American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Breed Information Guide


The American Staffordshire Terrier is a beautiful and powerful dog. His history has been marred by abuse and his temperament was questionable. Since that time, the much-maligned Amstaff has evolved into a docile and loving family pet. The American Staffordshire Terrier makes an excellent watchdog and protector, as well as a good-natured companion.

Through the years, disreputable owners and even some breeders have done little to improve the image of the American Staffordshire Terrier. This is much to the chagrin of responsible owners and breeders who report that the American Staffordshire Terrier is a wonderful and gentle dog – a welcoming presence in a loving home.

American Staffordshire Terrier History

The appearance of the American Staffordshire Terrier hints at his lineage. Seemingly, a Bulldog and some non-specific terrier played a role in establishing this robust breed. The early American Staffordshire Terrier was aptly named the Bull and Terrier and later the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This name remained for decades until the Amstaff reached American shores.

Originally, the American Staffordshire Terrier was bred for a most malevolent role, that of dog fighter in a pit. As a fighter, the Amstaff was unstoppable despite the law�s insistence for an end to this brutality. In the early 1800�s, the American Staffordshire Terrier was smuggled to America. There, the Amstaff gained a thuggish reputation as the Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bull Terrier and the Yankee Terrier. American taste for bigger,
more formidable dogs led to selectively breeding for height. This taller stature is the familiar height seen today.

In 1936, the American Kennel Club recognized Amstaff as the Staffordshire Terrier and later in 1972, the modern name of American Staffordshire Terrier was adopted. Today, American Staffordshire Terrier�s reputation for ferocity often precedes him, but this is patently unfair. As a fighting dog, the American Staffordshire Terrier was bred to always be manageable and obedient. In fact, the much maligned American Staffordshire Terrier is a sweet and docile breed.


American Staffordshire Terrier Appearance

The American Staffordshire Terrier has a stocky, muscular build. He is relatively low to the ground, which was essential for staying on his feet during a fight. The American Staffordshire Terrier has a broad head with pronounced cheek muscles. His jaws are uncommonly powerful and his ears sit erect atop his head. The Amstaff�s coat is quite short and coarse and the coloration varies.

The American Staffordshire Terrier has a serious and attentive appearance which can appear threatening to strangers. But, the Amstaff�s expression is frequently misunderstood, he is generally a friendly dog who is keen to please his owner.


American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament

The American Staffordshire Terrier makes an excellent watch dog and protector. These skills mean that the Amstaff can be aggressive if he is provoked. However, if the owner is present and welcomes the guest, the American Staffordshire Terrier will stand down. Typically, the American Staffordshire Terrier is docile and playful. He is generally good with children, but children should be taught to play respectfully with an Amstaff. The most important factor when determining the temperament of the American Staffordshire Terrier is the treatment he receives from his owner. Amstaff owners who train their dogs to be friendly and gentle will be justly rewarded.


American Staffordshire Terrier Exercise Info

The American Staffordshire Terrier needs an outlet for his energy. A good, daily walk of about 5 to 10 kilometres will keep you and your Amstaff fit and trim. The American Staffordshire Terrier should always be on a leash when walking him, even when you are certain he will not show aggression. Passers-by will appreciate your consideration, especially if they have small children. Frightening others will do little in the way of improving the image of this underappreciated breed.

The American Staffordshire Terrier will also enjoy a vigorous game in the yard. Your interaction with your Amstaff will go a long way in keeping him happy and content. And, although this breed is hardy, he cannot live isolated from his family. Allowing your American Staffordshire Terrier to divide his play between outdoor romps and indoor affection will keep your Amstaff at his gentle best.


American Staffordshire Terrier Grooming Info

Grooming your American Staffordshire Terrier is a snap. A gentle weekly brushing and occasional bath is all that is required to keep your Amstaff at his tidy best. This breed may drool occasionally, but he is not slobbery and fortunately, the American Staffordshire Terrier doesn�t protest strongly against baths. Be sure to use only low fragrance doggie shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Shampoo residue can lead to irritation and hotspots on the coat of your American Staffordshire Terrier. Should such an outbreak occur, seek veterinary care at once.


American Staffordshire Terrier Training Info

Training your American Staffordshire Terrier should not be too onerous. The most important aspect of this training involves early socialization and clear, unwavering behaviour expectations. Your Amstaff puppy can be crate trained early if the owner is committed to bringing him outside upwards of 8 times daily. The American Staffordshire Terrier is attentive to the owner and is keen to please so once he understands the expected routine, he will do it.

Other basic commands are essential and best trained when your American Staffordshire Terrier is a puppy. You will need a firm but controlled voice, a good grip on the leash and a stiff drink. Short, well rewarded training sessions should do the trick, but if not, act quickly. There are many well qualified trainers who specialize in training the American Staffordshire Terrier. You should gratefully use their expertise rather than struggle with an increasingly powerful and unruly dog.


American Staffordshire Terrier Health Info

Some common health concerns for your American Staffordshire Terrier include; CHD, cerebellar ataxia, PRA, elbow dysphasia, hypothyroidism, cruciate ligament rupture and allergies.


American Staffordshire Terrier Right Breed Info

The American Staffordshire Terrier struggles under the weight of an unsympathetic public. Some unscrupulous Amstaff owners have used this breed in cruel and unlawful ways. As a direct result the reputation of this dog has suffered. Now, some states and provinces have laws that prohibit the ownership of the American Staffordshire Terrier. So, if you are considering one of these beautiful dogs as a pet, first check with your local police authority.

The ideal American Staffordshire Terrier owners will reflect the desired qualities in the dog. They will be loving and gentle, kind and patient. And, these owners will have much available time to devote to the training and exercise of their Amstaff. Not every family is well suited for Amstaff ownership, especially if their intentions are less than noble.

When purchasing your American Staffordshire Terrier, resist the urge to purchase a dog inexpensively from a pet store or from an advertisement in a newspaper. You may unwittingly buy a mal-adjusted, sick, puppy mill dog. This is to be avoided at all costs.

More Information about the American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Breed