American Staffordshire Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

This stocky dog should be muscular, giving the impression not only of great strength for its size but also of grace and agility. Its gait is springy. Its low center of gravity helped it stay on its feet in a fight, and its nimbleness helped it avoid its opponent's teeth. Its own jaws are strong with great power. Its coat is short, close and glossy.

Typically docile and playful with its family, the American Staffordshire terrier is also generally friendly toward strangers as long as its owners are present. It is generally very good with children. It is a protective breed and can be aggressive toward other dogs — especially those that challenge it. It is stubborn, tenacious and fearless. For all of its tough persona, the most important thing in life to this breed is its owner's fond attention.


FAMILY terrier, mastiff (bull)

AREA OF ORIGIN United States


ORIGINAL FUNCTION bullbaiting, dog fighting


AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18-19 Weight: 57-67

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17-18 Weight: 57-67


Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Friendly

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The Staff needs a daily outlet for its energy, preferably in the form of a long walk on leash or a vigorous game in the yard. Though it can live outdoors in temperate climates, this breed is far better suited temperamentally to sharing its family's home. Coat care is minimal. As one of the breeds popularly considered a "pit bull," public acceptance may sometimes be low.
• Major concerns: CHD
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: PDA
• Suggested tests: OFA, (cardiac)
• Life span: 12 – 14 years
• Note: The high pain threshold may mask problems
The American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier descended from the same lines. The prototype originally sprang from crossing the old type of bulldog with some old terrier types, probably the English sooth terrier. The result was aptly called the "bull and terrier," later to be dubbed the Staffordshire bull terrier. The dogs gained fame among fanciers of dog fighting, a popular sport despite its having been declared illegal. Their fighting ability gained them passage to America in the late 1800s, where they dominated the fighting "pits." Here they became known as the pit bull terrier, American bull terrier and even Yankee terrier. Americans favored a slightly bigger dog than the English preferred, and with time the two strains diverged. In 1936, the AKC recognized the breed as the Staffordshire terrier (the name was changed in 1972 to American Staffordshire terrier). Docility and tractability have always been vital traits in a powerful dog that must be handled even in the midst of a dog fight; therefore, the Am Staff evolved to have a sweet and trustworthy disposition around people. Unfortunately, this game dog has too often appealed to people seeking it for its fighting rather than its loving abilities. Often in the midst of controversy, beginning in the 1980s, it sometimes found itself the target of breed-specific laws aimed at banning or controlling certain types of dogs. Despite this, the Am Staff is currently enjoying one of its most popular periods among people wanting a people- and fun-loving dog.