The American Staffordshire Terrier's roots can be traced back to 19th century England. The Bulldogs and terriers of the time were crossed to create a dog that possessed desirable attributes of each breed. The result was an agile and energetic terrier with the Bulldog-like perseverance and confidence. The breed was originally called the Bull-and-Terrier Dog, Half and Half, or Pit Dog.
Eventually, it became known in England as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Sadly, the dogs were most commonly used for fighting until the early 20th century when dog fighting was made illegal.
The Bull-and-Terrier dogs came to the United Stated towards the end of the 19th century where they became known as Pit Bull Terriers and then American Bull Terriers. Though there is some disagreement on the details, it is said that these dogs were not widely used for dog fighting like their ancestors but were more commonly used for general farm work, hunting, and companionship. As time went on, the breed was developed into taller dogs with larger builds than their English counterparts. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1936 as the Staffordshire Terrier. The name was changed in 1972 to differentiate between the shorter, smaller English version (today's Staffordshire Bull Terrier). Today, the two are completely separate dog breeds.
Weight: about 50-80 pounds
Height: 17-19 inches at the shoulder
The American Staffordshire Terrier is seen in a variety of colors, including black, brown, blue, fawn, red and liver. Brindle pattern and or white markings are also seen in combination with these colors.
Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:
About the Breed
The American Staffordshire Terrier, sometimes called the "Am Staff," is a medium-large dog with a sturdy, athletic build and a muscular head. Though known for its courage and high energy level, the American Staffordshire also has an affectionate and loyal disposition. Contrary to its tough appearance, the Stafford is a gentle, loyal and highly affectionate dog breed. However, this breed is quite powerful and tends to be stoic in the face of pain.
The very short, smooth coat of the Am Staff requires little more than routine grooming. This breed tends to shed at a low to moderate rate. However, shedding does tend to increase seasonally.
As with any dog breed, proper training is a must for the Am Staff. This is a very intelligent dog breed that can be stubborn, following his own will if permitted.
Therefore, obedience training is essential in order to manage your Am Staff. Because of the fact that "pit bull-type" dogs are commonly misunderstood and even wrongly portrayed, some people will fear your Am Staff. Dog trainers and animal professionals often recommend that you put your Am Staff through Canine Good Citizen certification as an added step in responsible dog ownership.
The Am Staff is an athletic dog breed with plenty of energy, so routine exercise is very important. However, be cautious not to overdo it in warmer weather, as the breed is sensitive to heat. Am Staffs will especially benefit from dog sports that challenge them mentally and physically. Regardless of the type of exercise you give your Am Staff, be sure it is provided about twice daily or more.
Overall, American Staffordshire Terriers have friendly, gentle dispositions and make lovely companions for many types of active households. In general, the breed gets along especially well with children and can become a wonderful family pet if properly trained and socialized. Many Am Staffs also get along well with other household pets, but be aware that the breed has a strong prey drive and a history of dog fighting, so your Am Staff should be supervised and properly introduced when meeting other animals. Overall, the Am Staff can make a wonderful pet for many kinds of active households. As with any breed, if you think the American Staffordshire Terrier is right for you, be sure to do plenty of research before obtaining one. Talk to other American Staffordshire Terrier owners, reputable American Staffordshire Terrier breeders and American Staffordshire Terrier rescue groups to learn more.
Are American Staffordshire Terriers the Same as Pit Bulls?
People often ask what the difference is between the American Staffordshire Terrier and a "pit bull." First of all, there is not breed called simply a "pit bull." There is, however, a breed called the American Pit Bull Terrier. It is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but it is recognized by the Continental Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. Generally speaking, the American Staffordshire Terrier is nearly the same breed as the American Pit Bull Terrier. Today, the main difference is in appearance. The American Staffordshire Terrier is bred in part for AKC conformation and conforms to a stricter standard, particularly in size range. Conversely, the American Pit Bull Terrier is more often bred as a companion dog and has greater variances in size (a range of 30-90 pounds) and other physical traits.