Pit bull feet--how to tell an Amstaff from a pit bull

by Rebecca
(Victoria, Australia)


I work in a pet stop in Australia and was wondering if Pit Bulls don't have webbed feet, are there any other ways to recognize a Pit Bull at 8 weeks of age? We are not allowed to sell them and the Am. Staffy is extremely similar so thought you may be able to help.


Gale's Reply:

Hi Bec

A webbed foot (or absence of one) has nothing to do with whether or not a dog is considered a pit bull. It is simply a non-issue. The breed standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier reads like this:

"The feet are round proportionate to the size of the dog, well arched, and tight. Pads are hard, tough, and well cushioned. Dewclaws may be removed."

Nothing about webbing one way or the other. And, that only takes the APBT into account. In the U.S., the term pit bull is used to refer to several bull breed type dogs that have large, blocky heads and muscular bodies--including the Amstaff.

I guess Australia has a law that says Amstaffs are ok and pit bulls are not. That's a real dilemma. Especially since the breed standard for the Amstaff was actually set by an American Pit Bull Terrier named Primo in the 1930's. So how someone could be expected to reliably tell them apart based solely on appearance is beyond me.

The only distinguishing feature that is without question is that an Amstaff's nose must be black. No other color is considered acceptable by the AKC. Of course, a lot of pit bulls have black noses too...

Here in the U.S. we have such a horrific pet overpopulation problem that pet shops (is that the same as a pet stop?) that sell live animals have largely fallen out of favor with the public. We still have them, just not as much.

We've never done a very good job here of regulating the breeding industry and consequently people who made their living supplying pet stores started churning out dogs 'puppy mill' fashion without regard to the health or well being of the animals involved. The public got so turned off by this that people started voting with their feet and getting their pets elsewhere.

Generally, the feeling here is that reputable breeders will not sell to a pet store because they want to place their pups themselves to be sure they are going to good homes.

But, things may be different in Australia. And, all this is just basically to say that the best way to know a dog's breed is to know the breeder and only deal with people who are honest.

Comments for Pit bull feet--how to tell an Amstaff from a pit bull

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Nov 01, 2010
by: Bec

thanks for replying to my question.
i can now let my boss know that webbing has nothing to do with pit bulls.
pet shops (sorry bout the spelling error in my question) in Australia are many and plenty of them buy from puppy farms which is very sad. the chain i work for doesn't buy from puppy farms, we are very against it.
pit bulls are a banned breed in Australia and we are vigilant not to buy any pup's that have been illegaly bred.
thanks for your help!

Nov 03, 2010
puppy mills
by: Ben

Here in Missouri, we just voted yesterday that all dog breeders must follow certain health and well-being standards to keep their breeder license. Not sure yet what kind of effect this will have on what type of dogs will be showing up in pet stores, or the quality of animals that come out of these breeders. Just wanted to comment on what you said about the public's opinion of "puppy mills".

Nov 03, 2010
Banned in Australia
by: Michael

you might as well ban the AmStaff as well. because for the most Amstaffs ans American Pit Bull terriers are one and the same except for the breed title

Nov 19, 2016
Amstaff and APBT NEW
by: Dee Rice

I have one of each.They may come from very close lines but mine are decidedly different.My Amstaff is taller,with longer legs and just a bit smaller block head. My APBT is shorter, with a larger block head,wider chest ,much bigger neck and web feet.She is a rescue dog and a bit aggressive to other animals

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