What Is the Difference Between a Bull Terrier and a Pitbull Terrier?

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I have a discussion with my neighbor about my Bull Terrier. However, somewhere along with my talk, he wondered what is the difference between a Bull Terrier and a Pitbull Terrier. I did my research and here’s what I found out.

What Is the Difference Between a Bull Terrier and a Pitbull Terrier?

A Pit Bull Terrier originated in the United States, while the Bull Terrier came from England. Compared to the Bull Terrier, owning a Pit Bull Terrier is regulated in several countries. A Bull Terrier is AKC registered, while a Pit Bull Terrier isn’t.

Graphic image of a Bull Terrier and Pitbull Terrier that compares their best features against each other

Bull Terrier Versus Pit Bull General Appearance

Both breeds have sizes closer to each other. A Bull Terrier weighs 50 to 70 pounds, and it stands for 21 to 22 inches tall. Meanwhile, a Pit Bull Terrier weighs 30 to 60 pounds and has a height of 17 to 21 inches. However, I can see that a Bull Terrier can slightly go heavier and taller than the Pit Bull Terrier.

The chart below compares the size differences between the two breeds.

Bull TerrierPit Bull Terrier
Height (inches)21 – 2217 – 21
Weight (pounds)50 – 7030 – 60

One distinct difference between the Bull Terrier and the Pit Bull Terrier is the shape of their heads. A Bull Terrier is known for its egg-shaped head with a forehead flat across from ear to ear. On the other hand, a Pit Bull Terrier has a large and broad head proportioned to its body. The muzzle is shorter than the skull’s length.

A Pit Bull Terrier comes in any color. However, merle is a disqualification. Although the AKC doesn’t register the Pit Bull Terrier, it is accepted by the UKC. Meanwhile, a Bull Terrier comes in a wide range of colors such as black and tan, brindle and red. A predominant white is disqualified.

Bull Terrier Versus Pit Bull Terrier Temperament

Contrary to its bad reputation, a Pit Bull Terrier is extremely friendly and doesn’t make a good guard dog. It’s overflowing with enthusiasm and very eager to please. However, it can exhibit some aggression because of its powerful physical attributes.

Pitbull Terrier

It requires an owner who will carefully and patiently obedience train and socialize the dog. Obedience training would never be a difficult task because a Pit Bull Terrier acquires a high level of intelligence.

On the other hand, a Bull Terrier is dubbed as the clown of the canine world. It’s always playful and mischievous, but can be stubborn at times. Since it’s a breed with high-level energy, it does well on exercise and plenty of affection.

It adores its human companion that it doesn’t do well when left alone for long. If socialized well, given abundant exercise and quality time, you couldn’t ask for a more loyal, entertaining and lovable dog.

In general, Bull Terriers are calmer and have stable personalities compared to Pit Bull Terriers. Pit Bull Terriers’ level of aggression varies depending on how they were raised. This is the reason why, unlike Bull Terriers, the AKC doesn’t recognize Pit Bull Terriers as a breed. Also, owning a Pit Bull Terrier is regulated in some states.

Bull Terrier Vs Pit Bull Terrier Past

Although both breeds look different, they share the same purpose and ancestor from the past. Way back in Great Britain, people were into blood sports such as bull-baiting and dogfighting involving.

Bull Terrier

With the aim of combining the fierceness of a Bulldog and the agility of terriers, they crossbreed the two dogs and created the first ancestors of the Bull Terrier.

Bull Terriers before didn’t have an egg-shaped head. The muzzle used to be proportional to its head. However, when bull-baiting and dogfighting were outlawed, one Englishman named James Hinks redesigned and standardized the look. Later on, Dalmatians were used to create this breed.

Meanwhile, the American Pit Bull Terrier came from the English Staffordshire Terrier. The Staffordshire Terriers first arrived in America in the mid-1800s. These Staffordshire Terriers were redesigned to be much larger from the English version.

It produced the American Pit Bull Terrier. However, the AKC didn’t recognize this breed because they don’t want to associate themselves with the cruelties carried by the breed.

Related Questions

Why Pit Bulls Are Bad Pets?

There is no such thing as a bad Pitbull. Pitbulls are, in fact, as affectionate and friendly dog breeds as others when trained and raised well.

However, when they fall into the hands of an irresponsible dog owner, they get traumatized and neglected why they become aggressive – which any other dog may exhibit if suffered the same fate.

Why Are Bull Terriers Called Pit Bulls?

The term “Pit Bull” doesn’t refer to a specific breed but to a group of breeds such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and English Staffordshire Terrier. Any dog that belongs to the bully breed can be classified as a pit bull.


The Bull Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier differ in several ways such as the general appearance, temperament and country of origin.

Although they differ in many ways, I can see in the article that they share a common Bulldog ancestor and purpose that includes bull-baiting and dogfighting. They also carry the same bad reputation brought by their past.