American Staffordshire Terriers vs Pitbulls: 7 Similarities and Differences

When it comes to the American Staffordshire Terrier and Pitbulls, there is often confusion as to whether these two breeds are the same or different. While they share many similarities, there are also some key differences that set them apart. As experts in the field, we aim to provide a clear and concise overview of the similarities and differences between these two breeds.

Firstly, it’s important to note that both the American Staffordshire Terrier and Pitbulls are considered “bully breeds”. There are some physical differences between the two breeds. American Staffordshire Terriers are slightly shorter but much stockier in weight, while Pitbulls are more athletic in appearance.

Pitbulls also tend to have a wider chest and more powerful jaw than American Staffordshire Terriers. These differences may seem small, but they can have a significant impact on the overall look and temperament of the dog.

Bully breeds are named this due to their muscular builds, short hair coats, and powerful jaws. They are often associated with aggression, although this is largely a result of negative media portrayal rather than inherent traits of the breeds themselves.

Physical Characteristics

american staffordshire terrier handsome


We often hear people asking if American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls are the same because they look so similar. However, one of the most noticeable differences between the two breeds is their size.

American Staffordshire Terriers are smaller than Pitbulls, with males standing at 17-19 inches tall and weighing between 40-70 pounds, while females are 16-18 inches tall and weigh between 35-60 pounds.

Pitbulls, on the other hand, are slightly larger, with males standing at 18-21 inches tall and weighing between 35-70 pounds, while females are 17-20 inches tall and weigh between 30-60 pounds.


While American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls share many physical characteristics, there are some subtle differences in their appearance. Both breeds have short, stiff fur and a muscular build, but American Staffordshire Terriers tend to have a broader head and a more compact body than Pitbulls.

Pitbulls, on the other hand, have a more athletic appearance, with a longer snout and a more prominent chest. Additionally, Pitbulls come in a wider variety of colors, including black, white, brindle, and fawn, while American Staffordshire Terriers are typically found in shades of blue, fawn, black, and brindle.

It’s important to note that while there are differences in size and appearance between American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls, these are both breeds that are often categorized as “bully breeds.”

This is because they share many of the same physical traits that are common among these types of dogs, such as a muscular build and a strong jaw.

However, it’s important to remember that each dog is an individual and should be judged based on their own behavior and temperament, rather than their breed.


pit bull in snow with thick collar

Personality Traits

When it comes to personality traits, both American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls are known for being loyal, affectionate, and protective of their families.

They are also energetic and require plenty of exercise and playtime. However, it’s important to note that each dog is an individual and may have their own unique personality.

Behavioral Differences

One of the main differences in behavior between the two breeds is their level of aggression. Pitbulls have a reputation for being aggressive and have been involved in many attacks on humans and other animals.

American Staffordshire Terriers, on the other hand, are generally less aggressive and have a more even temperament. Another difference in behavior is their trainability.

American Staffordshire Terriers are generally easier to train than Pitbulls, as they are more eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.

Pitbulls can be more stubborn and may require more patience and consistency in training. Overall, while both breeds share many personality traits, there are some behavioral differences to consider when choosing between an American Staffordshire Terrier and a Pitbull.

It’s important to do your research and choose a breed that fits your lifestyle and personality.

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Understanding the history of American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls can help clarify their similarities and differences.

Origins of American Staffordshire Terriers

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American Staffordshire Terriers were originally bred in England in the 19th century for dog fighting. They were bred from a mix of bulldogs and terriers, resulting in a strong and muscular dog with a powerful jaw.

These dogs were later brought to America, where they were further bred for their loyalty and affectionate nature. In 1936, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed as the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Today, American Staffordshire Terriers are often kept as family pets and are known for their loyalty, affection, and protective nature. They are still used in some areas for dog fighting, but this is illegal in many countries.

Origins of Pitbulls

pete the pit bull lil rascals

Pitbulls are not a specific breed, but rather a type of dog that includes several breeds, including American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Like American Staffordshire Terriers, Pitbulls were originally bred in England for dog fighting.

They were brought to America in the 1800s and were used for a variety of purposes, including hunting, herding, and as family pets.

Today, Pitbulls are often kept as family pets and are known for their loyalty and affection. However, they are also sometimes used in dog fighting, which is illegal in many countries.

Training and Care

Training Techniques

When it comes to training both American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls, it is important to start early and be consistent. These breeds are intelligent and eager to please, but they can also be strong-willed and stubborn.

Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work best with these breeds. Harsh or punitive training methods can lead to fear and aggression. Socialization is also crucial for both breeds.

Early exposure to a variety of people, animals, and environments can help prevent fear and aggression in adulthood. It is important to note that some cities and states have breed-specific legislation that may require additional training or restrictions on ownership.

Grooming Needs

Both American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls have short, smooth coats that require minimal grooming. A weekly brushing with a soft-bristled brush can help remove loose hair and distribute natural oils.

Bathing should be done as needed, but not too frequently as it can strip the coat of its natural oils. Regular dental care is also important for these breeds. Daily tooth brushing and annual dental cleanings can help prevent dental disease, which is common in both breeds.

Additionally, regular nail trimming and ear cleaning can help prevent infections and discomfort. Overall, American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls are relatively low-maintenance breeds when it comes to grooming and care.

However, it is important to provide them with proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care to ensure their health and well-being.

Legal Issues

Breed-Specific Legislation

american staffordshire terrier walking with woman

In some areas, American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls are subject to breed-specific legislation (BSL). This means that they are banned or restricted in certain cities, counties, or states due to their perceived danger.

However, BSL has been controversial and criticized by many animal welfare organizations and experts.

BSL is often based on stereotypes and misconceptions about these breeds, rather than actual evidence of their aggression.

It can also lead to discrimination against responsible owners and well-behaved dogs. We believe that BSL is not an effective way to promote public safety and should be replaced by breed-neutral laws that focus on responsible ownership and education.

Ownership Restrictions

Even in areas where they are not banned, American Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls may face ownership restrictions such as mandatory spaying/neutering, liability insurance, or special permits.

These requirements can be burdensome and expensive for owners, but they are often imposed as a way to discourage irresponsible breeding and prevent dog attacks.

While we support responsible ownership and encourage all dog owners to take steps to prevent accidents and injuries, we believe that ownership restrictions should be based on individual dog behavior and owner responsibility, rather than breed or appearance.

We also believe that education and training programs for owners and the public can be more effective than punitive measures.

Pitbull Bans and Restrictions

United Kingdom Pitbull Bans

In the United Kingdom, pitbulls are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The law applies to England, Wales, and Scotland, but not in Northern Ireland. The law bans the breeding, sale, and ownership of four types of dogs that are considered to be “dangerous”: the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro. It’s important to note that the law doesn’t just apply to purebred dogs but also to crossbreeds that have the characteristics of these breeds.

Canada Pitbull Bans

In Canada, pitbulls are banned only in the province of Ontario. The Dog Owners’ Liability Act, which came into effect in 2005, prohibits the breeding, sale, and ownership of pitbulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and any dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to those breeds.

It’s worth noting that while there are no breed-specific bans in other provinces, some cities have implemented their own bylaws and regulations regarding pitbulls and other so-called “dangerous breeds.” For example, in Montreal, Quebec, pitbulls are subject to a strict set of regulations that include muzzling in public and a special permit for ownership.

United States Pitbull Bans

In the United States, there is no federal law banning pitbulls or any other breed of dog. However, some states and cities have implemented breed-specific legislation (BSL) that regulates or bans certain breeds, including pitbulls.

As of 2021, 22 states have laws that prohibit or restrict BSL. These states include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington.

In addition, many cities and municipalities across the country have their own BSL laws. Some of the cities that have banned pitbulls or enacted strict regulations on them include Denver, Colorado; Miami-Dade County, Florida; and Cincinnati, Ohio. However, it’s important to note that BSL remains a controversial topic, and many animal rights organizations argue that it is not an effective way to reduce dog bites and attacks.


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