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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?

      • The American pitbull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier are two different breeds. The term pitbull is used for the American pitbull terrier,the American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier. However these days the term pitbull is used for any dog that looks bully. Don’t confuse pitbull for the American pitbull terrier.
        I did a DNA test on mine and she’s American Staffordshire terrier and Hindi mix.
        You could say a pitbull mix or American Staffordshire terrier mix.

      • How did you get your dog tested?

      • Sounds like he has some issues that should be dealt with.
        Especially if he is territorial.
        He sounds like he could be unpredictable.
        Might need to visit a balanced trainer.

    • 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.

        • Once again, WRONG! On that premise, you are suggesting that the two (of the three) Premier, International dog registries have no idea what they’re doing or what characteristics (specific to the established standards of breed and sub breed) should be that standard (?). Really? When it comes to the registering of our wonderful little canine companions, most [all] of the people I’ve spoken to have (1) no idea what would be required, SPECIFICALLY, for their breed to be registered in/with any of the 3 registries; (2) how, and why, each registry establishes specific guidelines and parameters which have been immutable until recent years; (3) do not know that the AKC is a ” Formal” dog show, designed and established to exhibit the comliness and coiffure more than their breed standard attributes. And those same people might also untruthfully state that their dog is “registered” without even knowing what is required (by either) for such registration. Ultimately, it’s a freakin’ ego trip! `e finito.

        • Wrong. It’s the other way around been you can’t register a UKC American Pitbull with the AKC. But UKC allows you to register an AKC AmStaff.

      • Wrong. The real danger of misinformation/misunderstanding is that a person will assume that what they believe is truth…without having any factual support. They will then pollute another’s impressionable mind with their same ignorance.

      • Nope, recheck your sources.
        Pit Bull is like Retriever or Sheppard or you can even say it is like Ford or Chevy. There are several different breeds that fall under the category retriever or shepherd but you would call a golden retriever and a Labrador retriever the same dog, would you? Or in car talk you could say, pit bull is like a make, like ford
        Now there are different models of fords, some more similar than others, but different.
        -American pit bull
        -American Staffordshire terrier
        -Staffordshire bull terrier
        -bull terrier
        -American bull dog

        Etc etc

        • you are correct.

        • This person is completely 110 percent correct good job for real people need to learn about these dogs pitbull is just a term American pitbull terrier is a breed of dog and so is a American Staffordshire terrier which are very different from each other but are usually often bred close with each other which creates allot of confusion

      • My girl is a amstaff and if a put bull is a amstaff how is she allowed in my country when pitbulls are band?? They are not the same bread yes they both bully breed but not same dog

      • Yes that’s what I thought

      • THE APBT is the progenitor of both the Staffy & Amstaff & no amount of Historical Negationism will change that fact. The Breed Standard for tge Amstaff came from the APBT d the first registered Amstaff was an APBT. The Anstaff was developed from Colby APBTs do the Amstaff is a strain of APBT NOT a separate breed as you suggest…

      • THE APBT is the progenitor of both the Staffy & Amstaff & no amount of Historical Negationism will change that fact. The Breed Standard for the Amstaff came from the APBT & the first registered Amstaff was an APBT. The Amstaff was developed from Colby APBTs & the Amstaff is a strain of APBT NOT a separate breed as you suggest. A simple research of the dates when each strain was first registered & a comparison of paintings of the first “Bull & Terrier” & comparisons of the earliest photos of the APBT from the mid 1800s to contemporary APBT, clearly shows the APBT has not changed since it was first developed from the Bull & Terrier. Staffies & Amstaffs are merely confirmation & companion strains that have been selectively bred down from the original game dogs to what they are now…

        • Where on earth did you get the imformation stb were produced from the pit terrier? The pitbull infact came from the sbt! Sbt orginated in earlier 1800’s pitbull terrier (breed not group) was 1890’s in england also! The staffy is produced from the english bulldog and terrier the staffy is the orginal, get your facts correct before correcting other people on threads.

      • Haha and we’re the idiots the whole post is about how the two are completely different but still have a lot of similarities that make them look alike

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

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

    • Spot on, they are one dog!!!!

    • Hey Ray so if you took a pure Colby to a staffordshire pit bull terrier in todays time what would be the truth behind that. I mean woukd,you do it if it was you?


  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?

    • I got DNA results for my dog, she is American Staffordshire Terrier. But according to this page, she is exactly like the American Pitbull Terrier. Physical characteristics and personality traits. I think you have them confused.

      And it seems as far as society is concerned, they are both “Pitbulls”

  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

      • Mine has a red nose too. My understanding is that red nose is a quality that was purposefully bred out of the amstaff to further separate them from apbt. Amstaffs can have red noses, it’s just considered a fault for show purposes and these animals, such as mine, are sold as pets. Hank is usually confused for an apbt. This bothers me sometimes because of people’s breed stereotypes. I myself dont care what he is. breed discrimination can be likened to racism. To me Hes just a good dog, and my best friend.

  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

  21. I hate people that think a Pitbull has to have a certain look with a big head. Big heads belong to bully breeds. A real abpt should be between 30-60 pounds end of story. Its head being proportional to its body very simple. For all those ignorant retards out there that meet my dog she’s is not a beagle so fuckoff.

    • yes except that I had bull-terriers 1 red nose and 1 black nose and which was not the same size the female was bigger she was red nose 53 cemtimettre whose parents had papers american dog breeders association the black nose 49 cemtimettre and one and last litter of 11 puppies then question on the size that of 30-60 pounds that it is for the lines English with black nose which and recognized officially but unfortunately not like the red nose not recognized normally but who is not of English race

    • I have a american /staffordshire pittbull . he weighs around 127 lbs he is not over weight at all he has a black and white coat in winter and white and dark brendal in summer and black speckles on neck and cheeks . he stands about 25 inches . i. Have done my research and the american side is the bigger taller part , the staffordshire side is more compact . they both have big heads,cheeks and strong necks . they were bred as nanny dogs for sheep and family dogs . then some fool started using the mixed breed like mine to fight bears people would chain in city center in the old days for betting . crewl and that is what started the bad rumors about being aggressive dogs.its not the dog its the owner that makes a dog aggressive . the only thing is with any pittbull they like consistancy and they must have the same rules enforced by anybody that lives with them . if one person dont let them do something and someone else lets them its confusing to them and they tend to get more stubborn and not listen as well they are one breed that likes a clear line that they know is not laxed if they know the rules and not let to bend them they are happy and well rounded . they are protective of the people they know and thier home , they tend to get along with small dogs as long as they dont challenge them aggressively.not so well with other big dogs unless raised together .very affectionate with people they know and protective of kids they are raised around .very loyal. And they do react to owners vibes if you are not a person that can stay consistant with rules you dont have any buisness owning a pittbull . as long as you let them know you are alfa from a very young age they normally dont try to challenge that .but they usually will look to one person as the main alfa and tend to listen and obey that person faster and the rest of the family they will mind but slow play a little more like slowly meander to the house verses the one they consider the main alfa they will go imediatly at a faster clip . and they are very smart dogs and they are good problem solvers they may have to try a few different wAYS BEFORE THEY GET IT RIGHT BUT THEY HAVE THE FOCUS TO TRY UNTIL THEY FIGURE IT OUT AND THEY ARE QUITE FUNNY TO WATCH WHEN THEY ARE TRYING TO FIGURE SOMETHING OUT CAUSE THEY TRY SOME OF THE SILLIEST WAYS FIRST BUT IF YOU LET THEM FIGURE IT OUT BY THEMSELVES THEY ARE VERY PROUD OF IT AND TEND TO REMEMBER AND WANT TO SHOW OFF TO YOU ITS CUTE WHEN THEY ARE LIKE LOOK AT WHAT I CAN DO COOL HUH THEY LIKE PRAISE AND GOOD JOBS THEY ARE VERY EAGERTO PLEASE. THEY REQUIRE EFFECTION FROM YOU OR THEY GET DEPRESSED .THEY DONT HANDLE NOT BEING CENTER STAGE WELL.VERY FUN BREED .OWNERS MAKE THEM AGRESSIVE BY NOT KNOWING HOW TO TRAIN THEM PROPERLY

      • You are absolutely correct. That describes my amer Staffordshire perfectly. Every statement you made is absolutely true.

    • Use of the word retard, out of the context, is ignorant and incorrect

  22. The OP here has it around the wrong way? Every other majopr Dog breed info site has the Pit Bull at around Max weight of 60-70lbs & the American Staffy to be much larger & heavier up to 90lbs. Misinformation here is pretty huge…

  23. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe
    that you ought to write more on this subject matter, it may not
    be a taboo subject but generally people do not talk about such issues.
    To the next! Kind regards!!

  24. Hello! I just read this article and it is incorrect. I have a purebred Amstaff and he is considered a small one at 63 pounds. In addition he is very good with other animals and children/strangers. He currently lives with 4 other dogs ranging from 12 pounds to 45 pounds and a cat. Please correct some of the information regarding Amstaffs!

  25. I’m not quite sure if it really makes a difference in the end but I need ya’lls knowledge. All I know is that the owner told me that his dog was a Pitbull’. This was right before his dog wagged his butt/tail and attacked me. Locked his jaw and shook my arm like a shark attacking a seal. What really scares me is he said the dog, who was on a leash, had never even growled before and was actually just playing with three little kids around the corner while he was walking the dog. I’m just glad that it was MY arm and NOT the 8-year-old’s little arm around the corner because he would have ripped her arm right off. When the bite case got sent to the city, which legally has to happen in the state of California, the dog was registered at American Staff. This is where I need your help, is an American staff different than a pitbull? Or does a pitbull come underneath the breed of an American staff?

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