American Staffordshire Terriers have medium-sized, muscular, agile and solid frames. They have wide, sturdy heads with medium-length muzzles and powerful jaws. Their ears are set high. Their eyes are dark, set low and far apart. And their necks slope down to a deep, wide chest and rib cage. They have short backs, short, tapered tails and straight front legs. Their short, shiny and dense coats can come in almost any color or combination of colors. Overall, American Staffordshire Terriers look strong for their size, combining a muscular stockiness with a graceful poise.
Thumbnail: Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli, as captured at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
American Staffordshire Terriers are loving, loyal dependable dogs. A trained, socialized and (most of all) loved “AmStaff” is an affectionate, dependable and happy friend with loads of energy and intelligence. And, most of the time, they prove to be calm and steady pals who don’t mind hanging out on the couch.
American Staffordshire Terriers possess a natural eagerness to please their owners. With proper care and attention, your AmStaff can be an exemplary member of the family.
Bred to be both swift and strong, American Staffordshire Terriers love to play fetch, go for runs and work. They are very strong for their size: AmStaffs can pull very heavy objects, bite through rubber and wire, and they have a high tolerance for pain and fatigue. Keep them busy and loaded with positive reinforcement, and they’ll maintain an upbeat and steady mood.
You should consider an AmStaff only if you have the time, strength and know-how to train and socialize your pet. American Staffordshire Terriers sometimes display protective or competitive instincts around other dogs and animals.
These dogs might not be the best apartment dwellers, though as long as they get plenty of outdoor exercise they’ll be happy. Ideally, a fenced yard suits them best, not to mention daily games of fetch and constructive “tasks.” They should be kept on a leash while on walks and at the park.
A healthy American Staffordshire Terrier can live as long as 12 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, skin problems and some allergies.
In the early 1800s, breeders attempted to create a dog that blended the spirit of a Terrier with the courage and brawn of a Bulldog. The result—using a possible mix of Bulldogs and Fox Terriers—was the English Staffordshire Terrier. In the mid-1800s, English Staffordshire Terriers were brought to America, where they were bred to be larger and stronger. In 1936 they were registered with the AKC as “Staffordshire Terriers.” They were officially named American Staffordshire Terriers in 1972.