Amstaff vs Pitbull: Are American Staffordshire Terriers + Pitbulls the Same?

Thinking about the various Pit Bull type dogs can get pretty confusing. So, this article will explore the Amstaff vs Pitbull: Are American Staffordshire Terriers + Pitbulls the same breed? Firstly, both breeds share a common ancestry, yet a few subtle characteristics distinguish each breed. 

The AmStaff and the Pitbull are both bully breeds or pitbull-type dogs. As a result, you’ll discover they share a lot of characteristics. The American Staffordshire Terrier is slightly shorter but significantly heavier. In contrast, American Pitbull Terriers are smaller, lighter, and more athletically built.

Both breeds resemble one another in appearance and can appear intimidating to people unfamiliar with the dogs. Despite this, both breeds have enormous hearts and are surprisingly sensitive. 

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Because they look so similar, it’s easy to confuse the two breeds. If you introduce an American Bulldog, things get very confusing.

Is an Amstaff the Same as a Pitbull?

Firstly, the history of both dogs stretches back to England in the early 19th Century. In those days, it was common for dogs such as the Old English Bulldog to entertain the people by baiting and attacking bulls and bears. However, once this was outlawed in 1835, dog owners and breeders turned to dogfighting. Breeders needed an agile and aggressive breed, so they crossed the Bulldog with local terriers.

English immigrants took their dogs to America, ostensibly to work the land. However, many also took their dogs to continue dogfighting.

Americans began calling the dogs various names from American Pit Bull Terriers, American Bull Terriers, and Yankee Terriers. However, The United Kennel Club recognised them as the American Pit Bull Terrier in the early 20th century.

Whereas, The AKC (American Kennel Club) recognised the breed as the Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. This dog was much larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, so it was clearly a different dog by then.

Also, there was a split between breeders during this period. Some breeders preferred the name American Pit Bull Terrier, named as such by the UKC.

While they still have a great deal of heritage in common, breeders have bred two distinct dogs for the last 50 years.

The dog’s name was then changed again in 1972 from the Staffordshire Terrier to the American Staffordshire Terrier. This change was to avoid further confusion with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in England.

In the UK, we have a dangerous dog list. There are currently four breeds on the list, but the Amstaff is not one of those. However, the American Pitbull Terrier is. You have to be somewhat cautious in the UK because the legislation says it is what the dog looks like, not the breed type.

Amstaff left, Pitbull right

Which Is Bigger: Pitbull or Amstaff?

Unless you know both breeds exceptionally well, you would be hard-pressed to separate them. However, the American Staffordshire Terrier is the bigger and heavier dog. In addition, they have a more calm personality than the American Pit Bull Terrier.

American Staffordshire Terrier Physical Characteristics

Height17 -19 inches at the shoulders
Weight40 – 70lbs (18 – 32 Kg)
Life Expectancy12 – 16 years
TemperamentTenacious, friendly, devoted, loyal & courageous
GroomingLow maintenance – once-a-week grooming
HealthAbove average
Energy LevelsIntense, high-energy dogs

American Pitbull Terrier Physical Characteristics

Height18 – 21 inches at the shoulders
Weight35 – 60lbs (15 – 27 Kg)
Life Expectancy12 – 15 years
TemperamentStrong, confident, eager to please & enthusiastic
GroomingLow maintenance – once-a-week grooming
HealthAverage
Energy LevelsHigh energy dogs

Amstaff vs Pitbull: Differences

Both dogs are well-balanced. Their large, square heads, muzzles, and well-defined muscles, especially in the Amstaff, give them an intense look. 

In addition, breeders of both dogs tend to crop their ears. However, the demand for puppies with cropped ears is diminishing. Cropped ears give the impression of a more aggressive dog, which, combined with their history, isn’t good. But, if their ears aren’t clipped, they tend to be rose-shaped or half-pricked.

While the Amstaff and American Pit Bull are outwardly similar, significant characteristics distinguish each of these Pit Bull breeds!

  • Amstaffs are shorter and stockier built
  • American Pit Bull Terriers are more athletic
  • Amstaffs are friendly dogs but on the reserved side
  • Pitbulls are friendly with an irrepressible nature
American Staffordshire TerrierAmerican Pit Bull Terrier
Average height18-19 inches18-21 inches
Average weight40-70lbs35-60lbs
Average lifespan12-16 years12-15 years
Exercise1+ hours of daily exercise1.5+ hours of daily exercise
Family-friendlyYes – affectionate & playful with kidsYes – family-friendly dogs, affectionate
TrainabilityIntelligent dogs – easy to trainIntelligent, eager to please – easy to train

Brad Davenport

Brad has spent his entire life surrounded by dogs and has owned all sorts of breeds, including Dachshunds, Great Danes, French Bulldogs and he currently has a little Hasanese called Biscuit. Brad is an experienced dog writer who is obsessed by canine health, care and psychology and has completed several courses on dog care and training.

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KONG - Jumbler Ball - Interactive Fetch Dog Toy with Tennis Ball (Assorted Colours) - For Medium/Large Dogs
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