In many ways, Staffordshire bull terrier and American pitbull are quite similar breeds. So I’ve broken down a few differences. And highlighted some major points.

Not only will we compare the origins of these fascinating bully breeds. But also we will delve into

  • their looks,
  • their intelligence and trainability,
  • their temperament
  • their exercise requirements and
  • grooming requirements

You can also check our in-depth guide about each breed here

Are American Pitbull and Staffordshire Bull Terrier Same Breed?

American pit bull terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers more commonly referred to as pit bulls and Staffies. 

The two names are often used interchangeably. But are the two breeds the same thing?

It depends on who you ask. Some people will tell you that both are the same breed. Others will tell you that the two dogs are very distinct breeds.

Truth is…

  • The American pitbull is a purebred dog. But, due to its checkered past, is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier is also a purebred dog. And it is accepted as a breed by American Kennel Club.

Differences Between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Pitbull

Now we’re going to take a look into what really separates the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American pit bull terrier.


The ancestor of the Staffordshire bull terrier and American pitbull terrier breeds is none other than the fearsome old English bulldog.

Bred to boldly attack and kill raging bulls and even bears for sport. These now-extinct dogs are not to be confused with the gentle mellow English bulldog that we know today.

In the early 19th century breeders aimed to create a fighting dog that would be ferocious in battle as the bulldog but smaller and more agile.

They also aimed for a dog that would be fierce whilst fighting but gentle and friendly to humans. To achieve this these early English breeders crossed terriers and bulldogs.

In the years to come, they shaped the new breeds into what we know today as the Staffordshire bull terrier and American pit bull terrier.

As we said before and contrary to its name the American pit bull terrier also originates from England.


  • Staffies are bold and courageous dogs.
  • They are renowned for being totally reliable and intelligent. 
  • A very intelligent and smart breed.
  • A well-bred and well-socialized Staffordshire bull terrier is a joy to have around.
  • And are great with children of all ages.

The reputation for being aggressive is totally unfounded. And they should not be fought off as being dangerous breeds at all.

  • American Pit bulls love people.

They have no idea that their size is something of a deterrent to being a lap dog.

Unfortunately, absolute scumbags have commonly used these breeds for pit fighting. And they’ve received a very unfair reputation as being a dangerous breed.

Although both dogs struggle with an unfounded negative reputation…

  • Staffordshire bull terrier is the gentler and loving of the two


When it comes to their looks, the Staffordshire bull terrier and American pit bull terrier can be difficult to tell apart.

However, when you know what you’re looking for you will be able to see which one is which quite easily.

Let’s begin with our overall appearance.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Vs Pitbull look

Both dogs have very

  • muscular bodies
  • broadheads with prominent cheekbones
  • rosebud ears
  • and rather thin whip-like tails.

However, Staffies are considerably smaller and lighter than Pitbulls whilst being more compact and stocky.

Adult male Staffies can stand between 36 to 41 centimeters high. And weigh between 13 to 17 kg. With the females being slightly smaller.

Male pit balls can reach between 45 to 53 centimeters and weigh between 16 to 18 kg. Again with the females being slightly smaller.

Health Factors

The average life expectancy of a Staffordshire bull terrier is 14 years. And is a generally healthy breed. Only suffering from very few hereditary health issues.

The American pitbull has a life expectancy of 15 years and often just suffers from hip dysplasia and some heart problems.

Intelligence and Trainability

Now it’s getting even more interesting as we’re coming to the intelligence and trainability of Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Pitbull Terrier breeds.

  • Right away we can say both breeds are highly intelligent and trainable.

intelligence and trainability of Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Pitbull Terrier breeds

These dogs absolutely love to work and are a pure pleasure to work with.

They always strive to please their owners which of course is a wonderful trait. That makes them living and working with such an enjoyable experience.

However, there are slight differences in the trainability of both these breeds.

  • The pitbull being slightly more difficult to teach.

This is due to its tendency to be slightly stubborn at some times.

  • Also, the pit bull has an extremely high prey drive.

Again this can make training more challenging.

In all likelihood, many accidents and even tragedies that we hear about in connection with the pit bulls could have been avoided. If only their owners had taken the time to train and socialize them.

  • Despite their fearsome reputation pit bulls are actually quite sensitive dogs.

And many handlers and owners will agree with. Whilst you can easily teach them high levels of obedience and guardian work.

Heavy-handed methods will get you nowhere. A gentle patient approach usually is best.

Family Dog

Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier are excellent family dogs

Both Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier are excellent family dogs.

  • They are absolutely devoted to the ones they love.
  • By nature, these highly social breeds are deeply loyal, kind-hearted, and friendly to humans. And even to strangers.

Of course, they do need lots of socialization in order to become the perfect canine companion that we want them to be.

  •  Both do quite well with children.

The Staffy outshines the pit bull when it comes to naturally loving children. And being extraordinary patient with them.

These gentle deeply affectionate dogs are so attached to their owners that they need to be living inside with them.

If they live outside on their own it can cause them quite considerable emotional suffering.

Exercise Requirement

Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier exercise

In their exercise requirement, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier are as good as equal.

  • However, pit bull requires much more activity and exercise.

This is due to their high energy levels and prey drive.

The Staffy no doubt loves to go out on walks and enjoys a play session with you several times a day. However, one or two hours of exercise a day is usually enough for them. Staffies are more of the chilled-out breed that we’re comparing today.

  • Staffies are more laid back. Can relax on the couch for hours. And are always up for a cuddle.

If you have a pitbull on your hands. However, you will not get away with it that easily. Normal walks and low-key play are nowhere near enough to satisfy their needs with their working muscles.

So how do you ensure you provide your pitbull with sufficient physical and mental stimulation.

This is a good question to ask yourself before bringing a pit bull into your house.

Here are some exercise ideas that your pitbull will love: Exercise ideas for American Pitbull Terrier

  • American Pit Bulls are prone to chewing when they’re bored.

And you will be surprised how much havoc these powerful jaws can wreck people’s possessions within a few short hours.

A pit bull can easily rip apart perfectly good dog beds duvets and sofas. Of course carpets door frames window seals and even indoor shutters can easily suffer the same fate.

Pro tip: A simple and easy way to reduce APBT bad behavior is using a Kong dog toy. 

Read more: American Pit Bull Terrier Bad Behavior: 90% Reduced With Kong Toy

Grooming Requirement

In terms of grooming requirements, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier are as low maintenance as it gets.

  • Their short tight coats hardly accumulate any dust or dirt even if the dog spends loads of time outside as well.
  • They barely shed that is of course outside of shedding season which occurs every spring and autumn.

For these reasons both breeds hardly require any brushing at all.

To stay clean a good weekly once-over with a mere tall, natural, soft bristle brush is more than sufficient.

Guarding And Protection

Staffies are the inherently gentle loving dog that forms deep bonds with their owners.

They can be trained for protection work. But it isn’t something that actually comes naturally to them like many mastiff breeds or german shepherds. But due to this deep bond they will protect their owners if needed.

The pitbull is loving and gentle with people and often actually makes lousy guard dogs. Because of his tail wagging eagerness to greet people.

The american pitbull terrier are devoted loyal to the family. And will if necessary defend them to the death.

And due to their unfounded reputation as being dangerous aggressive dogs a lot of people are instinctively quite scared of the pit bull making them a good deterrent if needed.

  • Both Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier are similar temperaments when it comes to guarding. And will do it if needed.
  • However, due to the much larger size of Pitbulls, they are much more effective.