10 Pitbull Like Dogs – Dog Breeds Mistaken for Pitbulls

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 03/25/21 •  10 min read
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Unfortunately, the American Pitbull Terrier has been a misunderstood breed for many years. The media often report all of the bad things about this pooch without recognizing the good. Indeed, there is some traits that you should be aware of with this canine. But make sure you take the time to understand this amazing breed!

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There are actually lots of breeds that have similar physical characteristics to the American Pitbull Terrier. This means they are often mistaken for this pooch by other people. Let’s take a look at these wonderful breeds and what makes them so similar.

1. American Bulldog

First on our list is the American Bulldog. This breed is probably one of the most popular dogs that are mistaken for a Pitbull. Indeed, they do have similar traits and physical characteristics. But they are a lot bigger and have a different past. This is a muscular pooch and they were originally used as farm dogs, chasing cattle. They have incredible jumping abilities for a big pooch and they are a protective family dog. A lot of people think that larger canines do not need a lot of exercise. But the American Bulldog does. They have a lot of energy to burn and this requires daily walks and playtime.

You must have a secure yard for the American Bulldog to ensure they do not except. They also require plenty of space so they can run around. One thing to realize is this gentle giant can get lonely. They can develop anxiety if their owner has a busy schedule that does not revolve around them.

Early socialization is imperative for this large furry friend. This is going to ensure they can make other four-legged friends and allow strangers into the home.

2. Bull Terrier

Next up is the Bull Terrier. This pooch is a very recognizable breed with their long head but are still mixed up with the American Pitbull Terrier because of their build. Indeed, they are muscular too, originally used for dog fighting back in the 1800s. Now, they are a loving companion for a family, just like the Pitbull can be. They are known for being the clown of the house and they love to play around. But they are also intelligent can be good learners if you can make it fun for them.

The Bull Terrier does not like to spend a lot of time alone in the house. They much prefer to be out playing with their family. They do need a lot of exercise in order to be calm in the house. Early socialization is key to avoiding any problems. They may become aggressive towards other dogs if they are not trained. However, this does not mean they cannot make furry friends. They just have to learn. Due to their energy, they may not be the best dog to have around very young children. But they can keep older kids busy!

3. Cane Corso

There are a lot of facial similarities between the Pitbull and the Cane Corso. This means the two breeds are often confused. But the big difference is the size between the pooches. The Cane Corso is a large companion that is powerful and very athletic. They are an Italian Mastiff pup and were originally used for hunting large game. This included wild board. This does mean they are not lazy canines and do not wish to lie around the home all day. Instead, they love to have a job and thrive when they have a purpose. Otherwise, they will look for ways to entertain themselves. This can include digging and barking in the yard.

When it comes to looking after their coat, there is not a lot you have to do. They have a short coat, which requires little maintenance. You may notice that the ears of the Cane Corso can be cropped. Of course, this is not natural and does not serve any purpose other than to create a dominant look. If you are a first-time dog owner, it is important to know that this can be a difficult breed to have unless you know what to expect. You will have a lot of training and stimulation to provide.

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The American Pitbull Terrier can look exactly like the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between these pooches, especially if they are not pure bred. They share similar physical characteristics and have similar backgrounds. The only way you may be able to tell these pups apart is by size. An American Pitbull Terrier can be larger than the ‘Staffy’.

Due to their loving nature, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very popular dogs in the UK. In fact, this British pooch is one of the most owned dogs across Britain. Originally, they were used as fighting dogs. They have great athletic ability that meant they excelled. However, Staffies that you see today are wonderful companions. They are very people-orientated, love their families and look after children. Therefore, while they look and are powerful, muscular pooches, they are incredibly sweet and loving.

This breed is very patient with children. But early socialization will be necessary so that they can make other furry friends. They do well with training and they are great companions for agility and flyball competitions. They do require a lot of exercise during the day and firm leadership.

5. Presa Canario

Next up is the Presa Canario. This is a powerful canine that reminds us of the Pitbull and also looks similar to a Mastiff. They were originally bred in the Canary Islands and they were a good working dog. They would have a job on the farm. Today, this means they make good watchdogs. You may not see this breed very often but they are recognized by the American Kennel Club. For this reason, you may not be able to adopt a Presa Canario from a shelter and might have to go to a breeder. Just make sure you choose a responsible one.

Despite their size and scary demeanor, the Presa Canario has a good temperament. They are calm and generally well-behaved. They love being surrounded by their family but can become suspicious of strangers entering the home. Early socialization is always recommended so that they can enjoy making new furry friends. They need a good amount of exercise to be happy and to avoid destructive behaviors from forming. This breed is best for people that spend a lot of time at home.

6. Dogue De Bordeaux

Dogue De Bordeaux is a breed often mistaken for a larger Pitbull. Indeed, they are bigger and heavier, as well as having more wrinkles. This pooch is very powerful and their exact origin is unknown. But over the years in France, they have been used for everything, including fighting, guard dogs and hunters.

You may be surprised to hear that the Dogue De Bordeaux only needs moderate exercise. low-impact exercise when they are young is recommended. When they are older, they are stronger and can thrive with strength exercise. Training is essential for this pup because of their size and strength. You should be a firm and confident owner so that they can learn the best ways to behave and to follow your lead. They respond well to training and should be socialized with other dogs from when they are a puppy. With their short hair, they do not need much grooming.

The only thing you need to do is make sure that their facial wrinkles are clean to avoid infections.

7. Boxer

Boxers are sometimes mistaken for a Pitbull and they are a medium-sized dog that can work and be a companion. They have a square jaw and short muscle, which can make them look scary. However, the Boxer is a sweet and fun dog to have around the home and they are good with their family. A lot of owners choose to dock their tails and crop their ears. However, this is not necessary and does not serve a purpose.

One thing to realize about the Boxer is that they are playful and full of energy. They love to play with toys and will spend all day running around if they can. This means that this dog breed is ideal for active families. If you are out working a lot of the time, this is not the breed for you. This breed is known to mature slower than other dogs. They also require mental stimulation, which can be provided by treat games and learning new tricks and commands. Otherwise, they can become destructive and look for alternative ways to amuse themselves and end up in trouble. Since they are so playful, training will be essential for the Boxer. They can be headstrong, which means you will need to dedicate time to training. Be patient and make sure you do not use any harsh training methods. This will upset the Boxer and you will not make any progress with training.

8. Olde English Bulldog

The Olde English Bulldog is also a muscular and big-boned pooch. But you may be surprised to know that they can be athletic. The reason why the Olde English Bulldog looks like the American Pit Bull Terrier is because the breed was crossed with them, as well as a Bulldog, Bull Mastiff and American Bulldog. They have a short coat like the Pitbull and have similar colors, such as fawn, black, white and brindle.

This canine is known for being loyal to his owners, as well as protective when he needs to be. They can also have a bold personality, which means a strong owner is recommended. The Oldest English Bulldog likes to be part of an active family. They love to run and spend time playing, which will be essential to ensure they are calm and gentle at home. Socialization is important with other dogs. This should be something that is practiced from a young age to ensure your pooch is able to make furry friends when they are out and about.

9. Dogo Argentino

The facial characteristics of the Dogo Argentino remind us of a Pitbull. But these breeds are different and one distinction is the size. The Dogo Argentino is bigger, as well as being very strong and athletic. In fact, this breed is one that is banned in the UK and it cannot be owned by the public. Other countries have also banned this breed, including Australia, Singapore and Denmark. This pooch does have a high prey drive and they are good hunters. They are also very loyal toward their owners.

If you decide to have a Dogo Argentino, it is important to know that physical activity is essential. They need a good amount of exercise, as well as mental stimulation. Training is going to be a must. Due to their size and strength, an owner needs to establish who is boss and keep them under command. This is going to avoid any problems. This means that the Dogo Argentino is not the best breed to choose for first-time dog owners.

10. Ambullneo Mastiff

Last but not least is the Ambulleno Mastiff. This pooch is often mistaken for a Pitbull due to their short muzzle and large head. In addition, the ears of this pooch can be cropped if this is done by the owner. They also have a thick neck and broad shoulders, with a muscular body. This furry friend will always protect his humans. They are very intelligent, which means they can be easy to train if you are a strong and confident owner. It is important to socialize your pup from an early age. This is going to make sure this canine follows your lead and can make new four-legged friends.

Exercise is a must for the Ambulleno Mastiff. They should enjoy regular walks and playtime to expend their energy. Due to their intelligence, they also benefit from mental stimulation. This can be provided through training or taking them on nature adventures. 

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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