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

Last Updated on: 13th July 2023, 05:02 am

The main difference between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bully is their origins, physical characteristics, and temperaments. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, initially bred in Britain for bull-baiting and later for dog fighting, is known for its courage, tenacity, and love for humans.

On the other hand, the American Bully, a relatively new breed developed in the United States, is a result of crossbreeding several bulldog and terrier breeds, primarily aiming to create a family-friendly companion dog with a muscular and heavyset body.

Comparison table: Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Bully: Differences You Should


FeatureStaffordshire Bull TerrierAmerican Bully
SizeMediumSize can range from medium to large, depending on the specific type (Standard, Pocket, Classic, XL)
Weight24-37 lbs (11-17 kg) for both males and femalesStandard American Bullies weigh between 40-60 lbs (18-27 kg), but this can vary greatly with different types
Height14-16 inches (36-41 cm) at the shoulderHeight can range from under 17 to over 20 inches at the withers, depending on the type
Life Span12-14 years8-13 years
TemperamentCourageous, intelligent, affectionate, and reliableAffectionate, loyal, relaxed, and gentle
Exercise NeedsHighModerate to high, depending on the individual dog
Breed Group (AKC)Terrier GroupNot officially recognized by the AKC, but often grouped with ‘bully breeds’
Training DifficultyModerateModerate
CoatShort and smoothShort, glossy and smooth
Health IssuesMay be prone to hereditary cataracts, hip dysplasia, and skin infectionsProne to hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disorders, and skin allergies
Good with Kids and Other PetsYes, generally good if socialized properlyYes, generally good if socialized properly
Grooming NeedsLowLow

The Origins of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Bully

 The Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bully have unique histories that have shaped them into the breeds we know and love today. Let’s dive into their origins, shall we?

Staffordshire Bull Terrier:

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, affectionately known as the “Staffy,” traces its roots back to 19th-century England. Bred for the sport of bull-baiting, this muscular, courageous dog quickly gained popularity for its agility, strength, and tenacity. When the cruel sport was outlawed, these dogs found a new role as companions, thanks to their loyal and affectionate nature. Staffies are now cherished family members in homes around the world.

American Bully: 

The American Bully is a newer breed, established in the 1980s and 1990s in the United States. It was developed by crossing the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier to create a show dog that retained the strength and tenacity of its ancestors but with a gentler, more pleasant temperament. The American Bully is recognized for its distinctive, bulky body and broad head, which set it apart from its parent breeds.

Physical Characteristics: Comparing and Contrasting

When it comes to picking out your perfect canine companion, physical characteristics play a vital role. Let’s dive into the differences between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bully. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 

  1. Size: These energetic pups are usually about 14-16 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 24 and 37 pounds. They’re compact but full of muscle!
  2. Coat: Their short, sleek coat comes in various colors, including black, blue, fawn, red, white, or any combination.
  3. Appearance: They possess a broad head, strong jaws, and rose or half-pricked ears. Their eyes are dark and round, often gleaming with a mischievous twinkle. Staffordshire Bull Terriers radiate strength and agility from their every pore.

American Bully: 

  1. Size: American Bullies are a bit larger, standing between 13 and 21 inches tall at the shoulder, and weighing anywhere from 30 to 150 pounds, depending on the variant.
  2. Coat: These lovable giants also have a short, smooth coat that can come in any color, pattern or combination.
  3. Appearance: They sport a muscular, robust body, a broad skull, and a short muzzle. Their eyes are round and set apart, and their ears can be cropped or natural.

Note: Physical characteristics can vary within breeds, especially in the American Bully, which has several recognized variants.

Of course, regardless of their size or coat color, both breeds share an undeniable charisma that can win over even the most discerning dog lovers. So, whether you prefer the compact power packed into a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or the gentle giant charm of an American Bully, you’re sure to have a remarkable companion.

Temperament: What to Expect from Each Breed

Peeling back the doggie demeanor of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bully, you’ll find that each breed carries its own unique disposition, just like a fingerprint. Let’s dive into the psyche of these dogs and see what makes them tick. 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Temperament 

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, affectionately known as a ‘Staffy,’ is a bundle of joy wrapped in a muscular frame. Don’t let their tough exterior fool you; they are known for their heart of gold. 

  • Fun-loving: This breed loves to play. Whether it’s a game of fetch or a tug-of-war, they’re always up for a good time.
  • Courageous: The Staffy is a brave and protective breed. They will never back down when it comes to the safety of their family.
  • Affectionate: Despite their tough image, Staffies are known for their love of cuddles. They form strong bonds with their families and are great with kids.

“Staffies are known for their courageous, affectionate, and fun-loving nature.”

American Bully Temperament 

Next on our list is the gentle giant, the American Bully. These dogs may look intimidating, but underneath that muscular exterior is a heart as soft as a marshmallow. 

  • Loyal: American Bullies are incredibly loyal to their families. They would move mountains to ensure the happiness and safety of their loved ones.
  • Gentle: Despite their muscular build, they are gentle creatures. They are incredibly gentle with children, making them excellent family pets.
  • Confident: American Bullies carry themselves with a confident demeanor. They are not easily fazed and are known for their calm disposition.

“American Bullies are known for their loyalty, gentle nature, and confidence.”

While the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a courageous and fun-loving breed, the American Bully is a confident, loyal, and gentle companion. You will have a loyal and loving fur friend for life, no matter which breed you choose.

Training: Tips and Techniques for Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Bullies

Training your new pup, whether a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or an American Bully, can be a roller-coaster ride of emotions – rewarding moments, fun-filled antics, and occasional hair-pulling frustrations. The good news? Both breeds are known for their intelligence and eagerness to please, making them fairly trainable with the right approach. Let’s dive into the specific training techniques for each breed. 

Staffordshire Bull Terriers 

Often described as ‘a big dog in a small body, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a bundle of energy and determination. This breed requires consistent, firm, but gentle training.

  • Early Socialization: Staffies benefit hugely from early socialization with other dogs and humans. They are innately friendly and will generally grow into well-mannered adults if properly socialized as puppies.
  • Obedience Training: They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. Frequent praises and treats go a long way in teaching them the dos and don’ts.
  • Physical Exercise: Staffies have a high energy level and plenty of physical exercise will prevent them from becoming destructive. Sports like flyball or agility courses can be fun to burn off their energy.

American Bullies 

On the other hand, while being equally intelligent, American Bullies are slightly more laid-back than Staffies. Their training requires a balance of firmness and affection.

  • Consistent Training: American Bullies thrive on consistency. Set clear rules and stick to them. This breed quickly catches on to inconsistency and might try to bend the rules.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Like Staffies, American Bullies respond well to positive reinforcement. Reward good behavior immediately to reinforce it.
  • Mental Stimulation: Don’t forget about mental exercise! Regular problem-solving exercises like puzzle toys can help keep their minds sharp.

Grooming and Maintenance: Care Needs for These Breeds

Regarding grooming and maintenance, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bully have different needs. Yet, both breeds require regular care to keep them looking their best and feeling their healthiest. Here’s the scoop: 

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

  • Grooming: With their short, smooth coat, Staffies are fairly low-maintenance. They require only occasional brushing to remove loose hairs. However, their nails should be trimmed regularly, and their ears checked for signs of infection.
  • Exercise: Staffies are energetic dogs that require regular exercise. A brisk walk twice daily and time to run around in a secure area will keep them happy and healthy.
  • Diet: They need a balanced diet rich in protein. Portion control is crucial as they are prone to obesity.

American Bully 

  • Grooming: Similar to Staffies, American Bullies have short coats requiring minimal grooming. Brushing once weekly is usually enough to keep their coat shiny and healthy. Regular baths are necessary to keep their skin clean.
  • Exercise: The American Bully is a muscular breed that requires frequent exercise. They love walks and play sessions, but be mindful not to over-exercise them as it can lead to joint issues.
  • Diet: American Bullies require a high quality protein and fat diet to maintain their muscular physique. Care should be taken to ensure they don’t become overweight.

Remember, every dog is an individual. These are generalized care needs, but your pet may have unique requirements. Always consult your vet for the best care practices for your furry friend.

Staffordshire Bull TerrierOccasional Brushing, Regular Nail TrimsTwice Daily Walks, PlaytimeProtein-rich, Watch Portion Size
American BullyWeekly Brushing, Regular BathsFrequent Walks, Mindful PlaytimeHigh Protein and Fat, Monitor Weight

Health Concerns: What to Watch Out for with Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Bullies

Regarding the health arena, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bully have their share of concerns. Although these breeds are generally healthy, certain genetic predispositions can pose issues, so it’s important to understand these potential health risks.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is known for its robustness, but there are a few health concerns to be mindful of: 

  • Hereditary Cataracts: This is a common issue in Staffies, often leading to vision loss.
  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia: These joint conditions can cause pain and mobility issues, particularly in older dogs.
  • Heart Disease: Staffies can be prone to certain heart conditions, so regular vet check-ups are crucial.

American Bully 

On the other hand, the American Bully’s health profile is slightly different: 

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: These dogs can have breathing difficulties due to their flat faces, particularly in hot weather or after exercise.
  • Joint Problems: Hip and elbow dysplasia also affect this breed due to their muscular build and rapid growth rate.
  • Demodectic Mange: This skin condition is more common in American Bullies, causing bald spots and itching.

While these concerns may sound daunting, it’s important to remember that not every dog will face these issues. Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of these conditions arising.

Potential pet parents should ensure they’re equipped to handle breed-specific health concerns before diving into ownership. Always remember, a happy dog is a healthy dog!

Comparing Exercise and Activity Requirements

Let’s dive into the energy levels of our two fur friends. Both breeds are known for their enthusiasm, but some nuances are worth noting.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, affectionately known as a ‘Staffy’, is a ball of high-octane energy. This breed thrives on physical activity and needs a lot of it to stay healthy and happy. 

  • Staffies typically require at least an hour of exercise daily, but more is always welcome. This can be split into two walks or play sessions.
  • These dogs love to run, play fetch, and participate in dog sports like agility or obedience.
  • Without sufficient exercise, a Staffy can become bored and potentially destructive. A tired Staffy is a good Staffy!

American Bully 

The American Bully, on the other hand, is a bit more laid back. Don’t let their muscular build fool you – these dogs know how to chill out! 

  • While they still need regular exercise to maintain their robust health, a daily walk and some playtime are often sufficient.
  • American Bullies also enjoy more relaxed activities, like a stroll in the park or a good cuddle session on the couch.
  • However, like Staffies, lack of activity can lead to boredom and unwanted behavior in American Bullies.

In a nutshell, both breeds require regular exercise but at different intensities. A Staffy is your high-energy workout buddy, while an American Bully is a relaxed companion who appreciates an active yet calm lifestyle.

Food and Nutrition: Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Your Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Bully

Just like humans, our furry friends also require a balanced diet to stay healthy and energetic. The nutritional needs of Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Bullies can slightly differ due to their distinct physical characteristics and energy levels. Let’s delve into what makes the perfect meal for these muscular mates.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

A Staffy, as they’re lovingly called, is a bundle of energy wrapped in a muscular body. This strength and vigor come with a high metabolic rate, requiring a diet rich in protein and carbohydrates. 

  • Protein: A diet rich in clean, high-quality animal proteins helps to maintain muscle mass and overall well-being. Look for chicken, beef, fish, and turkey ingredients in their dog food.
  • Carbohydrates: Whole grains such as brown rice, oats, and barley provide the energy Staffordshire Bull Terriers need for their active lifestyle.
  • Fats: Healthy fats like fish oil and flaxseed oil offer Omega-3 fatty acids essential for a shiny coat and healthy skin.

American Bully 

The American Bully is a bit more laid-back than its Staffordshire cousin but still needs a protein-rich diet to maintain its muscular physique. 

  • Protein: Quality animal protein sources like beef, chicken, and fish help to maintain muscle mass and ensure optimal growth.
  • Fats: Healthy fats are crucial for their overall health, contributing to a shiny coat, healthy skin and supporting brain development. Look for ingredients such as fish oil, flaxseed, and chicken fat.
  • Fiber: Given their relaxed nature, American Bullies are prone to obesity. Hence, a good amount of fiber in their diet can help them manage their weight effectively.

Regardless of the breed, always ensure your dog’s diet is balanced and nutritionally complete. A vet’s advice can be invaluable in fine-tuning their diet, especially if they have specific health concerns. Remember, every dog is unique, and so are their dietary needs!

Finding the Right Fit: Choosing the Best Breed for Your Lifestyle and Preferences

Choosing the best breed for your lifestyle and preferences requires a deep understanding of your living situation, habits, and personal preferences and the characteristics of the dog breeds you are considering.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are known for their energetic and affectionate nature. They require regular physical and mental stimulation and are known to form strong bonds with their families, relishing in time spent playing or cuddling. These dogs are relatively small but robust, making them suitable for both apartment and house living, given they receive enough exercise. Their loyalty and courage make them excellent watchdogs.

On the other hand, despite its intimidating physical appearance, the American Bully is a calm, confident, and friendly breed. They are less active and more easygoing than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier but still need daily exercise to maintain their muscle tone. They are good with children and can be trained to get along well with other pets. Their stocky and muscular build requires more space, and their short coat prefers milder climates.

Considering these factors, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier might be a good match if you lead an active lifestyle and prefer a smaller, high-energy pet that thrives on engagement and play. If you prefer a larger, more laid-back companion who is friendly and great with children, an American Bully could be a better fit.

It’s essential to remember that every dog is an individual, and breed characteristics can vary widely. Always spend time with a dog or puppy before bringing it home to ensure it fits well with your lifestyle and preferences.

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