The term "pit bull" doesn't refer to an individual breed of dog that is recognized by the American Kennel Club, but instead refers to several breeds that are considered to be part pit bull. While some mixed breed pups may grow larger than what is considered the standard for their breed, purebreds typically shouldn't. Of all of the pit bull breeds, the American bulldog is the largest, although there is a lot of variation in the sizes of these pooches.
Many Breeds of Pit Bulls
While most people consider the American pit bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier as pit bull breeds, others typically include the bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American bulldog as pit bulls too, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. All of these breeds share certain characteristics, such as a stocky bodies, wide skulls and powerful jaws, due to their history as fighting dogs. Over time, these breeds have developed in size from small dogs to the medium- to large-sized ones we have today. Typically, all of the pit bull breeds fall into the medium-sized category, although the American bulldog is considered large.
Pit Bulls by Weight
The American bulldog is the largest of the pit bull breeds, with males weighing between 75 and 125 pounds, and females weighing between 60 and 100 pounds, according to DogChannel.com. The American pit bull terrier and American Staffordshire terrier breeds can be quite heavy, ranging in weight from 30 to 80 pounds, according to the Hill's Pet Nutrition website. One of the smallest pit bull breeds is the Staffordshire bull terrier, with males weighing from 35 to 40 pounds and females from 30 and 35 pounds. The wide weight ranges for the largest pit bull breeds mean that some members of these breeds may not be very big at all.
The Long and Short of It
The average height of most pit bull breeds is 19 inches for males when standing on all fours and 18 inches for females. One of the tallest pit bull breeds is the American bulldog. Males of this breed range in height from 22 to 27 inches, with females ranging from 20 to 25 inches in height. The second tallest is the bull terrier. The males of this breed can stand up to 22 inches high, while females reach up to 21 inches high. Note that some very large dog breeds such as the bull mastiff may be mistaken for a pit bull breed due to their appearance, but they are not pit bulls.
Beware of Bad Breeders
Reputable breeders of any type of pit bull will breed pups who fall within the breed standard sizes. If a breeder specifically advertises large or extra-large "pit bulls," rather than specifying an actual breed and has no affiliation with a purebred dog registry, she is likely not a reputable breeder. Those who breed pit bulls to maximize their size may wind up with pooches who have poor temperaments. These breeders may cater to those looking to use the pups in dog fighting. Always purchase pups from breeders who follow the breed standards for their dogs and register their pooches with an organization such as the AKC.
- American Kennel Club: American Staffordshire Terrier -- Breed Standard
- American Kennel Club: Bull Terrier -- Breed Standard
- National Kennel Club: American Pit Bull Terrier Breed Standard
- Vetstreet: American Staffordshire Terrier/American Pit Bull Terrier
- Hill's Pet Nutrition: American Staffordshire Terrier at a Glance
- Hill's Pet Nutrition: American Pit Bull Terrier at a Glance
- Hill's Pet Nutrition: Bull Terrier at a Glance
- Hill's Pet Nutrition: Staffordshire Bull Terrier at a Glance
- DogChannel.com: Medium Dog Breeds
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.