What is the difference between the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier?
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 show ring.
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.
Graciously borrowed from:
Stoutheart's Staffordshire FAQ