
The Dogo is well known as a hunter and a guardian, frequently found in military and police departments.
When it comes to its appearance, it is a very large, heavily-muscled, white dog.
It can weigh up to 100 pounds, and it got its name due to the fact that it originated in Argentina and resides there as well
What makes them so popular these days are their stamina, loyalty, and beautiful appearance.
So, for people who want to have a dog that can hike, camp, climb, and work, the Dogo Argentino is the ideal solution.
Even though some people consider it similar to the pit bull terrier, there is a distinction – the pit bull is much smaller than the Dogo.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire bull terrier, also known as “Staffy”, is considered the most similar to the American pit bull.
What makes it distinguishable from the pit bull is its “Staffy smile” and a blocky, squared head.
The Staffy, just like the pit bull, is very friendly that is wonderful with children.
If you wish to have a family pet that loves people, you should think about getting the Staffy as it possesses low aggression toward humans.
Staffies are frequently mistaken for Pitbulls, due to the fact that many people believe the two breeds are the same.
This is because, in the past, the American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, and the American Staffordshire terrier were all the same breed of dog.
Nowadays, these are three very distinct breeds.
The Bullmastiff is a large dog, which is an excellent guardian.
It has its innate characteristics of a watchdog, meaning that it needs no training in protection.
When we speak of it, we need to mention that it is very powerful so it is frequently used for pulling carts, which it finds enjoying.
Plus, this is a very smart and independent breed, so it may require a special method of training because of its intelligence.
The bullmastiff is often confused for the pit bull, but the main difference is that the pit bull is much smaller and possesses both a very different temperament and physical appearance.
The Olde English Bulldogge
The Olde English Bulldogge is a fairly new breed, maybe not so well known to many people.
It was an attempt to re-create the old bulldog of the 1800s.
The Olde English Bulldogge is persistent, lively, eager to work, and not at all aggressive.
When its appearance is in question, this brees is quite muscular and strong, but at the same time an ideal solution for therapy work, and obedience competitions.
The Olde English Bulldogge is different from the pit bull as it is generally thicker and has a larger head.
The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog
The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is also not so well known dog breed.
Many people may have never heard of it, even though it is quite an old breed, which has been existing since the 1800s.
It can be found in isolated places in the South and the American pit bull we know today is actually created from this breed.
The Black Mouth Cur and the Catahoula leopard dog were also created from The Alapaha blue blood bulldog.
This breed is a loyal, loving family dog, that loves children.
Besides being an excellent guardian, it is beautiful, brave, stubborn, and in certain situations, it can be even aggressive if encouraged.
It is really a great protection dog that has to be socialized due to its aggression.
This is the main difference with the American pit bull that will not be aggressive toward people even without being trained.
Can You Identify a Pit Bull Just by Looking?
As you have gone through this list, you may have seen that it is not possible to tell a dog’s genetic heritage just from looking at it.
Breed misidentification leads to unfortunate situations when thousands of animals lose loving families or are banned from cities.
There were instances when they were euthanized in shelters due to the fact that they have been incorrectly identified as “pit bulls” or “pit bull-types” based on their appearance.
It is a fact that experienced shelter personnel cannot get it right just by looking at them.
DNA testing is the only way to be 100% sure.