American Staffordshire Terrier VS. American Pit Bull Terrier  

Today, we’ll start with a brief exploration of each breed’s history before turning the spotlight on their distinct physical characteristics. Curious about how to tell them apart with just a quick glance? We’ve got you covered.

We’re also testing their athleticism – comparing their speed and bite force to see which of these muscular breeds is quicker and whose bite is more powerful. 

We’ll delve deeper into their personalities, examining aspects such as trainability, potential for dog aggression, and, crucially, determining which breed might be the ideal fit for your family. 

NOTE: This page may contain affiliate links, which means Staffy Dog may receive a small commission for anything purchase via these links, at no cost to you. This keeps our tails wagging.

And there’s more: stay tuned as we unveil a surprising fact about the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier – something you probably never knew! 

Historical Background  

The American Pit Bull Terrier has a history rooted in baiting and later moved into farming and hunting roles and is today often more associated with performance and agility events, especially in circles that recognize the UKC and ADBA standards. 

In contrast, the American Staffordshire Terrier, known as AmStaff, originated in the United States and was bred primarily for companionship and show due to AKC recognition.  

Size and Build 

American Staffordshire Terrier are generally shorter and stockier than American Pit bull Terrier. The American Staffordshire Terrier typically weighs between 50 to 70 pounds, while the American Pit bull Terrier ranges from 30 to 65 pounds. The American Pit bull Terrier’s build is more athletic, with a leaner muscle structure. 

Head and Jaw Structure 

American Staffordshire Terrier have a broader head and pronounced cheek muscles compared to the American Pit bull Terrier’s more streamlined and wedge-shaped head. 

Bite Force 

The American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier are renowned for their formidable bite force, typically estimated between 235 to 250 pounds per square inch (PSI).

This impressive strength ranks them among the top 10 breeds with the strongest bite force. Leading the pack is the Kangal, boasting a bite force of 700 PSI.

When considering unrecognized breeds, the American Bandogge, a crossbreed between an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Neapolitan Mastiff or other mastiff breeds, claims the second spot with a bite force comparable to that of the Kangal. 

Energy Levels  

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a breed characterized by its muscular build and vibrant energy, necessitating regular exercise to uphold both physical health and mental wellness.

Source: American Staffordshire Terrier @kingbronx_amstaff

On average, these dogs thrive with around 60 minutes of daily exercise, encompassing walks, playtime, and diverse activities. Additionally, they greatly benefit from mental stimulation, which can be provided through training exercises and interactive games. 

Known for their boundless enthusiasm, American Pit Bull Terrier’s tend to exhibit even higher energy levels compared to the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Source: American Pit Bull Terrier @baby_with_pitbulls

This breed is especially prone to boredom, which, if not addressed through adequate activity, can lead to undesirable behaviors.

For American Pit Bull Terrier’s, a daily exercise regimen of about 60 minutes is often ideal. This routine can encompass a mix of brisk walks, runs, playful sessions, and agility training, catering to their dynamic nature. 


The American Staffordshire Terrier is celebrated for its unwavering loyalty and well-balanced temperament. These traits make them exceptionally good with children, often leading them to be cherished family pets.

Their stable demeanor, coupled with a gentle and protective nature, ensures they integrate well into family environments, offering both companionship and a sense of security. 

On the other hand, the American Pit Bull Terrier exudes a vibrant and eager-to-please attitude, thriving on both mental and physical engagement.

American Pit Bull Terriers are distinguished by their lively spirit, approachable demeanor, and affectionate nature. These qualities make them not only outgoing and friendly companions but also wonderful with children.

Their enthusiasm, combined with a loving disposition, makes them excellent family pets, especially in active households that can cater to their need for stimulation and interaction. 

Family Suitability  

Both the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier have the potential to be outstanding family pets, provided they receive proper training and socialization. Renowned for their deep loyalty and affection, these breeds form strong, loving bonds with family members. 

When it comes to children, American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier’s generally exhibit patience and a protective nature, often thriving in a family setting.

However, it’s important to remember that supervision is key during interactions between any dogs and young children, regardless of the breed. 

Foto: American Staffordshire Terrier

In choosing the right breed for your family, consider your lifestyle and activity level: 

American Pit Bull Terrier’s are often the perfect match for energetic, active families. Their high energy and enthusiasm align well with a dynamic household, where their need for physical activity and mental stimulation can be met. 

American Staffordshire Terrier, known for their adaptability, can fit comfortably into a variety of living situations. They can thrive in less active environments as well, provided they still receive the necessary exercise to keep them healthy and content. 

Ultimately, the decision should be based on which breed’s characteristics best align with your family’s lifestyle.


The American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier stand out for their high trainability. Both breeds exhibit intelligence and a keen eagerness to please, making them responsive to positive reinforcement training techniques. 

American Pit Bull Terrier, distinguished by their high energy levels and boundless enthusiasm, bring an invigorating dynamism to training sessions. This vigor, when channeled positively, enhances their learning experience and facilitates effective training. 

American Staffordshire Terrier, while equally intelligent and capable of learning, may occasionally exhibit a more headstrong nature. This trait underscores the need for consistent, patient training approaches. Their strong character, when guided with firm yet gentle training, can lead to excellent learning outcomes and behavior. 

Foto: American Staffordshire Terrier


In the realm of agility and athleticism, both the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier demonstrate remarkable prowess.

However, when it comes to outright speed, the American Pit Bull Terrier typically holds a slight advantage. This edge is largely attributed to their physical build and overall composition, which are conducive to faster running. 

It’s important to note, though, that neither breed is primarily recognized for their speed, particularly when compared to specialized hunting or racing dog breeds. 

Dog Aggression  

American Staffordshire Terriers are typically characterized by a robust and confident demeanor. They generally exhibit good behavior around other dogs, particularly when they have undergone thorough socialization from a young age.

Foto: American Staffordshire Terriers

Their breeding, often geared towards dog shows, has encouraged a more sociable and amiable disposition towards other dogs. 

Conversely, some American Pit Bull Terriers, influenced by their historical involvement in dog fighting, may show a propensity for dog-on-dog aggression. This tendency can be more pronounced towards dogs of the same sex or unfamiliar dogs.

While not all American Pit Bull Terriers exhibit these traits, this aspect of their heritage can contribute to a higher prey drive or inclination towards aggression in certain individuals. 

While some may be exceedingly dog-friendly and social, others may exhibit less tolerance towards other dogs.  

Source: Malinois and an American Pit Bull Terrier; @baby_with_pitbulls

Revealing a Surprising Temperament Trait: American Pit Bull Terrier vs. American Staffordshire Terrier 

Prepare to be surprised by a little-known fact about the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier!

Contrary to common assumptions, it is typically the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) that displays more reservation around strangers, while the American Pit Bull Terrier is usually known for its outgoing and friendly nature, even towards those it doesn’t know. 

This intriguing difference in behavior can be traced back to their distinct historical breeding practices. Although the two breeds share a common ancestry, the direction of their development diverged significantly, particularly in their breeding objectives. 

The American Pit Bull Terrier, with a history in dog fighting, was selectively bred for not only physical prowess but also for a temperament that is non-aggressive towards humans.

Historically, even when dog fighting was prevalent, these dogs were frequently handled by their owners and match referees. It was imperative for the American Pit Bull Terriers to remain controllable and not aggressive towards humans, regardless of the situation’s stress or pain.

This specific breeding focus on human-friendly traits is likely a key factor behind the American Pit Bull Terrier is generally affable disposition towards people, including strangers. 

In contrast, the American Staffordshire Terrier, while originating from the same roots as the American Pit Bull Terrier, evolved along a different trajectory, especially noticeable from the 20th century onwards.

The American Staffordshire Terrier has been predominantly bred for show, companionship, and as a family dog. This breeding emphasis may have led to a temperament that’s more reserved or cautious around strangers, a trait commonly observed in breeds selected for protective or guardianship roles. 


Understanding these nuanced temperamental differences highlights the importance of not judging a breed solely by its historical reputation but rather by its individual traits and behaviors. 

While the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier share many similarities, these key differences highlight their unique qualities.

Regardless of the breed, both require responsible ownership, proper training, and lots of love. The choice between the two should be based on individual preferences, lifestyle, and the ability to meet the breed’s needs.  

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Edda Reynolds

Edda's journey into pet ownership began with a rescue dog that was deeply fearful of humans. To better support her first dog, Edda immersed herself in Canine Behavior Psychology. When her cherished companion passed away at 16, she chose to adopt a Pit Bull mix from a shelter. This new dog, Toffee, was not only affectionate towards people but also showed a keen aptitude for dog agility. Toffee introduced Edda to the strength and gentleness of Pit Bull-type breeds, sparking a deep love for them. This led Edda to welcome Runa, a Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy, into her family, providing Toffee with an ideal companion for play and companionship.

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