Discover the Top 8 Largest Pit Bull Breeds

Pit bull terrier
© sobakabarobaka/Shutterstock.com

Written by Larissa Smith

Updated: July 22, 2023

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Despite their bad reputation, pit bull breeds are loving companions to many families in the United States. In fact, these dogs have consistently achieved excellent temperament scores and thrive as therapy dogs, police dogs, and service dogs. When referring to a pit bull, many people immediately think of the most common breed, the American pit bull terrier. However, there are several types of pit bulls. They are grouped together because of similarities in size, physical appearance, genetics, and lineage. As a result, below are the eight largest pit bull breeds listed from smallest to biggest.

The XL American Bully is the largest of the pit bull breeds.

8. Pocket American Bully

The American pocket bully is the smallest pit bull on the list weighing between 11 to 22 pounds and measuring 13 to 17 inches tall. While pocket bullies look like miniature versions of the American bully, they are not purebred. These small but stocky dogs are a mix between the Patterdale terrier and the American bully. Therefore, the AKC does not recognize them as a breed. However, they do belong to the American Bully Kennel Club.

It all began in the 1980s when breeders crossed the American bulldog with the American pit bull terrier to create the American bully. Not long after, breeders wanted to produce an apartment-friendly bully, and the pocket bully was born. But don’t let the name fool you; they are not an average miniature breed; these dogs might be short, but they are muscular and broad. But they still possess the nanny-like qualities associated with pit bulls.

Gray and white American bully pocket on grass

Pocket pit bulls only reach about 16 inches tall.

©Rock City Kennels / CC BY 2.0 – Original / License

7. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

One of the largest pit bull breeds is the Staffordshire bull terrier. They were originally bred in the 19th century for dogfighting purposes. However, today the breed is known as an affectionate and loyal companion. Staffies weigh between 45 to 70 pounds and grow 17 to 19 inches tall. These dogs are avid snugglers but have a lot of energy. In addition, they are gentle and patient with children, so they make great additions to families with kids.

Staffordshire bull terriers need a home where they have company throughout the day, as they tend to suffer from separation anxiety. Furthermore, while they love human affection, they don’t like to share. Therefore, Staffies don’t usually get along with other pets. Yet, they still make excellent pets for active families with plenty of time for exercise and attention.

Pair of Staffordshire bull terriers

The

Staffordshire bull terrier

can weigh up to 70 lbs.

©Hamik/Shutterstock.com

6. American Pit Bull Terrier

The American pit bull terriers weigh around 30 to 75 pounds and grow to approximately 17 to 21 inches tall. Like the pocket bully, the American pit bull terrier is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but the United Kennel Club recognizes them. American pit bulls descended from 19th-century bulldogs and terriers originating from England. However, the breed was perfected in the USA, where these talented dogs spread quickly.

Unfortunately, these types of pit bulls are most commonly used for dog fighting. They have a high prey drive and don’t get along with other pets unless socialized from a young age. But they do form strong bonds with their owners. While their reputation portrays them as aggressive killers, American pit bull terriers are actually highly affectionate and loyal. If you are considering getting one of these pit bulls, ensure you have enough time to socialize, play, and exercise.

Black and white American Pit Bull Terrier siting and smiling in park

American pit bull terriers make great companions for families.

©Ali Peterson/Shutterstock.com

5. American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire terrier is one of the largest pit bull breeds, weighing between 45 to 70 pounds and measuring 17 to 19 inches tall. American Staffies are descendants of English terriers and bulldogs from the 19th century. However, they were further developed in the USA to produce a larger breed. Unlike its cousins, the American Staffie wasn’t commonly used for dog fighting as their personalities are more laid back. But, they do share some similar characteristics with their cousins, like their high prey drive, meaning they don’t play well with other pets.

American Staffordshire terriers are good-natured, playful, and loyal towards their families. Furthermore, they thrive in environments with plenty of mental and physical stimulation. While Am Staffs are good with children, they can be overly protective. Therefore, they need constant supervision when playing with children. Additionally, their size might be a problem with younger kids, as they can accidentally knock a toddler over in excitement. When getting one of these dogs, the most important thing to do is to socialize them from a young age.

Two American Staffordshire Terriers sitting in the park

American Staffordshire Terrier

needs to be socialized early for these dogs to be happy and well-adjusted.

©Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

4. Classic American Bully

The classic American bully weighs between 45 to 80 pounds, and their height ranges from 13 to 20 inches. The classic American Bully is a cross between an American pit bull terrier and an American Staffordshire terrier. They are distinguished by their stocky build, short, dense coat, and broad chest. This breed closely resembles older breeds of Am Staffs and American pit bulls in appearance. American bullies are characterized by their smaller body mass, size, and lighter body frames compared to the Standard American bully. These dogs make great family companions because of their loyal and intelligent natures.

Female American bully pocket standing on a rock

American bully dogs look ferocious, but they make affectionate family dogs.

©Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 – Original / License

3. Standard American Bully

The Standard American bully is one of the largest pit bull breeds, weighing 60 to 110 pounds and growing between 16 to 20 inches tall. These dogs are distinguishable by their blocky head and muscular frame. Furthermore, standard bullies are the most popular of all the American bully variations. Compared to the classic American bullies, the standard is more athletic, with higher energy levels, and has a longer muzzle. Additionally, they are incredibly outgoing and friendly and come in many colors. As a result, they are best suited to active families that need an energetic companion dog.

american bully dog in the Green field

American bullies are muscular and sturdy dogs with a lot of energy to burn.

©alberto clemares exposito/Shutterstock.com

2. Extreme American Bully

The extreme American bully weighs approximately 75 to 120 pounds and grows between 18 to 20 inches tall. While they are not as big as Mastiffs, extreme bullies are the most significant variation o the standard bully. These dogs are very large and powerful because of their massive, muscular frame. Additionally, they have heavy bone densities, which led to their nickname, the bodybuilder dog. However, other distinguishable features include loose lips and a higher rear.

a american bully extreme dog in the field

Extreme American bullies have huge frames and can weigh up to 120 lbs!

©alberto clemares exposito/Shutterstock.com

1. XL American Bully

The XL American bully is the largest pit bull breed, weighing around 80 to 140 pounds and measuring between 19 to 23 inches tall. True to their name, the XL bully is taller and heavier than the standard American bully. For example, males can grow between 20 to 23 inches tall, while females measure around 19  to 22 inches high.

The Extra large American bully might have the same stocky build as standard bullies, but their heads are broader and have large, deep chests. Furthermore, they have thicker shoulders and slightly arched necks. But their most distinguishable feature is their massive size. These dogs are surprisingly good with children, but owners need to supervise them around their kids due to their large size. Additionally, they are big droolers, so they are not for everyone. Lastly, XL bullies need a lot of exercise and space. So, they will do well in a large home with an active family.

Serious American Bully XL is looking into your eyes

XL American bullies need a lot of space to burn their energy.

©Vicky1981/Shutterstock.com

Summary of the Top 8 Largest Pit Bull Breeds

RankPit BullSize
1XL American Bully80 to 140 pounds
19 to 23 inches
2Extreme Bully75 to 120 pounds
18 to 20 inches
3American Standard Bully60 to 110 pounds
16 to 20 inches
4Classic American Bully45 to 80 pounds
13 to 20 inches
5American Staffordshire Terrier45 to 70 pounds
17  to 19 inches
6American Pit Bull Terrier30 to 75 pounds
17 to 21 inches
7Staffordshire Bull Terrier45 to 70 pounds
17 to 19 inches
8Pocket American Bully11 to 22 pounds
13 to 17 inches

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About the Author

Larissa Smith is a writer for A-Z Animals with years of experience in plant care and wildlife. After years spent in the South African bush while studying Nature Conservation, she found her way to writing about animals and plants in her work. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for the precious world around them. Larissa lives in Florida with her two sons, a miniature golden retriever named Pupples, and a colorful succulent garden. In her spare time, she is tending to her garden, adventuring with her kids, and hosting “Real Housewives” watch parties with her friends.

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