How to Tell if It's a Pitbull Breed

By Ryan Hotchkiss

The American pit bull terrier is a breed of dog known for its incredible power, particularly in the jaws. The jaw strength of the breed is not matched by another until the size of the comparable breed is almost four times that of the American pit bull. Proponents of the breed claim that if raised properly, pit bulls are unparalleled in loyalty, laughably calm in disposition and exceptionally patient with children. Opponents of the breed argue those qualities are irrelevant because of the damage done if one does bite. Regardless of your position, it is difficult to argue that they are difficult to identify.

Look at the size and ratios of the dog. Pitt bulls are two and one-half feet tall at the shoulder or shorter. They weigh between 25 and 60 pounds depending on the individual and the gender. Look at the proportional ratios of the dog's body. Pit bulls have wide chests and short legs. Some are as wide across the chest as they are tall to the shoulder. They have narrow hips and muscular shoulders. The do not look built to run, but rather to stand their ground.

Look at the dog's coat. The color is irrelevant. Pit bulls are found in black, white, all shades of brown, gray, blue-gray and brindle. The patterns are irrelevant as well. Some pits are entirely one color, others spotted; there are pits with tiger stripes, with blazes on their faces, with one ear colored different that the other, with socks on their feet and without. All that is important to observe of the coat is the length and the texture. The hair on a pit bull rarely grows longer than one inch except at the end of their tails. It is very coarse. Run your forearm up a pit's back from its tail to the scruff of its neck and your skin prickles.

Examine the dog's head and neck. A pit bull's head is extremely wide from ear to ear, across the brow and from cheek to cheek. The muzzle narrows, but only slightly. Even in relation to the breed's bearlike shoulders, the head is wide, the neck barely narrowing from the shoulders.