Pit Bulls should be easily recognizable, given their signature smiling faces. However, they share some of their physical traits with other dogs too, including squared faces, strong jaws, muscular bodies, and perked-up ears. Their history has maligned them so that anyone who thinks of pit bulls thinks of aggression.
Consequently, many places have breed-specific legislation. Depending on the jurisdictions, dog lovers cannot keep pit bulls in certain communities, housing complexes, and even whole cities!
But the perceived aggression in the case of pit bulls results less from their genetic makeup. Instead, it has more to do with their surroundings. Pit Bulls were trained to be aggressive fighting dogs and treated as beasts and not companions.
When they receive the love they deserve, the training they need, pit bulls grow up to be loving canine members of their families. They show affection and intense loyalty towards their humans. But most people don’t realize that a pit bull is like any other dog.
Just knowing five simple facts about a pit bull can help you give one a loving forever home:
Many breeds share the same physical features as pit bulls, and if mistaken for one, they can be separated from a loving home. After that, they might end up in the pound or rescue centers. So, we’re listing the different canine breeds that resemble pit bulls. By doing so, we hope that people won’t expose other dogs to the same kind of discrimination that they reserve for pit bulls.
We’ll begin with:
The American Bulldog
Usually, members of this breed are white, but they may sport patches of color. There are two main types of American Bulldog, The Standard and The Bully. The Bully has a shorter muzzle and stockier body than The Standard. The American Bulldog looks brutish at over 100lbs but has a very friendly nature.
Since they’re a working dog breed, American Bulldogs thrive on farms and are accomplished hunters, which is another plus point. Other than that, your bulldog would do well as a sport dog or while performing in the show ring. But that doesn’t make them ill-suited to apartment life. As long as you provide your bulldog with enough exercise and get them into socialization training, they will be happy anywhere.
As you’ll see later on, they resemble the American pit bull terrier in temperament. However, American Bulldogs are larger and look nothing like the terrier.
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Imagine a hulking dog that can be as tall as 29 inches and weighs between 115-140 pounds. Only then, you’ll understand what the Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs look like! Besides the size, their amazing musculature also sets them apart. It is due to their anatomy that they possess a great deal of strength and agility.
Their size isn’t unusual once you understand that the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is a working breed. They have a natural herding instinct and love looking after flocks of sheep and goats. Herding a flock’s movement down from steep mountains into the valleys is why this breed was created.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is usually tri-colored. You’ll find their coats to be a mixture of red, black, and white. A blaze-like marking exists on their muzzle and head. And, even though they don’t share a pit bull’s physical traits, people often mistake them for one.
While Swissies can be active out of doors, they remain mellow inside. They are gentle towards kids and possess an even temper, faithfulness, and dependable nature. However, don’t expect them to take to other dogs.
A sleek head and triangular ears make it easy for a canine expert to recognize a Bull Terrier. But the same features are also the reason others might mistake them for pit bulls. That remains the case even though they are smaller and lack the other’s muscle definition. It is probably the similarities between their activity and mannerisms that add to the conviction.
Before you adopt a Bull Terrier, consider these facts:
- You must provide them with plenty of exercises if they are to thrive.
- Be ready to have a strong-willed canine on your hands.
- Skip the activities, and your Bull Terrier may get into all sorts of trouble.
- Don’t leave them alone for extended periods for the same reason.
- Get the proper training before inducting them as part of your family.
- Provide socialization lessons, or your Bull Terrier will be chasing small animals and critters they come across.
However, they also have traits to recommend them to dog lovers. For instance, this breed is a fun addition to any family. Their territorial nature makes them capable of guarding your home.
Rhodesian Ridgebacks also encounter wide spread pit bull hate. Looking at their large, muscular bodies, it isn’t hard to see why experts classify them as hounds. Adults weigh between 70-80 pounds and grow tall enough to reach 24-27 inches.
They are brave enough to take on the jungle’s big cats, earning them the name, African Lion Hound. Aside from accompanying their owners on hunts, Rhodesian Ridgebacks also kept their families safe. However, any individual of this breed acting as a guard dog would benefit from lots of training and socialization.
The picture shows dogs with wheaten red coat color. But you can find Ridgebacks in other shades up to light wheaten. Glossy coated, sure-footed, and sleek, the Ridgebacks are graceful animals that act as dignified as they look.
Even though supervision is always necessary, these pups are good with children and are usually okay around other dogs. If you want a pooch that is active, strong, quick, and displays lots of affection, the Ridgeback is for you.
And while they don’t resemble pit bulls, people often think the two are the same!
Compare the size of any Cane Corso against that of a pit bull. You’ll find the Cane Corso is much much larger. They are at least ten pounds heavier than Pit Bulls, and adult Cane Corsos are often heavier than that!
So, why do people erroneously believe the two are one? They have similar muscular body types, as well as those short-cropped ears. Bred to be guard dogs, Cane Corso takes their job seriously.
That said, we wouldn’t expect an inexperienced dog owner to handle a Cane Corso. Just their massive size is enough to intimidate most newbies.
Generally white-colored, the Dogo Argentino is another huge canine. They’ve something else in common with the other doggos on this list. People confuse them for pit bulls. Mainly, it’s the big muscular frame that is responsible for the said mistake.
As you’d expect, this is an Argentinian breed rarely found in other parts of the world. But those who want an active canine partner can find them for adoption in rescues and shelters! Dogo Argentinos do need a healthy amount of exercise each day. So, you’d better not go for one if you spend most of your day at work.
Doggos are another breed that shows extremely loyalty towards their humans.
In any case, the Dogo Argentino isn’t a pit bull.
Why do people think Patterdale Terriers are pit bulls? It may be because the two share physical traits. Those include:
- Sturdy and compact frames
- High-carrying tails with no curl
- Forward-folding V-shaped ears
- Strong heads
- Keen, dark eyes
The muzzle’s where the two types of dogs differ. A Patterdale Terrier has a tapered muzzle.
But even if we believe that pit bulls are aggressive, the Patterdale Terriers aren’t. They are:
No wonder that the Patterdale lovers consider these pooches to be the ideal canine companion.
Other than the qualities we’ve mentioned, Patterdales remain true to their nature. In England, they would chase rats, rabbits, and foxes. Even now, they love spending time outside. Urging them on is their friendly and inquisitive nature. Not only do they want to sniff at everything they see, but Patterdales also want to be everybody’s friend!
Just know that you’d need to keep a Patterdale entertained and tire them out with plenty of exercise.
The Presa Canario
Sure, you look at a 150-pound Presa Canario and think mastiff. The Presa is not a dog for first-time owners! These are dominant dogs who won’t shy away from becoming aggressive when they don’t get their way. But those in the know will supply it with great socializing and obedience trainers to temper them.
Even for experienced dog owners, getting used to the pooch’s larger-than-life way of living and immense size can take time. While the Presa is much much larger than any pit bull, it does have the potential to become aggressive. Hence, people will confuse it for a pit bull.
Adopt a Presa if you’d like a guard dog who knows what’s what. Owners who have herds that need minding would also benefit by adopting a member of this breed.
Black Mouth Cur
This breed looks absolutely nothing like a pit bull. Just look at how much sleeker its body is compared with the pit bull’s muscular and stocky form. Additionally, their mouths and nose are a black or deep brown shade. This fact alone sets them apart from most other types of dogs, including pit bulls.
If we had to pick a breed, we’d say the Curs look more like yellow Labrador retrievers than pit bulls. Even so, people have reported black mouth curs to the authorities.
Alapaha Blue Blood
Are you just now finding out about this mysterious breed? Then you wouldn’t be the only one! Surprisingly, though, it has been around for many years. The Alpha Blue Blood Bulldog is one of the ancestors of the American Pitbull Terrier. So, if someone mistakes them for a pitbull, they might not be quite wrong.
But just as the pit bull doesn’t deserve the label of an aggressive, bloodthirsty dog, neither does the Alpha Blood Bulldog. As you can see, Alpha Bloods turn out to be giants when they reach adulthood. That means they can throw their weight around when things aren’t going their way — literally. So, investing in proper socialization classes when your Alpha Blood Bulldog is a puppy is essential. Do that, and you’d have a fantastic family pet on your hands.
Another breed that doesn’t resemble a pit bull in appearance. But that doesn’t stop some people from equating the two. Some sharp differences in their physical makeup include:
- Long leggedness — remember that pit bulls are short
- Lean statures — pit bulls have stocky builds
- Long, floppy ears that hand down low — as opposed to a pit bull’s perky ones
Normally, Vizslas wear a shiny, golden brown coat of fur. Intended to act as sport dogs in Hungary, these pups have the body types for it. But their temperament reveals a protective, caring, and loving personality. Vizslas possess a gentle nature, which is why they make such good family pets.
Dogue De Bordeaux
Were you — or your parents — a fan of the movie, “Turner and Hooch”? The bold-looking canine that features in that flick is none other than a Dogue De Bordeaux! So, they have been around for at least that many years. But the truth is, the Dogue is a breed that originated in France many many years ago. Canine experts would tell you they consider it to be one of the oldest.
Now, while, people might think them to be pit bulls, the two look nothing alike. The chief differences in physical attributes are as follows:
- Massive builds as opposed to the shorter, stockier ones of pit bulls
- A head that is much broader than the square-shaped pit bull noggin
- Adult Dogues can weigh 110 pounds or more
The Dogue de Bordeaux has a short-haired and fine-textured coat that comes in any shade from red to fawn. If anything, they resemble mastiffs more than they do pit bulls. But then, people do get confused between the latter two, as well!
Dogues are a working breed that can be quite protective of their owners. But they are also openly affectionate. Fortunately for people who work long hours, the Dogue doesn’t need much exercise. This breed isn’t as active as many others. However, it responds well to training.
In addition to these pluses, Dogues are good with babies. We’d still recommend supervised contact. Oh, and keep your other pooches away. The Dogue doesn’t like the company of other dogs.
Boxers come in packaging and colors that are very pit bull-like. More specifically, their coats are a familiar fawn color, and they have square-shaped faces putting them on our list of dogs that look like pit bulls. That said, look at your boxer closely. Do they seem larger as compared to a pit bull? And isn’t their snout more compact? Those two differences should sufficiently clue someone in that a boxer isn’t a pit bull.
Before you adopt one, know that yours will require daily exercise. That’s because boxers have a lot of energy. Secondly, you must get your boxer plenty of training if you want them to be suitable as a family pet. Make sure to deliver those lessons gently. Boxers are intelligent enough to grasp behavioral training concepts too.
Regarding loyalty, Boxers may be one of the most easygoing and friendly breeds. They won’t pick a family member on which to dote. Instead, they will bond with everybody, including family, friends, and guests. Boxers are good with kids too.
Specifically bred for guarding jobs, Rottweilers look like they can handle the job too. A large frame perfectly assimilates the strong musculature of this dog. Rottweilers can weigh up to one hundred and thirty pounds on reaching adulthood. They are good as police dogs because of several reasons:
- They’re confident and independent
- Rottweilers quietly keep an eye on their surroundings
- These pups have high endurance and love to work
- Rottweilers are quite intelligent, which is why they quickly pick up training lessons
The Rottweiler is suitable for the role of therapy and service dog and a herder. Many consider it to be a pit bull. Mostly, we have its menacing appearance to thank for that.
Generally, they do well in the presence of children. However, we’d stress to keep such interactions under your supervision. Training and early socialization can produce stable and family-friendly Rottweilers.
Want to know what different pit bull breeds look like? Find out!
Do Purebred Pit Bulls Even Exist?
You’d think that the term, pit bull, is an actual breed, but it isn’t! According to the AKC, there are no purebred pit bulls.
The name Pit Bull describes a particular kind of dog. Namely, those with squared faces and stocky bodies. The following breeds can be called pit bulls:
- The American Pit Bull Terrier
- The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- The American Staffordshire Terrier
- The American Bully
Aside from the physical traits, most dog labeled pit bulls have mixed lineages. They may or may not have DNA from the four breeds we have mentioned above.
What Does Breed Neutral Legislation Have to Do with Pit Bull Shaming?
The AKC may not recognize pit bulls as a separate breed. But that doesn’t mean that local governments do not. So many places legislate specifically against dog owners keeping a pit bull. If you share your couch with one, you may be denied entry to certain apartment complexes, for instance. Such laws that target a particular breed are called breed-specific.
With time, states are considering the regulation of dogs on an individual basis. It’s better than outdated ideas that assume a dog must be aggressive just because it hails from a certain breed. It is best to study both an individual pooch’s behavior and the conditions resulting in it before blacklisting its whole breed.
In the end, remember not to write off a dog if it only looks like a pit bull. The two might look alike physically but have the opposite temperaments, not to mention that the owner plays a huge role in how a dog turns out. The canine shouldn’t suffer because their owner didn’t take them to obedience or socialization classes!
That said, you may be considering adopting a member of the breeds you see on this list. Please do so and prove to other people that all dogs deserve love and care. First, decide what you’re looking for in a pit-bull-like pooch. Will you prefer a playful, goofy breed? Then a Boxer or an American Bulldog would be perfect for you. Ironically, they come closest to pit bulls in terms of friendliness.
Do you have a specific task in mind for your adoptee? For instance, you may be looking for a watchdog. In that case, pick a Dogo Argentino or an Ambullneo Mastiff. These pups are more than up for a guarding job.
Regardless of the breed you select, just love the pooch with all your heart. Pitbull or not, these fur babies will love you back for sure!