Why Do Pitbulls Have Big Heads? Read This First!

Decades ago in America, pit bulls were initially utilized as bay and catch dogs as well as serving as loyal family pets. As the need for these dogs to work in such a way has declined, this group of bully breeds has unfortunately been further bred and manipulated for other uses: pit bulls now comprise the majority of canines used for illicit dogfighting in the USA, even despite their natural loving demeanor. They are a group of breeds rife with stigma as their reputation has declined due to irresponsible and abusive owners, but these dogs were built for a purpose and their strong, bulky bodies reflect that history of working alongside people and getting the hard jobs done.

One of the most unique features of these dogs is how bulky and large their heads are compared to most of the other dog breeds in the world.

why do pitbulls have big heads
Why Do Pitbulls Have Big Heads?

Why Exactly Do Pitbulls Have Big Heads?

Two primary causes have led to the big heads of today’s pit bulls: selective breeding to specifically acquire the look and the general anatomy and function of their strong jaw muscles.

Selective Breeding

Through linebreeding and “specific” breeding, people have intentionally focused on breeding pit bull pups to have certain specific desired qualities, one of these being their having large heads. This preference has led to the evolution of pit bulls, the majority of the time, now having giant and blocky heads. The original pit bulls in the past had much smaller heads compared to those today who fall into the breed category. Unfortunately, many breeders sought to produce pups with blockier heads due to dogfighting since a dog with a large head is often viewed as far more threatening and intimidating.

Anatomy (Form and Structure) of Jaw Muscles

A pit bull’s jaw muscles are linked to the crown of its head, which also gives it that bulkier appearance along with great biting capabilities and impressive gripping strength.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the pit bull having a large head purely due to breeding and their natural anatomy.

What Type of Dog is a Pitbull?

The term “pit bull” has long been used historically to refer to numerous kinds of dogs—including the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the American Bully—but “pit bulls” are not acknowledged as a unique and specific breed by the AKC. However, in the United Kennel Club (UKC), the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) was the first breed to be recognized by the organization.

Pit bulls often have a very square-shaped facial structure due to their bulky build and strong jaw muscles. Because of a pit bull’s proclivity to hold and shake its head when latched onto a target, there is a considerable risk of damage if it were to attack a person or animal. These canines have a powerful muscular build that makes them fearless and robust despite their often sweet nature.

Their faces can vary in shape, however, with some of the dogs having more square-shaped skulls and more prominent cheekbones, while others have more oblong or triangular-shaped heads with wider chins. In most cases though, they have the recognizable, large square head and are robust and stocky in their overall appearance. Without a doubt, they are often classified as a large breed dog in every sense of the label.

Aside from those features, they may also have their ears clipped in many cases, although some individuals choose to leave their ears natural and more floppy. Their big chests and robust bones—which aid in balance and agility—easily help them when demonstrating just how incredibly athletic this breed can be.

Can Pitbulls Run Quickly Even with Huge Heads?

Yes, pit bulls can run very quickly even despite their bulkiness. They can even run up to 30 miles per hour! Their large size does not interfere with their ability to move quickly.

Pitbull Appearances and Characteristics

pitbull dog

The sections above describe what a standard dog meeting the qualifications of a “pit bull” typically looks like. As mentioned, they often have a broad face with a square and meaty snout and large almond-shaped eyes. One neat feature is that pit bulls can also have different colors found on their noses depending upon genetics.

In terms of their weight, they can often weigh up to 80 pounds or so and stand up to around 19 inches in height. Pit bulls and American bulldogs can often be confused due to their similar appearances, but a pit bull is typically more on the smaller side, and American bulldogs tend to stand a bit taller and have higher weights as well as slightly different muscle builds.

When it comes to strength, if a pit bull were to bite the hand or arm of a youngster or elderly person, the power and force of the pit bull’s teeth could easily be sufficient for breaking bones. These dogs have a biting strength of around 235 PSI, which is incredibly strong but still less dangerous than the biting strength of breeds such as Rottweilers and even American Bulldogs.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of pit bulls are incredibly affectionate and friendly with people; however, many people are still very cautious due to the reputation these poor dogs have gained thanks to abusive owners that have tried to single these dogs out for use in illegal dogfighting. Pit bulls are born with powerful body muscles, and their fighting technique is aggressive when they’re taught to behave in such a way, so this can often be frightening for people when that’s all that they’ve seen of the breed.


Do Pitbulls Have or Get Wrinkles on Their Foreheads?

A pit bull’s head is square from the day it is born. When these puppies are born, they are born with loose skin around their faces, causing their heads to seem wrinkled. As they get older, though, that wrinkled skin on their faces and thick necks begins to spread out and gains the more “tight” appearance of the skin found on adult pit bulls.

What Types of Dogs are Commonly Mistaken as Pitbulls?

Several canines are often mistaken for being pit bulls, which can be quite unfortunate for their owners depending upon neighborhood and park restrictions on breeds. American Bulldogs are at the top of this list due to their incredibly similar appearance. Additionally, other mixed-breed canine companions are sometimes mislabeled as pit bulls as well if they exhibit certain recognizable anatomical traits, such as a blocky head or a sturdy body physique.

pitbull dog
Pitbull: Why Do They Have Big Heads?

Are Pitbulls a Decent Breed of Dog to Own?

Even though pit bulls don’t make ideal security dogs, because they are so infatuated with their owners, they will likely still intervene if someone threatens “their” humans. Puppies and children get along well with pit bulls, and these dogs were even previously nicknamed “nanny dogs” due to how well they’ll keep up with little ones and protect them. Pit bulls are a devoted, people-oriented breed that thrives when treated as a household member. They are friendly and loving with both young and old.

The only note of caution with bringing a pit bull into your home is that it’s wise to get your pit bull from a reputable breeder or someone who can provide accurate information about your dog’s temperament, possible lineage, and background. With so many pit bulls being abused and used for nefarious purposes, not all of these sweet dogs are free from trauma and safe for just any home environment, so do your research to ensure the dog you want to spend forever with will be a safe option for your home and family.

Related Reading: French Pitbull | The Amazing French Bulldog Pitbull Mix

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.