Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs. American Staffordshire Terrier: 5 Differences

Black American Staffordshire Terrier sitting in the park
© OlesyaNickolaeva/Shutterstock.com

Written by August Croft

Updated: October 30, 2023

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You may not yet know all of the differences between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier. What might some of the most common differences be between these two beloved dog breeds, and what might you expect out of owning one? If you’re looking for a lovable and goofy dog, either of these two breeds may be a good fit!

In this article, we will address all of the differences between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier so that you can have a full understanding of both breeds. We will go over their appearances, sizes, and lifespans. In addition, we will cover their ancestries and behaviors too. Let’s get started and talk about these bull terriers now!

Comparing Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs. American Staffordshire Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier grows larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, in both height and weight.
CategoryStaffordshire Bull TerrierAmerican Staffordshire Terrier
Size14-16 inches tall; 24-38 pounds18-19 inches tall; 50-70 pounds
AppearanceStocky and muscular frame covered in short fur found in a variety of colors and patterns; large heads with floppy ears and a large smileMuscular frame that is more elongated, covered in short fur in a variety of colors. Floppy or erect ears and a rounded head, with many forehead wrinkles
AncestryOriginated in the 1700s and is descended from the Old English bulldog and the Old English terrier; originally bred for dog and bull fighting, then bred to be a family friendly pit bullOriginally bred in the 19th century and brought to America during this time by the Irish. Created as a family dog and lovable companion, though is still descended from the Staffordshire bull terrier
BehaviorClever, brave, and perfect for a variety of families. Plays endlessly, and may have a high prey drive for smaller animals. Quiet, though enjoys talking if there are noisy dogs in the homeToo friendly to be a good guard dog, and makes a fantastic family companion. Very active and happy, eager to please and learn. Sensitive to human emotions, so don’t be too harsh
Lifespan12-14 years12-16 years

Key Differences Between Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs. American Staffordshire Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier

While they may look extremely similar in appearance, the body of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is much more compact.

©Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

There are many key differences between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. The American Staffordshire Terrier grows larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, in both height and weight. While they may look extremely similar in appearance, the body of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is much more compact than the body of the American Staffordshire Terrier. Finally, the American Staffordshire Terrier lives slightly longer than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Let’s take a closer look at all of these differences now.

Size

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier reaches anywhere from 18-19 inches tall.

©Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

The primary difference between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier has to do with their sizes. The American Staffordshire Terrier is larger in both height and weight compared to the average Staffordshire Bull Terrier. But just how much larger is one dog compared to the other? Let’s take a look.

The American Staffordshire Terrier reaches anywhere from 18-19 inches tall, while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier only reaches 14-16 inches tall. Additionally, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier only weighs 24-38 pounds, while the American Staffordshire Terrier frequently weighs anywhere from 50-70 pounds. This is a pretty extreme difference, especially if you look at both breeds side by side!

Appearance

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier

Both of these breeds have short, single layer coats and muscular bodies.

©iStock.com/Bargais

Besides their sizes, the appearances of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier are extremely similar. Both of these dogs have short, single layer coats in a variety of colors and patterns. They both have either floppy or erect ears and muscular bodies. However, the body of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is much more compact compared to the body of the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Ancestry and Breeding

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a cross between two now-extinct Old English dog breeds.

©Hamik/Shutterstock.com

There are some key differences in the breeding and ancestry of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. For example, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier originated in the 1700s, while the American Staffordshire Terrier originated in the 19th century. Additionally, there are some differences in the reasons that these two dogs were bred as well.

For example, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was bred for bull and dogfighting, while the American Staffordshire Terrier was bred as a family and companion bull terrier. Finally, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a cross between two now-extinct Old English dog breeds, while the American Staffordshire Terrier is a direct descendant of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Behavior

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier does well with a variety of other dogs and animals.

©Sergey Lavrentev/Shutterstock.com

There are a few behavioral differences between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. For example, the American Staffordshire Terrier does well with a variety of other dogs and animals, while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier experiences a high prey drive depending on the animal involved.

Both of these tough looking dogs are actually not aggressive and make less than ideal guard dogs due to their friendly natures. Additionally, both of these breeds are high energy and eager to learn, though the American Staffordshire Terrier is more sensitive to human emotions compared to the even-tempered Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Lifespan

Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier lives an average of 12-14 years.

©Melounix/Shutterstock.com

A final difference between the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is their lifespans. The American Staffordshire Terrier lives longer than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, despite being larger than them. Let’s take a closer look at the figures now.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier lives an average of 12-14 years, while the American Staffordshire Terrier lives an average of 12-16 years.

Health Conditions

Isolated Staffordshire bull terrier

Both American Staffordshire and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia

©Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

What conditions can affect the quality of life of either breed of pooch? Both American Staffordshire and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. In either case the bones of the elbows or hips fail to fit together properly resulting in difficulty moving.

However, American Staffordshire terriers can be affected by cerebellar ataxia an incurable condition which includes symptoms such as problems with maintaining balance, head tremors, and rapid eye movements.

Staffordshire bull terriers on the other hand can be affected by Degenerative Myelopathy a condition which arises as a result of degeneration of the spinal cord and eventually causes paralysis.

Obtaining pets from reputable breeders and asking pertinent questions can increase the chances of your purchasing a pet which is likely to enjoy robust health. Providing either of these two breeds a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise can also play a key role in enabling them live long and happy lives.

Bonus: Are American Staffordshire Terriers the Same as Pit Bulls?

Pit Bulls are a different breed from American Staffordshire terriers yet they share a common ancestor.

©Ivanova N/Shutterstock.com

While both American Staffordshire terriers and pit bulls share the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as an ancestor – they are different breeds. The breeds look quite different because they were bred for different purposes. Pit bulls were bred to fight – so gameness, or the refusal to give up – was the most desired trait over physical appearance. For this reason, pit bulls vary in size and shape.

American Staffordshire Terriers were bred without the trait of gameness – with breeders focusing more on uniform appearance and soundness of body and mind. They were also bred to have a great love for humans and to be companion dogs.

Summary of Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs. American Staffordshire Terrier

Here’s a recap of the five key, identifying differences between these two breeds.

NumberCategoryKey Difference
1SizeThe American Staffordshire Terrier grows larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, in both height and weight.
2AppearanceThe Staffordshire Bull Terrier’s body is much more compact compared to that of the American Staffordshire Terrier.
3AncestryThe Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a cross between two now-extinct Old English dog breeds, and the American Staffordshire Terrier is a direct descendant of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
4BehaviorThe American Staffordshire Terrier is more sensitive to human emotions compared to the even-tempered Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
5LifespanThe American Staffordshire Terrier lives longer than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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