“I believe the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier are the same breed because all the American Kennel Club-registered American Staffordshire Terriers were bred down directly from the United Kennel Club, registered American Pit Bull Terriers,” says Bobbie Morehouse, a member of the National American Pit Bull Terrier Association. “The most compelling argument for this would be the fact that a dog today can be both a UKC-registered American Pit Bull Terrier and an AKC-registered American Staffordshire Terrier.”
True, no other breeds have been introduced into either breed to distinguish them, but many American Staffordshire Terrier breeders assert that despite a common ancestry, the breeds today are different. The American Staffordshire Terrier has a smaller gene pool and is more likely to look consistent. According to Morehouse, because more people breed American Pit Bull Terriers for more reasons, they are more likely to vary in size and appearance.
“That’s for better or worse, depending on your perspective,” Morehouse says. “I personally hold a great deal of reverence for the Pit Bull’s diversity and her well-deserved recognition as an exceptional working dog.”
The written standards for the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier look similar, too. The UKC standard for the APBT specifies an ideal weight between 30 and 65 pounds but doesn’t specify height. The AKC standard for the American Staffordshire Terrier specifies a height of 17 to 19 inches, but says only that “height and weight should be in proportion.”
The American Pit Bull Terrier can be any color other than merle, according to the UKC breed standard, while the American Staffordshire Terrier can be any color at all, although all-white dogs or dogs more than 80 percent white, as well as black and tan and liver, are “not to be encouraged.” Otherwise, the differences tend to be based more on fashion and individual breeder preferences than anything else.
Are they the same? You decide!
Excerpt from the Popular Puppies Series magabook American Pit Bull Terriers with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase American Pit Bull Terriers here.