American Staffordshire Terrier vs. Pit Bull – What’s The Difference?

American Staffordshire Terrier vs. Pit Bull – What’s The Difference?

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Pit Bull – Do you own one of these dogs, what do you know about them? Let’s take a more informed look at each dog.

American Staffordshire Terrier

The Am Staff or American Staffy as he’s known is a medium-size dog growing up to 19 inches and weighs up to 70lbs. But they can be smaller, especially the female.

They accepted the breed into the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1936. The Am Staff is not the same breed as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a breed from the UK. They are often mistaken as the same breed which is untrue. Dogfighting was a well-established sport (although no stretch of anyone’s imagination could call that a sport) in the UK. Thankfully, they placed a total ban on the ‘sport’ in 1835.

By 1850, dogs of the bull and terrier variety were being imported into the USA. Imported for their fighting prowess, some of these dogs became very famous in the US. They now saw them as ‘American dogs’ and introduced to the then UKC (United Kennel Club) in 1898 as a new breed, the American Pit Bull Terrier.

American Staffordshire Terrier

In 1936 the AKC accepted 50 dogs of the American Pit Bull Terrier breed, renaming them the Staffordshire Terrier. They chose this name because the belief was the original dog came from the county of Staffordshire in the UK.

This caused some confusion between two distinct breeds: the US dog the Staffordshire Terrier and the UK dog the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. So, in 1969, they changed the name to American Staffordshire Terrier.

Since 1970 the only Am Staffs registered with the AKC are the American Staffordshire Terrier, at the same time making the dogs conform to their standards, the AKC has made the breed distinct from the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Pit Bull

The Pit Bull is not a breed of dog, as such, but the name of a group of dogs, American Pit Bull Terrier, The American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and some groups include the American Bulldog. It’s important to note here that they don’t see the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a Pit Bull outside of America.

These dogs are descended from the bull and terrier type fighting dog, prevalent in the UK until the 1800s. It’s a sad fact, even though it’s outlawed in the US, dog fighting continues today and the dogs most used are the Pit bull-type.

They class him as a medium-sized dog, although slightly taller than the Am Staff, he can grow up to 21 inches and weigh up to 60lbs. At first sight, the Pit Bull will look taller and a little lither than the Am Staff.

The AKC doesn’t recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Common Mistakes Between Bull And Terrier Breeds

Some confusion arises between other similarly named dogs. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier (we have already spoken about him) and the Bull Terrier. Both these dogs are distinct from the Pit Bull breed.

The Staffy hails from the UK, and even though he resembles the Am Staff and Pit Bull Terrier, is smaller and has different shaped ears. He will grow up to 16 inches and weigh up to 38lbs. The AKC recognized him in 1975.

American Staffordshire Terrier running

The Bull Terrier also originally from the UK was a mix of the Bulldog, White Terrier, and Dalmatian. He can grow up to 22 inches and weigh up to 60lbs. He has a very distinctive head shape (elongated egg, as it’s described) which marks him out physically from all the other commonly mistaken Pit Bull-type breeds.

There is now a miniature version of the Bull Terrier, also a separate breed. He will grow up to 14 inches and weigh up to 33lbs.

Pit Bull And American Staffordshire Terrier Aggression

We cannot discuss these dog breeds without talking about their reputations. There have been many claims these dogs are aggressive and dangerous to society. In fact, in many states in the US and other countries, they ban them.

Pit Bull puppy with kid

Owners of the dogs claim otherwise. They see them as wonderful pets, loving and affectionate, even amazing with kids. No doubt because there is so much controversy, there have been many studies on the aggressive traits of these dogs.

Some Studies Were Undertaken:

In 2011, a study by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare found that Pit Bulls were no more likely to bite their owners than any other breed.

A 2008 study was compiled by Applied Animal Behavior Science, which ran a survey for owners of 30 breeds of dogs using the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire.

They found eight breeds act aggressively towards strangers, dogs, and owners. Dachshund, English Springer Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Rottweiler, Shetland Sheepdog, and Siberian Husky. Two breeds were more aggressive towards humans and dogs. Chihuahuas and Dachshunds. They found two breeds act more aggressively towards dogs. Akitas and Pit Bull Terriers.

They found the Pit Bull to be more aggressive only to other dogs.

Not a good recommendation for the Pit Bull was a review conducted in 2019, by the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology into facial dog bite injuries, they found the Pit Bull guilty of more frequent and severe injuries.

I’m neither for nor against any dog breed. But results and surveys are only as good as the information’s context that is given to the surveyors.

The other side of this argument is the bite from a dog the size of a Pit Bull will be more severe than that of a Chihuahua, and therefore reported more frequently, because it will require medical attention.

American Staffordshire Terrier vs. Pit Bull Socialization

They grow up to be powerful, fairly large, and independent thinking dogs. They need early socialization, and I mean within two or three weeks of them being born.

Pit Bull socialization

They also need suitable training. If you are a first-time dog owner, this is not the best breed to choose, unless you are very confident that you can train and socialize one properly.

They need time, patience, and exercise. Only use positive reinforcement training. Never yell or use physical discipline on any animal but in particular a dog breed like the Pit Bull.

The Final Word American Staffordshire Terrier vs. Pit Bull

Do you have a favorite? Hopefully, the article has given you more of a sense of these dogs. They are not for every dog owner, that’s for sure. Are you confident in your dog skills if you want to own one?