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

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

This article will be super helpful if you are undecided about getting an American Staffordshire Terrier or American Pitbull Terrier. In this comparison guide, we’ll discuss the differences and similarities between these two great dog breeds.

Breed Comparison

American Staffordshire Terrier American Pit Bull Terrier
Size: 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 cm) 18 to 21 inches (45 to 53 cm)
Weight: 40 to 70 lbs (18 to 31 kg) 35 to 60 lbs (15 to 27 kg)
Temperament: Tenacious
Physical Needs: Medium Energy Level
High Intensity
Average Exercise Needs
Above Average Playfulness
Above Average
High Intensity
Above Average Exercise
High Playfulness
Grooming Needs: Below Average Shedding
Easy Grooming
Average Drooling Potential
Above Average Shedding
Very Easy to Groom
Very Low Drooling Potential
General Health: Average Above Average
Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years 12 to 16 years
Friendliness and Personality Strangers: Above Average
Family: Above Average
Kids: Above Average
Dogs: Below Average
Strangers: Super Friendly
Family: Super Friendly
Kids: Above Average
Dogs: Unfriendly
Trainability: Easy Training: Good
Intelligence: Good
Prey Drive: Average
Barking Habit: High
Wandering: Average
Easy Training: Good
Intelligence: Good
Prey Drive: Average
Barking Habit: Average
Wandering: High
Adaptability: Apartment living: Low
Novice Owners: Low
Sensitivity: Average
Separation: Low
Cold: Low
Heat: Average
Apartment living: Average
Novice Owners: Low
Sensitivity: Good
Separation: Very Low
Cold: Low
Heat: Average
Dog Group: Terrier Terrier

First, you should know that the term Pit Bull does not describe a particular dog breed in its own right. American Pit Bull Terriers and the American Staffordshire Terrier are part of a group of dogs that come under the term used to describe a variety of bully dogs.

As a result, the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American bulldog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, plus crossbreeds all fall under the title “Pit Bull.” This term is misleading because the AKC recognizes the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog (Foundation Stock), and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier; however, they do not recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Amstaff Kora near the lake
My Amstaff Kora near the lake

For the rest of the article, so everything is clear, we’ll refer to the American Staffordshire as Amstaff and the American Pit Bull as APBT.


Both dogs are medium-sized with large square heads and muzzles, well-balanced bodies, and well-defined muscles.

When it comes to height, the Amstaff is slightly smaller, averaging between 17 and 19 inches. The ABPT, on the other hand, measures between 18 and 21 inches in height. When comparing both dogs within a few feet of one another, those extra couple of inches make a significant impact. The APBT appears leaner due to their greater height, whereas Amstaffs are shorter and more robust in stature.


The American Staffordshire Terrier weighs between 40 to 70 pounds on average, with males weighing more than females. However, the APBT  typically weighs between 35 to 60 pounds;  however, they can be heavier in some instances.


Sadly, because of the shared history of the Amstaff and the APBT (bull and bear-baiting and dogfighting), there is a public perception these dogs are dangerous and violent.  However, this is far from being the case!

As long as owners implement proper socialization and training at an early age, neither of these two breeds will display any violent behavior. In reality, the Amstaff and the APBT share many of the same characteristics: they both want to please their owners and make fabulous family companions.

American Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier

Many sources refer to the American Pit Bull Terrier as the “nanny dog” because of its protective nature and kind demeanor toward children. However, you should take the term “nanny dog” with a pinch of salt.

Personality Traits

You would describe the American Staffordshire Terrier as an all-around good dog with lots of excellent character traits. They are naturally easy-going with strangers; however, they are immensely loyal to their owners and their family, prepared to protect them no matter what.

Despite its guard dog image, the Amstaff is more likely to greet visitors with a good deal of friendliness and no small amount of affection. However, its size and appearance can serve as a deterrent to would-be burglars.

The Amstaff is a genuine family dog: however, they require an experienced and dedicated owner, not a novice,  who will work and train the dog with patience, kindness, and persistence from being young puppies. These bright and eager to please dogs excel at obedience training, despite their occasional stubbornness.

The APBT tends not to make the best guard dog or even a good watchdog since they are naturally friendly toward humans and ready to meet new people with a hearty welcome. Some are known to bark and alert their humans when strangers are arriving on the scene.

However, it’s doubtful they will prevent people from entering your property. That scenario will quickly change, however, if the dog’s human family are threatened.

Despite their stubbornness, Pit bulls do well when trained by an authoritative owner who understands how to maintain the rules and be consistent. Preventing undesired tendencies like leash-pulling and destructive chewing can be achieved through early socialization and training.

American Staffordshire Terrier Kora sleeping in bed
Amstaff Kora sleeping in the bed

Neither the Amstaff nor APBT is friendly towards other dogs, especially the APBT. They typically will not make the first aggressive move, but there is no chance of either dog backing down. When you’re out walking your dog, it’s advisable to keep them leashed at all times. Should any incident occur, it will be challenging to convince anyone your Amstaff or APBT was not to blame. Unfortunately, it’s unfair and unreasonable, but that’s a sad fact.


As previously discussed, both these dog breeds must be socialized and obedience trained from a very young puppy. Dogs as powerful as these two can be a handful without the proper training. The last thing you want is the dog being out of control and disobedient.

Amstaffs and APBTs are highly intelligent, albeit on the stubborn side. But they are very trainable, and they excel at many canine sports.

Both dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, thanks to the enjoyment of their favorite treats. However, they need a patient, understanding, persistent trainer to get the best from them.

Physical Needs: Exercise & Energy Levels

You would say the AmStaff and APBT match up pretty well in terms of exercise requirements.

Each dog needs a minimum of 45 minutes of exercise per day, and they are both high-energy. The APBT is the more athletic dog and would benefit from a little more exercise. Amstaffs are undoubtedly the more laid back of the two dogs, and you’ll often find them curled up asleep on the sofa.

However, we advise you not to forego the exercise needs because they are high-energy dogs, and you must offer both dogs the opportunity and time needed to burn off the excess energy. If you don’t provide the exercise and mental stimulation they need, you’ll encourage some unpleasant behavioral problems, such as nuisance barking, digging, and destructive behavior around the home.

We mentioned earlier canine sports, and this can be an excellent outlet for their energy. Letting both the Amstaff and ABPT enter these sports can also significantly improve the dog’s mental health.

Amstaff Vs. Pitbull Health

Both the Amstaff and APBT tend to be healthy, with the APBT being the slightly healthier of the two. As with all dogs, there are hereditary diseases they can suffer from, unfortunately. There’s nothing to say that either dog will inherit any conditions, especially if both parents and grandparents have health clearances.

Both breeds are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia, which could develop into osteoarthritis later in life. There is also the question of allergies that appear to crop up with both the Amstaff and APBT.

While skin allergies are not typically seen as severe conditions, it can be frustrating and time-consuming, and unpleasant for the dog to establish what is causing the allergies. Generally, the problem is environmental, so there can be difficulty pinning the actual cause down.


Neither of these breeds makes good apartment dogs; however, if you live in an apartment and want one, I  recommend the APBT over the Amstaff.

Both dogs suffer from mild separation anxiety, typical of any breed that is a family companion. These types of dogs don’t enjoy being left alone for too long on their own. The APBT is probably a little less appreciative of being alone than the Amstaff.

Amstaff sleeping near chihuahua
Amstaff Kora with Chihuahua Iriska

Because of their relatively thin coats, neither the APBT nor the Amstaff do well in cold weather and should never be left outside. They might look tough on the outside, but they’ll both suffer in cold weather. They can tolerate the heat a little better, but not very hot, sunny days. It’s well-known these dogs can suffer from sunburn and heat exhaustion if left out in the burning sun for too long.

American Staffordshire Vs. American Pit Bull Grooming

Owning either dog is a cinch when we talk about grooming. A quick brush down a couple of times each week and a bath, when they get unpleasantly dirty, is all they need. Both dogs shed, but not excessively. You might find the Amstaff drools a little, but we’re not talking Mastiff levels of drool.

Remember to take care of the teeth, nails, and ears, though.


When comparing the American Staffordshire Terrier vs. American Pit Bull Terrier, we’re confident that there’s enough information in this guide for you to make an informed decision.

 The bottom line is they are both fantastic dogs, very similar in some ways yet different in others. Both are brilliant family dogs and excellent with children. However, they need dedicated socializing and training to bring out the best in both of them.