17 Dog Breeds Commonly Mistaken For Pit bulls

Written by: Kristina Lalovic
Some people mistake a lot of muscular dogs for Pit bulls for their fearsome postures and muscular, sturdy bodies. Even if there are some dog breeds that really look like Pit bulls, other dogs really don't resemble them at all. Check out the ultimate list of dogs that look like Pit bulls!

“Pit bulls” is a term often used to describe a wide range of dog breeds that look like the real Pit Bull, the American Pit Bull Terrier.

If you’re an owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, or even a Boxer, you might have experienced that your dog gets called a pit bull.

These dogs are often seen as too aggressive to no fault of their own.

Pit bulls are often the subject of some forms of discrimination which can make their owners’ lives complicated.

They indeed have a fearful appearance, but they are still dogs in need of affection and human care.

In fact, Pit bulls are one of the most affectionate dogs when it comes to their family members.

Yes, they need to be protective of their territory and their people, but is there a dog breed that isn’t territorial to some extent?

Anyway, today we’re here to list dogs that look like pit bulls!

As such these Pit bull look alike dogs are commonly mistaken for Pit bulls.

Some of these dogs really look like them, while others only have in common a muscular body. Let’s start!

1. Boxer

boxer vs pit bull

Boxer is a dog that looks like a Pit bull.

You may see the difference immediately, but to an untrained eye, Boxers and Pit bull resemble, mostly because of their muscular body and square faces.

Boxers were bred in Germany in the 19th century as a result of crossing mastiffs, Great Danes, Bulldogs, and a terrier.

Often named the Peter Pan of the canine world, Boxer is a fun-loving, outgoing, and highly playful breed with famous floppy ears and droopy eyes.

Opposite to Pit bulls Boxers are up to 24 inches tall and weigh around 65 to 80 pounds, with females being slightly smaller.

Boxer and Pit bull mutual trait: Both breeds are great family dogs

2. Presa Canario

Presa Canario goes under many names, including Perro de Presa Canario, and this is one large pit bull looking dog, also known as Canary Mastiff.

Presa Canario is a powerful dog with ears and a face similar to Pit bulls.

As a Molosser dog, Presa Canario was primarily bred for working with livestock. This is one of the best guarding dog breeds alive.

Their posture and muscular body resemble Pit bull making them one of the best fit dogs within the canine world.

They are so loyal and protective that nothing will stop them from protecting their family.

Presa Canario and Pit bull mutual trait: Both are extremely powerful and muscular

3. Cane Corso

Cane Corso is a giant pit bull looking dog who was bred to guard.

These massive dogs are never recommended for first time dog owners no matter how much they might look like large pitbull breeds.

Getting a Pit bull or Cane Corso, or any Pit bull look alike dogs should be an option only if you have extended experience with dogs and know your way around large size dogs.

These large dogs are highly territorial so proper socialization is mandatory.

This Italian breed is demanding and if anyhow neglected this large pit bull looking dog might become bored and eventually destructive.

Cane Corso and Pit bull mutual trait: Both have great guarding instincts and are powerful

4. American Bulldog

Another dog that looks like a Pit bull is a loving American Bulldog. This is a muscular and powerful dog who needs a regular exercise regime to stay lean and fit.

American Bulldogs were bred to be active, so spending an entire day outside is something that comes naturally to them.

Just like Pit bull, American Bulldog is highly affectionate toward his people and enjoys nothing more than sharing an activity with his human family.

A dog that looks like a Pit bull will be powerful with a firm stand, just like American Bulldog is.

Although they have this physical similarity, they also have calm minds and soft hearts for their humans.

Still, it is important to note that dogs that look like pit bulls but aren’t Pit bulls are dogs who are just mistaken for Pit bulls and should be seen as they are.

In other words, make sure that you know what kind of breed you need: if you need a Pit bull to get a Pit bull, and if you just want a dog that looks like a Pit bull dog then you should continue reading, as there are many other Pit bull like breeds to be discovered.

American Bulldog and Pit bull mutual trait: Both breeds are considered to be descended from Old English bulldogs

5. Dogo Argentino

Dogo Argentino is one of those dogs that are never recommended for first time dog owners.

This powerful dog that looks like one of the large Pit bull breeds was bred in the 1920s from Cordoba Fighting Dog and other breeds, cush as Great Dane.

Their main purpose at the time? Big-game hunting.

Dogo Argentino will never think twice if he should protect his people or not.

At first, this breed doesn’t resemble pit bulls a lot, besides their firm posture. They are always highly muscular and lean, just like Pit bulls are.

Dogo Argentino and Pit bull mutual trait: Both are highly alert breeds

6. Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier is to many a smaller and more gentle pit bull version.

In fact, among all dogs that look like pit bulls in this article Bull Terriers resemble Pit bulls the least.

Why is Bull Terrier included in this list? For two reasons: a stocked/muscular body and a certain level of stubbornness.

Stubbornness is common for terriers. This breed is best known for its shark-shaped head and nickname “white cavaliers“.

Bull Terrier and Pit bull mutual trait: Both are stocky and muscular dogs

7. American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the most loved American breeds.

One look at this breed usually gets people believing that they are looking at Pit bull, or at least pit bull look alike dog breed.

Developed in the States, American Staffordshire Terrier was bred to hunt rodents and other vermin, while staying close to humans.

In the middle of the 20th century, the breed became globally known as an all-American breed.

This dog that looks like a pit bull comes in many colors and patterns.

When trained right they will show that famous pit bull like devotion, as they would never refuse any command.

American Staffordshire Terrier and Pit bull mutual trait: They have a similar reputation and a comparable appearance

8. The Olde English Bulldogge

Bulldogs and pit bulls are two different breeds that usually do not have many similarities.

However, that is not the case with Olde English Bulldogge, a huge Pit bull looking dog.

They may not be too tall or large in general, but they are stocky and muscular, giving them that ‘huge’ appearance.

Olde English Bulldogges are muscular, bog-boned, but also athletic dogs.

It is common for Bulldogs to have short legs and bodies set lower to the ground, and Olde English Bulldogges is no exception.

Just like pit bulls, this breed comes with powerful necks and stocky legs, adding to their intimidating look.

As a cross between English Bulldog and Bullmastiff, Pit Bull or American Bulldog, making them a very rare breed.

Olde English Bulldogge is a dog breed that is often mistaken for Boxer, just of a smaller size.

Olde English Bulldogges and Pit bull mutual trait: Both Pit bull and Olde English Bulldogges are great with children

9. Ambullneo Mastiff

Whenever you hear that a certain breed is Mastiff-breed, you can expect to see some traits.

Common traits of all Mastiff-type dogs are a calm mind, patient nature, and great guarding skills.

Mastiff-type dogs are also lovable companions and Ambullneo Mastiff is no exception.

This is one breed that resembles Pit bull the most probably. As a dog that looks like a Pit bull, Ambullneo Mastiff this breed is a powerful dog with a strong posture and firm stand.

These dogs are naturally wary of strangers, which is what only helps with their guarding skills.

Ambullneo Mastiffs are sensitive dogs, especially to the tone of your voice and they need someone who will guide them with an assertive voice, and never a harsh one.

Just like other dogs that look like pit bulls, Ambullneo Mastiffs are highly protective of their family and require proper training, early socialization, and an experienced dog owner.

Ambullneo Mastiff and Pit bull mutual trait: The color of their coats is something that is mostly common for this breed

10. American Bully

American Bully is a cheerful dog of the power stand. They are easy to recognize, thanks to their smile-like face, and stocky bodies.

Still, many confuse them with Pit bulls, which is why they are often described as powerful pit bull look alike dog who is great as family dog.

This stocky breed goes under other names as well, including Bullypit or American Bully Pit.

This breed is not only commonly mistaken for pit bulls, but often people confuse it with the American Bulldog / American Pit Bull Terrier mix.

Compared to other dogs that look like pit bulls, American Bully has a blocky and strong head.

American Bully and Pit bull mutual trait: They are very similar in appearance, although Pit bull is better proportioned

11. Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog

Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is one of the dogs that look like pit bulls and one look is enough to see how much they resemble.

This breed was bred in the States and is mostly used as a guard dog. These dogs have powerful and muscular bodies set lower. Their heads are stockily giving them a serious impression.

Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs are great for training and they need owners who have experience with powerful and a bit independent dogs.

Not only the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog is a great watchdog, but it also comes with some above-average guarding skills.

If you want a breed that dog that looks like a Pit bull but isn’t a pit bull this is a breed to consider having.

They were bred in the American South to be a “catch dog” for cattle. They are believed to be a mixture of Mountain Bulldogs, Old Southern White, and Old Country Bulldogs.

Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog and Pit bull mutual trait: Both have powerful bodies and serious face expression

12. Bullmastiff

Bullmastiffs are also commonly mistaken for Pit bulls.

These dogs that look like pit bulls are large in size, with 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder, and between 100 to 130 pounds.

Like the majority of large size dogs, Bullmastiffs tend to live between 8 to 10 years.

As powerful and a bit independent dogs, Bullmastiff is never recommended for a first time dog owner.

They need an experienced dog owner, preferably someone who already has experience working with large size dogs.

Bullmastiffs are true softies when it comes to spending time with children and other dogs, although they are not friendly much toward strangers.

Bullmastiffs are known for their high drooling level. If this is a deal breaker for you, you might want to think about getting another breed.

On the other hand, they are extremely easy to groom which is great if you are not into time-consuming grooming.

Bullmastiff and Pit bull mutual trait: Both are incredibly popular breeds

13. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Originally, this famous Pit bull look alike dog was bred to be a fighting dog.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are not too friendly toward other dogs, although they are friendly toward people whom they have never met before.

Like other bull terrier types, Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a breed with a short coat and muscular body.

These dogs are highly alert and great companions to children.

Make sure that your children know how to behave around dogs, and no matter how much they get along always supervise their interaction. This is something that should be done with every breed.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are compact dogs who are often seen in city areas.

Due to their short coat, this dog that looks like a pit bull is commonly apartment-or-house-based.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Pit bull mutual trait: Both have a strong and muscular build

14. Leavitt Bulldog

Leavitt Bulldog is probably among the least known dogs that look like pit bulls. These powerful dogs were specially bred to be strong and healthy like Bulldogs are in general.

The main goal behind this breed’s creation was to create a breed that would have health issues associated with brachycephaly.

This condition is common in breeds that have short and flatted faces. The biggest reason why many confuse Leavitt Bulldog for a pit bull is due to its boxy frame.

Leavitt Bulldog is also a dog that looks like a Pit bull in terms of overall posture and muscular body which may lead to even more confusion if you are not familiar with both breeds.

Leavitt Bulldog and Pit bull mutual trait: Both breeds are highly protective

15. Boerboel

Boerboel is a large pit bull looking dog, who may not resemble bulls if you look at the breed carefully.

However, they do have a powerful and muscular body with bit of square faces which people often associate with pit bulls.

Boerboel is a large working dog who is best known for its loyalty. This breed is never recommended for novice owners but they do enjoy being a part of a family.

As long as children know how to behave around them they will enjoy playing with them.

Like with any other dog breed make sure that you always supervise any interaction between children and dogs.

The word Boerboe comes from ‘Boer’ meaning farmer in the Afrikaans language.

Boerboel and Pit bull mutual trait: Both breeds might have spots of white, mainly around their chest

16. Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux is a huge pit bull looking dog, especially when compared with Pit bull.

These massive dogs tend to have between 23 to 27 inches at the shoulder and around 100 pounds.

They may be massive in size, but they have one of the calmest personalities, which makes them suited for apartment living as long as you can provide enough living space.

As a massive dog, this breed isn’t recommended for first time dog owners, or for those who don’t know their way around large size dogs.

Dogue de Bordeaux is a sensitive breed that doesn’t tolerate being alone.

They are very clingy and nothing makes them happier than spending time with their family members.

Dogue de Bordeaux and Pit bull mutual trait: Both are great family dogs who love being surrounded by people

17. Fila Brasileiro

Fila Brasileiro is a large dog that looks like pit bull, and is characterized by its massive large head.

These dogs have short coats just like pit bulls do and heavy rectangular-shaped bodies.

Their coat is commonly fawn or brindle in color which also inspires many to mix this breed with a powerful pit bull.

Fila Brasileiro is a breed that will stick to his owner, and as such prefers grown-ups over children.

Like with any other dog breed any interaction with children should be supervised.

They may not be friendly to other dogs either, but they will play with dogs from the dog park as long as they like them.

No dog should ever be forced to mingle with other dogs unless he really wants it.

Fila Brasileiro is a calm and confident dog who makes an excellent guard or even a watchdog.

Fila Brasileiro and Pit bull mutual trait: Both breeds are highly alert and loyal

Purebred Pit Bulls – Do They Exist?

Pit Bulls are continually facing discrimination due to their history.

They are often promoted as aggressive dogs who care only about their humans, while the truth is that they are (when trained right) fond of all people.

If you have a pit bull already, the chances are that you have already experienced some form of discrimination:

  • Fearful looks
  • Additional problems when renting a place
  • A constant fear of other dog owners that they will experience a Pit bull attack

This is something that many owners of pit bulls tend to experience.

In many states, these dogs should wear a muzzle when outside, while walking them on a leash (like any other breed) is highly recommended and part of responsible dog ownership.

Pit bulls are also banned in many states and any sort of traveling with them may be a real challenge.

Finding these dogs in shelters is easy as even the best downers have to give up on them when they are banned in certain locations.

Always check the state’s dog regulations before you get either a Pit bull or a dog breed that looks like a Pit bull.

Did you know that the name Pit bull is actually used to describe a type of dog, as there is no such thing as a ‘purebred Pit Bbull’?

When people talk about Pit bull they usually talk about common breeds that all under the Pit bull description including:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Bully

To learn more about these breeds, use this compare dog breeds tool – it should help you understand each breed better and help you find the breed for your lifestyle.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of Pit bulls that are going through some form of discrimination, and dogs that share that famous Pit bull look might go through the same thing.

Luckily, every dog can be trained if you are skilled enough.

When it comes to dogs that look like Pit bull you should not get any of them if you are first time dog owners, as these dogs need experienced dog owner and someone who know their way around powerful and muscular dogs.

Otherwise, you will get dogs that are powerful in a stand, alert, and loyal.

Frequently Asked Questions On Pit bulls And Look Like Pit bull Breeds

1. What Breed Looks Like A Pitbull But Arent?

Staffies are most commonly mistaken for Pit bulls. In fact, many believe that Staffies are Pit bulls, and there is a good reason for that.

American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, and the American Staffordshire terrier were all the same breed of dog – hence the common confusion.

2. What Are The 4 Breeds Of Pit Bulls?

Again, there is no one breed that is a Pit bull, but different breeds that are actually modern pit bull-type dogs.

These dogs are the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bully.

3. What 2 Dogs Make A Pitbull?

Originally, Pit bull was developed to be a hunting dog. To create the best hunting dog possible, breeders used bulldogs and terriers.

Modern Pit bull originated from the original English bull-baiting dog.

4. Is A Bull Mastiff A Pitbull?

Bullmastiff isn’t a Pit bull but a breed of mastiff-type. However, Pit bull are often used to create new dog breeds, so you may encounter a Pit Bullmastiff Mix, a hybrid that is a combination of the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Bullmastiff.

5. How To Tell If My Dog Has Pit Bull?

To see if your dog has some Pit bull traits, you should focus on physical appearance.

Do you see Pit bull in your dog, a square head, powerful shoulders, short hair, Pit bull-like ears?

Pit bull usually comes with deep-set eyes and high-set ears, and they always have a posture that tells that they are ready for action.

Their eyes are also oval or almond-shaped. Another way to check if your dog has some Pit bull genes or not is to run a DNA test on the dog.