Breed Comparisons

American Staffordshire Terrier vs. American Pitbull Terrier: What’s The Difference?

Considering the American Staffordshire Terrier vs. the American Pitbull Terrier for your next canine companion? Both breeds have a similar past but have some differences that make them unique. Find out how these two pups are different and similar!

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Last Updated: April 17, 2023 | 9 min read

Staffordshire Terrier vs. American Pitbull Terrier

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The American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pitbull Terrier are both considered Pitbull type dogs, or “bully breeds.”  There are several similarities between them, as well as some slight differences. American Staffordshire Terriers are slightly shorter but much stockier in weight. American Pitbull Terriers are more athletic in appearance.

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Both breeds are equally striking in their looks. Some may say that they have an intimidating appearance. But despite this, both breeds are big softies at heart. They are so similar that many people believe that they are the same breed (they are not).  Both dogs are often compared to the American Bulldog as well.

For the purpose of this article, the American Staffordshire Terrier will be referred to as Am Staffs, and the American Pitbull Terrier will be referred to as the Pitbull. So, without any further hesitation, let’s compare the two pups and get into all the bully breed details regarding the American Staffordshire Terrier vs. the Pitbull.

Breed Comparison

American Staffordshire Terrier

  • Height 17-19 Inches
  • Weight 40-70 Pounds
  • Temperament Confident, Smart, Good Natured
  • Energy Intense
  • Health Above Average
  • Grooming Weekly
  • Lifespan 12-16 Years
  • Price $1,000+

American Pitbull Terrier

  • Height 17-20 Inches
  • Weight 35-70 Pounds
  • Temperament Affectionate, Energetic, Loyal
  • Energy Intense
  • Health Above Average
  • Grooming Weekly
  • Lifespan 12-16 Years
  • Price $1,000+

Breed History

Two Tan Dogs Outdoors
Both dogs came from similar origins and were bred for similar purposes.

The word ‘Terrier’ derives from the Latin word ‘terra,’ meaning earth. All Terrier dogs were created to go into the ground and hunt vermin. They were bred to scare them out of their burrows for their master to cull or to do the deed himself. For this reason, they were typically small.

However, in the 19th Century, Terriers, for their agility, were mixed with Bulldogs for their muscle. This was purposeful in order to create larger and more powerful dogs. These dogs were then used for dogfighting and bullbaiting. In 1835 dog fighting was banned in England. Immigrants who wanted to continue in the cruel sport took off to America and continued to fight them.

American dogfighters wanted to breed even bigger and more powerful versions of the fighting dogs from England. As a result, the Am Staff and the Pitbull were born. It is their fighting history that has unfairly earned them their vicious label.

The Pitbull was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as their first dog in 1898. The UKC will allow Am Staffs to be registered as American Pitbull Terriers. However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the Am Staff, but they will not recognize the Pitbull.

The Am Staff was originally called the Staffordshire Terrier. But the name being too similar to his cousin across the pond, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was changed in 1972 to American Staffordshire Terrier. The Pitbull, being the most closely linked to their shared fighting history, also had his name changed in 1996 and 2004 to ‘St Francis Terriers’ and ‘New Yorkies’ in the hope that his past would no longer be associated with him. There was also hope that more people would adopt him, but this was soon dropped after much criticism.

The multitude of name changes, and politics amongst kennel clubs in their registration rules, have created much confusion in the canine world between these two breeds. And while some believe that they are the same breed due to their almost identical appearance, with the Am Staff just being the chunkier brother and the Pitbull the more athletic sibling, the mainstream opinion is that they are separate breeds.


Blue and Tan Dogs
It’s easy to understand why these dogs are often confused with one another.

The Am Staff and the Pitbull are very similar in their appearance. They are both impressive-looking canines that are considered to be medium-sized dogs. The Pitbull is slightly taller, measuring 17 to 21 inches in height, measured from paw to shoulder. The Am Staff is shorter at 17 to 19 inches in height.

Pitbulls also weigh less, at 30 to 65 pounds. The Am Staff weighs anywhere between 40 and 70 pounds. The Pitbull is taller and more slender, whereas the Am Staff is shorter and stockier.  They are both often mistaken for other Pitbull mixes, or American Bullies, which also look similar.

They are both well-balanced dogs, and with the large square heads and muzzles and their defined muscles, in the Am Staff more so, they have a combination that gives them their powerful appearance. It is also common for them both to have their ears cropped. Again, this adds to their mean exterior. Their ears are normally either rose-shaped or half-pricked if they aren’t cropped.

Both the Am Staff and the Pitbull are available in a variety of colors. Generally, kennel clubs will not accept black and tan or liver in the Am Staff, and white that covers 80% or more of his body is not encouraged, and merle is not accepted.

The Pitbull is welcome to be any color except merle.  The red nose variant is the second-rarest color, followed by the blue nose.  The merle gene has recently made its way into the gene pool from outbreeding, and so despite the increase in popularity, this is not a traditional color in either breed.

It is also common for them to have different color patches across their bodies. Of course, neither of these dogs is accepted if they are albino. Their coats are both short, smooth, and shiny. This tight coat enhances their muscular frame. The AKC provides the full Am Staff breed standards for further information on their appearance, and the UKC provides the full Pitbull breed standards.


Black and Blue Bully Dogs
Both dogs are very similar when it comes to their temperament.

The most common question for those who are not familiar with either breed is ‘are they vicious?’ The answer is no. They are not inherently vicious. As the famous saying goes, a dog is just as good as its owner. In reality, the Am Staff and the Pitbull are no more vicious than a Chihuahua. It is entirely dependent on their upbringing and their owners.

The American Temperament Test Society conducts temperament tests every year with a vast variety of dogs. The latest results show that 86% of Am Staffs passed the temperament test. 87% of Pitbulls also passed. With the samples being 743 and 931, respectively, no one can argue that the samples weren’t large enough to be conclusive. If this is compared to another well-known dog, the Collie, whose sample was 896, only 81% of them passed the temperament test.

Because these pups are often in the news for aggression-related issues, they are often compared to other dogs that pop up in the news for similar negative headlines. The Pitbull is often compared to the Rottweiler and compared to other Molosser dogs like the Presa Canario, even though there’s little similarity in their appearance, only in temperament.

Both breeds are very sociable and happy-go-lucky canines who adore their master and their family. They also both have a soft spot for children. This is how they inherited the name ‘nanny dog.’ While we would never suggest leaving a dog alone with a child, this is one of the many reasons they make such a great family pet. They love to have a good romp around in the garden and play interactive games, so both of these pups will provide you with hours of bouncy entertainment.

The general consensus is that neither the Am Staff nor the Pitbull extends their sociability toward other animals. While they are gentle with humans, they can exhibit fear and aggression towards other animals who they see as a threat to them or their families.

Of course, this is not the same for every Am Staff or Pitbull, but this is a generalization and is something that you need to consider if you are a multi-pet household or walking your pup in public. For this reason, neither of the breeds is suitable for a novice owner, but ultimately training and the owners are equally responsible for this behavior.


White and Tan Dogs Outdoors
Both dogs have very similar exercise needs.

Both the Am Staff and the Pitbull are similar in their exercise needs. They are both high-energy dogs who require up to 60 minutes of exercise a day. Being the more athletic version, the Pitbull would enjoy slightly more exercise. Am Staffs are more partial to an afternoon nap.

Both breeds have a lot of energy that needs to be expelled. The best way to do this with these breeds is to play interactive games with them, such as fetch or agility courses. Although they are only medium-energy dogs, they require a lot of mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive.


Tan and White with Brown Spots Dogs Outdoors
Both dogs are equally intelligent and easy to train when it comes to training.

Again, the Am Staff and the Pitbull are almost identical here. They need early socialization to avoid any guarding tendencies and minimize fear aggression with other dogs or animals. Many owners say that their Am Staff and Pitbull are great with other dogs in the local dog park, but this is entirely down to their training.

You cannot skip out on training if you want a well-mannered pup. Luckily, they are very intelligent, and combining this with their love for snacks makes them very trainable. We recommend training with a harness from a very young age. Any Pitbull-sized harness will work, and this should be done after their first round of shots to discourage any potential leash aggression.


Healthy Bully Breed Dogs
Both dogs have longer lifespans with minimal health issues.

Both the Am Staff and the Pitbull are healthy pups. They have the same lifespan of 12 – 16 years. They are both prone to Elbow and Hip Dysplasia, which is similar to most breeds in later life.

The Pitbull is more likely to develop Cerebellar Abiotrophy, which is where the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination is damaged, and therefore he can struggle with his mobility. This is something that generally appears in later life. The Am Staff is also known to suffer from cardiac issues in later life, more so than the Pitbull.

Many Terrier dogs are also known to inherit skin allergies, and although this is something that they may experience throughout their lifetime, it is something that can easily be managed with medication and nutrition. If in any doubt, be sure to speak to your veterinarian.


Staffy and Pit Waiting For Food
Both dogs should be fed high-quality kibble to promote skin, coat, and joint health.

They will both eat around 2 1/2 cups of food a day, although some dogs will need more depending on their activity levels. Both breeds should be eating food that’s recommended for Pitbulls or Bull Terrier breeds.

Skin and coat health is important, so both will do best on a fortified food with omega fatty acids. Depending on how active your dog is, you may need to find a formula specifically made for sporting breeds, with a higher calorie count and supporting muscle growth. It is worth noting that both breeds can have sensitive stomachs. This means you may also consider a limited ingredient dog food.

For dogs that have shown an allergy to poultry, consider formulas that contain alternate protein sources. Overall, nutritional quality will impact the overall health and lifespan of both the Amstaff and the Pitbull. It’s always recommended to spend more for higher quality dog food if your budget allows for it.


These dogs are exceptionally easy when it comes to grooming compared to the average pup. A bath once every two months or so will be adequate, and a brush once a week will keep them looking shiny and healthy. Other general grooming tasks, such as teeth brushing and ear cleaning, are the same as any other medium-sized pups.

Both breeds are fairly light shedders. Am Staffs and Pitbulls are single-coated dogs, meaning their shedding will be pretty stable all year. You won’t need to worry about an undercoat rake due to the length of their hair. While they aren’t considered hypoallergenic, they both shed less than other double-coated dog breeds.

Puppy Prices

Puppies Outdoors in Autumn and Spring
Expect to pay about $1,000 and up for a puppy from a reputable breeder.

Both the Am Staff and the Pitbull, from a reputable breeder, will cost, on average, $1,000 and up. If you are after a pup from a particular bloodline, then puppy costs will be significantly more expensive.

It is important to research reputable breeders when it comes to getting either of these breeds. Reputable breeders will only breed dogs who are gentle and friendly. If any of their pups show aggression, they will not be bred. If you buy your pup from anywhere else, you are risking that he has either been bred from active fighting dogs or is violent himself. A reputable breeder will not sell a vicious dog. Puppy mills will do whatever they can to make a quick buck.

Alternatively, hundreds of thousands of these dogs are in rescue shelters across America. With over 93% of Pitbull-type dogs in shelters being euthanized, rescuing is something that you should consider. Of course, you may not know his history if you adopt. But, as long as you are a firm dog owner, this is something that you can overcome together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can DNA testing tell the difference between an Am Staff and a Pitbull?

Yes. Canine DNA testing can help determine if your pup is a Pittie or an Am Staff. Tests cost anywhere from about $50 to $200. Most high-quality tests are fairly accurate. Learn more by reading the information about the specific DNA test you are using. Try to choose the test with the highest accuracy.

Is an American Staffordshire Terrier the same as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier?

No, these are not the same dog. These are two different breeds. The Am Staff is larger, but the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a much older breed. Both are muscular, smiley dogs. Both are very friendly and make great pets. Though they look similar and have names that are close, they are not the same breed.

What kind of dog is an American Staffordshire Terrier and Pitbull mix?

The Staffy Bull Pit is a cross of these two breeds. They are medium-sized, about 35 to 65 pounds. These pups are active, muscular, smart, and very trusting. They have short attention spans and can be a challenge to train. These pups can also be a tad on the aggressive side and can retain a high pretty drive as well as some fighting instincts. This mix may not be the best for first-time owners or those who are away from home a lot.

Final Thoughts

The Am Staff and the Pitbull have shared the same hardships when it comes to their reputation. However, when you educate yourself or get to know either breed, you will quickly learn that their fierce reputation is unjust.

Ultimately, they are almost identical, so for most prospective owners about to choose either breed, it really comes down to their slightly differing appearances. Either way, they are both sweet souls who have a lot of love to give.

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  1. My adopted girl is 1/2 bully and 1/4 pittbull/amstaffy each respectively.
    I’ve never in my life known such an affectionate and even tempered dog. She’s 56lbs of marshmallow fluff lol. She looooves big, squeezy bear hugs, kisses right on her muzzle and nose, to be tucked into the crook of my arms at night so we can share breath, and she’ll even crawl under the blankets to snuggle with my Italian greyhounds.
    Even though she has a high prey drive for rabbits and squirrels; she adores other dogs, especially small breed dogs.
    However, my marshmallow came from a bad situation and I’m fairly certain she was beaten. She distrusts most humans and stays out of arm’s reach of strangers (she’ll even growl at some people who invade her space – her growl is spine chilling to hear) because she doesn’t trust that they won’t lash out and strike her if they get within reach.
    It shouldn’t be like that. My sweet Kaleelah should never have been made to feel like she had to be wary of humans. It makes me so sad.
    I think, basically what I’m saying is: these dogs are some of the absolute best dogs you’ll ever have the privilege of sharing your life with. They will fully devote themselves to you and your family if you earn their trust and affection. They will defend you to their last breath, protect your children and your home, provide you with more affection and love than you dreamed possible, and be your stalwart companions no matter the situation. Hiking, jogging, swimming, relaxing in the yard, playing fetch at the park… They are game for anything so long as they get to spend time with you.
    These dogs are angels. An absolute blessing. Sweet, sensitive, people-pleasing souls.
    Please treat them with the care and respect they deserve.
    Stop mutilating them by docking their ears and tails. Stop using them for sport. Stop tossing them in shelters simply because you can’t be bothered to spend time with them or exercise them. Stop neglecting and abusing them. And, for heaven’s sake, stop spreading propaganda about them being vicious.
    For any people out there reading this who are guilty of any of the above: shame on you. I hope karma grants you the just desserts that you deserve.

  2. “No more vicious than a Chihuahua”? Seriously? If Chihuahua’s were the size of Great Dane’s they’d be mankillers.

  3. X bully is the breed the vets gave me,boy, does anyone know the amount of food there daily intake is? And any training tips

  4. If the APBT and AmStaff are different breeds, what breed was introduced in 1936 or after to create the AmStaff? It was originally just a name change in 1936 to allow APBTs in the AKC. Everything I have read says they are the same dog as far as DNA but bred along different lines. Just curious.

    1. Michelle Schenker

      Yes, they’re very close since they indeed share 99% of the same DNA. However, that 1% variance makes quite a bit of difference in the world of DNA, making them different breeds.

  5. The “American pitbull” in your photo isn’t an american pitbull. It’s most likely a bully. If you’re going to write an article about different dog breeds, at least make sure you know what the breed is.

    1. Michelle Schenker

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We do our best, but it can sometimes be hard to tell the differences between bully breeds in photos. We made a few image adjustments in the article based on your feedback and our research. Take care.

  6. i wish someone would tell insurance companys about these beautiful dogs, because they want too charge more for home insurance

    1. Margaret O’Malley

      Try State Farm. When I adopted my Am Staff four years ago, they said there’d be no change to my homeowners insurance.

    2. Perhaps because they attack more animals and humans and are the cause of most human deaths by dog attack? Makes sense insurance companies want to charge a premium (or it cover them at all) given that.

  7. Aug. 4, 2022..Politics more to do with names than history,, I was manager of Field Operations at United Kennel Club for 16 years..We, UKC would register the AKC Amstaffs as Pitbull AND before AKC stopped, it also registered Pitbulls as AmStaff… UNTIL the Pitbull won their national shows 5 out of 7 years.. My Amstaff was dual registered and had an AKC show title and an AKC obedience.. UKC registered “Pete” and his sire.. AKC registered Pete but now his sire..yes, UKC recognized the breed before AKC..

  8. Our dog is a mix of American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier. We had a DNA test done on him and that’s the results we got. We have never owned any kind of terrier mix dogs prior to him. He is one of the best dogs we have ever had. He has no enemies and loves everyone … whether he knows them or not. Gets along with cats … doesn’t care for squirrels… and chases rabbits. He loves toys, has super high energy, and is HIGHLY intelligent. We adopted him from a local community rescue center. He was surrendered. Adopted, and a year later returned. So when we found him he was on his 3rd time in the “The Rock” or so we call it. Honestly, we don’t get why anyone would surrender or return him. We’ve had him for a couple of years now and he is an awesome dog. Zero problems. We’ve boarded him while on vacation … no problems … he gets along with our other dog and two cats (and we had to work on that because he hadn’t been around cats before but he now sleeps with them). He is treated motivated and loves walks … but his favorite thing above all else … literally will do anything for it … is to go on a car ride. My other dog likes car rides. My Pitty/Terrier mix. LOVES car rides. He is hilarious!

    I guess he was waiting on us. I wish we could have found him sooner.

  9. Wonderful, informative article that is so detailed it *almost* makes up for not labeling which breed is which in any of the photos.

  10. We just acquired a beautiful American Staffordshire. He is a real joy. We are getting him neutered this week. He is so smart ! 15 months old and I just found out he loves to play with the hose when it’s on. I love this because we live on the lake looking forward to taking him to the lake. We are a multi pet home. He is great with all of them. We have cats also and he is learning not to chase them. He is a great addition and to our family. Looking to many years filled with laughter and fun 😊

  11. Bernadette ODonnell

    I have a question my dog was a rescue, i am having problems with her getting her nails cut. We did her DNA she is 50% Staffordshire terrier 25 rat terrier and 25 beagle. After reading everything she definitely fits the profile. Her coloring is brindle. She chose me as her best friend ❤️, I love it. Oh also she use to love car rides and now won’t come near the car, just like that!!! Can you advise what I can do? I am up for the challenge just need some input.
    Thank you
    Annie’s Mom

    1. what i have found to work well is someone, probably you, lifts them up around the tummy and someone else just quickly and carefully trims all the nails that need doing. (dog has back against the person holding him up and his four legs are pointing straight out.) also if you put a cellphone light or a torch even under the paw shining up thru the nails you can see where the quicks are easily. failing that if too long take them to animates maybe?

  12. We just got our first Amstaff puppy. His name is Chaos and he earned that name in the first 2 minutes of meeting him. He is so loveable, funny character, playful, quick to learn, and loves my 2yo & 8yo nieces. He follows me everywhere. Where ever I am, he is. Kinda feel bad for my hubby and daughter (20yo) cos he doesn’t stay with them very much unless he’s playing or I walk in to the room they’re in. Amstaffs and Pitbulls are such amazing dogs.

  13. Karneshia A Choate

    I have both that breed together an im selling the puppies hit me up if your lookin prices change depending on ther care meanin shots an vet expenses but parents are registered an healthy an good dogs !!!!!

  14. We have an American Staff and A Pit Bill both female similar personalities but they still have their differences part of which is age the staff is 4yo and the pit is 9mths. They also have different backgrounds the staff we believe was abused so has a very timid attitude whereas we have had the pit since she was 2 months and she is the spunky one as we say. They both love their humans immensely but our pit is definitely more protective and doesn’t like strangers coming near her humans. I would not trade either for the world and highly recommend either breed for a family dog.

  15. Shayne Pennycuff

    Listen, I have been breeding Amstaffs and Puts for years.. I am on my 7th generation of Gotti pits.. my dogs are both aggressive and loving. They are aggressive towards threats in their pack. Me being the leader I assert dominance immediately from day 1.. this lets them know who is who and what is the pecking order. Never have I had the first problem with my dogs nor any that I have breed. I keep them for approximately 8-10 weeks.. not the traditional 6.. I like to give a bill of health with mine and I can assure you that they are just what they were intended to be.. Fun, loving and Family oriented.. if you do not have one get one.. but you have to make sure you devote time to these babies.. thanks for reading

  16. Debbie O'Donnell

    we just rescued a staffy mix from a shelter i fostered for. we fostered her first but fell in love right from the start, she loves her belly rubs every chance she gets, when we leave and come back you would think we were gone forever she wins and wiggels her butt every time, she and our lab are best friends right from the start he wouldnt know what to do if she wasnt here. we never had this breed before but we love her

    1. Michelle Schenker

      The Am Staff tends towards a slightly rounder face than the Pit and the PB tends to be taller and more muscular than the Amstaff. So in the top photo they are in order of the title, with the Am Staff on the left and the Pittie on the right.

      1. I’d say am staff is a lesser of 2 on aggression and totally wrong on muscle my staffy way more muscular than a pitty round thick short wow pull 240 guy up 15 % in cline my staff is such a lover and a bit 2 stout side but we both love food tho lol she’s 100# 85 b4 got fixed

  17. Hello, thank you for such professional information and support. I was just given a pure bred American Bulldog but she looks more like an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, after researching this page. She’s 2 yrs old, I have a 3 yr old Labradane Service Dog he is 3 yr’s old. And they are getting along great. I would entertain all or any suggestions for training her, obedience the previous owners have done well taking care of her, very lovable and chase’s after my cat’!! She is grey/blue with a white chest beautiful girl.

  18. Thank you for the article. The DNA testing showed my dog is 87% AmStaff but not 0% in Pitbull. Hence, reading your article. He’s tall, lean and skinny, looks more like a stalky dalmatian though.
    I used to be an anti-Pit/AmStaff but now I can’t imagine my life with my AmStaff, and consider myself a Pit/Amstaff Ambassador. Let’s work on changing the bad reputation together!

  19. Christian Paesano

    Thanks for this article. We’ve been confusing them for years. We just found a massive 9 year old Am Staff at a shelter and now she’s hogging my bed.

  20. My research to date says that Pitbulls are shorter in height, usually stockier, with shorter legs, shorter snouts, and bigger heads. Pitbulls were first bred in England to create the best fighting dog. Bred from English Bulldogs and Mastiff Terriers. Hence the name, pit, because they fought in pits, bull from Bulldogs, Terriers from Mastiff Terriers.

  21. This article has me until it said feed grain or no grain. Dogs are dying from grain free food. It can cause DCM dialated cardiomyopathy. It’s a horrible marketing scam . Your veterinarian will tell you.

    1. Michelle Schenker

      Thank you for calling this out. We have been working to update our content regarding the potential link between grain-free diets and DCM but, as you can imagine, that is a big job. So we appreciate when readers like you help us track down opportunities for updates. This has been corrected.

  22. This is the best and as far as I have seen the most informative and well researched article about these particular breeds I have had pits for over 50 years now and have seen every type mixture that you can imagine I first got into them in Florida where they were very abundant over 50 years ago and used for hunting wild boar I could not concur more that even dogs that would be great catch dogs where is great a pet is anybody could ever want for their family the biggest thing that I have noticed over these 50 years is how many dogs that are called pets aren’t I just lost one I had for over 12 years that was an American bulldog but everyone referred to him as a pit thank you so much for the informative article and hope to see more

  23. I’ve been the proud daddy for rescued American (atonepointintimeItoughtIknewthecorrectbreedofmydogbutIdefinitelyknownotnow) Terrier for almost 4 years (best guess is she’s 8) and thanks to this here article, I am as confused as ever!!

    🍻 HUZZAH! 🍻

    Not that it makes a bit of difference to me in the grand scheme of things or change how much I love her: more than life itself & more with each passing day.
    Though knowing would give justice to the breed and wouldn’t do her injustice by identifying her breed incorrectly.

    I was never interested in owning Pitbulls, or a female dog for that matter. Not that I had anything against either, though I’m not going to lie, without warrant I fed into the Pitbull stigma. Not fearful of the breed (or any other breed) either, even after being attacked (tip of my nose almost bit off, needed several stitches to sew up that good time) by a pitbull/hound (not even a purebred!!) when I was in the 5th grade. I never became scared of the dog, his breed, or any other breed(s) at all. I do have respect most breeds of dogs, except any breed under 35lbs, which is a barking cat & not a dog.
    That said, I was uneducated and therefore unable to make informed opinions about Pitbulls. A breed of dog that deserves none of the sensationalism they have been forced to receive, where instead of blaming a breed, we need to start holding the owner accountable.
    Any dog, despite the breed, can be made into a bad dog.
    Undeniable proof that in this case it’s nurture and NOT nature, if ever there was any!
    But I digress, I was just a male Siberian Husky kind of man. My last 3 dogs were and I became, by choice, committed to that particular breed and gender. I loved how their energy and zest for life seemed to be neverending! Friendly as friendly can be (though never witnessed by myself, I have recently read they are known to be quite aggressive), always happy and being utter goofballs, the laughs were constant. Therefore in my not so humble, and yet extremely biased opinion, a really fun and lovable dog!

    Then one day my old roommate brought home a rescued female Pitbull and all of my preconceived (no doubt judgemental) opinions about female dogs & the Pitbull breed, and wanting to only have male Huskies, completely changed.
    Once she was inside, she was allowed to roam around the house unabated
    & could sniff anything & everything (2 or 3 times if she deemed necessary) till her little heart’s content.
    Well this went on for 10 maybe 15 minutes or so when she straightforwardly walked over to the couch where was sitting & watching some TV and, with seemingly no hesitation or even a second thought, she jumped upon said seating structure and lay down beside me. Albeit unbeknownst to me, I had just been adopted! By a female Pitbull who was supposed to be my roommate’s no less! To be completely honest and nowing that now, I STILL wouldn’t change a thing about it.
    I was at a point in my life where I had given up hope. Hope of ever getting the help I desperately needed. I needed help
    both financially and physically. Injured on the job in 2010 left me physically unable to work the only job(s) I ever knew. Construction. All phases. I was by no means a master of any, but I knew enough. Except for being a truck driver for 8½ years, a story for another day (sorry kids), that was all I knew. I had given up on myself (extenuating circumstances of which I won’t elaborateon) and didn’t care if I was a witness to another sunrise or not. Life for me had become meaningless. I honestly felt that I had nothing to live for, and had no desire to play another set, game or match. I had accepted the fact that I was merely existing with no chance at living again. Then as the 7th year of an eventual 10+ year fight for disability was beginning, that pivotal moment happened. The moment after she had jumped up next to me, lying down, making herself comfortable. Then she looked up at me and we locked eyes. That’s the moment. The exact moment I will remember until the day I die. The moment when she let out a sigh that can only be described as “in time you’ll know that what I’m telling you now is actually a future I told you so” then she closed her eyes and drifted off to doggo dreamland and began snoring. Yup. You read that right. She snores! And that oh so not feminine in the least sound in time became beautiful music to my ears I had no idea how correct she was. She knew I was hers long before I knew she was mine.
    She has since changed my mind about Pitbulls AND female only reason to get out of bed. My one reason to live.
    She IS my life and I am hers. She would give hers to save mine just as I would give mine to save hers.
    She is by far the most inquisitive, caring, loyal, intelligent (I thought Huskies were brainiacs) and ride or die dog I’ve ever been lucky enough to share my time with.
    And those times have include making it out of a fire, losing everything but each other. To be fair, that’s really all that mattered. We were alive and we had one another. As a result of the fire and not parting ways with the aforementioned roomie sooner, we became homeless for almost 5 moths. Before you pass judgment, form an opinion or toss hate my way for bringing her into that situation, know these 3 things:
    1.) Once I knew she and I were the others, I promised her that I would never give up on her. And after spending hours bawling like a baby trying to find a place, ended up calling the no kill shelter the roomie originally got her from and they said they would take her back. I was told I could get her back if the circumstances permitted & paying the required fees but no guarantees she’d be there by the time I was able to care for her again. After hanging up, the looks I got from the one that saved me, the one I broke that promise with, the one I was giving up on, made the tears fall harder. I did NOT want to brake my vow, but I didn’t want to do her wrong by making her live the homeless life. I struggled. Hard. I had lied to the only friend I had. Eventually, after walking (wandering aimlessly if you will) around town for many hours, I decided I could not, WOULD NOT go back on my word. We were a team. One without the other was not an option. And she told me the following day we were meant to continue on our journeys together. How, you’re probably asking? Deep in thought about what may lay ahead for us, she climbed on my lap, put a paw on each shoulder and started licking my face like it was covered in meat paste!! I knew then and there that no matter what, we were supposed to be in each other’s lives.

    To put it unambiguously as possible, she single handedly, or pawedly as the case may be, saved certain self destruction.
    I wouldn’t be here ifn’s she hadn’t

    She is my life.
    She is my love.
    She is my world.
    She is my everything.

    She is my Gypsy♡

  24. No more vicious than a Chihuahua maybe, but when a Pitbull does decide to bite there’s no comparison. They were selectively bred for aggression towards other dogs, strong jaws and an instinct to latch on and shake. Sure you can tame them, and mostly the friendly side shines through, but on the odd occasion there is a brain snap that’s what you get. A lot of owners who acquire them have the “my dog’s tougher than your dog” mentality. And of course it’s well known that the the owners personality goes down through the lead.

    My dog has met thousands of dogs off lead. Only been bitten twice , both times by staffy crosses. The owners never help with vet bills, that comes with the territory.

  25. Hi all,
    What is the best dna testing for dogs?
    I would need to get my pups dna tested due to uncertainty of his breed. We got him from a previous owner. Many people say he’s a pitbull, but in uk pitbulls are not allowed.
    So any advice would be great
    Thank you x

    1. Hi Jennifer, we’d recommend Embark for your dog DNA testing needs. Many people on our team have had a great experience with Embark. Embark offers a couple of different test kids, one for breed identification and another for breed identification and health risks. Embark tests for 350 breeds and more than 200 health conditions. Receive results in two to four weeks and learn more about what makes your dog unique.

    2. I recommend Wisdom dna test. I did Embark first they said my rescue was 100% pit bull -I didn’t believe it so i did Wisdom And got 8 breeds in him and health info. I researched those breeds and he has characteristics of them all:)

  26. Great article explaining the breeds. I just lost my 19 to rescue dog, with me since about 10 weeks. I do DNA on all my rescues and Tucker had a variety but his Amstaff genes were prominent. When he passed I adopted a puppy to keep my rescued full blood border collie, River, busy and off the 18 and 12 to lifetime rescues. Cantu’s results just came in as 62.5% Aussie but 37.5% AmStaff. Going back 3 generations all the dogs were AmStaff, Aussie or a combo. I’m really excited because after working side by side with several vets, helping at shelters and being a rescue rehabber of domestic, exotic and wildlife, I can say pits and staffys love with the best of em and are as reactive e.t.c as they have been taught. Thank you for presenting them in the light they deserve.

  27. Thank you for such a well-written article! We are rescue lovers and in 2001, rescued our first Pittie. We loved him to death along with our other rescue, a Finnish Spitz. Sadly, they’ve been gone a few years. Enter my daughter’s a Pittie. We have enjoyed babysitting her every day until COVID when everyone stayed home. So, being sad and lonely, well headed to the shelter again and came home with a senior girl. The most beautiful Staffie ever! Perfect old girl for us!

    She is other-dog-reactive, as is my grand doggie, and getting the two old girls together is proving to be quite the challenge! Nevertheless, she is an amazing dog! Not active this one, however, the shelter did determine shed been hit by a car on her travels. She’s out forever baby and fits so much of this article! Thank you!

  28. Couldn’t agree more!! I rescued my Staffy from an owner who cared more about drugs than his dog. He came to us with health n skin problems,terrible separation anxiety. What a boy he’s become now!! So intelligent,kind and understands everything… Please adopt a Staffy or Pitbull, they’ll love you forever

  29. Thank you so much for this well-written, informative article. We rescued a 12-15-month-old Amstaff from a kill shelter about 10 weeks ago. Could not love this big, bouncy bundle of fun anymore than we do already!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to stop by to both comment and share Karen! Glad you found the article valuable!

  30. I have been around dogs my whole life. I was terrified of pit bulls. Jack acquired his new family through my daughter finding him running near the highway. He was chipped but no one claimed him after 6 weeks. So I had her bring him to me. I finally was able to track down the rescue. We were ready to take him but that little lover stole our hearts.

    He was full-grown but not quite a year old. We asked to keep him for we were so worried about him getting abused or mistreated because of looking like a pit bull. I think he is some type of bull terrier. He is the smartest, friendly, silly, and most loving dog. I cannot imagine life without him. He does well with my Yorkies 12 and 14. They aren’t as fond of his bouncy happy personality. Keep educating people about how wonderful these dogs are.

  31. Terry Cunningham

    We are on our second rescue, both have been (for want of a better word) pitties, with no real way of knowing whether they are pit bulls or am staffs or some mix. But they share some common traits. Both are lovable, goofy, couch potatoes who appear to expend energy in spurts then are quite content to chill out for a while.

    Both required obedience and socialization training, firm boundaries, activities to engage them, and both needed to be prevented from getting over-stimulated. I don’t believe they are for everyone, they need a dedicated owner, but also I think they are perhaps the most rewarding breeds we have.

    1. Sounds like you’ve had some amazing dogs, Terry! Thanks for stopping by to share your experience!

  32. Natalie Maslo

    I agree with the other comment. This was well written! Thank you. The way you explained and broke it down is easy to understand. And the fact that you said their reputation is unjust and pretty much they are the sweetest and most loving dog will hopefully change the minds of some people. I’m in search for a home to rent and it is just so tough with these breeds. However I’m not giving up my Granddog. Haha. This is a very well written article.

  33. David of Piacente

    Great article! Have owned a Pitbull mix and now own an Am Staff mix. Both dogs were rescued and the Pitty lived a long happy life. We have two rescues now, a Doberman-greyhound mix and the Am Staff mix. They get along great and exercise each other in our large fenced backyard (with supervision by dad).

    The Am Staff does have some fear aggression with other dogs and strangers. We are working on that but since we got her at 6 months old it is taking some time. Other than that she is a very loving pup.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, David! Sounds like you have had some great dogs. All pups have different experiences, so I’m glad you are taking your time with your Am Staff. Appreciate the comment!

  34. Tommy Sassano

    I got my Am Staff back in December from a shelter and at first, I really didn’t want to get her because of the reputation but got her anyways and she has become one of the best things I’ve ever done, I absolutely love my Maggie!

    1. Sounds like you made the right choice and got a great dog, Tommy! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!

  35. I have one of each and to be honest, they truly are the best, most loyal, and loving dogs. Very protective of their family, but when I open the door and welcome someone in, I tell them to “make friends”. Which in turn, they do.

    And the visitor’s sole purpose for being here is them! Lol! I am hoping to squash other people’s misconceptions about the breeds.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Diane! Sounds like you have some amazing pups! We appreciate you sharing your experience with the breeds!

  36. I have an Amstaff. She is two years old and loves children, people, and motorcycles. She came to me from an animal care organization. She is so friendly and gets so many compliments when I walk her. I allow people to pet her when they ask because I want to educate people. They need to know how loveable Amstaffs are.

    Mine is carmel and white. She thinks she is a big cat, quick to give a kiss, shake a paw and greet everyone. She is extremely intelligent and not a barker. However and it saddens me she has such disdain for other four-legged animals. I don’t think she was socialized as a puppy.

    I adopted her when she was a year old. She constantly reminds me that she is a member of my family as she follows me closer than my shadow and gets herself involved in everything I do on a daily basis.

    That includes putting away the groceries, vacuuming the floor, making the bed, and even tries to sniff the dishes being unloaded from the dishwasher from afar since I don’t allow her in the kitchen. She’s a handful but I love her dearly. Wouldn’t know what to do without her.

    1. Thank you for the comment June! Sounds like you have a wonderful pup! I would definitely recommend investing in a trainer locally because it’s never too late to work on socialization with other four-legged companions! Best of luck with your pup!

  37. Excellently written article! I’ve a Staffy/Pit mix. It’s been 25+yrs since I’ve had a big dog & never one who lived inside…until last February that is. I’d told folks for a cpl yrs the next dog I wanted was one I could leave outside during the day & in at night. My husband works out of town sometimes.

    Kitty(my hubs named him) came to me in a basket w/his 6 siblings. I was given pick of the litter! These were rescue puppies on their way to a No Kill Shelter. Our vet says his color is Champagne…he has a bit of a white patch on his chest.

    I’ve had small breed terriers & Kitty surpasses them in intelligence, loyalty, & all the rest of the awesomeness that go w/both breeds. I’ve spent the past yr training him. He catches on quickly.

    I do have one question, though. How do you break them of jumping & using their paws as claws when they jump??? He’s gotten better but, we still aren’t there yet. Any feedback is welcome.

    Again, thank you for an interesting & true article.

    1. Thanks for your comments Sarah! Sounds like you have an amazing pup, and tell your husband that I love the name! To answer your question about jumping, it’s definitely a hard habit to break once it’s established. The best thing to do is to not reward the behavior with attention in any fashion. In an excitable situation, you can also practice sitting and staying, and reward with a high-value treat.

      Our current dog was a notorious jumper and we trained her through repeated correction, and rewarding the behavior we wanted. We also would immediately ignore her if we saw her getting excited and about to jump. She rarely jumps now. As always, we recommend getting a trainer locally if the problem persists. Good luck with your pup, and thanks for the comment!

  38. We own both and they both think they are lapdogs. Both of them are rescues. Two of the best dogs I have ever lived with!

  39. Finally a *mostly* correct article! Very well written. I do think Amstaffs weigh more than 70 pounds. Maybe up to 80. I have a purebred Amstaff and he is on the smaller side (according to my vet) at 63 pounds. In addition, he may just be an exception but he is not high energy. He is low-medium energy but most others I met are medium energy! For those of you wondering, he is also very good with other dogs, children, strangers, and animals.

    He currently lives with a cat and 4 dogs ranging from small to medium size. I recommend an Amstaff to anyone looking for an intimidating-looking dog to scare off potential intruders but at the same time wants a dog who is actually a big softie and who loves to cuddle and sleep!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Anna! The content in this comparison is just a guide. All dogs are different, and we know that dogs from these genetic lines can vary in both size and weight, but usually, they fall into these ranges. I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with the breed!

  40. I have an 8 week old Amer. Staffy and a 9month old America mixed Pitt bull terrier. How should I properly introduce them? They both wag their tails when separated but haven’t officially been released with each other. It has only been one day.

    I have our staffy dog in a kennel where our Pitt can smell and he occasionally barks at him and circles about 76 thousand times a day, but he’s always wagging his tail and our staffy just wants to play? Any advice on what I should do next? Our 8-week old staffy was a foster dog and needed a home and our Pitt has come to our family 3 months ago.

    1. Hi, Erica! Slow introductions are always best. We just welcomed a new rescue dog home about 6 months ago. We kept them in separate rooms for two days and would bring the dogs near the closed door to sniff each other at first. We also would take blankets from their crates where they slept and exchanged them each night. This way the dog’s scent started to become familiar.

      Our last step was a slow introduction outdoors. I had our rescue, and my Husband introduced our other two dogs to the rescue, one at a time. We had them on leash, and we walked them around our backyard (leashed walks are great for bonding).

      All of our dogs are easy-going, though. Every dog is different and if either one of your pups have any fear-based tendencies, it will need to be done with more caution. I would highly recommend you consult a local trainer in your area if you don’t have any experience introducing two new dogs to each other. Good luck!

  41. We adopted an Am Staff from Haven Humane, and he is very large 115 lbs. I don’t understand why he is. So big. Is that normal for some breeds

    1. Hi Julia, yeah, that seems big for a Staffy. Have you had a DNA test done? We’ve used Embark twice, and both times it was spot on with analyzing our breed. I’d recommend looking into that if you haven’t yet.

  42. Scott Kessinger

    Am Staffs are excellent dogs. We got ours when she was 8 weeks old, and she has grown into an affectionate, loving and loyal dog. She really loves children, and gets along very well with cats. I have always had Black Labs before we got our Staffy, but this is the sweetest dog that I have ever had.

  43. I am 76 years old and I am worried that I won’t be able to give either one of those breeds enough exercise. Live in Ottawa, and often in Winter Time the sidewalks a slippery and the streets have lots of salt. Thanks for the description of both breeds.

    By the way, this wouldn’t be the first dog I/we had. Starting from a Golden Retriever, to a Yorkshire Terrier, to a 1-year old Doberman (which I hit it really off perfectly, even though someone else trained it. Then came a Bouvier de Flandre, which I never could train to walk on a leash nice beside me. Otherwise, he was perfect. Got a harness and he pulled me around in the snow. Goes without saying that he liked it.

    Then came a German Shepherd also about 1-year old, he was too inventive and investigative for us, Training didn’t go to well. We found an excellent home for him with a big area to run wild. The last dog was a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, found out later (got him from SPCA) that he had run away from the original owner 3 times. He was very protective, which I didn’t mind.

    After a daily outing for about 45 minutes, came home rested for 1 hour or so, and was ready to go out again. This was too much for me. Liked to jump and roll in any puddle or wet mud couldn’t change this habit. Was also already 1 year approximately old. So that’s why I asked how much exercise those 2 breeds need.

    1. Hi Alois, Yes – both of these breeds will require a good amount of exercise. Both of these breeds will need a little more exercise than your Golden you have experience with. Sounds like you may want to consider another breed that has a lower exercise requirement. Good luck in your search!

  44. Thanks for this all-encompassing article. It’s so sad the bully breeds are unfairly targeted because some evil dogfighters train some of them to be vicious. I hope as people learn more and see them in the community, they’ll become accepted and valued for the wonderful dogs they are.

    I acquired a 3 yr old mixed Pitbull (69%) AmStaff (19%) (12% other) at the shelter last August. I’ve lived with dogs all my 59 years. Patch is one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever had. He’s in training to be my ADA service dog and is advancing at a rapid pace.

    He IS very energetic and loves to race around my 1-acre lot, play fetch several times a day, and loves swimming. He’s always creating fun and games to entertain me. He had very good early training and is well socialized with other dogs and people. I really hit the jackpot with this incredible dog.

    I’ve read that Pitbulls are euthanized more than any other breed. That’s such a shame. My local shelter has a no-kill policy (YAY). There were many pitties in there waiting on forever homes. My guy had been in there over a month. I hope articles like yours will educate and encourage people to adopt this amazing dog breed.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Alison! Sounds like you really lucked out with Patch, who sounds like an AMAZING pup! Appreciate you stopping by to share your experience with our readers!

  45. I adopted a dog from a foster family and was told that he was a beagle terrier mix. He is now 3 years old and my baby. He is great with kids, our cat, and most dogs at the dog park.

    He tends to be people skittish though (his young mom was the same way) but he has never bitten anyone. I am not sure how to train him to not be afraid of strangers, but I also don’t want him to be too friendly with them. he has a similar personality as a boxer.

    I am also not sure if he is a Staffie or Pit-mix. He looks like both and also a larger Jack Russell terrier with a curled tail (think Wishbone).

    1. Hi Cassie! Thanks for stopping by to comment. Any dog that’s been rescued may have some baggage. Depending on how long you’ve owned him, it may take time for him to settle into his new environment. If you’ve owned him for most of his 3 years, then socialization becomes a bit more difficult. But it takes consistent exposure and hard work to properly socialize and teach him that people can be trusted again.

      Some dogs do tend to bond to one person, and if there’s been abuse in the past, he may always be wary of other people. I would be patient and consistent with him and introduce him to new people on his own turf where he’s more likely to feel comfortable. I would also recommend you consult with a professional dog trainer in your area locally. Even a few sessions might allow a trainer to see and properly diagnose any behavioral issues that need addressing. Good luck with your pup!

  46. Quinn Kerry-Rockov

    Nice article! I have an Amstaff and she’s amazing! The short stocky body and a slight difference in head shape usually showcase the difference between the two from my experience. Another big giveaway is Staffies will almost always have a black nose.

    Pitbulls can have any color nose, but you can usually tell the difference between a pitbull having a more athletic body versus the Staffie’s bulky muscular body. Also the Staffie’s tail is thick at the base and tapers to a point with a length that is in proportion to the body size.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Quinn! All very good points. Glad you enjoyed the read, we know that these two pups are consistently mistaken for one another, which is why we wanted to clear up the difference between the two dogs. Appreciate you taking the time to share your experience!

  47. Thanks so much for putting this together, we are considering a Staffordshire for our family (young kids) and this helps quite a bit. One question: in the pictures, its not clear to me which is which of the two breeds. Is the Staffordshire on the left in all of the pics or is it more randomized? Maybe I missed the caption header. Thanks again!!!

    1. Hi Mark! You are welcome! On all our breed comparisons, we try to match the breed according to the order of the article title. So in this article, Staffies are on the left, and Pitties on the right. Good luck with your puppy search!

  48. Great article, I’m looking to buy a bully for my girls and was so hesitant about that decision, after reading this article I think the Staffy would be the right fit for our family. Thank you so much.

    1. No problem Paola! Just make sure you can commit to training a headstrong breed, as well as their high energy requirements, and you should be in good shape! Good luck!

  49. Thank you so much for such a well written and thought out article. As a mom of both breeds, it is nice to find an article that educates and also clarifies the unfair reputation they receive. Great read!

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