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Difference Between Pitbulls and American Staffordshire Terriers

Difference Between Pitbulls and American Staffordshire Terriers

American Pit Bull Terrier

Pit bulls vs. American Staffordshire Terriers

In the past, one would refer to a canine companion simply as a ‘pet dog’. Well, times have changed; today it’s not good enough to call them that anymore. It is now commonplace to hear someone say: “That is Lucy, my Golden Retriever’ or “I have a Poodle back home named Timmy.” People tend to put more emphasis on the breed. The tricky part, though, is that it takes some extra brain cells to become familiar with the vast array of canine breeds. Some seem so alike that you can’t tell the difference.

The case in point is that of the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit bull Terrier, or Pit bull. The two appear to be the same breed, but a range of inconspicuous dissimilarities – specifically bone structure, size, coat color, ears, and head – prove that they are indeed different from one another. Both the American Pit bull Terrier (Pit bull) and the American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaff) are members of the molesser breed group. The term ‘Pit bull’ is, in fact, a general term to describe all those in the molesser family. This makes it very confusing for most people.

Early Amstaff breeds came from England, where they were used as companions, farm helpers, guards, and participants in dogfights. The Pit bull, a cross between the terrier and the bulldog, comes originally from Scotland, Ireland, and England. Pit bulls were used as household companions and guardians in managing livestock in the early days. Now, they have proved to be effective as police and therapy dogs.

Difference Between Pitbulls and American Staffordshire Terriers-1

American Staffordshire Terrier

The dominant characteristics of Pit bulls include passion, willingness, high pain tolerance, fighting prowess, and aggression. In fact, they are among the breeds exploited in illegal dog fighting around the world. With proper training, Pit bulls can be very obedient and docile. They are also very good at guarding property. By contrast, Amstaffs fare well in terms of affection, gentleness, protectiveness, energy, intelligence, and human attenuation. They mingle well with kids when socialized together during their early years. However, they don’t mix well with other pets.

As far as physical size is concerned, the Amstaff, with a height of 17-19 inches and weight of 40-50 pounds, is smaller than the Pit bull. Overall, the Pit bull is more muscular and stocky, at 18-22 inches in height and 22-110 pounds in weight. The former is actually the smallest of the molesser class, while the latter is the biggest and heaviest. The Amstaff has more robust front legs, while the Pit bull has more powerful hind legs, which are responsible for its agility and pushing power. Pit bulls can have just about any color or coat pattern, except for merle, while the Amstaff’s coat color is more diffused and very limited in range. Their color can be blue, white, red, brindle, fawn, or black. Both Amstaffs’ and Pit bulls’ ears are usually cropped. Their head structures are very similar as well, typically with pronounced jaws, broad and thick cheeks, and muscular necks.


  1. The American Pit bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier both belong to the molesser breed group, and they both originated in Europe.
  2. The Pit bull is taller, heavier, and more muscular than the Amstaff. It also exhibits more aggression and power than its counterpart.
  3. Pit bulls are known to be passionate, aggressive, and physically powerful, while Amstaffs are generally affectionate, protective, gentle, energetic, and intelligent.
  4. Some pit bulls today are used as police and therapy dogs. With proper training, both breeds make for excellent guardians and companions.

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  1. the difference is the amstaff is ack reg. the staffy club staffy stated in the 1930’s using colby’s primo as the dog to set there standard. and then later in the 1970’s they opend there stud book agian and only apbt can be registard as an amstaff when the stud book is open so what iam trying to say is amstaff are pure apbt. yes the standard is diffrent but thats due to selective breeding. yes the names diffarent and thats do to the time akc accepted the breed. at that time dog fighting was legal and akc didnt want fighing they wanted show dogs. so do ur home work before post crap like this

    • I have a dog I rescued from a shelter. Nobody could accurately guess his breed/s so I had his DNA tested. His results came back showing a 1st generation 50/50 cross of American Staffordshire Terrier and Siberian Husky. The dog is very protective, loyal and affectionate with family; has grown accustomed to the cats over the months and likes them but still chases, mock bites and is territorial but never growls at them but barks back if they hiss at him. He also sleeps with the biggest one and plays with the outdoorsy one. He’s a bull in a china shop when it comes to them. With strangers he is breifly tolerant (but do not get in his face like your’e his aunt visiting during a holiday!) when not on his home turf but at home he is territorial; playful and freindly when he gets to know people, protective and will attack if he percieves a threat. Other dogs that are not small are not his preferred company to put it very mildly especially if the other dog is not submissive. Very hostile to other dogs except merely chases small dogs like Dachund’s. Scares the living crap out of them though. So does the designation mean he is a pitbull mix or is the staffordshire specifically different?

    • Thank you! !! Where do these idiots get their misinformation? Geeze!!! A PitBull is a American Staffordshire Terrier!!

      • Because some UKC registered American Pit Bull terriers are dually registered with the AKC as American Staffordshire terriers. One dog,two breed names.

    • They look mean but so did OJ…25years ago

      I don’t know who or what the truth is with all these comments…

  2. Since are staffs not good with other pets? I bought my staff at three years old and she is fine with my dogs and cats even though she had never been in contact with cats before

  3. What a hell, amstaffs max weight is 50 pounds? I have 2 amstaffs. One is 15 months old and weight is 70 pounds. another is 4 months old and weight 45 pounds. They are both in good condition and not overweight at all.

  4. They belong to the molosser breed, not the molesser breed.

    Otherwise, I don’t understand why you have this page AND . You’re comparing the same two dogs on two different pages, but moreover, the two pages give conflicting information. Which one is correct?

    This could be a useful website if statements were being supported with valid documentation. IMHO, it needs to be moderated and structured more like Wikipedia in order for the information to be useful. It’s a good idea, though.

    • Here’s an idea Kristine….why don’t YOU start a page? That way, your expertise could be better utilized for good instead of criticism

      • There’s nothing wrong with criticism. If everyone with an idea did their own thing instead of offering criticism, then sites like Wikipedia would never exist, and we’d have 10 million sites, each with one good idea, trying to do the same basic thing. You’re the one who’s out of line with your bizarre and overblown sensitivity to criticism.

  5. Um. I see a problem in this page. This page states that the Amstaff is a smaller dog than the APBT. Anywhere else you look in the world (at least what I’ve seen) on these two breeds, you will usually see that the opposite is usually the norm. Amstaff’s in general are the larger breed. I was also under the impression with the reading and research I have done on both breeds that in general the APBT is more bred for “game.” While the Amstaff is migrated more towards being a larger breed in general with a more mild temperament. Both if raised properly are great animals, with children, and other animals. If not raised properly some can be animal aggressive. It’s uncommon for both breeds to be human aggressive and if they are, it’s generally because their owners made them that way.

    So I’m a little confused as to why this page states the opposite? Anyone?

    • I am confused. I am an owner of a beautiful American staffie. He is 15 months old and is black and white with brindle. I measured him, he is about 19in and has nice long legs. Weight about 60. He has no aggression at all. Very smart, very devoted and hilarious! He likes to play and loves the little dogs! He is quite goofy and funny. He is well behaved and obedient too. Unless he wants to play then he goes all silly. He eats about 3 cups a day plus some snacks….. will do anything for tummies! Great dog! So aggressive? When?

  6. This article is rubbish.
    Pit bulls are smaller and more fit. They in fact are “better looking”. Staffords have always black nose, pits usually have red nose or black, when they’re darker.
    Staffords are also more aggressive. They were breed for “looks”, to be more muscular. Pits were breed for fighting and since in every fighting cage owner had to assist, those animals could’t show any aggression towards human. Otherwise they’d be put to sleep.
    God i came here to learn something and instead I have do point the obvious:(

    • My Stafford has a red nose and has no pit bull in him whatsoever…sorry

      • If the teeth are buried into my leg.. it’s a pit bull…I don’t know who is right in all this stuff…
        But that picture don’t look too friendly …just sayin… and it an’t Toto

  7. For a more accurate description of these 2 breeds, I recommend this website: http://www.pbrc.net/faq.html from the pit bull rescue center. They have reliable sources listed, and they dispel common myths about the two breeds that are perpetuated on this page.

    • pit bulls are bigger than amstaffs and bull terriers and more aggresive.they are the bigger shaped dogs than the 2 other lines. even the fackt that they were especially bred for that purpose and only and not for shows just to look preety,means that they are the kings and period.like many people say pit bulls for games staffs for fun..

  8. This is most likely the worst “educational” article regarding the differences between the APBT and AmStaff. Please do some better research. Wikipedia does a better job than this…

  9. Ya’ll need to do the research on the real differences between the two dogs for Christ sake NO ONE has been able to prove where that actually came from. If you look up old English dogs there is one that is now extinct and PIT BULL. IS NOT A DOG IT IS A RELATIVE TERM. BLUE BOSE ONLY DESCRIBES THE COAT. NOT THE DOG. BLOOD LINES ARE DRAWN AND PEOPLE GET UGLY. OR HAY HOW ABOUT LOOK UP THE REAL 3 KINDS OF (BULLIES) ONLY 1 IS ACKNOWLEDGED. BLOOD LINES JUST MAKE PEOPLE THINK THAT THERE IS MORE THAN THERE REALLY IS. THANKS FOR NOTHING;

  10. Apparently, both breeds excel at killing young children.

  11. That comment from Joe is dead wrong. Hey is ignorant! Killing children? my neighbors would tell you different. They all know my Staffordshire and thier kids love to play with her.

  12. I have a Amstaff,he is about 20 in.tall,and between 70and 80 lbs.He is not good around small male dogs. I am a disabled veteran and he is my service and companion dog.He’s very protective of me,and when I’m away,he’s a guard dog.

  13. The problem is none of you know what your talking about lol this is the most typical thing about the molosser dogs; Their owners are almost always the absolute most knowledgeable Pit Lover. You guys each know more then the all the rest of you yet never seem to agree. All idiots! At least you all love your dogs.

  14. The information provided in this post is incorrect. For 1 AmStaffs are generally bigger than the APBT. Large APBTs are generally no more than 65 – 70 lbs.

    When the AKC recognized the AmStaff they allowed certain APBTs to dual register with their organization in order to quickly populate their stud book. Once they felt they had enough registerd APBTs (that were registered as AmStaffs) they stopped allowing dogs that did not have AKC registered AmStaff Sires/Dams from registering with them (the AKC). This all happened back in the 1930s.

    Since then the APBT (the REAL APBT) and the AmStaff have been bred for very different purposes. The APBT for working, the AmStaff for show. As such the once identical dogs have become very different from each other both physically, and temperment-wise. There of course remains a lot of similarities but the breeds are truly two different breed of dogs.

  15. I find this debate quite fascinating because no mattern how you look at it both breeds are just the same bairng with a different name and all of you who are criticising this type of dog clearly misunderstand it when you say they are dangerous the fact is that any dog can be ferousious and agressive and in this dog’s case it really just matters on how you raise it from puppyhood and how you have taught it to behave I’m sure many Pitbull fans agree with what I am saying.

    • Your statement is very well written. I hope it will absorb into there thick heads. The only thing that needs to be pointed out is that most powerful breads of dog can start out being dominant and lead to being agressive but it is proven that only to much inbreading will make a dog agressive from the start. If a mentally healthy animal of any breed of dog is tought to be none domanent ;then,they will have no reason to fight. Dominance leads to agression. Dogs don’t just deside they are just going to kill. That’s why we call them domesticated. Let me make a point that I believe you know all of what is in the above comment and it doesn’t pertain to you.!

  16. Staffordshires are only docile if they are show quality and raised properly. Those have more of the dogfighting ancestry bred out of them but most do not. This is not a bad thing but people should not go around labeling them “docile”. A timid inexperienced owner should never buy a staffordshire puppy unless they know it is show quality and will take it to obedience school. Stafforshires will destroy another dog it has not been raised with if challenged or not restrained. They are very family loyal and highly protective and territorial and will attack an intruder (make sure they know the difference between an intruder and your mother in law!). They must be trained while young to not think everybody but his family is a “bad guy” so if you are not a smart and resposible dog owner STAY AWAY! These are wonderful dogs even when not show quality (I like the not so engineered ones better) and to see them get banned because of stupid owners and misinformation would be tragic. They have excellent judgement of character and desire to please his owner and can display sympathy if he thinks you are upset! Also very beautiful! Amstaffs should never be banned but some stupid dog owners and “experts” should be.

  17. “…the Amstaff, with a height of 17-19 inches and weight of 40-50 pounds, is smaller than the Pitbull. Overall, the Pitbull is more muscular and stocky at 18-22 inches in height and 22-110 pounds in weight.”

    40-50 pounds is a good, general weight range
    22-100 pounds is not
    Where did you get your info from?

  18. Too those who say the amstaff and pit bull are the same. By all means check your facts. Both akc and my vet have them registered as two different dogs. Same family but different breeds. Also the amstaff is the smaller of the two. I’ll let you meet rebel(amstaff) and zeus(pit bull).

  19. you all have bull-terriers, but each time you dismantle it yourself because you refer to the dog registry every time, the most important and refer to the story (the origin) and in addition modernism confuses completely the mind especially those who are very very naive, which is now several lineages such as boston terrier, american bully, gull dong, gull terrier, bully kutta and many others who are registered in a theatrical register especially to make a genre no more and a lot of big unprofessional very very hypocritical who inflates the pockets of currencies, from whom on the part of the naive see other hypocrites, not to mention the offices .Signed a amateur bulls- terrier

  20. Hi if I breed my Boston terrier to a staff/pit will she have problems having puppies.

    • the only thing to see and only the size of dogs if not no worries at worst take advice from a veterinarian if he is serious see a breeder or another very serious canine administration because many unfortunately are not serious, good luck and good scope

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