What Is the Difference Between a Pit Bull and a Staffordshire Terrier?

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Pit Bulls and Staffordshire share common ancestors, which are the Bulldogs and terriers. As a result, the two can easily confuse you and might leave you wondering, “what is the difference between a Pit Bull and a Staffordshire?” These two are slightly different.

What Is the Difference Between a Pit Bull and a Staffordshire?

A Staffordshire slightly differs from a Pit Bull in terms of appearance, temperament and personality. A Pit Bull is larger and more aggressive than the Staffordshire. However, Pit Bulls aren’t recognized by the AKC, whereas the Staffordshires are.

To better demonstrate the difference between a Pit Bull and a Staffordshire, we will use the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier specifically in this article. Keep on reading if you want to learn more.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Pit Bull Versus Staffordshire

The American Pit Bull Terrier weighs 30 to 60 pounds and stands 17 to 21 inches tall, while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier weighs 24 to 38 pounds and stands 14 to 16 inches tall. Pit Bull is larger than the Staffordshire, but not in all cases.

The American Staffordshire Terrier, the larger version of the English Staffordshire Terrier created in America, is bigger than the American Pit Bull Terrier.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier is muscular, has a short and broad head, notable cheek muscles and rose or half-pricked ears that aren’t large. It also comes in a wide range of colors that include:

  • Fawn
  • Red
  • Black
  • White
  • Blue
  • Brindle
  • Any of the colors previously mentioned with white

On the other hand, an American Pit Bull Terrier looks proportioned, powerful and agile. It has a broad and large head proportioned to its body. Unlike the Staffordshire, which has naturally uncropped ears, a Pit Bull might have both natural and cropped ones. Any color and pattern are accepted except merle and albinism. 

The AKC recognizes the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a purebred. However, the organization refuses to recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier.

When it comes to temperament, Staffordshires are generally more lively and gentler than Pit Bulls. Pit Bulls look more intimidating because of their powerful physique and aggressiveness. Up to this day, their origin in the field of dogfighting has given them a bad reputation.

The reported brutal attacks have paved the way for laws to get implemented against these dogs.

For easier comparison, the table below shows the difference between a Pit Bull and a Staffordshire.

American Pit Bull TerrierStaffordshire Bull Terrier
Weight (pounds)30 – 6024 – 38
Height (inches)17 – 2114 – 16
ColorAny except merle & albinismRed, fawn, black, white, blue, brindle and any color with white
TemperamentPowerful, friendlyLively, gentler

Why Does a Pit Bull and a Staffordshire Look Similar?

While Pit Bulls and Staffordshires are two different breeds, their similarities are undeniable. You can trace back the similarities between the two breeds in their ancestor – the Bulldog. In fact, if you’re still a novice about dog breeds, you’ll confuse the two as they look similar to each other.

As mentioned, the Staffordshire and Pit Bulls share common ancestors. Both were descendants of bulldogs and terriers from England. How they came to the US was through immigrants.

Breeders use selective breeding to improve and increase the dogs’ size and nature compared to their counterparts. It resulted in the creation of the American Pit Bull Terriers.

Pit Bull

However, there was a problem. The AKC won’t recognize the American Pit Bull Terriers because the organization doesn’t want to associate itself with the cruelties the breed brings.

In 1935 when the UK started to accept their own Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the AKC also started to recognize a subset of American Pit Bull Terriers and registered under the name of American Staffordshire Terrier.

In the 1970s, the AKC permanently stopped accepting the American Pit Bull Terrier and only accepted those whose parents are already registered under the American Staffordshire Terrier. That’s how the American Staffordshire Terrier separated from the Pit Bull types.

Related Questions

Are Staffordshire and Pit Bulls the Same?

Staffordshires are very similar to Pit Bulls. In fact, the American Staffordshire Terrier was classified as a Pit Bull type, but was separated later on. However, although they look similar and share the same ancestor, Staffordshire and Pit Bulls have their unique characteristics too that separates them from each other.

What Is the Difference Between Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier?

The American Staffordshire Terrier is larger compared to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was originally bred in England, while the American Staffordshire Terrier originated in the US when the breeders tried to redesign the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is more aggressive, but the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has a deeper skull and more developed chewing muscles.


A Pit Bull and Staffordshire slightly differ in size and temperament. However, both dogs are related as they come from the same bloodline. Both breeds have also endured bad reputations.

If you’re planning to get either of them, be sure you’re ready and responsible enough to handle them. They’re a great human companion and as affectionate as any other breeds if loved and taken care of well.