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American Staffordshire Terrier

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American Staffordshire Terrier Profile

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The American Staffordshire Terrier derived from crossing Bulldogs with an older Terrier line. They are closely related to the American Pit Bull Terrier, from whom they were bred apart in the 1960’s. The American breed was reared largely for illegal dog fighting (the ‘Pit’ in Pit Bull likely derives from fighting pits) in the United States and was recognized as a distinct breed in 1936. American Staffordshire Terriers became popular with ranchers and farmers for protection, companionship, and catching hogs and cattle. Despite its media reputation for ferociousness, the American Staffordshire Terrier is an affectionate dog which has risen to popularity as a pet. The American Staffordshire Terrier’s natural aggression is directed toward other dogs, not humans, and even this can be overcome with training. They often serve as search dogs or police dogs. Popsicle, a drug sniffing American Staffordshire Terrier, became famous for sniffing out and locating one of the largest cocaine busts in the history of the FDA.


The American Staffordshire Terrier has a shoulder height of 40.5-48 cm (16-19 in) and weighs 26-30.5 kg (57-67 lb). American Staffordshire Terriers have highly set, pointy ears which may be cropped, a broad head, wide cheeks, short back and tail (undocked), and wide, straight forelegs. They are very stocky, muscular, and powerful. The American Staffordshire Terrier has round eyes and teeth that form a scissor bite. Unlike the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire is not permitted to have Dudley (red) nose leather. The American Staffordshire Terrier has larger bones and head, and is usually shorter.


The American Staffordshire Terrier has a short, shiny, and stiff coat. Any color is acceptable, however red and beige with highlights, either with or without white highlights, is preferred. Less favored are black and tan, liver, or any color combination that is more than 80 percent white. The American Staffordshire Terrier sheds an average amount.


The American Staffordshire Terrier is loyal, tough on itself, and tenacious. It has a lot of stamina and makes a good watchdog. American Staffordshire Terriers exude strength and agility. They are stubborn and fearless, but very gentle and kind with family.


Provided proper socialization has taken place, the American Staffordshire Terrier gets along fine with children and with cats or other household pets. Behavioral training and rearing alongside other pets is important for socialization, otherwise they may be eager to fight other dogs, especially when challenged. They make great home protectors. The American Staffordshire Terrier is usually friendly with strangers when their owners are present. It makes a good family dog as long as the family can handle its boisterousness. It highly desires its owner’s attention and approval.


The American Staffordshire Terrier’s coat should be cared for by removing dead and loose hairs periodically with a rubber brush. American Staffordshire Terriers can live outdoors but prefer indoor life with a family. Be sure to keep the dog attended outdoors due to public perception. American Staffordshire Terriers live 10-12 years and have litters of 5-10 puppies.


The American Staffordshire Terrier must be taught at an early age not to pull on the leash, as it becomes very strong when fully grown. It can learn a great deal if consistently trained. Intense socialization at an early age is important. American Staffordshire Terriers are obedient and have a very strong desire to please their owner. Training should be patient, respectful, and firm.


The American Staffordshire Terrier needs plenty of exercise. It enjoys running alongside a bicycle or catching a ball or Frisbee. It also enjoys playing fetch. The American Staffordshire Terrier can live in an apartment as long as sufficient attention and exercise is provided.