American Staffordshire Terrier Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new American Staffordshire Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!

Breed History

The breed, also known as Am Staff or AmStaff, was created in the United States but in order to explain its origin, a brief history of some other breeds is needed.

The breed most closely related to the American Staffordshire Terrier is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. That breed originated in Great Britain in the 19th century from crosses of the Bulldog and various terriers.

The Bulldog of that era didn't look anything like the breed we know today. It was much taller, more agile, and had straight front legs. Actually, those early Bulldogs, with the exception of the head, looked more like present day American Staffordshire Terriers than present day Bulldogs.

There is some uncertainty as to which terriers were used. Some feel the now-extinct English White Terrier was used while others believe it was the Manchester Terrier or the Fox Terrier.

These early crosses were initially called Bull and Terriers but were further refined and developed into distinct breeds. One of them became the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Around 1870 the Staffordshire Terrier was imported into the United States and that's when the history of the American Staffordshire Terrier begins.

After the breed was imported into the United States, it was known under many names, including the Pit Dog, the Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bull Terrier, and the Yankee Terrier.

In addition to pit fighting, these dogs were used on farms, for guarding, and hunting. Some even served during war. A dog named Stubby was the most decorated dog of World War I and earned the rank of Sergeant.

The breed was accepted for registration in the AKC Stud Book in 1936 under the name Staffordshire Terrier but the name changed in 1972. The change was needed because American breeders had developed a type which was taller and heavier than the British breed and the name change was needed to eliminate confusion.

The breed is very closely related to the American Pit Bull Terrier. In fact, despite some physical differences, some consider them to be one and the same breed, with the Pit Bull being the working dog and the American Staffordshire Terrier being the show dog.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is commonly used for police work, guarding, and as a watchdog. He also makes a wonderful pet.

  American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Pictures  

Physical Characteristics of American Staffordshire Terriers

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a well put-together dog. He is very muscular yet agile and graceful. He is also extremely strong for his size.

He has a stocky body with wide chest and well-sprung ribs. The medium length neck is heavy and slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. The shoulders are strong and muscular, with blades wide and sloping. The low set tail is short in comparison to size of dog. It's never docked and should not curl or be held over back.

The front legs are straight and large. The back legs are well-muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out. The moderately sized feet are well-arched and compact.

The head is broad and of medium length, with distinct stop and pronounced cheek muscles. The ears are set high and can be cropped or uncropped (preferred). When uncropped, they should be short and held rose or half prick. The eyes are dark and round, set far apart.

The coat is short, glossy, and stiff to the touch. It can be any color or color combination, but according to AKC, all white or more than 80 per cent white, black and tan, and liver are discouraged.

    Height Weight
  Male 18 - 19 inches 55 - 70 pounds
  Female 17 - 18 inches 45 - 55 pounds


No other breed, with the exception of a closely related Pit Bull, earned such undeservedly bad reputation as the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Its bad reputation dates back to the days when these dogs were used for pit fighting, and while it's true that they can be extremely dangerous when bred and taught to be vicious, violence and ferocity are not innate traits common to this breed.

In reality, American Staffordshire Terriers are just the opposite...

They are affectionate, loyal, sensitive, outgoing, and good-natured. They are good with people in general and children in particular. In fact, because of its high tolerance for pain, the Am Staff will tolerate rougher handling from children than most other breeds (still, you need to teach your children to respect the dog).

Nothing gives them more pleasure than pleasing their master. They enjoy being part of the family and participating in all your activities, whether it's going for a hike or just laying next to you while you are watching TV.

They're usually friendly with other family pets but may be aggressive with same-sex dogs. It's better to introduce a Staffordshire Terrier to a home that already has pets than to introduce a new pet to a home with an adult Staffordshire. Like all breeds, the American Staffordshire Terrier will benefit from socialization training.

It's also intelligent, brave, and has strong protective instinct. If he feels he or his family is threatened, he will fight, sometimes to death, to protect his loved ones.

They make good pets, but they are not everyone. They are not well-suited for an inexperienced or meek owner. It requires firm handling from an experienced owner who will act as a leader of a pack. Without proper leadership from every family member, the American Staffordshire Terrier may be hard to control.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

The American Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very adaptable breed and, with sufficient exercise, will do just fine in a city apartment setting.

While Staffies make great pets, this breed is not for everyone. It requires an experienced, active, and assertive dog owner (you, not the dog, need to act as a pack leader).

Some American Staffordshire Terrier breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

Like with all breeds, reqular exercise is required to keep the American Staffordshire physically fit and easier to control.

This breed requires not only regular exercise but lots of it. But don't get scared -- lots of exercise for your dog doesn't mean it has to disrupt your lifestyle. His exercise can consist of play, daily walks, or just letting your pet play off leash. If you are into jogging or bicycle riding, you can take him along. The only rule you need to follow -- never leave your pet off leash in an unfenced area.

At a minimum, take your pet for several long walks every day.


This breed is an average shedder and easy to groom. Brush regularly with a firm bristle brush to remove loose hair. A quick wipe-down with a damp cloth or chamois will give his coat a shiny and healthy appearance.

Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, American Staffordshire Terriers are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Additional health concerns include skin allergies, heart problems, cancer, thyroid problems, and hip dysplasia. Visit dog health problems for more information about dog diseases and health.


Like other Bull and Terrier types, this breed rarely shows pain, so be prepared to attend to your dog when he acts abnormally or displays discomfort.

Buy only from reputable American Staffordshire Terrier breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems become big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy American Staffordshire Terrier puppies is between 12 and 15 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local American Staffordshire Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this American Staffordshire Terrier Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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