I don’t think there is a more famous group of breeds in the world today than the four Bull and Terrier breeds – the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. All four of these breeds descend from the many combat dogs that had been bred in Britain and Ireland for centuries. There was a different type in every region that was known by a local name, these dogs had been created from crosses between small mastiffs, bulldogs, terriers and whippets/greyhounds.
When the Irish, English and Scottish immigrants emigrated to America in the 1800’s, they took with them their dogs and these went on to create the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. The Pit Bull Terrier and the Amstaff descend from the same root stock but over time breeders have bred for different attributes and the two types have now become two separate breeds. The AKC caused the divide by refusing to register dogs as American Pit Bull Terriers like the UKC had done since 1898, instead they registered them as Staffordshire Terriers from 1935 and then later changed the name to American Staffordshire Terriers in 1969. The American Staffordshire Terrier has mainly been bred for dog shows whilst the Pit Bull Terrier has continued to be bred for its working qualities.