Bull Terrier vs Pitbull: What’s the Difference?

Miniature bull terrier close-up
© Pointofviewtime/Shutterstock.com

Written by August Croft

Published: May 2, 2022

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When it comes to comparing the bull terrier vs pitbull, what are all of the similarities and differences between these two dog breeds? Both of these dogs have a bad rap for their aggression, but their loyalty and compassion for their people is what truly shines! But what else might these two dogs have in common, and how can you learn how to tell them apart?

In this article, we will address the appearances and sizes of the bull terrier compared to the pit bull. We will also take a close look at the differences in ancestry and behaviors between these two dogs so that you can earn a true understanding of both breeds. Let’s get started and talk all about pitbulls and bull terriers now!

Comparing Bull Terrier vs Pitbull

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull
The average bull terrier is smaller in both height and weight compared to the average pitbull.
Bull TerrierPitbull
Size21-22 inches tall; 55-65 pounds13-24 inches tall; 25-80 pounds
AppearanceStriking face with a long nose; found in a variety of colors. Erect, triangular ears, and a medium length tail. Very short and soft fur, on a compact frameLarge head and compact body found in a variety of colors. Short, erect ears and a long, straight tail. Short and soft fur; highly muscular and powerful frame
AncestryDates as far back as 13th century Britain; used in a variety of illegal bull and dog fighting activitiesDeveloped in 19th century England or Scotland for a variety of illegal fighting activities, including bull and dog fighting 
BehaviorExtremely high energy and friendly toward adults they trust. Not ideal in homes with young children and other animals, but makes a fantastic guard and companion animal for a strong ownerVery loyal, affectionate, and kind to the people it trusts. Has a bad rap and a lot of bias toward the breed, which is largely unfounded. Still requires ample exercise and a firm hand during training to avoid any issues, but makes an ideal guard and family dog
Lifespan11-14 years10-15 years

Key Differences Between Bull Terrier vs Pitbull

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull

The pitbull lives a slightly longer life than the bull terrier on average.

©Anna_Bondarenko/Shutterstock.com

There are many key differences between bull terriers and pitbulls. The average bull terrier is smaller in both height and weight compared to the average pitbull. Additionally, the bull terrier has an extremely striking and memorable face and nose, while the pit bull has a face more similar to a variety of other dogs. Finally, the pitbull lives a slightly longer life than the bull terrier on average. 

Let’s go over all of these differences in more detail now. 

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull: Size

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull

The pitbull is taller and weighs more than the average bull terrier, though sometimes male bull terriers might be taller than female pitbulls.

©Ivanova N/Shutterstock.com

One of the main ways you can tell the differences between a pitbull and a bull terrier is by looking at their size differences. The pitbull is taller and weighs more than the average bull terrier, though sometimes male bull terriers might be taller than female pitbulls. Let’s take a look at these figures in more detail now. 

On average, the pitbull reaches 13-24 inches tall, while the bull terrier averages 21-22 inches tall, making them slightly taller than some pitbulls. Additionally, pitbulls always weigh more than bull terriers, but by how much? The average bull terrier weighs 55-65 pounds, while pitbulls average anywhere from 25-80 pounds. This means that some bull terriers might even weigh more than some pitbulls, though this is not a guarantee.

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull: Appearance

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull

The bull terrier has a very distinct egg-shaped head, while the pit bull has a face that is more similar to a variety of other dog breeds.

©GoDog Photo/Shutterstock.com

You can easily tell the differences between a pitbull and a bull terrier based on their appearance alone. This is because the bull terrier has a very distinct egg-shaped head, while the pit bull has a face that is more similar to a variety of other dog breeds. Given the fact that the bull terrier has a long and drooping nose, you can easily pick out this dog when compared to the rounded head of the pitbull. 

Additionally, the ears of the bull terrier are much larger than the ears of the pitbull, though both the dog breeds have erect ears. Other than that, it can be difficult to tell these two dogs apart, given the fact that they both have short and soft fur in a variety of colors and patterns. However, once you see the face of a bull terrier, it is one you truly won’t ever forget! 

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull: Ancestry and Breeding

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull

The pit bull was developed in 19th century England or Scotland, while the bull terrier dates as far back as 13th century Britain.

©Pulikina Olga/Shutterstock.com

The history and ancestry behind both the bull terrier and a pitbull is fraught with violence and unfortunate situations. Both of these dogs were originally bred to be fighting dogs, both in dog fighting rings as well as bullfighting rings. This is where their names come from, and it is an unfortunate part of their history. 

Overall, the bull terrier is an older dog breed compared to the relatively recent pitbull. The pit bull was developed in 19th century England or Scotland, while the bull terrier dates as far back as 13th century Britain. Despite their sordid pasts, both of these dogs make fantastic companions. Let’s talk more about their behavioral differences now. 

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull: Behavior

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull

The pitbull makes a better family dog compared to the aloof and territorial bull terrier.

©Nantasit Rungrattawatchai/Shutterstock.com

Both the pit bull and the bull terrier require a high level of activity lest they suffer from anxious and destructive behaviors. However, the pitbull makes a better family dog compared to the aloof and territorial bull terrier. Either way, both of these larger dog breeds require a firm and strong hand while training, though both the pitbull and the bull terrier are highly misunderstood. These dogs are very friendly and loyal, as well as compassionate to those they trust! 

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull: Lifespan

Bull Terrier vs Pitbull

The pitbull lives slightly longer than the bull terrier on average, though both of these breeds are fairly healthy and strong.

©Sophia Tr/Shutterstock.com

The final difference between the pitbull and the bull terrier is their lifespans. The pitbull lives slightly longer than the bull terrier on average, though both of these breeds are fairly healthy and strong. Taking a closer look at the figures in more detail, the pitbull lives an average of 12 to 15 years, while the bull terrier lives an average of 10 to 14 years.

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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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