The American Staffordshire Terrier (sometimes referred to as one of the breeds that make up “pit bulls”) is a popular, playful, and protective breed. They're also often misunderstood and have been the target of discriminatory legislation. But with the right training and the right people to love, American Staffordshire Terriers can make loyal and affectionate lifelong companions.
Originally from the United States, this medium-sized and moderately-high-energy breed can grow to between 57-67 pounds and lives an average of 12-14 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Terrier group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Companion
Breed Group: Terrier
Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 64
FAMILY terrier, mastiff (bull)
AREA OF ORIGIN United States
DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION bullbaiting, dog fighting
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 18-19 Weight: 57-67
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 17-18 Weight: 57-67
OTHER NAME none
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
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS AN AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
American Staffordshire Terriers are smart and good-natured dogs who want to be your best buddy. This breed is nobody's lapdog, but they can be playful and adventurous companions.
A somewhat family-friendly breed, American Staffordshire Terriers are often fond of children, but—like all big dogs—should always be supervised while playing. They're not always very friendly with other dogs, other pets, and small animals; but they can be friendly with strangers, especially if you work on this while they're young.
WHAT IS AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Your American Staffordshire Terrier will be at his happiest and healthiest if he has a reliable exercise routine. Short runs, vigorous walks, and rowdy games should do the trick, and may discourage barking.
This breed is famously courageous, though your American Staffordshire Terrier might be a poor candidate for the dog park. Her playmates might unintentionally provoke her protective instincts.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN AN AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER?
American Staffordshire Terriers are quick learners and easy to train, but they don't respond well to force. They do respond to treats and consistency. If you put in the work, this dog will be an upstanding (or at least up-sitting) canine citizen. Obedience training helps the American Staffordshire Terrier's reputation and it will also keep their agile minds active.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Grooming doesn't get much easier than with this breed. Their short, glossy fur coats just need weekly brushings, and they're moderate shedders.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIERS HAVE?
Some American Staffordshire Terriers develop heart disease or hip dysplasia. Feeding your baby American Staffordshire Terrier a growth food for large-breed puppies may slow their rate of growth but not diminish their adult stature which may help prevent or reduce the impact of adult-onset hip dysplasia.
Their skin or coats can develop allergies. The breed has also been known to develop a hereditary neurologic condition, Cerebellar Ataxia, between the ages of three and five that can result in progressive muscular or coordination decline.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list American Staffordshire Terriers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as an American Staffordshire Terrier! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S AN AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER'S BEST DAY?
Attending a bootcamp class at the park with you followed by a jog back home would get this pup ready for a nice evening lounging around your feet.
SHOULD I ADOPT AN AMERICAN STAFFORDSHIRE TERRIER?
This is a dog who wants nothing more in its whole life than for you to love him. They make for playful companions and eager workout buddies. They won't bankrupt you at the groomers, and they'll stick with you through thick and thin. If you can stand up to the bias against them and don't mind possibly having a one-dog household, you could be this breed's dream come true.
Have you decided that an American Staffordshire Terrier is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.