What is the Difference Between Blue Nose and Red Nose Pit Bulls?

What is the difference between a blue nose and a red nose pit bull? There are few breeds of dogs that inspire more controversy than the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). Those who know and love an APBT would tell you they are wonderful family dogs, whereas others may cite pit bull bans as proof that they are largely a dangerous breed (which we know just isn’t true!). Not surprisingly, there also is controversy over the two physically unique types of APBTs, the Blue Nose and the Red Nose.

Some seem to argue that they are two separate breeds of dogs, though that is not the case. Both Blue Nose and Red Noses are American Pit Bull Terriers; even the UKC breed standards reference that “the nose may be any color,” and, of the coat, “any color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable, except for merle.”

While we know that there are a number of similarities, then, between Blue Nose and Red Nose Pit Bulls, what are the differences?


As their names quite clearly explain, there are physical differences between Blue Nose and Red Nose APBTs. In both cases, the nose and coat color is a result of recessive genes from the parents. Blue Noses have more of a grayish or charcoal color nose, and the coat is often a similar gray color. Red Noses have a reddish/pinkish nose, often with red or auburn fur. With both types, inbreeding is a concern with breeders whose focus is physical characteristics over the health of the dog.


The Red Nose Pit Bull seems to have come over to America from Ireland, and one of the early breeding consultants began using the term “Old Family Red Nose” for the particular strain of dog. In the 1940s and 50s, several breeders were careful to try and preserve this strain, though any litter could produce a red nose. Blue Noses seem to have less fanfare and history surrounding their lineage.


All breeds have their unique health challenges, and APBTs are no different. Heart disease, joint problems, allergies, and cataracts are common health ailments for APBTs. The recessive black pigment dilution that causes Blue Noses’ coloring may cause them to experience sensitive skin, hair loss, and vision and hearing loss.



Like with anything, if there is greater demand for a dog, prices will go up. Red Noses from the “Old Family Red Nose” lineage are likely to be significantly more expensive than other Red Noses or Blue Noses. Make sure to research the breeder before moving forward with a purchase, as inbreeding is possible as breeders try to maintain specific coloring.

Those four areas are where the specific differences lie. Every dog is unique, and his or her temperament is what will help you determine if he or she is the right dog for you. Whether you go with a Blue Nose or a Red Nose, you can’t go wrong with an APBT!
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