In the previous post we covered the definition and origin of the term “bully breed.” Let’s take a look at the dogs that fall under this category.
First up, we have the most obvious: The American Pit Bull Terrier.
Name: American Pit Bull Terrier
AKA: Pit bull, Pittie, APBT
Root Stock: Bulldog, Terrier
Origin: 19th century England
Average Lifespan: 8-15 years
Weight: male, 35-60lbs, female, 30-50lbs
Height: male, 18-21 in., female 17-20in
Exercise Needs: High
Trainability: Easily trained, but must establish dominancy as they rely heavily on pack order
Temperament traits: Obedient, Loyal, Strong Willed, Friendly, Clownish, Stubborn, Courageous, Intelligent, Affectionate
Famous APBTs: A Pit Bull named Banddog Dread holds more canine working titles than any other breed. He also worked in show business, starring in several commercials and the Good Son with MaCaully Culkin.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, shorthaired dog that is active, playful, and highly intelligent. They excel in just about every canine vocation including herding, guarding, hunting, policing, cart pulling, ratting, and as therapy dogs. Nicknamed “the nanny dog”, they also make wonderful family pets. The Pit Bull Terrier was created by experimenting with crosses between Bulldogs and Terriers in an effort to find a dog that combined the strength and athleticism of the Bulldog with the gameness of the terrier. The result was a dog that embodied three key virtues: strength, indomitable courage, and gentleness with loved ones. The APBT has been found to evoke more human emotional response than any other breed that exists today. By no means are these dogs naturally people-aggressive.
For More Information: http://www.ukcdogs.com/Web.nsf/Breeds/Terrier/AmericanPitBullTerrier
Next up, we have the American Staffordshire Terrier.
Name: American Staffordshire Terrier
AKA: Amstaff, Staffie, Pitbull
Root Stock: Terrier, Bulldog, Mastiff
Origin: 19th Century United States
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Height: male, 18-19 in., female 17-18in
Weight: AKC standard weights, male, 57-67 lbs, female, 57-67 lbs, but some can reach up to 80lbs
Exercise Needs: Medium-High
Trainability: Easily trained, also relies on pack mentality
Temperament traits: Obedient, Smart, Confident, Good-Natured, Docile, Excellent Guardians, Devoted, Loyal, Tenacious, Friendly, Courageous, Attentive
Famous Amstaffs: Warhero Sgt. Stubby, the most decorated dog in military history. Bud, the first dog to drive across the U.S. in 1903. Petey from the Little Rascals was an American Pit Bull Terrier that was also registered as an Amstaff.
According to the AKC, Staffordshire Terriers that meet the breed standard…
“…should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.”
Officially recognized by the AKC in 1936, The American Staffordshire Terrier is a solid, stocky dog bred primarily for showing. Amstafs are also known for their sweet and trustworthy disposition towards people. There is much debate regarding the difference between Amstaffs and American Pit Bull Terriers, with both breeds commonly referred to simply as pit bulls. Although they have developed from the same rootstock, they are two separate breeds. Once considered one and the same, the two have since been bred for such different purposes that they now vary greatly both in temperament and looks. The main differences are that Amstaffs are show dogs, flashy and built, and APBTs are working dogs, slender and athletic. They are bigger, more muscular, and have squarer heads than pit bull terriers. The AKC recognizes American Staffordshire Terriers, while American Pit Bull Terriers can only be registered with the UKC (United Kennel Club). Some are even dual registered (i.e., registered as an American Pit Bull Terrier with the UKC and as an American Staffordshire Terrier with the AKC). Petey the Pup from The Little Rascals was among the first American Pit Bull Terriers to be registered with the AKC as an American Staffordshire Terrier. Like their APBT counterparts, Amstaffs are well suited to any discipline.
Thirdly, let’s move on to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Name: Staffordshire Bull Terrier
AKA: SBT, Staffie, Stafford, Staffordshire, Staffie Bull
Root Stock: Bulldog, Old Manchester Terrier, Mastiff
Origin: England, early 19th century
Average Lifespan: 10-16 years
Height: male, 14-16 in., female 13-15in
Weight: male, 25-38 lbs, female, 23-35 lbs
Exercise Needs: High, needs considerable stimulation, daily walks
Trainability: Trainable with firm, patient, consistent training
Temperament traits: Brave, Clever, Tenacious, Gentle, a bit Stubborn, Playful, Curious, Trustworthy, Loving, Tough, Enthusiastic
Famous Staffordshire Bull Terriers: Noted conservationist Steve Irwin had a Staffie Bull named Sui who appeared often on his show “The Crocodile Hunter.” Vin Diesel also has one named Winston.
At first glance, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier would appear to be nothing more than a smaller, more compact American Staffordshire Terrier. As much as this is not the case, it is also not entirely false either. All the bully breeds share common ancestry in one way or another, but each breed has its differences. The SBT was created in the early 1800’s to be a smaller, more compact version of the Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terriers. Breeders accomplished this by crossing Bulldogs with ancestors of the Manchester Terrier. They also bred the SBT to be inherently gentle and friendly towards people. Unfortunately, this focus on temperament was not originally intended to make more affectionate pets, but to fashion a fighting dog that would be easier to handle in the ring. Luckily for the breed, SBTs turned out to prefer playing to fighting, and were soon turned toward other endeavors. The AKC breed standard refers to a dog that embodies “trustworthy stability…affection for its friends…[and] off-duty quietness.” Staffordshire Bull Terriers are first and foremost an all-purpose dog, but if it had to be narrowed it down; where the Pit Bull Terrier is a working dog, and the Staffordshire Terrier is a show dog, the SBT is an excellent companion dog. They are loving dogs that truly deserve the description "man's best friend."