All of these dogs are genetically the same breed.
The obvious difference is in size. The Staffordshire Bull
Terrier, is 14" to 16" in height, and 24 to 38 pounds. Ears
are uncropped. All colors are acceptable, with
the exception of black and tan and liver which are to be disqualified
in the showring.
The American Staffordshire Terrier, or Amstaff, is
18" to 19" in height with weight in proportion to
height. Ears are cropped or uncropped. All colors are acceptable with
the exception of all white, or more than
80% white, black and tan and liver color not encouraged.
The American Pit Bull Terrier, or APBT, can range
from 14" to 19" in height. The ears are cropped or uncropped. Color is of no importance. The ancestry of the Amstaff and
the APBT have one breed in common, the
Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
The original Pit Bull Terrier was imported by the
English, and later by the Irish immigrants, who brought
their dogs and their tradition of blood sports with them to America.
Old records indicate that dog fighting
was alive and well, as early as 1775. At various times these dogs were
called Bull Dog, Bull Terrier, Bull and
Terrier, Half & Half, Pit Dog, Yankee Terrier, American Bull
Terrier and the Pit Bull Terrier.
From the time the Pit Bull Terrier was introduced
to America, it was crossed with various fighting terriers.
Their breeders, following the tradition of secrecy, kept no written
records, such as pedigrees, and refused
to sell to the general public.
As late as 1897 the controversy over Pit Bull
family trees continued. Since the dog was known by so many
names the public thought them to be separate breeds.
In 1898, C. Z. Bennett set up a stud registry
called the United Kennel Club (UKC). It was a registry exclusively
for Pit Bulls. The Pit Bull Terrier was chosen as the official name.
Now, breeders had a way to formally keep
track of their dog's family tree. Eventually, this kennel club began
to recognize other breeds.
In 1909 another registry for Pit Bulls was formed
by Guy McCord, called the American Dog Breeders
Association (ADBA), and it emphasized preserving the original gameness
of the breed.
In England, Joe Dunn and other British breeders
were campaigning for recognition of the Pit Dog by
the English Kennel Club. In 1935 they gained official recognition.
They chose to name their dogs the
Staffordshire Bull Terrier, after the Black Country where the dog had
been bred for centuries.
In America at the same time, a group of Pit Bull
breeders were attempting to gain recognition from the
American Kennel Club (AKC). They felt that the unsavory reputation of
the Pit Dog was impeding the acceptance
of the dog by the public. When the AKC granted their petition, a part
of the Pit Bull population became known
as the Staffordshire Terrier.
Although they are genetically the same dogs, the
different paths they have taken since the 1930's have
made them separate breeds.