List 7 Dog Breeds That Look Like Pit Bulls

With Pit Bull bans going into effect all over the nation, there’s a demand for dogs with the same bold aesthetic but not affected by the ban or regulations themselves. If you’re looking for dogs that look like a Pit Bull, but aren’t, then look into getting one of these fantastic breeds below. Whether you’re trying to duck regulations or just trying to find a “type” of Pit Bulls without the high-energy terrier temperament there’s something here for everyone.

1. American Bulldog

The American Bulldog is often mistaken for a Pit Bull, and it’s easy to see why. They’re large, powerful dogs with a surprisingly broad head and some massive jaws. They’re generally a bit more muscular than most Pit Bulls, with a bit shorter legs.

american bulldogs

American Bulldogs are actually a Mastiff breed so they have a different temperament from the usual boisterous, high-energy attitude you see in Pit Bulls.

They still require a lot of exercise though, and they’re a working dog. While they look imposing, they’re actually quite friendly with people as a general rule and probably shouldn’t be relied upon as a guard dog. They will get high-strung if not exercised enough, but if you can make that commitment they’ll be at home in almost any lodgings.

Be prepared to get a DNA test to prove your dog isn’t a Pit Bull if you live in a jurisdiction where they require special insurance, however, as they’re similar enough that less educated people will often mistake them for a particularly large pit.

2. Presa Canario

The Presa Canario looks like a large Pit Bull, but the truth is that they’re actually closer to the common perception of Pit Bulls than the pits themselves. They’re very large, aggressive dogs that require training in order to not be a complete handful.

While not easy for the novice to take care of, these imposing dogs make fantastic companions when raised correctly. They can be quite docile and good family dogs, although strangers will likely want to take care around them regardless of how well trained the dog is.

Presa Canario dog

They’ll also require a lot of exercise to keep their energy levels from getting too high. They can reach weights of over one hundred pounds as well, so they’re actually much larger than most Pit Bulls can ever hope to be.

Remember that they were originally bred as guard dogs. Pit Bulls, despite the common perception of them, weren’t and if the only “guard dog” you’ve owned has been a pit you’re in for a possibly unwelcome surprise when you introduce a true guard dog to your home.

For the experienced dog owner with a strong hand, the Presa Canario is highly recommended but due to their size and personality novice dog owners or those who often let dogs get their own way should steer clear of these massive, powerful dogs.

3. Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier will forever be remembered by most in the US as the breed of dog which gave us Spuds MacKenzie, the dog of beer commercial fame. They’re also a great dog to go with if you want something of similar appearance and mannerisms to a Pit Bull which won’t be readily mistaken for one.

They’re squat and muscular dogs, with an extremely strong will that may require some heavy handed training at times but mostly they’re just large terriers in personality.

Bull Terrier dog

Coming with the terrier territory is the fact that they are high-energy and have a prey drive second to none. Don’t let the cute and dopey face fool you, if your Bull Terrier gets off the leash near a smaller animal there’s probably going to be trouble.

They’re not recommended for complete novice dog owners, but if you have a little bit of experience and the time to exercise them properly they can be an absolute joy to own. They have a tendency to be destructive when they’re not given enough attention, which means that they’re not a dog to keep if you work long hours.

What they are, however, is an iconic dog with a great personality for those who have the time for them.

4. Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino is a massive, white, Mastiff type breed that were bred almost exclusively as guard dogs originally and many breeders have maintained that line of thought in choosing which dogs to breed.

They’re much bigger than Pit Bulls, despite how closely they resemble them, and not quite as hyper. Despite this, they’ll still require a ton of exercise and are best suited to athletic owners who can both handle a large dog and are willing to take it out on enough adventures to keep its impressive musculature intact.

Dogo Argentino dog

One thing to keep in mind, should you choose one of these impressive canines as your companion, is that they generally aren’t safe around other animals. This includes common household pets like cats, although if you get them as a puppy and train them properly they probably won’t go after them.

If you’re an experienced dog owner looking for a constant companion you could do a lot worse than acquiring a Dogo Argentino as a puppy. They’re not particularly well suited to actual “pack” type situations though, and keeping one with another dog of the same sex is a recipe for disaster.

5. Bullmastiff

Bullmastiff dog

The Bullmastiff is an iconic breed in its own right, although some less educated individuals might mistake them for a Pit Bull.

The first thing you’ll notice upon introduction to one is that they are huge. Like nearly all mastiffs, they’ve been bred as guard dogs for a long time and it’s so ingrained in Bullmastiff that it’s pretty rare they’ll need any training in that area.

They undergo an interesting transformation as they get older, the puppies are extremely rambunctious and curious.

They’ll engage in the usual puppy antics and can cause quite a bit of trouble but upon maturation they’re dignified dogs that don’t require a lot of exercise.

Like most of the more ursine dogs in the world there’s a sad fact of owning one: they have short lifespans and are prone to health problems in their old age. They also tend to drool, fart, and generally aren’t the cleanest dogs around but it can all be worth it for the loyalty and civilized demeanor they possess as adults.

Despite the superficial resemblance to Pit Bulls, they’re amazingly different and one of the oldest breeds of dogs. Highly intelligent and also quite stubborn, they might present a challenge on occasion. The owner must be able to rise to this challenge and keep their pet in line, which can pose a unique challenge with such a large dog.

If you’re up for the challenge, however, the experience of bonding with a Bullmastiff for it’s lifespan isn’t something you’ll ever forget.

6. Boxer

boxer bog

Boxers are commonly mistaken for Pit Bulls by a lot of people. They’re amazing family dogs but they’ll require a lot of exercise and training them as a puppy is absolutely essential to ending up with a well-mannered dog.

Boxers vary widely in their personal temperament, and each will require their own training and exercise plan in order to ensure that you end up with the best dog possible. 

Unfortunately, Boxers often have a short life span and some health problems later in life, making them an often short-lived companion.

The good side of this though is that they’re not a “one person” dog and they’ll be great companions to family and friends alike while they’re around.

They’re playful, loving dogs and almost universally beloved for a good reason. If you’re looking for a dog more likely to lick than bite a stranger, you may want to get a look into getting yourself a boxer.

7. Ambulleno Mastiff

The Ambulleno Mastiff was purposefully bred to create the ultimate guard dog. They have an incredible amount of agility for a dog of their size and a protective temperament that’s almost unmatched.

They’re one of the most recently created breeds, and the science behind it is quite fascinating. Three different types of European mastiff and three different kinds of bull dogs were bred together in order to intentionally create the Ambulleno.

Ambulleno Mastiff dog

Despite their seeming toughness, these dogs need someone assertive but not overly harsh as they can be quite sensitive to their owner’s emotions. Quite a surprising turn of events considering the largest males of this breed come in at around 150lbs.

Due to their unique personality, some care has to be taken in raising an Abulleno Mastiff in order to ensure they aren’t a danger to strangers.

They bond quickly with the whole family and will become quite protective of them.

Owing to their singular lineage and purposeful breeding, these fantastic dogs do almost everything that Pit Bulls are famed for. Protection, companionship, and more are all built-in features of the Ambulleno Mastiff and they make great dogs for anyone with the room for them.


It’s important to remember that just because a dog looks like a Pit Bull, they aren’t necessarily of the same temperament or size. We hope that you enjoyed this list, and have given you some idea of what you’re looking for in the next breed of dog you choose to be your companion.

Did you like our list? Have some other suggestions for dogs that look like a Pit Bull? Leave us a comment below!

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