Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier

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If you are looking for a canine companion, you may find yourself torn between getting a Stafford bull terrier vs American Staffordshire terrier. Most people find it difficult to differentiate the two, mainly because they have a common ancestor, which is the Pitbull.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier General Overview

To make the best decision, you have to know what differentiates these two breeds and what makes them similar. It will also be vital if you know other aspects such as environment, nutrition, and how they act around people. This article will help you in your search by providing valuable information to aid you in your decision.

Graphic image of a Staffordshire Terrier and an American Staffordshire Terrier with a text explaining their differences

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

This breed has retained its traits of tenacity and courage from its past as a fighting dog. The American Kennel Club describes it as a playful companion that has a special feel for children. They weigh between 24-38 pounds.

Staffies, as they are commonly called, have a stocky head with a short snout and prominent jaws. Their tail is of medium length. They have a shiny coat in white, blue, black, red, and brindle colors. The colors are mainly mixed with white.

These dogs are affectionate with family members, friendly to kids, and also very friendly towards strangers. If you have no idea how to go about finding a Staffordshire bull terrier, joining the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of America is going to be of help to you.


When getting your dog, you have the option of getting it from a rescue or a breeder. Most dogs from rescues are older, so you will have to get it from a breeder if you want a pup. A responsible breeder must have screened the dogs for different conditions that affect this breed.

You should know that some health problems will not be detected until the dog is mature, which usually is at the age of two. For this reason, health clearance certificates are not issued until a dog has attained maturity. Breeders have specific tests and schemes that they have to follow.

Staffordshire Bull terrier sitting on the grass

They include:

  • Hereditary Cataracts DNA test
  • L2HGA DNA Test
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Although you may do everything in your power to prevent your dog from becoming sick, sometimes it is inevitable. Some of the diseases that are common in this breed are:

  • Elbow Dysplasia which is caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the elbow. This leads to very painful lameness. The solution to this is medication, surgery, or weight management.
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia, a condition where the thighbone does not fit into the hip joint causing arthritis or lameness.

Training and Exercise

Staffords have a desire to please; this makes them easily compliant with the requests of their owners. However, they come with a temperament that needs to be trained away. They have to learn, accept and follow the rules to become good pets.

They also need regular exercises for them to be healthy holistically. You do not have to look for a complicated exercise regimen for them; take them on runs in the park and toss them a stick.

American Staffordshire Terrier

Popularly known as AmStaff, this is a breed that has proverbial courage and is known for its good nature and confidence. If your AmStaff is well-bred and socialized, it will turn out to be a trustworthy and loyal friend. They are great with children and perfect for people who have no experience owning dogs.

Staffordshire terrier playing piece of branch tree

They are muscular and measure between 17-19 inches. Their eyes are set wide apart, dark, and round. Their well-defined jaws, broad head, and pronounced cheekbones move in an agile manner that is almost unexpected from such an animal.


Its health starts from simple things such as brushing its teeth often and cleaning its ears. This breed may be affected by minor health problems and major ailments. These conditions are hereditary, and if you can isolate the genes during breeding, they can be avoided.

When talking to a breeder, ask about these issues to know where your pet stands.

Training and Exercise

Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for this breed, given their strong will and physical strength. Training will be easy and fun, but some problems may take longer to resolve, such as digging and chewing.

Taking care of their coat is easy. All you have to do is brush it at least once a  week with a brush that a vet recommends. Some brushes are too hard and end up hurting them.

Cut their nails regularly before they become too long and cause problems for them.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier Similarities and Difference

Apart from common ancestry, these two breeds have other things that make them similar to one another and things that set them apart.


  • Both breeds are social breeds that are loyal and gentle towards their owners. This has been greatly achieved by selective breeding. If you have kids, they will make great family dogs as they are very friendly towards them.
  • They both have low impulses, especially when chasing other animals such as smaller dogs or cats. This does not mean that it will not happen, but it will be rare when it does.
  • Both breeds have extraordinary abilities to adapt to a new living environment and changes in their lifestyle.


  • While the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has minimal and close to no chances of barking, the American Staffordshire tends to bark more than it. However, its barking is not to a level that will end up being distractive or count as noise.
  • The Stafford has a higher chance of biting someone compared to the American Stafford. For this reason, most people who have to make a choice between these two breeds end up not going for it.
  • The American Stafford Terrier is well suited for the office environment, and Staffies are not the best breed for an office environment. If you want to go to your office with your dog, a Staffy is not the best option.

Major Distinguishing Factor

The major distinguishing factor lies in their physical appearance. While the American Staffordshire terrier is shorter than the Stafford bull terrier, it is also, in most cases, heavier. Staffies come with pronounced cheek muscles while those of the American Staffordshire terrier is also pronounced, but they are accompanied with well-defined jaws.

Close-up shot of Staffordshire Bull terrier

When to Choose a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

If you are looking for a dog that is gentle and loving, this is it. Staffies are dedicated family pets that get along with children. Their energetic bursts will sync with those of young children, and they can play together before napping.

Their coats do not require a lot of grooming, which makes them great for busy people with little time to groom their dog.

When to Choose an American Staffordshire Terrier

If you are looking for a dog that will add up as a guard dog, this breed fits the job. They have strong protective instincts and are gentle with their owners. At the same time, they are reserved when it comes to strangers.

If you have other pets, this breed will not become a problem. Socialize them early, and you will have nothing to worry about.

Final Verdict

The difference between these two breeds is not major; it is all in appearance. However, some issues such as temperament may vary slightly. One important thing you should be aware of is under no circumstances should you leave your American Stafford Terrier with other dogs.

Moreover, Steer clear of it if you have other pet dogs.