How To Tell A Staff From A Pitbull

Staffordshire Terriers and Pitbulls are different types of dogs that are often confused. In many ways, it’s easy to see why as both look fairly similar and have overlapping histories.

But the dogs are actually quite different, and it can be important to know the difference between them.  

So how do you tell the difference between them? If you’re wondering about this question, then you’ve come to the right place!

How To Tell A Staff From A Pitbull

We’re going to be explaining the main differences between these two types of dogs, and clearing up some of the common misconceptions about them.

We’ve also included a short FAQ   to answer any other questions that you may have.

Let’s explain how to tell a Staffordshire Terrier from a Pitbull!

What Is A Pitbull?

Contrary to popular belief, the name ‘Pitbull’ actually refers to an entire group of dogs.

Pitbull can mean a different breed depending on where you live in the world, and this causes a lot of confusion about what exactly they are.

That said, most Pitbulls are descended from the British Bull and Terrier and were first bred to participate in a series of bloodsports.

Attributes like muscley, stocky frames, strong and powerful jaws, and aggressiveness were favored so that dogs could either fight one another, bulls, and later rats.

Thankfully these practices have mostly died out in the modern world, leaving us with a few different breeds of dogs that have been bred to be energetic, strong, and loyal.

Today, Pitbull is a term used in the United States to describe a few different types of dogs – and we’re going to list these for you in the section below. 

Types Of Pitbull

American Pitbull Terriers: These are dogs that are medium to large-sized with short hair and a solid build.

They originate from different parts of the United Kingdom and can be recognized by their light-tanned coloring and slightly longer mouth/noses than other similar breeds.

They are very easy to train and make wonderful pets providing they are trained correctly. 

American Bully: An American Bully is a type of dog that was developed in the 80s. They are much smaller and broader than the breed listed above and are probably the most affectionate type of Pit Bull.

They can be recognized by their shorter legs and their wide frames. 

American Bulldog: With such similar names, it’s very easy to see why there is so much confusion about these breeds.

An American Bulldog is a direct descendant of English bulldogs, and have a history in bull-baiting.

After this, they were most commonly used as working dogs. They are large, extremely powerful dogs and require a lot of care, attention, and exercise. You can usually recognize them by their white or white-tanned coloring. 

What Is A Staffordshire Terrier?

What Is A Staffordshire Terrier?

The first thing to note here is that Staffordshire Terriers are often called Pitbulls.

Like the other dogs we listed above, they can be separated from this list as they are actually two different kinds of dogs.

When somebody says they have a ‘staff’ or a ‘staffy’ they mean that they have either a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or an American Staffordshire Terrier. Let’s explore some of the differences between them here:

American Staffordshire Terrier: Like many of the other dog breeds on this list, the American Staffordshire terrier comes from the line of bulldogs that were selectively bred in the United Kingdom years ago.

But certain breeding practices have made them look quite different from some of their counterparts.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is slightly larger than others on this list and can be recognized by its shaped ears and long legs.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier: These dogs have more of a British origin, rather than an American variation.

Staffordshire terriers were typically bred for fighting and bull-baiting, and are medium-sized dogs with very wide faces and large jaws.

This is the breed that comes with the most association with aggression and violence, but in reality, a well-trained Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an extremely affectionate, loyal, and smart dog. 

Confusion Between Staffs And Pitbulls

So there is some general confusion about the difference between these dogs, and that’s mostly because the name ‘Pitbull’ is often used to describe a wide variety of different breeds.

Generally, Staffs are dogs that come under the umbrella of ‘Staffordshire Terrier’ and Pitbulls are American Pitbull Terriers.

Still, there are big differences between all of these breeds, both physically and in temperament and personality. 

When trying to figure out the differences between them, it’s best to consider the individual breed. Depending on the breed they are, dogs can be completely different and have different needs.

If you’re trying to work out which type of dog is best for your home and family, it’s best to examine the exact breed so that you can learn if they are the right fit for you.

Final Thoughts

Pitbulls and Staffs are commonly confused, usually because of the similarities of the breeds and their shared histories.

We hope that this article has helped define the different breeds and what they look like, and you now feel more familiar with them.

If you still have some questions, check below for a short Frequently Asked Questions section. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are Pitbulls Dangerous?

This is a very common question when looking at all of the breeds above.

Because many of them were selectively bred to participate in either dogfighting, bull-baiting, or rat-baiting, it’s a logical assumption that they may have some kind of genetic disposition that leans them towards aggression. 

The truth is that breeds do not correlate with aggressive tendencies. Dogs are individuals and their temperament is usually determined by their experiences and how they are trained.

A Pitbull (or Staffordshire Terrier) can be dangerous if they are taught to be, but this is only because they are large, powerful dogs.

Most owners find them to be loyal companions who are easy to train, quick to learn, and exceptionally affectionate.

Emily Andrews
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