A recent poll done by Justice for Bullies showed that about 30% of people thought that the term “Staffy” was short for American Staffordshire Terrier, and approximately 70% thought that it applied to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. On the HugABull poll, about 10% of respondents said they associate “staffy” as synonymous with the generic “pit bull” term.
What this showed us is that there is another term in our community that is being used incorrectly and causing confusion. To be clear, the proper use of the term “staffy” is when it is applied to Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are a British breed that have been around for approximately 200 years. Contrary to popular belief, they are actually a fairly small dog, ranging from approximately 14” to 16” in height and 24-38lbs. They are not a common breed, with less than 100 registered with the Canadian Kennel Club in 2016.
American Staffordshire Terriers would not be referred to as ”staffy” among those familiar with the breeds. The common short form name for them is Am Staff, and they are a completely different breed from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The American Staffordshire Terrier has been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 1936. They are a medium sized dog which stands 17” to 19” at the shoulders and can range in weight from 35-70lbs depending on which line they come from.
The term “staffy” seems to be growing in popularity and is becoming a new (incorrect) umbrella term for short-haired, stocky dogs. It is our belief that the increase in use of this word may have to do with the fact that the word is not seen negatively like the word “pit bull”, especially in other dog communities. But the exact same concerns apply. If BSL ever comes to your community, enforcement won’t be fooled if you are calling your 60lb dog a “staffy”. And when it comes to public perception, advocacy, and statistics, using a nickname for a purebred dog to describe your dog of unknown parentage is confusing and incorrect.
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