Origin

The American Staffordshire Terrier was recognized by the AKC in the year 1936 as a distinct dog breed.

American Staffordshire Terrier with collar

Contrary to popular belief, the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier (a crossbreed between a bulldog and various terriers) was not developed first in the English county of Staffordshire, but rather in Birmingham, West Midlands during the 19th century.

After the Staffordshire Terrier was brought to the United States, many American breeders who fell in love with these dogs tried to turn them bigger and more powerful than their British ancestors.

In 1990, two strains of these dogs were then created following America’s decision to ban all dogfighting events.

The non-show dog strain was called the American Bull Terrier while the show strain became the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Although this breed has been the target of breed-specific laws aimed at banning or controlling certain types of dogs, many American Staffordshire Terriers are still being used as watchdogs as well as helpers on the farm.

Traits and Behavior

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a smart, cheerful, affectionate, strong, and self-assured dog. This breed is good for adults and even children. It is also generally friendly toward strangers as long as its owners are present. Loyal and obedient,  these dogs want nothing but to follow orders from their master in order to please him.

American Staffordshire Terrier sitting on the grass

Over the past 50 years, careful breeding has produced this kind of dog that carries a warm personality.  But just like other animals, its guarding instinct can make it aggressive toward other dogs – especially those that provoke or challenges it.

These dogs are highly territorial which explains why they are very protective of their owners.  They will fight an enemy to death knowing that they have a very high pain tolerance.

Pet Care and Diseases

It is prone to the following health problems such as:

American Staffordshire Terrier on the road
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart disease
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Hip dysplasia (although seldom seen)
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Cruciate ligament rupture
  • Allergies

To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip, thyroid, cardiac, elbow, knee, and eye exams on the dog.

This breed needs a vigorous regular workout, along with some mind games, to be in top shape. A good long run or a ball-fetching game is a great way to bond with an American Staffordshire Terrier.

Obedience training is also good mental exercise, and a good way to put an end to the popular misconceptions about the breed.

The smooth, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Brush the dog once a week with a soft bristle brush; this breed does not require very much grooming because of its short, hard coat. Only bathe your dog when necessary.

Appearance

American Staffordshire Terriers are strong, stocky dogs with large heads, strong jaws and medium length, straight tails. The AKC describes them as, “well put-together, muscular, but agile and graceful.”

American Staffordshire Terrier with trees background

They have black noses, large, round, low-set eyes and wide, round muzzles. Their chests are well-sprung, giving them an air of confidence as they move about.

Amstaff’s legs are short, and long, lean legs are not acceptable.

They come in various colors and patterns ranging from white to black, solid to patterned. Though muscular and very strong, they stand only between 17 to 19 inches from the ground.

General Information

The life span of an American Staffordshire Terrier is 12-14 years. It has an average litter size of 5-10 puppies. Other names include Am Staff, Yankee Terrier, Half and Half and American Bull Terrier.

The American Staffordshire terrier is one of the three different breeds of pit bulls along with the American Pit Bull terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Pit bulls are usually the target of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) around the world.

BSL is any government law, rule or regulation that is strictly implemented only to a list of dog breeds that have a stereotype of being dangerous.

BSL might demand dog owners an additional registration fee for certain breeds of dogs, require the dogs to be muzzled in public areas, or completely ban the keeping of such dogs.

Animal activists object to BSL because it is solely based on stereotyping and will only foster irrational fears and lead to animals being abandoned.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to American Staffordshire Terriers. Click this link: http://www.amstaff.org/

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