How To Identify A Pitbull Puppy

Unless you want to fork out for a DNA test, you will want to find a simple way of identifying a Pitbull puppy.

After all, they are one of the most popular dog breeds yet there can be mixes and various breeds with dogs that share similar characteristics.

How To Identify A Pitbull Puppy

The puppy could be an American Pitbull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or an American Staffordshire Terrier which are three common Pitbull-type breeds.

Thankfully, there are visual assessments that you can perform to identify a Pitbull puppy.

In this guide, we will look at the typical Pitbull-type traits you should look out for and how to identify an American Pitbull Terrier, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and an American Staffordshire Terrier.

The Typical Pitbull-Type Traits To Look Out For

It is actually pretty difficult to spot a Pitbull as it is not a recognized dog breed.

You could say that there are dogs that are ‘Pitbull-esque’ as they can have similar physical characteristics such as wedge-shaped heads, thick necks, and muscular bodies.

Sure, they look like Pitbulls yet that does not define them as such.

You may not even want to identify them as Pitbulls due to their reputation as being dangerous and outwardly aggressive though this is often down to the individual dog and not the type of breed they belong to. 

Should you believe that you have identified a Pitbull, look at its body.

If it looks well-defined, powerful, and muscular then it may well be one, though the height is also useful when they are fully grown.

Those broad shoulders and generally thick appearance are typically associated with Pitbulls and this is down to its heritage.

You can expect the dogs that are identified as ‘Pitbull-esque’ to be traced back to England two centuries ago when the dogs were trained to fight bears or chained bulls in pits. 

After looking at its body, look at the dog’s face and see if you can discern a wedge-shaped head with a thick neck.

The wedge is caused by a long muzzle combined with a low forehead which is also down to the dog’s past heritage as a fighter.

While their ancestry still comes to the fore now, that does not necessarily mean that the dog displaying these characteristics is dangerous, which is almost certainly the case when they are cared for properly.

Identifying An American Pitbull Terrier 

When anyone imagines a Pitbull, they are typically thinking about an American Pitbull Terrier.

The dog can be characterized as short and muscular with a weight of between 35 and 65 pounds which comes with a stocky build.

You should also expect the dog to have a big smile which is down to their cheek muscles.

How To Identify A Pitbull Puppy

If you see the dog being put to work, it will typically be for detecting drugs or during search and rescue. 

Identifying A Staffordshire Bull Terrier

A Pitbull that looks ripped and almost persuades you that it is time to hit the weights is likely to be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

If there was a bodybuilding competition, then the muscles on show with one would probably win yet this dog can also be exceptionally affectionate.

Its short and small stature helps enhance such a reputation as the dog may only weigh between 28 and 40 pounds yet still look a bit heavier due to those muscles (You might want to check out What Is A Micro Bully?).

This Pitbull still remains highly strong yet you can expect it to be playful and adore children too. 

This is one of those dog breeds that is commonly mistaken for a Pitbull but is not one.

Along with such dog breeds as the American Bulldog, the Bullmastiff, and the Boxer, this should not be classed as a Pitbull, even if it does have similar traits with its short, stocky appearance. 

Identifying An American Staffordshire Terrier

Comparably larger than an American Pitbull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier can weigh up to 80 pounds yet fails to have that distinctive big smile.

You can still expect a similar build as this dog also tends to be stocky and muscular.

Though their ancestry is shared, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier typically has a better reputation with kids. 

There is an argument that the American Staffordshire Terrier is considered to be pretty much the same as the American Pitbull Terrier.

As dogs can be registered as having two breeds, in this case having both, at once then both the American Staffordshire Terriers and the American Pitbull Terriers can be Pitbulls. 

Final Thoughts

While identifying a Pitbull should be down to whether it is an American Staffordshire Terrier or an American Pitbull Terrier (or a mix of both), there are other features to look out for.

The build of Pitbulls is typically muscular, with a wedge-shaped face yet its height could be the defining feature.

An American Pitbull Terrier tends to be around 43 to 53 cm in height while an American Staffordshire Terrier tends to be about the same height (43 to 48 cm) (Find out the difference here).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is There A Definitive Way To Find Out What My Pitbull Has Been Mixed With?

There is but it is likely to be expensive as you would need to pay for a Dog DNA test.

This requires a swipe of the dog’s cheek to find out its specific DNA.

You would be paying for a definitive answer as the test should work out the ancestry of any mixed-breed dog as it can test against over 170 breeds.

How Can You Tell If Your Puppy Will Behave Well?

There are various signs that you can look out for which would be hopeful in determining if the puppy will behave well into adulthood.

This includes when they excitedly approach you with their tail up, they may also follow you with that tail remaining up.

If you hold them and they initially struggle but then settle, this counts as a good sign.

Finally, if the puppy cuddles up and then attempts to lick your face then it should behave well in adulthood. 

Emily Andrews
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