American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

Calamity- Jane

Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 12:37pm PST 
This won't be for a few years, at least not until I get my own place, but I have been interested in owning an Am Staff or a Pittie for a while now. I'm in the researching phase, and would like a little more information on them and what they are like to live with.

Queen of the- Couch
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 2:06pm PST 
If you're going to adopt a dog, a lot of pitties and amstaffs nowadays are mixed breeds (my "pit bull terrier" is an amstaff/american bulldog mix) according to our DNA test. Most of them are labeled as to what they most resemble but may have any combination of breeds in them. If you're going to a breeder, that's a different story. But there are so many out there that need homes so rescuing is definitely an awesome way to go. In that respect, they are all different. I know people who have very highly energetic pits and amstaffs, and ones who are couch potatoes. Some are too energetic for kids, or don't like other dogs, others are great with them. Mine is very low key most of the time, extremely affectionate, loveable, a lap dog, loyal, a little stubborn when she doesn't feel like doing what I ask, loves other dogs but is EXTREMELY excitable when she's around them and can't be calm, she just goes straight into play mode. She's the best dog I've ever owned. But like I said, there are so many personality differences that your best bet is to go through a rescue, maybe a dog that has been fostered so you can get a real feel of their personality outside a shelter setting.
Calamity- Jane

Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 2:29pm PST 
Yes, I was planning on adopting from a rescue. Thanks for your input.


Barked: Fri Oct 5, '12 9:26pm PST 
They are great dogs .... sweet, funny, and always happy! Usually have an easy-going personality. There are so many good things about APBTs and Staffies, but they do have some special considerations.

Firstly, consider whether you'll rent in the future. Renting is MUCH, MUCH harder with a Pit-type dog .... if you know where you will be living, start searching for what you could find that allows a Pit Bull. It's a huge reality check for most people and unfortunately a lot of dogs are rehomed because of moving. Some Pit rescues won't even adopt to renters, because the chance of moving or landlord issues is so prevalent. They can also have a high prey drive and owners need to be aware of that. Some have dog-aggression (like any breed, but especially more risk with a muscular, bully breed). And last thing I would mention is that young Pitties/mixes have a TON of energy - they need a lot of exercise, mental stimulation, and things to chew on. Although the puppies are flashy and adorable, they need a full commitment to proper exercise, training, and care.
Angel Lou

Everybody wants- to be a...DOG!- not a CAT
Barked: Sun Oct 7, '12 11:44am PST 
It makes me happy to see that you are doing your research on the breed before you get one. You're already starting off as a good ambassordor for the breed, which is what we need more of.

I have worked with Pits, and pit mixes with various other bully breeds for a few years now. On top of living with one daily, they are by far one of my favorite breeds.

Pits are a dog with a lot of potential. They strive for the approval of their owners, they live to make their owners happy and if they don't then they are crushed by it. Some find this flattering others find it annoying to have a dog so emotional dependent on them.

They are dog with a lot of energy, that is for certain. They are definitely a go go dog, that can keep up with you. They would make fairly descent agility dogs, because they are smart as whips but not always the most handler focused. They are definitely not a one person dog, they love everyone. Everyone is their best friend, so do not feel offended if your dog leaves your side to greet another person and sit on their feet. Because that is how they are..laugh out loud

They can have a high prey drive, which comes from the terrier part of the breeding. So, it is critical to socialize them around small animals, and other animals is general when they are younger. Angel I can trust with all my small animals including my birds, and down to my small blind hamster.

Don't be afraid either when your dog is playing, and it sounds vicious. All bully breeds have a distinct way of playing, that is why it truly is a happy sight to see two bullys playing as they can handle the rough and tumble from each other. The first time I heard Angel play with our next door neighbors German Shepherd it sounded horrific and scared me. Turns out though she was loosing the wrestle match though.

Potty training should be a breeze if you get a pup...it was for me. As I said very smart, and once you find a motivation object whether it be food or a toy things will be smooth flowing.

If you have any more questions feel free to paw mail me! Good luck with your search!dancing

Graceful as a- moose
Barked: Mon Oct 8, '12 2:53pm PST 
I would agree with Niki, first be sure that you are living in a place where you can keep a pit bull. Not just where it's legal, but also where insurance companies will insure you and your neighbors will not throw a fit. Most people here actually like pit bulls, but there are a few people who don't, and trust me, you would not want to live next door to them with a pittie. They would spend every waking minute trying to figure out a way to make you move or get rid of your dog. They don't care that your dog is not aggressive, that you have a CGC, that their dog bit someone and yours never has - it's a pit bull, and they don't want it in their neighborhood. And if they have the right connections and you don't, it can make your life very difficult.

The second thing I would suggest, is either find someone who is very pit-savvy to help you or work with a rescue that really knows the dogs. Especially if you will have children or other animals in your house. Pit bulls are a great breed, but many in rescues are mixes of several breeds (not purebred AST or APBT), and some dogs labeled as "pit bulls" do not have any AST or APBT in them at all. So you really have to be able to evaluate the dogs individually, because many of them will not fit breed stereotypes.

Pit bulls are amazing dogs. One of the first thing that strikes me about them is their (generally) undying devotion to humans in general. I've seen pit bulls come from terrible situations, where people did unimaginable things to them, and yet when someone else takes them in, they still greet the new person with a friendly wagging tail. The way they work is remarkable, you can see how hard they are trying to do everything right; and the look on their face when they know they haven't pleased you, makes your heart sink too.

One thing you should know about pit bulls, is that many of them are leaners and/or lap dogs. They want to be as physically close to you as possible. They don't sit next to you, they sit on you. And when they can't sit on you, they sit as close as possible and lean into you. This is something to consider because not every dog owner likes this. You also have to be careful when training them around visitors to your home, pitties love everyone and do not understand that some of your visitors will not appreciate being sat on. Many of the pit bulls I know also love to give "kisses," again not something everyone is really a fan of.

Another thing to note, is that most of them are "power chewers." They may or may not chew everything in sight and can be trained to chew only their own toys/treats, but even when they only chew acceptable items, they can destroy them in seconds. We have not found a squeaky toy that lasts more than five minutes. Stuffed animals are out completely. And we even have crumbled Kong toys. Most chewy treats are a 5-10 minute project.

Pit bulls are also smart - in some cases, too smart for their own good. Bianca learned what will get her a treat, and in some cases will start doing tricks spontaneously just to see if you'll get her a reward. She has also learned how to "sing" until she gets what she wants. My dad plays a game called "Later," where you put the treats in plain sight and announce they are to be eaten "later." This results in an all-out pit bull concert, complete with a three-ring circus, until the designated "later" time arrives. You can also put a treat or toy out of sight, but if she sees you hide it, she will not forget that it is there. Not even three days later. Bianca is also smart enough to know when/to whom she has to listen and when she can get away with more. I don't live at home anymore, but I am a lot like my dad (who is "her person"). She seems to have picked up on that and listens to me almost as well as to him, even though she doesn't listen to other people who spend more time with her.

I think others on Dogster are more qualified to give advice on the animal reactive/ aggression tendencies of this type of dog, but I will say I've seen the whole range - from dogs who think every animal is their friend, to dogs who cannot be on the same property as any other animal. Which is why I think it's especially important to work with people who know the dogs and can help you pick out one that is the best fit for your family. Different people can manage different degrees of reactivity.

Gotta love me !
Barked: Mon Oct 8, '12 3:59pm PST 
All I can say is I love my Pittie big grin

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Mon Oct 8, '12 5:12pm PST 
Nice that you're considering one of these special dogs. First the important stuff-
They aren't for everyone obviously. You need to be physically strong. Even the best behaved bully is a powerful breed. With many bullies if they want to see that squirrel close up that is where you are going. If you have any disability with walking or strength That could be a bad thing.
You need to have a sense of humor and a strong will. A guide to staffies says to be a good owner you want the dog to feel you're a sensible pack leader and never think any differently. They can be stubborn, but you have to gently hold firm. You also need a sense of humor to weather the fact that some people won't even talk to you if you have a pit bull.
The upside to bullies??? If you find the right one you have an utterly devoted, waggy, goofy, wonderful healthy pooch. And remember...no other dog can smile as big as a pitty!!!