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Main Differences Between The Staffordshire Bull Terrier And American Staffordshire Terrier

Main Differences Between The Staffordshire Bull Terrier And American Staffordshire Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier battle could be described as the clash between English and American Bull Terrier relatives.

If canines could talk, a Staffy would probably immediately show dissatisfaction with the fact that it’s being called “Amstaff” all the time.

This isn’t a surprise, considering that these two dog breeds are often mistaken for each other, although they don’t look exactly the same.

To make sure that you don’t make the same mistake, we decided to compare these two canines in detail, and point out all the similarities and differences between them.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Vs American Staffordshire Terrier

These two dog breeds share a lot of similarities, so it’s not a surprise that people confuse them all the time.

However, if you analyze each breed in detail and compare them, you will notice significant differences between them as well.

To understand each breed and the difference between them, we need to take a closer look at their origin, and the purpose of breeding.


Staffordshire Bull Terrier

staffordshire bull terrier in a park

One of the first representatives of this canine breed appeared in Birmingham, England during the 1800s. Unfortunately, these pups were usually bred for bull baiting and dog fights, which is why they still have a bad reputation, although these blood sports have been banned in the majority of countries around the world.

The Bulls and Terriers that were bred during these periods are considered ancestors of canines such as the Staffordshire Bull Terriers, the American Pit Bull Terriers, the American Staffordshire Terriers, and the modern Bull Terriers.

This breed is recognized as a Bully type of dog since one of their parent breeds was the old Bulldog… a Mastiff-like canine that was crossed with the British Terrier.

They were first acknowledged by the English Kennel Club (KC) in 1935, while the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized them as purebred dogs in 1936.

On the other hand, the United Kennel Club (UKC) didn’t acknowledge these pups until 1975.

The appearance of today’s Staffordshire Bull Terriers is influenced in a great manner by the physical traits of their ancestors, such as their strong stature and immense strength.

The physical appearance of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and their history, are the main reasons why these pups look intimidating to many people.

But, if you look past their physical appearance and analyze their personality, you will notice that Staffordshire Bulls can actually be great family pets.

However, one of the main requirements to own such a canine is to have an active lifestyle. These dogs function well only in families that enjoy outdoor activities and often go on new adventures.

It is essential to learn how to deal with the enormous energy of the Staffy. Your pet’s physical and mental well-being will benefit from regular exercise in the form of walks, runs, and lots of other activities.

American Staffordshire Terrier

American staffordshire terrier playing in the park in autumn

The first thing you’ll notice is that American Staffies have similar origins, as they share the same ancestor, according to their historic background.

However, these two dog breeds have another sibling – the American Pitbull, which is often compared to the AmStaff, and sometimes even mistaken for it.

The main issue for the American Kennel Club with Bull Terriers was the history of these canines, as they didn’t want to acknowledge a breed that was used in dog fights.

Breeders in the United States developed a bigger variety of the Staffordshire terrier, which eventually developed into a separate breed from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

As the breeds developed, there were more distinctions between them, so in the end, the AKC came up with the idea of naming one of the Bull Terrier types American Staffordshire Terriers, and recognizing them in the 1970s.

The American Staffordshire canines that we know today are quite different from their ancestors in terms of both personality and physical appearance.

That is why these dogs became good family pets, great actors (in movies and television), and also an excellent addition to the military and police forces.


The Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier comparison in terms of physical features might help those who aren’t so familiar with these breeds to differentiate them more easily.

Although these two breeds share the same ancestors, they have developed in different ways over time, which is why there are so many differences between them today.

In order to compare these two Bull Terriers, it’s important to state all their physical characteristics individually first.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

portrait of a staffordshire bull terrier

Staffordshires might not be tall, but that certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t well-built. These canines have a stocky stature, and a body frame that is covered in muscles.

This dog appears similar to both bulls and terriers due to the fact that these breeds are their ancestors. The Staffordshire inherited quite a few traits from them that provide this dog with a powerful appearance and agility.

Staffordshires aren’t big in size, considering that they usually weigh up to 38 lbs, and rarely grow over 16 inches. However, their muscled body makes them look bigger and more massive, which is why most people find them intimidating.

These pups have a more square-shaped head and a short nose. They often seem like they’re smiling because of their pronounced cheeks, which isn’t the case (at least not most of the time.

These canines aren’t nearly as tough as some people might find them. Once you get to know them and learn more about their personality, you will see why they’re considered an excellent choice for a family pet.

This is the kind of dog that has to be a part of every action and occasion, and is always up for a good game. Be warned, however, that they don’t get along well with other canines; therefore, their owner will need to be ready to socialize them and keep them on a leash most of the time.

Coat Type

Staffies have a short type of fur that is smooth, but has a harsh texture. Since their hair is short, these pups require basic grooming only.

One of the best features related to their coat is the fact that they don’t shed nearly as much as German Shepherds, Chow Chows, Labradors, or other high-shedding breeds.

You might find a few strands of hair around the house, but you won’t have to vacuum several times a day because of it.

They can come in various shades, which include:

• Brindle

• Black

• Fawn

• White

• Blue

• Black and white

• Brindle and white

• Blue and white

• Fawn and white

• Red and white

• White and fawn

• White and brindle

• White and red

Staffordshires often come in bicolor combinations; therefore, if you want to own a single-shaded Staffy puppy, you’ll have to do thorough research.

These canines are loved by many because of their kind personality, and also because they’re low-maintenance dogs.

American Staffordshire Terrier

Portrait of nice american staffordshire terrier

This is one of the canines that has a powerful physical appearance, even though they’re not as tall as other strong dogs like Cane Corsos, Irish Wolfhounds, and others.

Speaking of their size, it’s important to mention that AmStaffs generally grow up to 19 inches, and weigh up to 67 lbs (everything up to 70 lbs is acceptable).

Their head is large, with more of a rounded shape, prominent cheeks, and a short nose. Their ears are sometimes cropped because they fold over the upright part, although this practice is becoming less popular nowadays.

READ NEXT: Bully Ear Cropping: A Barbaric Method Or A Bare Necessity?

AmStaffs have a wide chest and a stocky stature, which is why they might look scary to some people, but once you get to know them, I’m sure you’ll love them.

Coat Type

AmStaff doggies are one of the canines from the Terrier group of dogs that have short and shiny fur, which is rather coarse, but easy to maintain.

Their coat is quite similar to the ones of the American Pitbull and the English Staffy in terms of texture. However, when it comes to coat shades, they come in different hue combinations.

There is one thing that you should keep in mind when it comes to AmStaff colors. Although there might be solid shades on the list, they will almost always have some sort of white markings in random places on their body, which means they’ll almost never have a single hue of fur.

Here are all the shades American Staffordshire Terriers can come in:

• Blue

• Black

• Fawn

• Liver

• Brown

• Red

• White

• Blue Brindle

• Blue Fawn

• Seal brown

• Fawn Brindle

• Red Sable

• Red brindle

• Liver Brindle

• Blue fawn brindle

• Black brindle

• Fawn sable

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Vs American Staffordshire Terrier

As you can see, even though these two canines have the same ancestors, there are plenty of differences between them.

One of the most notable distinctions between these two dog breeds is their size.

The AmStaffs are about three to five inches taller than their British counterparts, and almost double their weight.

Whereas the Staffordshire Bull Terrier mostly reaches the height of 14 to 16 inches, the American Staffordshire Terrier may reach anywhere from 18 to 19 inches in height.

The American Staffordshire Terrier typically weighs anywhere from 50 to 70 pounds, while the smaller Staffordshire Bull Terrier weighs 25 to 40 pounds. This is a rather significant distinction, especially since these two canine breeds often get mixed up.

The confusion is usually the result of insufficient knowledge about these breeds. Unless you’re an expert in Staffordshire Terriers, and see them on a daily basis, you will often end up calling them by the wrong name.

None of these canines have a double coat, which is why they don’t require thorough dog care, but you’ll still need to groom them occasionally.

Both breeds have a stocky body frame, and ears that can either stand up or hang down.

On the other hand, in comparison to the body of the American Staffordshire Terrier, the body of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is noticeably smaller and more compact.


Essentially, there should be no “vs” between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier when it comes to their temperaments, as they share a great number of personality traits.

Both of these canine companions are generally described as brave, highly intelligent dog breeds that are dedicated to their owner and family.

However, if you analyze their behavior in detail, you might notice slight differences.

Staffies might be a bit more sensitive to noise and crowds than AmStaffs, while the latter ones don’t mind people around them or changes in their daily routines.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

staffordshire bull terrier on a deck

Although they look fierce and intimidating to some people, Staffies are actually a lovely breed that is loyal to their owner and full of love and respect for the whole family.

This dog shows great affection towards children as well. Due to its reputation as a kid’s companion and protector, the Staffy has also become popular as a “nanny dog” in the UK.

The best way to describe their dedication to their dog owner would be “loyal to the bone”, as they never leave their side. That’s exactly why Staffies are considered one of the best dogs for the whole family.

The Staffordshire Bull Terriers got a bad reputation throughout history mainly because they were bred as fighting dogs. However, nowadays, they are better recognized as devoted and affectionate family dogs that never abandon their owner.

These canines love playing games, including fetching, tug of war, etc., but play isn’t the primary activity for them, so don’t be surprised if your Staffy pet isn’t playful all the time.

Actually, the intelligence and high energy level of this breed are the main reasons why these canines want to be mentally challenged on a daily basis.

Instead of playing games and cuddling all the time, your doggie could probably enjoy outdoor activities that challenge their strength and brain more.

Of course, daily walks are always welcome, and they shouldn’t be skipped if you want your pup to be healthy in every way.

When it comes to trainability, they aren’t exactly difficult to train, but the whole process might sometimes turn into a real challenge because of their stubbornness.

Still, if they’re trained from an early age, these pups won’t show much disobedience, and will follow your commands without any problems.

Make sure that you keep your Staffy on a leash when you go for a walk. Even though they’re used to being companion canines nowadays, their prey drive still might be strong enough to make them go after smaller animals.

American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier with the owner for a walk

These dogs are one of the examples that show that a canine doesn’t have to be tall in order to look powerful. Their bulky appearance, however, makes them look intimidating, which is why some people might avoid getting them as family pets.

However, American Staffordshire Terriers are considered to be extremely devoted and friendly with their owner and the whole family.

There is nothing more enjoyable for an AmStaff than spending time with humans, whether that time is spent jogging, playing in the back yard, or simply cuddling on the sofa.

These doggies might not be classic lap pooches, but they definitely love to cuddle, so don’t be surprised if your Amstaff sits on you every time it sees you on the sofa.

They’re not overly sensitive, so you don’t have to worry about their behavior if you’re in a crowd or in a place with loud noises.

American Staffordshires won’t react negatively to changes in daily routines either, but it’s still strongly recommended to stick to the routine as much as possible.

These canines are playful and outdoorsy, which means you’ll have to prepare for a lot of outdoor activities as their owner.

If they go through proper dog training, these canines can be good guard dogs, but if you’re looking for a pet for these purposes only, I’d recommend you get a pup like the German Shepherd, the Doberman, or the Cane Corso.

READ NEXT: Are German Shepherds Aggressive? Discovering The Truth

One of the golden rules of American Staffy dogs is not to neglect their exercise needs. They need to be mentally and physically challenged so they don’t turn into destructive beasts.

If you’re not sure whether you’ll be able to train such a powerful canine, it would be better to get the services of a professional dog trainer.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Vs American Staffordshire Terrier

If you’re looking for a furry best friend, it won’t matter whether you pick a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or an American Staffordshire Terrier, as both of these canines possess wonderful personality traits.

Because of their open nature and kind personality, they are an excellent option for families with children. Both have great interaction with humans, which ensures that they will quickly become loving members of the family.

However, there is still some room for comparison between these two breeds, as they might not behave in the exact same manner.

Staffies are regarded as courageous canines, and there’s no doubt about that. They are also great with humans, but only with a specific number of them, meaning that their behavior might change once they’re exposed to a great number of people.

Also, AmStaffs will react much better to loud noises, as they won’t be affected by them as much as their British relatives.

Staffies might take more time to acquire new commands mostly because of their occasional stubbornness, but that won’t greatly affect their overall behavior and obedience, especially if they’re trained properly.

Both of these canines are great with children, but Staffordshire Bulls might be even gentler with them than AmStaffs.

However, the temperament of canines can vary greatly depending on the specific dog.

Because American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are so friendly and outgoing toward visitors, you shouldn’t count on them to be good watchdogs.

American Staffordshire Terrier Vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier Trainability

Man training American Staffordshire Terrier outdoors

Every dog needs training from early puppyhood, especially when it comes to obedience and socialization. This refers to both Staffordshire Bull Terriers and their American counterparts.

American Staffies are thought to be a better option for first-time dog owners than Staffordshire Bull Terriers since they’re easier to train, and not as resistant to corrections.

Nevertheless, in order to train your canine properly, you need to have a lot of patience. Positive reinforcement is the key point of every type of canine training, especially Staffies, as they don’t react well to punishments and a dominant attitude.

Although this does not imply that Staffordshire Bull Terriers cannot be trained, you should strongly consider asking for the assistance of a dog expert (professional trainer).

You need to make sure that your pet gets plenty of exercise throughout the day, so that it can maintain its health, remain calm, and enjoy itself.

When these canines are active, not only will they be healthier and happier, but they will hardly ever show any sign of destructive behavior.

While American Staffordshire Terriers require a moderate amount of exercise, Staffordshire Bull Terriers have higher requirements that not only include physical training, but mental challenges as well, along with early neurological stimulation.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier Vs American Staffordshire Terrier Grooming Battle

Black American Stafford terrier standing on the table while being brushed and styled by a professional groomer.

The result of this comparison interests many people who are looking for a family pet that doesn’t shed much.

Unfortunately, neither of these two dog breeds is hypoallergenic, but that doesn’t mean they are heavy shedders.

Actually, both American and British Staffordshires are considered low-shedding canines as they don’t leave lots of fur behind them.

However, that doesn’t mean they don’t require any brushing. It is recommended to brush their coat at least once or twice during the week, as the brush removes dead hair, dander, and dirt that might end up tangled in their fur.

When it comes to bathing, Staffies are easier to maintain since they require baths every four to six weeks while their American relatives need to be bathed at least every three to four weeks.

The main reasons for this is the fact that the fur of American Staffies is usually softer and longer, and that it contains more oils than the hair of British Staffordshires.

The good news is that you won’t have to take your pet to a professional groomer for a haircut whichever of these two dogs you choose, as it’s fairly simple to trim their hair at home.

American Staffordshire Terrier Vs Staffordshire Bull Terrier Health Issues

Although the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffy Bull Terrier are both generally healthy types of canines, there are some medical conditions that are characteristic of both breeds.

Essentially, it’s impossible to say which breed has more health issues, as the health of a dog doesn’t depend only on the genetics of the breed, but on other factors, too.

However, in the next few paragraphs, we will discuss the most common issues of both breeds, which might help you make the final decision on which canine is more suitable for you and your family.

American Staffordshire Terrier

American staffordshire terrier dog posing outside.

Elbow Dysplasia

This medical condition is one of the most common ones, along with hip dysplasia, as it appears in the majority of canine breeds.

This health issue is usually inherited, although it might not appear until the later stages of the canine’s life.

It represents an abnormality in the canine’s growth, as the joint doesn’t develop as it should because of irregular bone growth.


This is another common health issue in many dog breeds, including American Staffies. This condition can cause other health issues as well, which include obesity, skin problems, loss of hair, and unexplained changes in behavior.

It is a disorder that develops when your puppy’s thyroid isn’t generating enough thyroid hormones to properly control its metabolism, which is why it functions slower than it should.

This disease may be prevented by making sure that your pet receives satisfying amounts of high-quality nutrients.

Because there are other illnesses that might cause symptoms similar to those of hypothyroidism, the diagnostic testing that is performed to establish hypothyroidism is rather thorough.

Cerebellar Ataxia

This is considered as a neurological condition since it is related to the cerebellum – a part of the brain that is accountable for the control of fine motor movements.

That is why an AmStaff might have uncoordinated movements and experience loss of balance.

If the canine is behaving in a strange way, such as taking larger steps than needed, or experiencing seizures, it should be taken to a vet for a thorough examination.

Unfortunately, if this is an inherited disease, it cannot be cured, but it can be treated with certain medications.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This is a type of degenerative disorder that affects the photoreceptor cells of the retina.

Because of this condition, the cells gradually degrade over time, which ultimately results in dog blindness.

PRA is not a painful disorder, but it is difficult to detect in its early stages because it does not cause any visible symptoms.

American Staffordshire Terriers that are affected by this condition are more likely to experience anxiety in dark spaces or bump into items when the lighting is low.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

staffordshire bull terrier on a couch

Demodex Mites

This is a type of skin infection, which is caused by a parasite, and it is common in Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

The infection is generally noticed around the eyes and feet of the canine, and it is manifested through irritated, dry, and flaky skin.

Another symptom of this condition is hair loss, but only in places that are infected by the parasites.

The majority of dogs can be cured with the right treatment, especially if the infection is diagnosed in the early stages.

Patellar Luxation

Although Staffies aren’t exactly small canines, patellar luxation might still appear in a great number of these pooches.

Basically, the thigh bone of the canine occasionally pops out of the kneecap, which causes irregular movements during walks.

Canines with this condition should refrain from difficult exercises. However, this doesn’t include light dog walks, which should remain a part of their daily activities.

This way, the canine’s muscles won’t degrade and cause arthritis.

Juvenile Cataracts

The exact reason why juvenile cataracts appear might not be clear, as it can either be a result of certain conditions or health issues they’re predisposed to, or poor nutrition.

This type of disease is not inherited, as it doesn’t appear from birth, but in the later stages of the pup’s life (from the sixth month up to the sixth year of the canine’s life).

However, certain breeds might have a predisposition for this condition, including Staffies, which is why there are certain genetic examinations that are performed on future parents.


Mast cell tumors are unfortunately one of the common diseases among Staffordshires, Boxers, Labs, Boston Terriers, and other canines.

This type of tumor can appear in almost any part of the canine’s life, although it’s more common among older pooches.

It can be recognized as a lump under the dog’s skin, but it’s usually followed by other symptoms like sudden weight loss, lethargy, stomach pain, appetite loss, etc.

This disease might shorten the life expectancy of a Staffy if it’s not a benign tumor or not treated in time.

The Final Word

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier comparison finally clears the confusion between these two dog breeds.

These two types of Bull Terriers are one of the best examples of canine development throughout history. Although two canines have the same ancestor, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will always belong to the same dog breed.

Even though these two canine types don’t look so similar nowadays, they still share certain physical and personality characteristics.

Therefore, if you want to get one as a pet, I’m sure you won’t make a mistake whichever you choose – just make sure that you’re getting the doggie from a trustworthy breeder.


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