The debate has raged on for years among dog enthusiasts and breeders: Are American Pit Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, commonly known as Pit Bulls and Staffies, indeed the same breed?
Their strikingly similar appearances and shared histories make it easy to see why they’re often mistaken for one another.
In this article, we’ll delve deep into these two beloved breeds’ origins, characteristics, and distinctions, shedding light on a question that has puzzled many for decades.
Are Staffies Pit Bulls?
Pitbulls and Staffies are not the same. “Pit Bull” is a general term for a type of dog, often referring to the American Pit Bull Terrier. “Staffies” or Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a specific breed. Both share a common ancestry but have distinct characteristics and histories.
- Some people will tell you that both are the same breed.
- Others will tell you that the two dogs are very distinct breeds.
So why the confusion??
To understand why there is so much confusion between Pit Bulls and Staffies, we must take a look back into their history.
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Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs. Pitbull Differences Chart
One of the main reasons that Pit Bulls and Staffies share so many similarities is because both breeds can be traced back to the same bloodline.
In the late 1700s, the British crossbred Bulldogs and Black & Tan Terriers, and the result were the Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
During the 19th century, again, the Brits began breeding Old English bulldogs with Old English Terriers in hopes of creating a breed with bulldogs’ power and athletic abilities and the “gameness” of terriers.
The result was a new breed of dogs referred to as “Bull and Terrier”
Immigrants brought these bull and terrier crosses to America, and through selective breeding, they could increase their height and leaner than their counterparts. They were later called the American Pit Bull Terriers.
These Bull and Terrier breeds also became the ancestors of Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier.
So, Yes, they are related.
In a simpler definition, you could think of the two breeds as relatives with the same bloodline, with the Bulldog as their grandfather.
But wait, there’s more.
Nineteenth-Century Dog Registration
Pit Bulls and Staffies were once bred for their dogfighting capabilities. But as time progressed, so did feelings about dogfighting.
As people became increasingly aware of the harshness of such a “sport,” it eventually became abandoned and condemned by the UKC (United Kennel Club).
Unfortunately, the reputation of the American Pit Bull Terrier never recovered. It was continuously associated with dogfighting.
In return, the AKC (American Kennel Club) would not recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier as a breed. They were, however, willing to accept the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
So, two dogs that were essentially the same breed just obtained different names.
WORTH A LOOK: Is the American Staffordshire Terrier A Pit Bull?
How To Tell A Staff From A Pit Bull
There is no doubt that Pit Bulls and Staffies are very similar in appearance.
- Both breeds are strong, muscular, and solid in build. (see image above)
- They are both athletic, energetic, and playful.
- Both Pit Bulls and Staffies love to play and train at the park, but can also work hard.
- They are incredible diggers and can pull heavy loads when necessary.
- They are incredible athletes who are easy to train in sports like rally, flyable, and weight-pulls.
Both the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very energetic and require daily exercise to help them burn their energy.
With proper care, both the Pit Bull and that Staffordshire Bull Terriers have long lifespans of up to 14 years.
With that being said, they are both at increased risk of mange, heart disease, and elbow and hip dysplasia.
So, these are the answers you will get from people who think that Staffies and Pit Bulls are the same.
But what about those who say they are two different breeds?
Height & Weight Comparison
Many people will tell you that there are clear distinctions between these dogs.
Let’s take a look:
One of the main differences is the height.
According to the AKC, Staffies should stand between 14-16 inches in height. American Pit Bull Terriers, on the other hand, should stand between 17-21 inches tall.
As for weight, the ideal weight for a Staffy is considered to be between 24-38 pounds, whereas the ideal weight of a Pit Bull is between 27-60 pounds.
In other words, the Pit Bull is generally considered to be larger and heavier than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Coat and Color
Their color and coat are often very similar. Both breeds have short, smooth coats.
According to the AKC, the only coat colors allowed for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are blue, fawn, red, white, black, or brindle.
Pit Bulls, on the other hand, can be any color except for merle.
With that being said, Pit Bulls come in more colors than Staffies.
Head and Muzzle
When it comes to the head size, the difference is a little more evident. The UKC breed standards state that both Pit Bulls and Staffies should have broad, straight, tapering muzzles.
“The American Pit Bull Terrier’s head is of medium length, flat, broadest at the ears skull, and a long muzzle.”
“The Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s head is short, with broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, and a short muzzle.”
– United Kennel Club
The difference is in the length of the muzzle & width of the skull.
According to breed standards, Pit Bulls should have a muzzle that is 2:3 the length of their head.
For Staffordshire Bull Terriers, there are no such regulations. Muzzles for Staffies can be longer or shorter than the 2:3 ratio given to Pit Bulls.