A Bark Worse Than Their Bite: Dogs That Look Like Pitbulls

Dogs That Look Like Pitbulls.

All Bark and No Bite: 10 Dogs That Look Like Pitbulls!

Pitbulls and dogs that look like Pitbulls have gotten themselves a pretty bad reputation over the years. It might be their muscular bodies, chiseled square heads, and those ever-powerful jaws that give them that ‘don’t mess with me’ look. 

However, several other breeds share similar physical characteristics with Pitbulls, leading to confusion among dog enthusiasts.

10 Breeds That Look Like Pitbulls

When looking for a dog that looks like a Pitbull, it’s important to remember this isn’t a breed recognized by any of the major kennel clubs. The term “Pit Bull” is a generic umbrella name for dogs who can trace their lineage back to a Terrier and Bulldog crossbreed.

The closest we get to a purebred is the American Pitbull Terrier, although this is no longer recognized by the AKC. Acknowledged by the UK Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA), an American Pitbull stands between 18 to 21 inches tall and weighs around 35 to 60 pounds.

1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

pitbull look alike staffordshire bull terrier.

With their muscular build, strong jawline, and short coat, it’s no surprise the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is commonly mistaken for a Pitbull. They’re stocky medium-sized Terriers, reminiscent of the fighting dogs bred in England in the 18th Century.

Slightly shorter than the American Pitbull, at 14 to 16 inches, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffie) isn’t one of the tallest dog breeds but still manages to weigh in at up to 38 pounds — it’s like packing a gallon of dog into a quart container. The American Staffordshire Terrier, or Amstaff, is slightly taller at 17 to 19 inches but still has the same stocky body — weighing anywhere up to 70 pounds.

Both types of Staffie often exude a tough, ferocious vibe, which can make many people feel nervous in their presence. However, like most dogs similar to Pitbulls with the proper training, they can be good-tempered dogs that make devoted companions.

2. American Bulldog

pitbull look alike american bulldog.

Boasting a robust build and confident demeanor, American Bulldogs are square-headed dogs and often mistaken for a Pitbull due to their shared heritage. With a muscular frame and short coat, these dogs exude strength and vitality. Growing up to a maximum of 25 inches — the American Bulldog is one of the larger Pitbull looking dogs. 

While their appearance may resemble Pitbulls, American Bulldogs possess distinct characteristics. Bred as working dogs on a farm or a ranch, the Bulldog is predominantly white with patches of color and can weigh up to 100 pounds. And, although they have a brawny body, they’re surprisingly light-footed and need daily duties to quell their energy stamina.

American Bulldogs are renowned for their versatility, excelling as loyal family companions, working dogs, and even therapy animals — yes, really. They’re highly intelligent but can be stubborn when training. Don’t expect the American Bulldog to be a great guard dog though, they’re more likely to befriend strangers rather than attack.

3. Boxer

pitbull look alike boxer.

What attributes lead to Boxers being grouped with dogs that resemble Pit Bulls? Similar color patterns — encompassing brindle, white, and fawn, and a robust physique with a square jaw, contribute. However, distinctions exist. 

Notably, Boxers possess a larger frame — at 23 to 25 inches, and a more condensed muzzle. Their vibrant energy mirrors that of Pitbulls, solidifying the likeness. While not directly related to Pitbulls, Boxers share a similar muscular appearance that could lead to mistaken identity. 

Boxers are playful, energetic, and weigh around 50 to 80 pounds almost the same as a Pit Bull. Family-oriented and amazing with kids, training while young will ensure your Boxer turns into a perfectly-mannered pup.

4. Dogo Argentino

pitbull look alike dogo argentino.

With a comparable facial structure and physique to a Pitbull, the Dogo Argentino significantly differs in coat coloring. If you should see a pristine white Pitbull look alike, chances are they’re an Argentino. This Argentinian breed was developed for the dual purpose of hunting and safeguarding their owner.

While sporting similar broad snout/head, robust jaws, and muscular frame, these dogs surpass Pitbulls in size, often reaching 26.5 inches tall. And, they’re more even-tempered compared to their Pitbull counterparts. 

Despite their imposing appearance, Dogo Argentinos are known for their loyalty and protective nature. Hence, they make excellent guard dogs. However, they’re better suited to active homes — they need plenty of exercise to keep that impressive muscular body in shape.

5. Presa Canario

dogs that look like pitbulls presa canarios.

Another popular dog breed that look like Pit Bulls is the Presa Canario from the Canary Islands. These dogs were historically used for livestock herding and protection. While they can be reserved with strangers, Canarios are devoted and protective of their families.

Also known as the Canary Mastiff, they’re a powerful and imposing breed that shares certain physical traits with Pitbulls. The colors, muscular body structure, and head shape are all comparable, yet they have very different temperaments and are much larger at 26 inches tall.

The Presa Canario is more likely to display aggressive behavior, thus this breed is not for the first-timer — they need an experienced hand to keep them in control. They also don’t tolerate other animals and even other humans outside of the family pack. That said, their vigilant nature and sheer size make them immense guard dogs.

6. American Bully

pitbull look alike american bully.

Belonging to the Pitbull family, the American Bully enjoys significant popularity in the US. Yet, neither the AKC nor the UK Kennel Club acknowledges them as purebred. When distinguishing an American Bully from a Pitbull, note the former's shorter legs and robust muscularity. Yet, their affable disposition contrasts with the traditional Pitbull temperament.

Featuring well-defined cheek muscles, a broad head, and elevated ears atop a rounded muzzle, American Bullies exhibit distinctive traits. Their outward-pointing ears are an instantly recognizable feature, but it’s their much taller height — at up to 25 inches tall and 100 pounds in weight — that makes them different from dogs like Pitbulls.

The affectionate nature of an American Bully translates into cherished ‘lap dog’ moments with their favored humans, solidifying their role as exceptional companion animals. Although the American Bulldog doesn’t have the same cute wrinkles as an English Bulldog, their wide expansive face gives the impression of a constant smile.

7. Bull Terrier

dogs that look like pitbulls bull terriers.

When you first see a Bull Terrier with their stocky, muscular body and being low to the ground at just 22 inches, it’s easy to know why they’re often thought of as dogs that look like Pits. Yet a Bull Terrier has small pointy ears, an oval-shaped face, and a more streamlined head, which makes it easier to differentiate them.

Being part of the Terrier family, Bull Terriers share similar behaviors and activity levels with their Pitbull counterparts — to thrive demands ample attention and exercise. Ideal for larger families due to their aversion to being left home alone for too long, their comical demeanor is bound to keep you grinning throughout the day.

Like all dogs similar to Pitbulls, they benefit from proper training. With protective tendencies, they can also serve as property guardians. And, their strong prey drive is a Terrier trait to expect.

8. Bullmastiff

dogs that look like pitbulls bullmastiffs.

The Bullmastiff, a cross between Bulldogs and Mastiffs, possesses a robust and muscular frame. They’re one of the easier dogs like Pitbulls to train and can also be great with kids.

Although Bullmastiffs have the same solid body as a Pitbull, their face differs. As in, they have hanging jowls, which makes them more drooly than the Pitbull. They often grow to be around 24 to 27 inches tall, again taller than most Pitbull look alike breeds, and weigh up to a staggering 130 pounds.

Originally bred in England to defend game threatened by poachers, they can be firm and somewhat serious-natured work dogs. However, this protection often extends to the whole family, where they can become loveable large family dogs and guardians of their entire pack.

9. Boerboel

dogs that look like pitbulls boerboels.

Perhaps the largest breed that look like Pitbulls is the Boerboel from South Africa.

They were originally bred to safeguard farms from perilous predators and can stand up to 27 inches and match the weight of an average human. 

With mighty jaws, a blocky, wide head, and a sturdy build, their resemblance to Pitbulls is evident. Boerboels are recognized for being the most agile among Mastiff breeds. Although their appearance might seem intimidating, their affectionate tender nature renders them excellent companions for children, as they relish quality time with their family.

Boerboels aren't labeled as aggressive unless provoked by external factors. During their puppyhood, socialization, and training are crucial, much like any other breed. If you're inexperienced with large dogs, this particular breed might prove challenging to manage.

10. Cane Corso

dogs that look like pitbulls cane corsos.

Although not officially part of the Terrier or Bulldog family, the Cane Corso has a similar attitude and appearance to many of the dog breeds that look like Pitbulls but bigger. At 28 inches tall and weighing up to 120 pounds, the Corso was traditionally used as a guard dog because of their loyal and protective nature. 

An Italian breed, this canine is often mistaken for a Pitbull due to its muscular build and short coat. However, the saggy cheek folds of a Cane Corso make them easier to distinguish from a Pitbull than many other Pitbull looking dogs. 

With one of the strongest bites in the canine world, early training is essential. Compared to most Mastiffs, the Cane Corso is much more athletic and agile with more in common with a Terrier, hence again the Pitbull comparison. The sheer size of this canine dictates you should only really consider one if you’re experienced with larger dogs.

dog breed that look like pitbulls.

Final Thoughts

While Pitbulls have a distinct reputation in the canine world, it's important to recognize that several other breeds share similar physical characteristics that can lead to confusion. From the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to the Bullmastiff, these breeds each bring their own unique qualities, temperaments, and histories to the table. 

Whether you're drawn to the playful energy of the Boxer or the loyalty of the American Bulldog, these dogs that look like Pitbulls offer a diverse range of traits to anyone seeking a loyal and loving canine companion.

What Dogs Look Like a Pitbull? FAQs

Which Two Breeds Make Pitbull Like Dogs?

The majority of Pit Bull like dogs are descendants of the British Bull and Terrier, a dog-fighting breed that originated in the 19th century through breeding Old English Bulldog and Old English Terrier crosses.

What Are the Friendliest Dogs That Look Similar to Pit Bulls?

Although any dog can be friendly if correctly trained and socialized from an early age, it’s generally believed the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the friendliest Pitbull. They are patient with younger children and always eager to please the entire family.

What Dog Looks Like a Pitbull and is Hypoallergenic?

None of the Pitbull look a like dogs are hypoallergenic. Although some of these breeds, such as the Staffie don’t shed too much, the droopy jowls mean one thing — drool. Thus, if the dander doesn’t trigger your allergies, the saliva can. 

Which Dog Breed is More Aggressive Than a Pitbull?

Surprisingly, breeds such as Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Jack Russell Terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs, American Cocker Spaniels, and Beagles, have shown to exhibit more aggression towards humans by recent studies. However, Pitbulls tend to be more aggressive towards other dogs, partly due to their dog fighting heritage. 

How Can I Prove My Dog is Not a Pitbull?

In recent years, there have been many controversial decisions by local zoning laws, insurance companies, residents’ associations, and even caravan parks to not allow the owning of a Pitbull.

If you have a breed such as an American Bulldog, DNA testing can often prove your beloved pooch is not one of the harshly misjudged Pitbulls. Because of the science in canine DNA testing, it’s preferred over veterinary visual identification.