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The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) are two separate breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. While they share a similar ancestry and physical appearance, the APBT is generally smaller and more muscular, while the AmStaff is larger and has a more well-rounded head.
The History of the Pitbull
Pitbulls have been around for centuries, and their history is full of controversy. Some say they were originally bred in England to fight bulls, while others claim they were bred in Ireland to fight bears. Whatever their origin, they were brought to the United States in the 1800s and quickly became one of the most popular dog breeds.
During the early 1900s, Pitbulls were often used as working dogs on farms and as guard dogs in factories and warehouses. They were also popular among police forces and the military. However, their reputation began to change in the mid-1900s when they started being associated with gangs and violence. This negative image was further reinforced by the media, which often sensationalized stories about attacks by Pitbulls.
As a result of their bad reputation, Pitbulls have often been subject to breed-specific legislation, which bans or restricts ownership of this type of dog. In recent years, however, there has been a growing movement to promote responsible ownership of Pitbulls and dispel the myths about this misunderstood breed.
The History of the American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a direct descendant of the now extinct English Bull and Terrier. The Bull and Terrier were created in England in the early 1800s for the popular blood sport of bull-baiting. This sport involved pitting a chained bull against a dog, usually a terrier, for entertainment purposes. The English Bull and Terrier was bred specifically for this purpose, and was known for being fiercely tenacious and vicious.
When bull-baiting was outlawed in England in 1835, many enthusiasts of the sport took their dogs to America, where such activities were still legal. There, they continued to breed the Bull and Terrier for fighting purposes. These dogs became known as “Pitbulls”. In America, the Pitbull quickly gained popularity as a fighting dog, and became notorious for their bloody fights.
By the early 1900s, however, public opinion began to turn against dog fighting, and it too was eventually outlawed. At this time, the American Staffordshire Terrier was developed from the Pitbull by breeding them with other breeds to reduce their aggression. The result was a less aggressive dog that was still well-suited for personal protection purposes.Today, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a popular companion animal, known for its loyalty and affectionate nature.
Characteristics of a Pitbull
Pitbulls are often considered to be aggressive dogs, but this is not always the case. Pitbulls can be gentle and loving pets, but they may also be more protective of their family than other breeds of dog.
Pitbulls are usually medium to large sized dogs, with a strong build. They have a short, smooth coat that is typically white, brown or black in color. Pitbulls have a wide head and muzzle, and their ears are usually cropped close to their head.
Pitbulls are known for being loyal and protective of their family and home. They can make great guard dogs, but may also be friendly and loving with those they know well. Pitbulls are intelligent and trainable, but can also be stubborn at times.
Characteristics of a American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) is a breed of dog that is known for being loyal, courageous, and affectionate with its family. Here are some key characteristics of the AmStaff:
Athletic and muscular: The AmStaff is a strong, athletic dog with a muscular build. They were originally bred for dogfighting, but today they are more commonly kept as companion animals and family pets.
Friendly and sociable: AmStaffs are generally friendly and sociable with people, and they tend to be good with children. They are known for being loyal and protective of their families, and they often make good guard dogs.
High energy: AmStaffs are a high-energy breed that requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They enjoy playing fetch, going for long walks or runs, and participating in dog sports like agility or obedience training.
Trainable: AmStaffs are generally intelligent and trainable, but they can be stubborn at times. Positive reinforcement training methods tend to work well with this breed, and early socialization is important to ensure that they develop good manners and behavior.
Grooming needs: AmStaffs have a short, dense coat that requires minimal grooming. They shed moderately, but regular brushing can help to keep their coat healthy and shiny.
The Differences Between the Two Breeds
The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) have several differences in appearance and temperament, despite sharing a similar ancestry. The APBT is typically smaller and more muscular, with a shorter coat, while the AmStaff is larger and has a thicker, longer coat. The head of the APBT is often more wedge-shaped, while the AmStaff’s head is more well-rounded.
In terms of temperament, both breeds are known for being loyal and affectionate with their owners, but they can also be protective and aggressive towards strangers if not properly socialized and trained. However, the APBT is often considered to be more high-strung and energetic, while the AmStaff is generally more laid-back and easygoing.
It’s worth noting that both breeds are often subject to stereotypes and misconceptions, and some people may use the terms “pit bull” and “AmStaff” interchangeably, even though they are technically separate breeds.
Why are Staffies called pitbulls?
Staffies are called pitbulls because they were originally bred for the blood sport of bull-baiting. This activity entailed tying a bull to a post in a pit and having dogs try to bite and hold on to the bull’s nose for as long as possible. The dogs that excelled at this were then used for breeding, and eventually, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was developed.
Today, Staffies are still sometimes referred to as pitbulls, even though they are no longer used for fighting. The term has become somewhat of a nickname for the breed, and many people use it interchangeably with Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Which one is a better Pet?
Deciding which breed of dog makes a better pet depends on a variety of factors, including the individual dog’s personality, the owner’s lifestyle and preferences, and the dog’s exercise and training needs.
Both the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) can make wonderful pets in the right hands. However, due to their strong personalities and athletic abilities, they may not be the best choice for everyone.
Potential owners should consider their ability to provide proper socialization, training, and exercise for these breeds, as well as any breed-specific legislation or restrictions in their area.
In general, AmStaffs are known for being more laid-back and easygoing than APBTs, and they may be a better choice for families with children or first-time dog owners. However, both breeds can be loving and loyal companions with the right care and training.
Ultimately, the best breed for an individual owner will depend on their lifestyle, preferences, and ability to meet the needs of the dog. It’s important for potential owners to do their research and consider all of these factors before bringing a dog into their home.