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Is my 8 month old Staffordshire Bull terrier really a Pitbull?
A Staffordshire Terrier is different from a Pitbull. Sometimes people who don't know the difference & their history will use the two names interchangeably, but they have different bloodlines. For years the Pitbull has been bred to fight, while the Staffordshire has been bred for many years as a gentle show dog.
The difference between Pits & the American Staffordshire is kind of hard to understand & even breeders can't agree, but the main difference is the bloodline. American Staffordshire is show dogs & dog fighters won't used a dog with Staffordshire blood because they are deemed too mellow, whereas the Pitbulls were bred to do "bull bating" & dog-fighting.
In the 1800's in Staffordshire England, they crossed a bulldog with several Terriers & got a muscular, combative dog. This dog was then brought to America & was preferred by American breeders who increased it's weight & gave it a more powerful head. It is now recognized as a separate breed. The American Bull Terrier is larger & heavier than the Staffordshire Terrier. After dog fighting was banned in the USA in 1900 two strains of these dogs were developed, a show breed & a fighting breed. The show strain was named the "American Staffordshire Terrier" & the fighting strain was named the "America Pit Bull Terrier". They are now recognized as separate breeds, but these days the Pit Bull Terrier is being bred with the same gentle & loving qualities as the American Staffordshire. In the future, there won't be a difference between the two.
AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER:
AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER:
If properly socialized, the Pit Bull is a wonderful family pet... In fact, right now our Seattle-King County Animal Shelter is sponsoring a re-education program to tell people how amazing these dogs are and for the first time in years, there has been a waiting list in Seattle to rescue a Pit Bull! ...These loving dogs weren't always thought of as the "menace to society" we see them as today. This attitude was partly brought on by the media & partly by irresponsible, uneducated owners failing to properly socialize their pups while they are young. Add all that together & the fact that Pits have such large litters, most shelters have an overabundance of pits bulls!
Back in American history, the Pit Bull was used to represent the U.S. in WW1 Artwork (because of our stubborn "can-do" attitude!) and the pit was so loved by Americans, that companies like RCA and the Buster Brown Shoe Company used the breed as their mascots! Not too long ago the Pit Bull was one of the most popular American dog breeds and the show "Spanky & Our Gang" made the Pit even more popular as a family pet!
No matter what your dogs bloodline (Pitbull or Staffordshire) he (or she) needs to be walked every day for at least 45 minutes because cooped-up dogs that get little exercise get bored & tend to get themselves into trouble! You also need to introduce your dog while it's young to children and other dogs and animals so he gets used to them at an early age. Never rough-house with your dog (not even while playing!) or it will learn to be rough & fight. Don't ever let it nip at you! Dog's enjoy structure & a routine. When you take your dog for its daily walk, never let it out the door while it's excited. Wait for it to mellow out before stepping outside. When on your walk, keep your dog near you & keep in total control at all times, don't let it walk out in front of you. Dogs love structure and if you handle them with confidence they feel secure and happy. Remember, a dog thinks like a dog, not like a human! A dog is not a baby (even though we love them so much, we sometimes wish they were our kids!)
The short answer is in the veterinary world, they are one and the same.
If you are asking because your city has restrictions, like most do, on keeping Pitbulls, etc. in the city limits, my response is:
The picture shows the result of an unprovoked attack on my little mongrel dog, Ben, by a Staffordshire bull terrier which the owner assured people was friendly. The injuries cost me £600 in vets' bills.
Admittedly, I have seen some very friendly Staffs around, but they can be dangerous.