Are American Staffordshire Terriers And Pit bull Terriers The Same?

Once upon a time, someone would just refer to their canine companion as a pet dog. Today, however, it’s no longer enough to simply call them that anymore. You’d hear someone say, “This is my poodle, Lux” or “I have a golden retriever named Tucker.”

As you can see, people tend to put more emphasis on the dog breed nowadays. The tricky part is that it takes some extra effort to become familiar with the many canine breeds, with some breeds looking so alike that you might not be able to tell the difference.

One example is the American Staffordshire terrier versus the pit bull terrier. One quick look, and you’ll conclude that they’re the same breed. But are they really the same breed? Read on to learn how different the two breeds are.

Are Staffies And Pit Bulls Related?

One of the reasons why Staffies and pit bulls share so many similarities is because of their same bloodline.

During the late 1700s, the Brits crossbred black and tan terriers and bulldogs, which resulted in the Staffordshire bull terriers. Now, in the 19th century, the Brits once again bred Old English terriers with Old English bulldogs to create a breed with the gameness of terriers and the athletic build and power of bulldogs. This birthed the breed called “bull and terrier.”

Now, immigrants brought the bull and terrier to America and once again tried selective breeding to increase their height and making them leaner. These were later on called the American pit bull terriers. 

The bull and terrier breeds also became the ancestors of Staffies and bull terriers. In conclusion, yes, Staffies and pit bulls are related to the bulldog as their grandfather. But their similarities don’t stop there.

The Confusion Between The Two Breeds

Staffies and pit bulls were once bred for dogfighting. Fortunately, people started becoming more aware of the brutality of the so-called sport, which was essentially condemned by the United Kennel Club (UKC). The sad thing is that the reputation of the pit bulls never recovered and is still associated with dogfighting to this day.

As a result, the American Kennel Club (AKC) chose not to recognize the American pit bull terrier as a dog breed. The Staffordshire bull terrier, however, was accepted. In addition, since the original name of Staffies was too similar to its cousin, its name was changed to American Staffordshire terrier.

As you can see, the name changes and politics and registration rules among kennel clubs are responsible for most of the confusion between these two breeds.

Staffies Versus Pit Bulls: The Similarities And Differences

  • Weight And Height

Staffies and pit bulls are both muscular canines and considered to be medium-sized dogs. Staffies are shorter, measuring 17–19 inches in height, measured from shoulder to paw. Meanwhile, the pit bull stands at 17–21 inches in height. In addition, Staffies are a lot heavier, weighing on average of 40–70 pounds, whereas pit bulls only weigh around 30 – 65 pounds. Staffies are stockier and shorter, whereas pit bulls are more slender and taller.

  • Head And Body

Both Staffies and pit bulls are well-balanced dogs, with large, square heads and muzzles. However, Staffies tend to have more defined muscles that give them a powerful appearance. 

In terms of head size, however, the difference becomes more evident. The UKC standards state that both Staffies and pit bulls have straight, broad, tapering muzzles. Pit bulls feature a flat, medium-length head that’s widest at its ears with a long muzzle that has a 2:3 ratio in relation to the length of their head.

Staffies, on the other hand, are known to have a short head with a broad skull, pronounced cheek muscles, and a short muzzle. There are no regulations for the length of the muzzle; however, it should be shorter or longer than the 2:3 ratio given to the pit bulls.

  • Color And Coat

In terms of their coat, both Staffies and pit bulls have smooth and short coats. Both breeds are born in various colors. In general, though, kennel clubs won’t accept tan and black, red, fawn, or brindle in Staffies as well as white that covers 80% or more of its body. Pit bulls are accepted in any color, except merle. Also, the blue nose variant is the rarest color, followed by the red nose.

  • Temperament

On to the most commonly asked question, “Are they vicious and scary?” That’s a hard no! Both Staffies and pit bulls are not inherently aggressive breeds, as you imagine them in brutal dogfights with all the blood and sharp canines.

In reality, pit bulls and Staffies are no more vicious than Chihuahuas. It’s entirely dependent on their owners and their upbringing. So if the owner trains these breeds to be dangerous and vicious, that’s how they’ll grow to be. But raised in a playful and loving home, they can make some of the most affectionate and friendliest pets. With that said, the AKC and UKC do provide a guide on the temperament traits for Staffies and pit bulls.

Staffies are intelligent, tenacious, courageous, trustworthy, loving, and affectionate to their family. They’re much more good-tempered than pit bulls. Pit bulls are considered confident, strong, zesty, and always eager to please their owners. So without proper training and attention, pit bulls can live up to their bad reputations. Most workers in animal shelters often said that pit bulls are much volatile than the Staffies.

Still, both breeds are considered very loving toward their family and people but require effective socialization and training in their early lives.


So back to the main question, are Staffies and pit bulls the same? It’s a yes and no. Some people consider them to be the same breed, who were given their different names because of their not-so-good history.

The mainstream answer for that question is no. Although they have the same bloodline and are quite similar, there’s actually a range of inconspicuous dissimilarities between them—Staffies are chunkier while pit bulls are more athletic— proving that they’re indeed different from each other. Think of them as cousins instead of siblings. Even kennel clubs recognize the Staffie and pit bull as two separate dog breeds.

Regardless of their differences, both breeds are affectionate family dogs that’ll give you lots of cuddles and licks and definitely don’t deserve the unfair stigma that came from their bloody history.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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