American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: What’s The Difference

Last Updated on: 30th June 2023, 06:49 pm

The American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, are two breeds often confused due to their similar names and shared ancestry, each holds unique characteristics and histories that set them apart.

Originating from similar purposes but developing on different continents, these robust and tenacious dogs are known for their loyalty, strength, and courage.

However, to the untrained eye, the differences between the two might not be apparent at first glance.

This comprehensive comparison aims to explore the distinguishing features, history, behavior, health, and care requirements of these two breeds.

Key Takeaways:

1: The American Staffordshire Terrier is generally larger and heavier, standing about 17-19 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 40-70 pounds. In contrast, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier typically stands 14-16 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 24-38 pounds.

2: The American Staffordshire Terrier, often known as Amstaff, was developed in the United States for farm work, guarding, and companionship. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, fondly known as Staffie, was developed in the United Kingdom for bull-baiting and later as a companion dog

3: The Staffordshire Bull Terrier tends to be more outgoing and friendly towards strangers and other dogs compared to the American Staffordshire Terrier, which can be more reserved and protective.

4: The American Staffordshire Terrier often requires more intense physical activity due to its larger size and higher energy levels, compared to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which may be satisfied with moderate daily exercise.

Origins and History of the American Staffordshire Terrier

Meet the American Staffordshire Terrier, a breed that traces its roots back to 19th-century England. Initially bred for bull-baiting, a popular sport back then, these dogs were valued for their strength and tenacity. However, as times changed, so did the purpose of these dogs.

When the breed made its way to America, breeders began focusing on developing a larger, more powerful version. Fondly known as “AmStaffs”, these dogs were used as farm dogs, hunting dogs, and family companions. Their athleticism and loyalty were (and still are!) greatly appreciated.

Interestingly, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that the American Staffordshire Terrier was recognized as a separate breed from its English ancestor, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Despite their somewhat turbulent history, these dogs quickly won the hearts of Americans, leading to their recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1936.

Origins and History of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

 The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is a breed that hails from the industrial towns of 19th-century England. These sturdy dogs were initially bred for the now-outlawed sport of bull-baiting, hence their name.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers, affectionately known as “Staffies,” was later used in dog fights after bull-baiting was banned. Their tenacity and courage in the face of adversity won them many admirers, fostering a loyal following that exists to this day.

In the mid-20th century, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was recognized by the UK Kennel Club, and subsequently by the American Kennel Club. This recognition marked a significant turning point in the breed’s history, elevating them from fighting dogs to cherished family pets. 

“Staffies” – courageous and tenacious, yet endearingly affectionate.

Despite their tumultuous past, Staffies are now renowned for their affectionate nature and loyalty. They’ve come a long way from the fighting pits, embodying the saying, “It’s not the dog, it’s the owner.”

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 

Physical Characteristics

Let’s dive right in and take a closer look at these two breeds up close and personal. Don’t you just love their muscular bodies and expressive eyes? How about we start with the American Staffordshire Terrier and then move on to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier? 

American Staffordshire Terrier: 

  • Size: They are larger and heavier than their British counterparts, with males weighing between 55-70 lbs and females about 40-55 lbs.
  • Height: Males generally stand at 18-19 inches at the shoulder, while females are slightly shorter at 17-18 inches.
  • Coat: They flaunt a short, stiff and glossy coat that comes in all colors and patterns.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 

  • Size: They are more compact, with a weight range of 24-37 lbs for males and 24-34 lbs for females.
  • Height: These dogs are shorter, usually standing 14-16 inches tall for both genders.
  • Coat: They too have a short, smooth coat that can be of any color, except liver.

While their physical differences may seem minor, they can make a big difference in the way these dogs move and behave. Just as the saying goes, “The devil is in the details.” 

Remember: A dog’s physical characteristics not only define its appearance, but also its health, agility, and even temperament. So, choose wisely!

Differences in Size and Weight between the Two Breeds

When you place an American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaff) next to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffy), one of the first things you’ll notice is the difference in size and weight. These two breeds may share a similar history, but they have grown apart in more ways than one.

American Staffordshire Terrier: This breed is generally larger and heavier. The males stand 18 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller at 17 to 18 inches. As for weight, males can weigh between 55 to 70 pounds, and females 40 to 55 pounds.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: The Staffy, on the other hand, is more compact. Males typically stand 14 to 16 inches tall, and females 13 to 15 inches. When it comes to weight, males range from 28 to 38 pounds, and females from 24 to 34 pounds.

BreedHeight (male)Height (female)Weight (male)Weight (female)
American Staffordshire Terrier18-19 inches17-18 inches55-70 pounds40-55 pounds
Staffordshire Bull Terrier14-16 inches13-15 inches28-38 pounds24-34 pounds

While the Amstaff is noticeably taller and heavier, the Staffy’s robust, muscular build makes it one of the strongest dogs for its size. It’s like comparing a heavyweight boxer to a gymnast – both are athletic in their own right, but in different ways.

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Temperament

When it comes to temperament, both the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are known for their courage, tenacity, and love for their human families. However, there are subtle differences in their temperaments that are worth noting.

American Staffordshire Terrier:

  • Affectionate and loyal: These dogs are known for their deep affection and loyalty towards their families. They are great companions and love to be involved in all family activities.
  • Energetic and playful: American Staffordshire Terriers are energetic breeds that require regular exercise. They love to play and can be quite entertaining with their antics.
  • Protective: They are protective of their families and will not hesitate to defend their loved ones if a threat is perceived.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 

  • Friendly and outgoing: Staffordshire Bull Terriers are often described as ‘nanny dogs’ because of their patience and gentleness with children. They are friendly and social dogs that get along well with others.
  • Intelligent and stubborn: These dogs are highly intelligent but can be a bit stubborn at times. This can sometimes make training a challenge, but with consistent and positive reinforcement, they can be well-trained.
  • Adaptable: Staffordshire Bull Terriers are adaptable and can thrive in different living conditions, whether it’s a city apartment or a house with a backyard.

Note: While both breeds are generally friendly, it’s important to remember that individual temperaments can vary. Early socialization and proper training are key to raising a well-adjusted and well-behaved dog.

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Training Considerations

 If you’re looking to add a new furry friend to your family, you might be weighing the options between an American Staffordshire Terrier and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Both breeds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and energy, but what about their trainability? Let’s dive into the training considerations for each breed.

American Staffordshire Terrier

  • Trainability: Known as AmStaffs, these dogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them highly trainable. However, their strong-willed nature means they need a firm, consistent handler.
  • Socialization: Early socialization is essential for AmStaffs to prevent potential aggression towards other dogs.
  • Exercise: AmStaffs are high-energy dogs that require plenty of physical activity to prevent boredom and associated destructive behaviors.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

  • Trainability: Staffies, as they are affectionately known, are equally intelligent and keen to please their owners. However, they can be stubborn at times, requiring a patient and persistent trainer.
  • Socialization: Like AmStaffs, Staffies also need early socialization to ensure they get along well with other dogs and animals.
  • Exercise: Staffies are also energetic dogs that thrive on regular activity and mental stimulation to keep them happy and well-behaved.

In a nutshell, while both breeds are trainable, their strong will means they’re best suited to experienced dog owners who can provide consistent, positive training methods. Remember, early socialization and plenty of exercise are key to a well-rounded, happy, and healthy dog, regardless of the breed! 

So, are you Team AmStaff or Team Staffie? Regardless of your choice, training your new pup will surely be an exciting and rewarding journey!

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: General Health Considerations

 You might wonder, “What about health? Who wins the wellness war between the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier?” Well, let’s dive right in!

American Staffordshire Terrier:

  • Life Expectancy: Typically, American Staffordshire Terriers enjoy a lifespan of around 12-16 years. Not too shabby for a pooch, we might say!
  • Common Health Concerns: Though generally robust, they’re prone to a few health issues like hip dysplasia, cardiac disease, and skin allergies. Regular vet checks are a great way to keep these concerns at bay.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 

  • Life Expectancy: These fellows have a life expectancy of 12-14 years. A hearty breed indeed!
  • Common Health Concerns: Much like their American cousins, they’re susceptible to hip dysplasia and skin allergies. However, they also have a propensity for eye conditions like cataracts and persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV).

It’s fair to say that neither breed wins the health round outright as both have their unique health challenges. However, with regular vet visits, a balanced diet, and lots of love (let’s not forget that), both breeds can lead happy, healthy lives. 

Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog, no matter the breed. Regular check-ups and preventive care can keep most health issues at bay.

Common Health Issues to Look Out for with These Breeds

While both the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are generally healthy breeds, there are a handful of health problems that prospective owners should be aware of. 

American Staffordshire Terrier 

Known for their strength and resilience, AmStaffs still face a few breed-specific challenges: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common condition in many dog breeds, causing discomfort and mobility issues.
  • Heart Problems: Specifically, American Staffordshire Terriers are prone to a condition called Congenital Heart Disease.
  • Skin Allergies: Many AmStaffs suffer from skin conditions such as skin allergies , often triggered by environmental factors.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

Staffies also have a few health concerns specific to their breed: 

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal location.
  • Hereditary Cataracts: Staffies are prone to this condition, which can cause impaired vision and, in severe cases, blindness.
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia: Like the AmStaff, Staffies are also susceptible to hip dysplasia.

In both breeds, regular check-ups with a vet, a good diet, and plenty of exercises can go a long way in preventing these issues or managing their symptoms.

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Living Requirements and Lifestyle Considerations

 requirements and lifestyle considerations, both the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier have some unique needs. Here’s the lowdown on how these two breeds compare:

 American Staffordshire TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier
Living SpaceThese energetic dogs prefer a house with a yard for exercise, but can adapt to apartment living if given plenty of walks and playtime.Staffies are adaptable and can live happily in both apartments and houses, provided they get sufficient exercise.
Exercise NeedsAmerican Staffordshire Terriers need a good amount of physical activity. Daily walks and playtime are key to their mental and physical health.Staffies also need regular exercise, but may have slightly less energy than their American counterparts.
TrainingEarly socialization and obedience training is essential for this intelligent, sometimes stubborn breed.Staffies are eager to please and trainability is high, although they can sometimes be headstrong.
GroomingEasy to groom with an occasional bath and regular brushing to keep their coat shiny.Similar to the American Staffordshire, grooming is a breeze with these dogs. A brush once a week and occasional baths are enough.

Remember, these are general breed traits. Individual dogs may vary!

Whether you’re a fan of the American Staffordshire Terrier, or the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or you’re torn between the two, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and living situation before bringing one of these energetic, loyal pups into your home.

Are the Breeds Good with Children and Other Animals?

While both the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier exude a robust, muscular image, under those tough exteriors lie hearts of gold. They’re often misunderstood because of their imposing looks, but how do they actually fare when it comes to their interactions with children and other animals?

American Staffordshire Terrier:

  • Affectionate and good-natured, AmStaffs form strong bonds with their families, including children. They’re known for their patience and protective nature, making them excellent family dogs.
  • However, they can be a bit dominant and may not get along well with other dogs, especially of the same sex. Early socialization is key to helping them become more comfortable around unfamiliar animals.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 

  • Staffies are fondly called “nanny dogs” in their native UK because of their affinity for children. They’re gentle, playful, and very tolerant, making them fantastic playmates for kids.
  • When it comes to other animals, they’re generally friendly but can be a bit boisterous. As with AmStaffs, early socialization can help them interact better with other pets.

Key takeaway: Both breeds are great with children, but may require early socialization for smoother interactions with other animals.

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Which Breed is Right for You?

Staffordshire terriers: they’re not just a breed, they’re a lifestyle! But when it comes to choosing between the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, how do you know which one is your perfect match? Let’s dive into the key differences and similarities that can help guide your decision. 

Origins and History 

The American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier share a common ancestry, tracing their roots back to 19th-century England. However, their paths diverged when the American Staffordshire Terrier was brought to the United States. 

The American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as the ‘Amstaff,’ was bred for a larger, more powerful build, primarily for farm work and guarding. On the other hand, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier affectionately referred to as the ‘Staffy,’ remained in England, maintaining a smaller, more agile build, suitable for ratting and dog fighting, unfortunately, prevalent sports during that time.

Physical Characteristics 

  • The American Staffordshire Terrier stands taller and weighs more than its English counterpart, typically reaching heights of 17-19 inches and a weight range of 40-70 pounds.
  • The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is more compact, standing 14-16 inches tall at the shoulder and typically weighing between 24-38 pounds.

Temperament and Behavior 

Despite their size difference, both breeds are known for their courage, intelligence, and loyalty. However, their temperaments can slightly differ. 

  1. The American Staffordshire Terrier exhibits a protective and fearless nature, making it an excellent family dog and guard dog.
  2. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known for its affectionate and playful demeanor, often referred to as a ‘nanny dog’ thanks to its patient and nurturing attitude towards children.

Health Considerations 

Both breeds are generally healthy but can be prone to certain genetic conditions. 

BreedHealth Considerations
American Staffordshire TerrierProne to hip dysplasia, skin allergies, and heart disease.
Staffordshire Bull TerrierPotential for hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and skin allergies.


Your perfect match between an American Staffordshire Terrier and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier depends on your lifestyle, living conditions, and personal preferences. Both breeds are devoted, loving, and sure to bring joy to any household!

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