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American Staffordshire Terrier Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

american staffordshire terrier dog

American Staffordshire Terrier Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

When you think of a Terrier, you likely think of a wiry-coated dog. However, the American Staffordshire Terrier is the complete opposite of that. American Staffordshire Terriers are smooth-coated dogs with stocky, athletic frames. They are Bully Terriers, meaning they have Bulldog in their genetic history.

The American Staffordshire Terrier doesn’t just stand out among Terriers for their looks but also for their personality. To learn more about what makes this dog so special, keep reading.

Breed Overview


17–19 inches


40–70 pounds


12–16 years


Black, white, blue, brown, fawn, liver, red, brindle, sable

Suitable for:

Families, multi-pet households, active families, apartment living


Confident, good-natured, intelligent, vigilant, affectionate

The origins of the American Staffordshire Terriers are somewhat tragic since they were bred as Staffordshire Terriers for the cruel sport of bullbaiting in 18th-century England. As a result, the breed is muscular, powerful, and fearless.

In the modern era, the American Staffordshire Terrier has a much better lot in life. They are bred as family dogs, where they display their loving, friendly personalities. American Staffordshire Terriers love to cuddle and spend time with their families, so if you’re looking for a social and sweet-tempered companion, they may be perfect for you.

American Staffordshire Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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American Staffordshire Terrier Puppies

american staffordshire terrier puppy
Image Credit: Photobox.ks, Shutterstock

American Staffordshire Terrier puppies are affectionate, energetic pets. To prepare your household for a puppy, make sure you have plenty of toys. This will allow you to engage your American Staffordshire Terrier in play so they can burn off energy.

You also need basic dog care items such as food and water dishes, a crate, a leash, and a collar. Ensure you have all of your necessities before bringing your puppy home so that you are prepared to provide the best possible care for your American Staffordshire Terrier.

American Staffordshire Terriers are sweet-natured dogs, but they can be prone to aggression without proper training and socialization. When your American Staffordshire Terrier is still young, you must help them explore new people, places, and situations so that they are well-adjusted.

Likewise, ensure they receive proper obedience training. As long as your dog is trained and socialized during puppyhood, they will likely grow into a well-behaved adult.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is an intelligent breed and is generally a delight to train. While they may be occasionally stubborn, they are also clever and eager to please. They enjoy having a task to occupy themselves with, and without one, they may be prone to destructive behaviors.

They are vigilant and protective of their loved ones, which is why they may struggle with aggression issues if they lack adequate training and socialization. With their family members, the American Staffordshire Terrier is affectionate and cheerful.

They love being around their owners so much that they can be prone to separation anxiety. Again, this is a situation that can be managed or prevented entirely with a proper upbringing. Providing the American Staffordshire Terrier with activity, attention, and enrichment makes them much less likely to suffer from anxiety. Although they’re protective of their families, American Staffordshire Terriers aren’t very vocal.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?👪

Yes, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a great family dog. They are patient and playful with children and enjoy their company. Still, all interactions between children and the American Staffordshire Terrier should be supervised to ensure no accidents happen.

woman with american staffordshire terrier
Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

When the American Staffordshire Terrier is well-socialized, they can get along with other pets. However, not all pets are appropriate roommates for the American Staffordshire Terrier.

They have a high prey drive, so smaller animals such as cats, rabbits, or hamsters may be seen as animals to chase and hunt. Early socialization can help the American Staffordshire Terrier understand that other pets should not be chased and are a part of the family.

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Things to Know When Owning an American Staffordshire Terrier:

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a great candidate for a family pet due to their good-natured personality. However, that is not the only factor to consider when deciding which breed to bring home.

Responsible dog owners should also consider whether or not they can provide for the American Staffordshire Terrier’s care, including dietary requirements, exercise and training expectations, and grooming and healthcare needs.

Food & Diet Requirements🦴

Look for high-quality, AAFCO-certified dog food to ensure that your American Staffordshire Terrier receives the nutrition they need in their meals. Your dog’s food should have an animal protein source as the first ingredient.

Joint supplements may be worthwhile, as American Staffordshire Terriers tend to be prone to joint issues. You may also want to check your dog’s food for omega-3 fatty acids, which can also benefit the joints. They also nourish your dog’s skin and coat, helping their fur stay healthy and soft.


The American Staffordshire Terrier needs a lot of exercise to maintain their muscular, athletic physique. As an energetic Terrier, around 60 minutes of daily activity should be enough to keep them fit. It is best to break up the 60 minutes into smaller sessions to keep your dog engaged and prevent them from wearing out. For example, a brisk 30-minute walk twice daily may be sufficient.

When exercising with an American Staffordshire Terrier, avoid vigorous activity directly after a meal. Exercising after eating could lead to gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), which is a serious and possibly fatal condition.

american staffordshire terrier on the grass
Image Credit: Vera Zinkova, Shutterstock


Although the American Staffordshire Terrier can be stubborn at times, they enjoy pleasing their owners. A dog owner who knows what they are doing and understands how to manage the American Staffordshire Terrier’s self-willed side can train them without much trouble. A good way to keep the American Staffordshire Terrier’s attention is to add active training into the mix, like agility training or playing fetch.

Positive reinforcement is essential to training the American Staffordshire Terrier. Harsh correction methods can backfire, damaging your dog’s trust in you and causing them to dislike training. On the other hand, praise and rewards for good behavior build your bond and make training a pleasant experience.


With their short, smooth coats, the American Staffordshire Terrier doesn’t require much brushing. Running a brush over their fur every week should be enough to keep it clean and sleek.

American Staffordshire Terriers can have sensitive skin, so keep that in mind when purchasing canine shampoos or other topical grooming products. Due to their delicate skin, the American Staffordshire Terrier should only be bathed every 4 to 6 weeks or as needed.

In addition to brushing their fur and keeping them clean, American Staffordshire Terrier owners should clip their nails and check/clean their ears when necessary.

Health and Conditions🏥

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a fairly healthy breed, but, like any dog breed, they are prone to some health conditions. As mentioned earlier, the American Staffordshire Terrier is at a higher risk of developing joint issues such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia, so asking your vet about joint supplements is a good idea.

When it comes to severe conditions, there are a few owners of the American Staffordshire Terrier should be aware of. Cerebellar ataxia is a hereditary condition that the breed is prone to, and it is a severe medical issue. It has no cure, and most afflicted dogs are put down. Signs of this condition may show up between the ages of three and six years.

Hypothyroidism occurs when a dog’s thyroid gland produces an inadequate amount of hormones, leading to metabolic issues. Thankfully, this issue can be managed, and afflicted American Staffordshire Terriers can live long happy lives.

Another condition to watch out for is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which is a genetic condition that eventually leads to blindness. It is a painless disease, but there is no treatment. Dogs diagnosed with PRA will rely on their owners to support their vision loss through consistency and training.

Minor Conditions
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia
Serious Conditions
  • Cerebellar Ataxia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

dogster face divider Male vs Female

The average size difference between the male and female American Staffordshire Terrier is staggering. While the female weighs around 40–55 pounds, the male weighs around 55–70 pounds. Although the females’ highest weight only lands at the males’ lowest, their height differences are minimal.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the American Staffordshire Terrier

1. The American Staffordshire Terrier’s Genetic Background Is Uncertain

While it is widely accepted that the American Staffordshire Terrier has Bulldog in their genetic background, the other breeds are a mystery. Some believe that extinct breeds like the White English Terrier were a part of the mix, but no one knows for sure.

2. The Breed Was Developed in the United States in the mid-1800s

The Staffordshire Terrier was brought from England to the United States of America in the mid-1800s. There, the development of the American Staffordshire Terrier began, and the two breeds became so different that the American Kennel Club eventually recognized them as separate dogs.

3. One American Staffordshire Terrier Was Highly Admired by the Country

An American Staffordshire Terrier by the name of Sgt. Stubby helped soldiers in World War I. Throughout his life, he was admired by many in the nation, including three presidents.

american staffordshire terrier dog lying on grass
Image Credit: xkunclova, Shutterstock

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The American Staffordshire Terrier is a confident, spirited canine with a heart of gold. Despite their tragic background, the breed has risen to a much more fortunate status in life, enjoying their days as beloved family pets.

If you think the American Staffordshire Terrier is the right fit for you, you can search for one at your local animal shelter or through a reputable, responsible breeder. Whichever way you choose to bring your American Staffordshire Terrier home, make sure you are prepared to meet their needs.

They require a lot of training, socialization, and exercise, but the results are well worth it. A well-cared-for American Staffordshire Terrier is a patient, friendly, doting companion that loves their family members above all else.

Featured Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

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