The name Staffordshire Terrier was approved because the ancestors of the breed originally came from Staffordshire, England. The name of the breed was revised on January 1, 1969, to American Staffordshire Terrier to distinguish it from the British Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

The American Staffordshire terrier, often affectionately called the Amstaff, has a rich and complex history.This breed originated from crosses between the Bulldog and several terriers, including the Black and Tan Terrier and the Bull Terrier, in an attempt to create a dog that combined the strength of the Bulldog with the agility of the terrier.

The ancestors of the American Staffordshire terrier were originally used for dog fighting, a cruel practice that has fortunately been largely eradicated. As time passed, these dogs were bred more for their qualities as family dogs, with breeders focusing on their loyalty, courage and friendly nature.

In 1936, the breed was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as the Staffordshire Terrier, but the name was changed to American Staffordshire Terrier in 1972 to avoid confusion with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) later recognised the breed as well.

The appearance of the American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire terrier, is an impressive dog breed known for its muscular build and powerful appearance. This breed belongs to breed group 3, the terriers, and is recognised by both the American Kennel Club and the Board of Directors.

The American Staffordshire terrier has a short, glossy coat that is easy to maintain. This coat can come in any colour, including mottled, liver-coloured, black and tan, or even completely white. Their short coat loses relatively little loose hair, which contributes to ease of grooming.

These dogs have an impressive physical structure, with a broad skull, strong jaws and a robust, short back. The shoulder height varies, but averages around 48 cm, with a distinction between males and females. The Staffordshire terrier is known for its muscular body, which is an indication of their need for regular exercise.

Hereditary diseases and disorders of the american staffordshire

The American Staffordshire terrier, like all dogs, has a potential risk of certain hereditary diseases. It is important for owners and breeders to be aware of these potential health problems, especially as the breed was originally bred as a fighting dog, but is now mostly known as a loyal family dog.

Here is a list of some common hereditary conditions in the American Staffordshire terrier:

  • Hip dysplasia: A condition in which the hip joint develops abnormally, which can lead to pain and lameness.
  • Heart diseases: Including congenital heart defects.
  • Allergies: Skin allergies can be common, leading to itching and skin irritations.
  • Thyroid problems: Hypothyroidism is a common condition in this breed.
  • Cerebellar Ataxia: A neurological condition that affects coordination and movement.
  • Demodectic Scab: A skin condition caused by mites.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Like hip dysplasia, a developmental disorder that affects the elbows and can cause pain and lameness.
  • Cataract: Eye problems that can lead to blindness.

The character of the American Staffordshire terrier

The American Staffordshire terrier, is a dog breed characterised by a courageous and loving nature.

Although physically similar to the Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier has its own unique personality and is recognised as a separate breed by kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club.

These dogs are known for their loyalty and affection for their families. With consistent upbringing and good socialisation from the puppy stage, American Staffordshireterriers develop into friendly and stable pets.

They are good towards children and can be a patient and protective companion, provided they are taught to interact with children from an early age. American Staffords are intelligent and respond well to training, which makes them suitable for a variety of activities, including dog sports.

They have an average exercise requirement and enjoy both physical activities and mental challenges. At their core, American Staffordshire terriers are affectionate and loyal dogs that strive for human companionship.

With the right upbringing and training, they can be excellent family dogs, suitable for people who understand how to deal with the strength and energy level of this breed.

Their ability to get along well with other dogs can vary, and while some Amstaffs get along extremely well with other dogs, it is always important to assess each dog as an individual and take appropriate precautions, especially in new situations.

The American Staffordshire terrier enjoying some well earned play time in the open nature

The Care of the American Staffordshire terrier

The care of the American Staffordshire terrier, requires attention to both physical and mental health. As a robust breed belonging to the bulldog and terrier group, the American Staffordshire has specific grooming needs.

  • Physical Care: The American Staffordshire terrier’s coat is short, sleek and shiny, and comes in a range of colours, including spotted. Regular brushing is sufficient to remove loose hairs and keep their coat healthy. The breed also requires regular exercise to maintain their muscular build and good condition. Daily walks and playtime are essential, as the American Staffordshire terrier needs a lot of exercise.
  • Social Care: From the puppy stage, good socialisation is crucial. This helps to teach them to interact with other dogs and people. A consistent and positive upbringing contributes to the development of a well-socialised dog.
  • Health: Regular veterinary checks are important to monitor general health, including checking for conditions that are more common in the breed, such as hip dysplasia.Maintaining a healthy weight is also important, which can be achieved through a balanced diet and adequate exercise.

Socialisation and upbringing of the American Staffordshire terrier

The socialisation and upbringing of the American Staffordshire terrier, are crucial for developing a well-adjusted and balanced dog.

These terriers, also known as Amstaffs, have a strong and muscular body with a shoulder height that varies, and a coat that comes in various colours, with even spotted allowed. From the puppy stage, it is essential to socialise the American Staffordshire terrier properly.

This means introducing the puppy to a variety of people, places, situations and other dogs. This helps them learn how to deal with different stimuli in a positive way. Because the American Staffordshire terrier is part of the bulldog and terrier group, they possess both strength and determination.

Therefore, consistent upbringing is very important. It is essential to set clear boundaries and rules and follow them consistently. Positive reinforcement techniques generally work best for this breed.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is among the dogs that need a strong leader. They must learn to interact with other dogs and people in a respectful manner, especially considering that some lines of the breed can have a strong will.

How much experience does an American Staffordshire terrier require

The American Staffordshire terrier, often known as a Staffordshire Terrier or simply ‘Stafford’, requires a certain amount of experience from its owner. This breed, with its impressive pedigree and unique features such as a low-set tail and a muscular body running from the withers to the rump, is not necessarily the best choice for novice dog owners.

These dogs are powerful and have a strong will, which means they need an owner who has experience in handling dogs, especially breeds that can be powerful and sometimes stubborn. The breeding goal was to create a loyal, courageous and reliable companion, but this requires consistent training and socialisation from an early age.

It is important to teach the American Staffordshire terrier how to interact with other dogs and people, as their strong character and physical strength require special attention in social situations. The owner should be able to provide leadership and guidance, and should be aware of the importance of consistent upbringing.

This includes teaching the dog to respect rules and boundaries, both within the family and in interactions with others.

Is training necessary?

Training is absolutely necessary in the American Staffordshire terrier, a breed that stems from the cross between the bulldog and the terrier. As with any dog, training plays a crucial role in the development of their behaviour and socialisation.

The American Staffordshire terrier, with its powerful build and determined nature, needs consistent and patient training to develop into a well-adjusted and obedient companion.

Training helps these dogs cope with different situations and stimulates their intellect. It enables them to learn important commands and promotes good behaviour both at home and in public places.

Moreover, training is essential for dealing with other dogs. The American Staffordshire terrier can sometimes be dominant towards other dogs, so it is important to teach them how to interact in a respectful and safe manner.

How much exercise does an American Staffordshireterrier need daily?

An energetic and powerful breed, the American Staffordshireterrier requires a significant amount of daily exercise to stay healthy and happy.

As a descendant of both the bulldog and the terrier, this breed possesses a natural need for physical activity and mental stimulation. On average, an American Staffordshire terrier needs about one to two hours of exercise per day.

This exercise can include walks, play sessions, dog sports, or other forms of exercise appropriate to their energy level and physical abilities. It is important to vary activities to avoid boredom and to challenge both their bodies and minds.

In addition to physical activity, it is crucial to provide adequate mental stimulation, as the American Staffordshire terrier is an intelligent breed. Training sessions, agility sports and interactive toys can help keep their minds sharp.

American staffordshire terrier running and playing in snow

How is it getting along with children?

With proper upbringing and socialisation, the American Staffordshire terrier can be a loving and patient companion for children.

This breed is known for its loyalty and affection towards the family, including young family members. However, as with any dog, it is essential that interactions between children and the dog are supervised and that children learn how to treat the dog respectfully and safely.

American Staffordshire terriers are generally patient and tolerant, but their powerful build and energy levels require owners to be proactive in managing their interactions with children. It is important to ensure that the dog is not too overwhelmed and that children do not bother the dog, especially during resting or feeding times.

Consistent training and socialisation from puppyhood are crucial to ensure that the American Staffordshire terrier learns how to behave in different situations. A well-socialised and well-behaved American Staffordshire terrier can make an excellent family dog, being both protective and playful with children.

Advantages of the American Staffordshire terrier

  • Loyalty: These dogs are known for their deep loyalty to their family. They are protective and can be excellent guard dogs.
  • Affection: Amstaffs are often very loving and enjoy human companionship, which makes them great companions.
  • Intelligence: They are smart and eager to learn, which means they respond well to training.
  • Versatility: American Staffordshire terriers are suitable for a variety of activities, from dog sports to family walks.
  • Strong and Healthy: In general, they are robust and have good health.

Disadvantages of the American Staffordshire terrier

  • Social Prejudice: Due to their reputation, they can be mistakenly seen as aggressive, which can cause problems with insurance, housing, and in social situations.
  • Energy and Exercise Needs: They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, which is not feasible for every owner.
  • Strong Character: Their strong will can be a challenge for less experienced dog owners.
  • Dealing with Other Pets: Without proper socialisation, they can be dominant towards other dogs.
  • Specific Health Problems: As with any breed, there are specific health problems that Amstaffs can be prone to.

How old an American Staffordshire terrier gets

A robust and resilient dog breed, the American Staffordshire terrier generally has a relatively long lifespan for a medium-sized breed. On average, American Staffordshireterriers can reach an age of around 12 to 16 years.

However, this life expectancy can vary depending on several factors, including genetics, habitat, diet and the overall quality of care they receive throughout their lives. Good nutrition, regular exercise and preventive veterinary care play an important role in extending the lifespan of an American Staffordshire terrier.

These dogs benefit from an active lifestyle and a balanced diet tailored to their specific health needs.

Price of an American Staffordshire terrier

An American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) puppy in the US typically costs between $800 and $2,000. Several factors can affect this price:

  • Breeder Reputation: Puppies from well-known breeders with a history of champion bloodlines are more expensive than those from emerging breeders.
  • Pedigree: AmStaffs with registration from the American Kennel Club (AKC) are pricier than non-registered counterparts.
  • Location: Expect higher prices in regions with an elevated cost of living.
  • Age: Puppies usually cost more than adult AmStaffs.
  • Purpose: Dogs bred for performance events or shows may have a higher price tag than those meant just for companionship.

Price Overview:

  • Standard Range: $800 – $2,000

Budget-Friendly Option: Adoption

Adopting an American Staffordshire Terrier from a shelter or rescue can be a more economical choice, often with lower adoption fees. Adult AmStaffs are more commonly found in rescues, while finding puppies may be rarer.

Similar Breeds to Explore:

For enthusiasts of the AmStaff’s loyal and vivacious character, consider these comparable breeds:

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier: A close kin to the AmStaff but typically smaller, possibly with milder exercise requirements. Prices range from $800 to $1,500.
  • American Pit Bull Terrier: Shares many traits with the AmStaff. Responsible breeders and rescues exist outside the AKC framework, with variable prices.
  • Bull Terrier: Known for their distinct egg-shaped heads, playful nature, and prices ranging from $800 to $2,000.
  • Boxer: A breed celebrated for its loyalty, energy, and playful demeanor, typically costing $800 to $1,500.

Extra Guidance:

  • In-depth Research: AmStaffs are dynamic and need consistent training and socialization. Make sure their personality suits your lifestyle.
  • Visit the Breeder: Inspect the breeder’s facilities and meet the puppy’s parents to evaluate their health and behavior.
  • Early Socialization: Crucial for preventing potential aggression, especially towards other dogs.
  • Responsible Ownership: Proper training and socialization are key to avoiding behavioral issues.
  • Apartment Living Consideration: With adequate exercise, AmStaffs can adapt to apartment living.

Remember: Opting for any pet is a significant, long-term responsibility. Select a breed that complements your lifestyle and offers a nurturing environment for years to come.

About the Author: Giovanni

After a dedicated 20-year career as a veterinarian, I now share my passion and knowledge on my blog focused on pet wellness. My experience covers everything from preventive care to treating complex conditions. I strive to provide animal lovers with valuable insights on the health and happiness of their pets, from nutritional advice to behavioral guidance.