Today we’re diving into the world of Pitbull breeds – which is a bit more complex than you might think – as we answer the question “How many Pitbull breeds are there?”
Most people agree there are four Pitbull breeds – the American Pitbull Terrier, the American Bully, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
However, as we explore further, you’ll discover that the classification of Pitbull breeds can be much more complex and not even official kennel clubs can agree on how many types of Pitbulls there are.
History of Pitbulls
Let’s start from the beginning. To truly understand Pitbull breeds, we need to hop into our canine time machine and look back at their ancestors. The Pitbull breeds as we know them today have their roots in historical terriers and bulldogs, specifically from England.
Back in the 1800s, breeders combined the agility of terriers with the strength of bulldogs to create what they considered the ultimate working dog. These robust dogs were initially used in blood sports like bull-baiting, hence the “bull” in their name.
However, once these sports were outlawed, they found new roles as farm dogs, family pets, and even nanny dogs because of their loyalty and protective nature.
The “Pit” in Pitbull comes from the fighting pits where these dogs were once pitted against each other. They were also used in the sports of “ratting” which saw these dogs placed in pits with rats.
While this is a part of their history, it’s important to remember that aggression towards humans was actually bred out of them.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – the controversy surrounding the Pitbull breed. Because of their history and their physical strength, Pitbulls have been the subject of much debate and even breed-specific legislation in some areas.
Some see them as dangerous, while others, like us, know them to be lovable, loyal companions when raised in a responsible and loving environment.
The truth is, a dog’s behavior is a product of its upbringing and training more than its breed. Pitbulls are no exception to this rule.
While they are powerful dogs, they are also incredibly loving and intelligent. They have served roles from companionship to search and rescue, proving their versatility and good nature.
So, when we talk about Pitbulls, remember: their history is complex, their breeds varied, and their potential as loyal companions, enormous.
Now, let’s move on to the four main types of Pitbulls that most dog experts agree on.
Types of Pitbulls
American Pitbull Terrier
Let’s kick things off with the breed that is unequivocally recognized as a Pitbull by everyone – the American Pitbull Terrier, often affectionately shortened to APBT.
The APBT is the classic Pitbull – strong, robust, and muscular, with a square-shaped head and a short, shiny coat. They’re an energetic and intelligent breed, known for their enthusiasm and zest for life.
Whether it’s a game of fetch or an agility course, an APBT is always up for a challenge. And when the day’s over, there’s nothing they love more than curling up with their favorite humans.
However, despite their widespread recognition as a breed, they’re not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The reasons for this are tangled in a bit of breed politics and controversy, but never fear, the United Kennel Club (UKC) has stepped in to give the APBT the recognition it deserves.
Within the APBT breed, there are variations. These can be due to different breeding goals over the years, resulting in APBTs of slightly different sizes or appearances. But no matter the variation, one thing remains the same: the APBT is a dog with a heart full of love and a body built for action.
Whether you’re a jogger looking for a companion, or a family wanting a lovable furry friend, the APBT could just be the perfect match.
Now, let’s move onto a breed that often gets lumped in with the American Pitbull Terrier: the American Bully.
Despite the name, there’s nothing mean about this breed. The American Bully is essentially the bodybuilder of the Pitbull world. They’re stockier and more muscular than the APBT, with a broader skull and shorter snout.
The Gotti is known for its broad, muscular frame and shorter stature, while the Razor’s Edge sports a leaner, athletic build.
The American Bully is recognized by the United Kennel Club. They appreciate the breed’s unique physical attributes and the consistency of the breed’s friendly and relaxed temperament.
However, misconceptions about the American Bully breed abound. Some people mistakenly believe they’re just a different type of APBT, while others see their muscular build and assume they must be aggressive.
But any Bully owner will tell you that beneath their Herculean exterior, they’re just big softies at heart. Their commitment to their families and their love of a good belly rub are what truly define them.
So, don’t judge this breed by their brawny cover – you might just find your new best friend.
American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff)
Next up, we have the American Staffordshire Terrier, often shortened to AmStaff. This breed is a bit like the middle child of the Pitbull family – sometimes overlooked but full of unique qualities.
The AmStaff is a robust and powerful breed, with a solid muscular build. They’re a bit larger than their British cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and often have a wider range of coat colors.
While they may look tough, they’re known for their affectionate and loyal nature. They’re playful, enjoy spending time with their family, and have a reputation for being good with children.
Interestingly, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the AmStaff as a breed, but the United Kennel Club (UKC) does not. The reason for this ties back to the complex history of Pitbull breeds and their classification.
The main difference between the AmStaff and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, apart from their size, lies in their breeding history. While they share a common ancestry, the AmStaff was bred in the United States for slightly different purposes, leading to the breed we know today.
Over time, the American breeders preferred a slightly larger dog, leading to a divergence in the breed standard.
Despite the confusion surrounding their classification, there’s one thing all AmStaff owners can agree on – these dogs are a joy to have around. Their love for their families and their zest for life make them a fantastic addition to any home.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Finally, let’s talk about the smallest but certainly not the least of our Pitbull breeds – the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Despite their smaller size, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or Staffies as they’re affectionately known, are full of strength and character. They are compact, muscular, and incredibly agile.
Their coat is short and comes in a variety of colors. Staffies are known for their broad, strong heads and their distinctive smile – yes, you read that right, these dogs love to smile!
Staffies are recognized by both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC), a rarity in our list of Pitbull breeds. They’ve won hearts on both sides of the pond with their affectionate nature, intelligence, and zest for life.
Compared to the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is smaller and was bred for slightly different purposes. While they both share a common ancestry, the breeds diverged when American breeders started favoring a slightly larger dog.
Staffies make fantastic family pets. They’re known for their love of children and their patient nature. They enjoy being part of the family activities, whether it’s a game in the backyard or a snuggle on the couch.
Pitbull Mixes: Beyond the Purebreds
While we’ve been focusing on purebred Pitbulls, we can’t forget about the numerous Pitbull mixes out there. After all, mixed breeds can bring together the best traits of two different breeds into one lovable package.
One popular Pitbull mix is the Labrabull, a cross between a Labrador Retriever and an American Pitbull Terrier. Like many mixed breeds, Labrabulls (also known as Pitadors) can vary widely in appearance, but they often combine the Labrador’s friendly and outgoing nature with the Pitbull’s energy and enthusiasm.
As a proud owner of a Labrabull myself, I can attest to their lovable nature and boundless energy!
There are countless other Pitbull mixes out there, from the Pitweiler (Pitbull and Rottweiler mix) to the Pitsky (Pitbull and Husky mix). Each mix brings something unique to the table, whether it’s a particular look or a specific temperament trait.
In Conclusion: How Many Pitbull Breeds Are There Really?
We’ve embarked on a journey through the world of Pitbull breeds, navigating the complex terrain of breed classifications and histories. The general consensus seems to be that there are four main types of Pitbull breeds:
- The American Pitbull Terrier (APBT)
- The American Bully
- The American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff)
- The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffie)
However, the debate surrounding the number of Pitbull breeds is far from settled. The classification of Pitbull breeds is complex, with no universal agreement among dog enthusiasts and kennel clubs alike.
Some believe that there are more than four Pitbull breeds, while others contend that only one or two should qualify.
This discussion isn’t purely academic; it carries significant implications due to the existence of breed-specific legislation (BSL) in some regions. These laws regulate or even ban certain breeds, and Pitbulls are often the subject of such restrictions.
Understanding which breeds are considered “Pitbulls” under these laws is vital for dog owners living in these regions.
The world of Pitbull breeds, thus, is as diverse as it is contentious. It’s a testament to the rich history and varied characteristics of these strong, loyal dogs.
At the end of the day, whether you’re an owner of a purebred Pitbull or a mix, what matters most is providing them with a loving, responsible home where they can thrive.