Breed Standards &
There are many breeds and mixes that have been mistaken for Pit
Bulls, yet very often the "real deal" isn't even recognized. Even dogs
reported to be Pit Bulls in bite cases have on occasion, upon further
investigation, turned out to be something else entirely (there is a quite
infamous case of an attack committed by an Akita that was originally
identified as a Pit Bull by the news media).  This page will help you
learn to identify Pit Bulls, understand variations within the breed, help
you figure out what is incorrect, looks-wise in the breed, as well as
identify what's NOT a Pit Bull at all.

Pit Bulls have always been bred more for attitude and
temperament rather than looks. Because of this reason,
there is lots of variation in appearance in the breed. Some
breeds are always easy to recognize. They share similar
colors and markings, and height, weight, and ear set are
uniform. The standards for such breeds call for this
uniformity. The Pit Bull standards, however, allow for more

Even though variation is permissible, the Pit Bull "standards"
(see below) specify certain physical requirements in the
breed. The standards have been written by people who
have spent many years with the breed, and understand
what the breed should look like. The standards have been
approved and adopted by national organizations. Standards
identify the "ideal" Pit Bull, and breeders look to the
standard when making decisions about which dogs to
breed. The goal of any ethical breeder is to produce the
"perfect dog". In the Pit Bull world, there is a huge problem
with unethical breeders who are breeding Pit Bulls with no
regard for the standards. They breed what they like, what
they think a Pit Bull should look like (big, or short, or stocky,
etc.), and what appeals to the general public (which seems
to believe bigger is always better). These dogs do not
conform to the standards. These dogs also add even more
variation to the breed, looks-wise, which makes it still more
So what exactly does a Pit Bull look like? First start with the breed be
concerned with. The first standard is the United Kennel Club standard,
the second is the American Dog Breeders Association standard, and the
third is the All American Dog Registry standard. The fourth standard is
the AKC standard for the American Staffordshire Terrier. The UKC and
AKC standards are similar; American Staffordshire Terriers can be
registered with the UKC as "American Pit Bull Terriers", and can then
compete in UKC shows.

After you've read over the standards, see how you fair at the
"Find the
Pit Bull" game.

The Standards:

Standards are the 'blueprints' breeders use when 'building' the perfect

Important Notes About Size:

Important Notes About Color:
"Real" Pit Bulls aren't
oversized, bulky, or
'wide' - they are a
"balanced" dog; here,
Hailey, owned by
Marthina McClay, is
50lbs of
correctly-sized APBT.

correctly-sized Pit
Bull. This is
Lagniappe owned by
Lanni is 43 lbs.
Lil Bit (ADBA), owned by Marty from
well-built, atheltic bulldog - the way the
well-built, atheltic bulldog - the way the
breed was meant to be!

Can you "Find the Pit Bull"?