Are There Different Breeds of Pit Bull?

There is one breed of American Pit Bull Terrier, but the term “pit bull” is a term used to define a group of breeds that share similar characteristics. The American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are three breeds that are often characterized as “pit bulls.” Essentially, dogs that are muscular and blocky are often considered a “pit bull.” Sometimes the American Bulldog and Bull Terrier are lumped into this group, as well. Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs have similar features and history, but aren’t generally lumped into the “pit bull” category.

The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) is a breed registered by the United Kennel Club. The APBT breed does not include breeds within the breed, but there are multiple bloodlines that have been carried forth throughout history, including Colby, Carter, Tudor, Corvino, Sorrells and others.

The American Kennel Club would not register the APBT because they didn’t like the name ‘pit bull’ because of its connotation with dog fighting, so they changed the name to the Staffordshire Terrier and then the American Staffordshire Terrier. For a time, United Kennel Club registered APBT’s were dual registered with the AKC as American Staffordshire Terriers.

Over time, breeders began breeding the American Staffordshire Terriers into two groups- a larger, leggier dog and a shorter, stockier dogs. The division in body type created the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Throughout the years, the three breeds have developed into three separate breeds, but people often lump the three breeds together.