American Staffordshire Terrier
- Lifespan: 9-15 years
- Group: AKC Terrier
- Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, guard duty
- Temperament: Friendly, docile, playful, tenacious
American Staffordshire Terrier Basics
At first glance, the American Staffordshire Terrier can be an intimidating breed of dog, thanks to its stocky, muscular build. With its broad head, short muzzle and demanding jaw bone, it’s no wonder that some people are intimidated by this dog. Add to that its thick bone structure, sturdy weight and scissor bite teeth, and you’ve got one serious dog to contend with. But there’s more to the Amstaff than meets the eye.
Despite its tough look, the American Staffordshire Terrier is affectionate and loving. A wonderful guard dog and a loving family pet, the American Staffordshire Terrier might be a fit for your home. Read on to learn more.
Despite its tough look, the American Staffordshire Terrier is affectionate and loving.
The American Stafford Terrier originated in 19th century Staffordshire, England. Developed with a strong muscular build, this breed was used for fighting, and after this practice was banned, it became a show breed. These dogs finally found its way to America as early as 1870, where the American Staffordshire Terrier also became known as the Pit Dog, Pit Bull Terrier, American Bull Terrier, and Yankee Terrier.
The American Staffordshire Terrier became popular in the 1920s – everyone knows Pete the Pup from the TV show Our Gang (The Little Rascals).
Many people believe that the American Staffordshire Terrier is a result breeding the White English Terrier, Fox Terrier, or the Black and Tan Terrier with the Bulldog. All of these breeds share similar traits.
The American Staffordshire Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1936.
Food / Diet
You will need to feed your American Staffordshire Terrier high-quality dog food. Check to make sure that the first ingredient of the food you will be feeding your dog is meat. In terms nutrients, crude protein should be no less than 30 percent, crude fat should be no less than 20 percent and fiber content needs to be 4 percent or less.
A diligent pack dog, you need to take an authoritative approach when training your American Staffordshire Terrier.
A diligent pack dog, you need to take an authoritative approach when training your American Staffordshire Terrier. This is to gain the respect of the dog and show who is in charge. Start training early in order to establish your dominance. As with most training methods, discipline and consistency are a key component. You’ll get the best results if you incorporate methods that allow your Amstaff to please you by doing tasks – this breed loves to please and will eagerly learn something new if it see it pleases you.
Even though it is a natural guard dog, your American Staffordshire Terrier will need to be taught to bark, as it doesn’t come naturally to this breed. When it comes to house training, this will have to be done in a firm manner. As long as your dog knows who is in control, you shouldn’t have any issues training this intelligent breed.
Both male and female American Staffordshire Terriers weigh 57 to 67 pounds.
Temperament / Behavior
A protector and pack dog by nature, the American Staffordshire Terrier will fight to protect its family. Once it identifies with its family, the American Staffordshire Terrier will be committed to protecting them. If it feels threatened or thinks its family is being threatened, this dog will become aggressive. As well, the Amstaff is protective of property, which makes it an excellent guard dog. Persistent in its efforts, the American Staffordshire Terrier will not give up in a fight.
Because it is such a protective breed, the American Staffordshire Terrier must be taught the difference between good and bad strangers. Introduce your dog to friends to teach that they are not harmful. Your American Staffordshire Terrier needs proper socialization with other animals to curb the fighting tendencies. Once they become familiarized with people, this dog will be loving and caring, and it is good around children as well.
Eager to please, the Amstaff will try hard to impress and make its owner happy. Be sure to use this to your advantage when training your dog.
Common Health Problems
It may be a hardy dog breed, but the Amstaff can fall victim to some common canine health problems. One common problem is hip dysplasia, which can cause lameness. Another is congenital heart disease – a dog will be born with this condition, and can either cause symptoms that make the heart work improperly or cause no symptoms at all. You should watch for cataracts, another genetic disorder, as well as hives, which often plague the American Staffordshire Terrier due to its short coat.
American Staffordshire Terriers have a life expectancy of 9 to 15 years.
Your American Staffordshire Terrier will need regular exercise. Take your dog on daily walks and encouraged it to play and be active in general. If it doesn’t get enough exercise, your American Staffordshire Terrier can get fidgety or bored. To avoid boredom, take your American Staffordshire Terrier to obedience classes.
A protector and pack dog by nature, the American Staffordshire Terrier will fight to protect its family.
The American Kennel Club says this about the breed: “Courageous and strong, the American Staffordshire Terrier (Am Staff)’s athletic build and intelligence make him ideally suited to many dog sports such as obedience, agility, tracking and conformation.”
The American Staffordshire Terrier’s coat is short and glossy. Easy to care for, you’ll only need to brush it every once in a while with a firm bristle brush. Its coat can come in a variety of different colors. Since the Amstaff’s coat is thin, it is not well suited for colder climates.
Like any kind of puppy, the American Staffordshire Terrier will be hard to resist – it’s just so cute! But don’t let that cuteness distract you – your new addition needs to start training as early as possible in order for it to grow into a healthy, well-adjusted dog.
Photo credit: Kazlouski Siarhei/Shutterstock