American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Similarities and Differences

The main difference between the American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier is that the American Staffordshire Terrier is generally larger, with a weight range of 55 to 70 pounds, while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is smaller, weighing between 24 to 38 pounds.

Key Takeaway:

  • American Staffordshire Terrier: Developed in the United States, the American Staffordshire Terrier is descended from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier brought from England in the 19th century. It was bred for bull-baiting, later evolving into a versatile working dog.
  • American Staffordshire Terrier has a muscular and stocky build with a broad head and strong jaws, while Staffordshire Bull Terrier is compact and muscular, with a short and broad head.
  • The American Staffordshire Terrier is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is also recognized by the AKC, as well as by the United Kennel Club (UKC)

Staffordshire Terrier Breeds: An Overview

 Into the world of Staffordshire Terriers! An energetic duo of canine charm and muscle, these breeds are often the subject of comparison.

But what sets them apart?

Let’s dive in and explore these two beloved breeds, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

American Staffordshire Terrier (often affectionately known as “AmStaff”) and Staffordshire Bull Terrier (“Staffie”) share common ancestors. Both stem from a historical blend of Bulldog and Terrier breeds, developed in the 19th century England for bull baiting and later, for ratting and dog fighting.

Here’s a thrilling fact: Despite their brawny look, both breeds are known to be “nanny dogs” due to their exceptional tolerance towards children and love for families!

Yet, they’re not just carbon copies of each other.

Over time, geographical separation and different breeding objectives led to their distinction, both in physical attributes and temperament. 

First off, let’s tackle the physicality. While both breeds are muscular and strong, the AmStaff is generally taller and heavier than its British counterpart. On the other hand, the Staffie is more compact but equally robust. 

Temperament-wise, they might seem similar at first glance with their high energy levels and playful nature. However, the AmStaff tends to be more laid-back and easygoing than the feisty Staffie

Both breeds win hearts with their loyalty, affection, and protective nature when being family pets. Yet, proper socialization and training from an early age are crucial to nurturing their best qualities. 

Remember: No two dogs are identical, even within the same breed. Many factors, including upbringing, training, and individual temperament, can influence a dog’s personality and behavior.

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier: A Table of Comparison

Here is a simple comparison table between the two breeds:

 American Staffordshire TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier
HistoryOriginating in the United States, the American Staffordshire Terrier was initially bred for bull baiting and later as a farm dog.Originated in England, Staffordshire Bull Terriers were also initially used for bull baiting before the practice was banned.
AppearanceThese dogs are strong and muscular with a broad head and a short, smooth coat. They are slightly taller, usually standing 17-19 inches at the shoulder.Staffies, as they are often affectionately known, are also muscular but smaller, standing 14-16 inches at the shoulder. They have a broad head and their coat is short and smooth.
TemperamentAmStaffs are known for their courage, tenacity, friendliness, and attentiveness. They are full of energy and love to play.Staffies are renowned for their love of people, especially children. They are courageous, highly intelligent, and full of energy.
Suitability as Family PetsWith their friendly and protective nature, AmStaffs make excellent family pets. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation.Staffies are often referred to as ‘nanny dogs’ because of their affinity with children. They are great family pets but also require regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Now, there you have it! A side-by-side comparison of our two lovable, tail-wagging friends. But remember, each dog has unique quirks and characteristics within every breed. So, whether you’re team AmStaff or team Staffie, both breeds bring joy, love, and a little bit of cheekiness to any home!

History and Origin of the American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Although they bear similar names and share a common lineage, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier each have a unique backstory that adds to their charm and character. 

American Staffordshire Terrier: 

  • The American Staffordshire Terrier, affectionately known as the “Amstaff,” has its roots in early 19th-century England. Originally bred from a mix of bulldogs and terriers, these dogs were used for bull-baiting and later as farm dogs when they were brought to America. Over time, American breeders developed a larger version of this breed, eventually known as the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 

  • On the other side of the pond, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or “Staffy,” as it’s warmly referred to, boasts a similar origin story. Also stemming from a mix of bulldogs and terriers, these dogs were also initially used for bull-baiting. However, after the practice was outlawed, they found a new role as companions and house pets in Staffordshire, England. They remained relatively unknown outside the UK until the American Kennel Club officially recognized them in 1974.

Physical Attributes of the American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Regarding physical attributes, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are strikingly handsome breeds with distinct and robust features. Yet, differences are quite evident between these two breeds with common ancestry. 

American Staffordshire Terrier: 

  • Size: This breed is larger, standing at 17-19 inches tall at the shoulder for males and 16-18 inches for females. They often weigh between 40-70 pounds, with males slightly heavier.
  • Appearance: They possess a strong, muscular build with a broad head and full cheeks. Their eyes are dark and round, and their ears are either erect or half-erect. They have a short, smooth coats in various colors and patterns.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 

  • Size: Comparatively smaller than their American counterpart, males stand at 14-16 inches tall and females at 13-15 inches. Their weight ranges between 24-37 pounds.
  • Appearance: They exhibited a muscular, more compact build with a broad, short head and pronounced cheek muscles. Their eyes are dark and round, and their ears are rose or half-pricked. Their coat is short and smooth, available in a wide range of colors and patterns.

While both breeds sport a muscular and stout physique, the American Staffordshire Terrier is noticeably larger and taller than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Despite their differences, both breeds exude a strong, powerful presence.

Next, let’s delve into the temperaments of these two adorable breeds.

Temperament: How the American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier Compare

The American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are known for their lively, outgoing, and affectionate nature. But, like two siblings from the same family, they also have unique quirks and temperament differences. 

  • American Staffordshire Terrier: These canines are incredibly friendly, loyal, and devoted to their human family. AmStaffs, as they’re often lovingly called, are also impressively brave and protective – making them excellent home guardians. However, they have a high energy level and require lots of physical and mental stimulation to keep them occupied.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Staffies, alternatively, are characterized by their courageous yet affable personality. They are reliable, intelligent, and, believe it or not, terrific with children – earning them the moniker “nanny dogs”. Though they share their American cousins’ athletic prowess, they are generally more laid-back.

Both breeds demonstrate a strong bond with their human families and exhibit a blend of courage and gentleness. It’s their energy levels and exercise needs that primarily differentiate them.

 American Staffordshire TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier
TemperamentFriendly, Loyal, ProtectiveCourageous, Affable, Reliable
Energy LevelHighMedium
Exercise NeedsHighMedium

Training and Exercise for American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Both the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are known for their boundless energy and need for regular exercise. These breeds thrive on mental and physical stimulation, so training and exercise are vital aspects of their routine. 


When it comes to training, both breeds are eager to please their owners and can be highly trainable, but there are some differences: 

  • American Staffordshire Terriers: These dogs are known for their intelligence and willingness to learn. Consistent, positive reinforcement techniques work best, as they can be sensitive to harsh training methods. Socialization from an early age is key to ensuring they get along well with other pets and people.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers: Staffies, as they’re affectionately known, are similarly intelligent but can sometimes be a bit stubborn. Patience, consistency, and a firm but fair approach are essential. Like their American counterparts, socialization is crucial from a young age.


When it comes to exercise, these breeds have a lot in common: 

  • American Staffordshire Terriers: This breed requires significant exercise to stay happy and healthy. Daily walks, runs, play sessions, and mental stimulation through puzzle toys or games are all part of these dogs’ exercise routines.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers: Staffies also require a good deal of physical activity. They love a good game of fetch and enjoy agility training. They also benefit greatly from mental stimulation, so incorporating interactive toys or games into their routine is a good idea.

Are American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers Good Family Pets?

American Staffordshire Terriers and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier have their shining moments. Known for their loyalty, affection, and protectiveness, these breeds can undoubtedly hold a special place in the family unit.

  • American Staffordshire Terriers: With their undying loyalty and love for their humans, American Staffordshire Terriers make excellent family pets. They are incredibly good with children and are known to protect their families. However, they require a lot of exercises and mental stimulation, so a family that leads an active lifestyle would be the best fit.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers: Staffordshire Bull Terriers are often called “nanny dogs” because of their affectionate and protective nature towards children. They are very friendly and love to be part of the family activities. They can, however, be a bit stubborn at times, so consistent training from a young age is important.

Regardless of the breed, what’s most important is that the family can provide the necessary care, time, and affection that these loving dogs need. Remember, a happy dog makes for a happy home!

Grooming and Care for American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers

 It might seem that grooming and caring for an American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffy) would be a walk in the park. After all, both breeds have short, smooth coats that don’t require much fuss. But hold onto your leashes because there’s a bit more to consider!


  • AmStaffs: Despite their short coat, AmStaffs are moderate shedders. Regular brushing will keep their coat looking shiny and healthy. A bath every 4-6 weeks is usually sufficient unless they’ve had an adventurous romp in a mud puddle!
  • Staffys: Like their American cousins, Staffys also have a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. However, they tend to shed more heavily twice a year. During these times, more frequent brushing can help manage the fluff. They, too, enjoy a good bath every month or so.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation 

  1. AmStaffs: These energetic pups need a lot of daily exercises to prevent boredom and potentially destructive behavior. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog! Mental stimulation is equally essential – puzzle toys and obedience training are great options.
  2. Staffys: Staffys are also high-energy dogs that require regular exercise. They love games like fetch and tug-of-war. Just as with AmStaffs, mental stimulation is key. Staffy excels in activities such as agility training and flyball.

Health Care 

General HealthOverall, AmStaffs are a healthy breed. However, they can be prone to genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia and skin allergies.Staffys are generally robust dogs, but they too can be susceptible to specific health issues, including skin conditions and eye problems.
Vet Check-upsRegular vet visits are crucial to keep your AmStaff in tip-top shape. This allows for early detection and treatment of any potential issues.Staffys also benefit from regular vet check-ups. Routine health examinations can help identify and manage any potential concerns early on.

Whether you have an AmStaff or a Staffy, remember that proper grooming, plenty of exercises, mental stimulation, and regular vet check-ups are key to ensuring your furry friend’s long, happy, and healthy life.

Health Issues Common in American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Like humans, our canine companions, the American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be predisposed to certain health conditions. These muscular and athletic breeds are generally healthy, but as a potential pet owner, it’s key to be aware of their health concerns. 

  • Heart Disease: Both breeds can be susceptible to various types of heart disease, including valve disorders and cardiomyopathy.
  • Eye Conditions: Cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are common eye conditions in these breeds. PRA is a group of genetic diseases that cause the retina to degenerate slowly over time.
  • Joint Problems: Due to their athletic nature, both breeds can develop joint issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help manage these conditions.
  • Skin Allergies: The American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier can suffer from skin allergies, which can cause itching and discomfort.

While this might sound concerning, not every dog will get these diseases. Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can mitigate many health issues. As beloved family pets, many of these breeds live long, happy, and healthy lives. 

Choosing Between American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Which is Right for You?

Deciding on the right dog breed for your family and lifestyle is important. When considering the American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, it’s crucial to understand their similarities and differences to make an informed choice. Here are some factors to consider when choosing between these two breeds:

  1. Size and Exercise Needs: The American Staffordshire Terrier is larger and more muscular, requiring ample exercise and room to move around. On the other hand, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is smaller and can adapt well to smaller living spaces. If you have a larger home or access to open spaces, the American Staffordshire Terrier might be a better fit for you. However, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier could be a more suitable option if you live in an apartment or have limited space.
  2. Temperament and Socialization: Both breeds are known for their loyalty, affection, and love for their families. However, the American Staffordshire Terrier may display more assertive and protective traits, while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier tends to be more easygoing and friendly towards strangers. Consider your lifestyle and the level of socialization and training you can provide to ensure a well-balanced and well-behaved companion.
  3. Interaction with Children and Other Pets: Both breeds can be great with children if properly socialized and raised together. However, the American Staffordshire Terrier may require more supervision around young children due to their size and potential strength. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are generally good-natured and tolerant, making them suitable for families with children and other pets.
  4. Breed-Specific Legislation: It’s important to know any breed-specific legislation or restrictions in your area. In some regions, the American Staffordshire Terrier or dogs that resemble the “Pit Bull” type may face legal restrictions, insurance limitations, or housing challenges. Before deciding, understand the laws and regulations concerning these breeds in your locality.
  5. Grooming and Health: Both breeds have short coats that are relatively easy to maintain. Regular brushing and occasional baths are usually sufficient. However, it’s important to note that both breeds can be prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, allergies, and skin conditions. Be prepared for potential health concerns and consider regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet to ensure your dog’s well-being.

Choosing between an American Staffordshire Terrier and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier depends on your lifestyle, living situation, and preferences. Both breeds can make loving and loyal companions with proper training, socialization, and care. Consider consulting with reputable breeders, rescue organizations, or experienced owners to gather more information and insights before deciding.


While the American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier share a common ancestry and some similarities in temperament, they have distinct differences that are important for dog owners to consider.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is larger, weighing between 55 to 70 pounds, while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is smaller, weighing between 24 to 38 pounds. These differences in size can impact their physical requirements and suitability for different living environments.

Additionally, breed-specific legislation may affect the ownership of American Staffordshire Terriers in certain regions. Ultimately, choosing between these two breeds should be based on individual preferences, lifestyle, and the ability to meet their specific needs. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are crucial for both breeds to thrive as beloved family pets.

Frequently Asked Questions

1: Is a American Staffy a Pitbull?

No, an American Staffy (American Staffordshire Terrier) is a separate breed from a Pitbull (American Pit Bull Terrier), although they share common ancestry.

2: Are Staffies as aggressive as pitbull?

The temperament and aggression levels can vary among individual dogs, but Staffies and Pitbulls can exhibit similar levels of aggression if not properly trained, socialized, and cared for.

3: How do you tell a Staffy from a Pit Bull?

Distinguishing between a Staffy and a Pit Bull can be challenging as they have similar physical characteristics, but detailed examination of their breed standards, pedigrees, and/or DNA testing may be necessary for a definitive identification.