So What is a Pit Bull Exactly?

Who better to ask than Google? This is what we found:

“A dog with an American variety of bull terrier, noted for it’s muscular build and often associated with ferocity.”   – Google Search / Google Home

If we want to notate what’s often associated with a pitbull, we can’t forget about the blockhead! But outside of forgetting to mention the blockhead, we think Google did a great job of giving us a high level overview. And it covers one very important point that we will chat about in this post.

  1. “A dog with an American variety of bull terrier.”
So what is a pit bull exactly?

So here we go:


Pitbulls are often associated as a breed on their own, but a pitbull is actually a loose term used to describe a variety of recognized breeds by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and other established organizations. But all “pitbull” related breeds and mixes are just that – a dog with a little bit of bulldog and a little bit of terrier in it. Organizations like the AKC only deem a dog a breed after years of breeding that proves a consistent look, shape and personality. Learn more about that HERE.

In the U.S., there are four main breeds that fall into the pitbull category. Those are: 

  1. American Pitbull Terrier
  2. American Staffordshire Terrier
  3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  4. American Bully
4 types of pit bulls. Petculiar

They look pretty similar, don’t they?

Here are some other breeds that are often confused as pitbulls due to their muscular build, block head, or simply because they have a little bit of bulldog, terrier, or both. However, they are not technically pitbulls.

  • American Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Bull Terriers
  • Boston Terriers
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Dogo Argentino
dogs that look like pit bulls. petculiar

Do you think they look similar to actual pitbulls? We think they have some similarities – especially if you are not a dog enthusiast.

Then there are pitbull mixes. The mutts. 

So now you know what breeds are classified as pitbulls in addition to what dogs are wrongfully considered as such. But what also exists are many, many mutts that have a muscular build and a blockhead, and they are labeled as pitbulls too. At Petculiar, we are okay with the word pit-mix.

However, what’s unfortunate with so many dogs being labeled as pitbulls is that there is a negative association with the type. Pitbull lover or not, it’s difficult to deny that these dogs have a bad reputation. And once a dog is labeled as a pitbull, it becomes harder for these pets to find forever homes. Even if a person loves pitbulls, owners are also faced with challenges like breed laws and rental restrictions.

We are quite curious about pitbull issues, but for the sake of this post, we wanted to keep it simple. We hope we helped you learn what exactly a pitbull is (and is not)!