Possibly one of the most misunderstood canine breeds on the planet, the American Staffordshire terrier (AmStaff for short) is far from vicious. This large dog breed has a muscular physique, square head, and a surprisingly friendly disposition.
If you’re interested in owning one of your own, here are some interesting facts about the American Staffordshire terrier. But first, check out this brief history of this fascinating canine breed.
The History of American Staffordshire Terrier
A little-known fact about the American Staffordshire terrier is that it used to be called a bull-and-terrier dog, or alternately a half and half dog. In some cases, it was simply called a pit dog.
This breed’s roots can be traced to 19th century England where bulldogs and terriers were often cross-breed. This was done in order to create a canine with the desirable attributes of each breed.
For example, terriers are bold and energetic breeds, whereas bulldogs are incredibly courageous, friendly, and dignified. Combining the two breeds created an energetic, agile, yet kind-hearted canine. Unfortunately, because of the breed’s physical attributes, these dogs were often used as fight dogs in the United Kingdom.
Over time, the breed would develop into a larger canine with a significantly larger build than its English counterpart. In 1976 its name was registered with the American Kennel Club as the Staffordshire terrier in order to differentiate between the Staffordshire bull terrier.
Facts About the American Staffordshire Terrier
#1. They’re Fearless Pups
Did you know that the American Staffordshire terrier is one of the bravest dog breeds? For instance, while most dogs tend to be afraid of certain sounds, you won’t catch this pup flinching any time soon. Furthermore, AmStaffs aren’t afraid of heading into dangerous situations head-on, which is what makes them such incredible guard dogs.
#2. Speedy, Agile, and Persevering
While it’s true that AmStaffs aren’t the fastest dog breed (German Shepherds and greyhounds have them beat), they’re still quite agile. Add to that their level of tenacity, and you’ve got yourself a breed that won’t quit until it’s accomplished its mission (whatever it might be).
#3. They Aren’t Good Guard Dogs
Despite their large, muscular appearance, AmStaffs aren’t very good guard dogs. That’s not to say that they’re cowards when faced with danger, but they tend to be overly friendly with strangers.
Ultimately, if you want to purchase a dog for the sole purpose of guarding your home, you should opt for another breed, for example, a Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, or German Shepherd.
#4. AmStaffs Have a Good Temperament
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a furry ball of energy that loves to play. Generally, these fun-loving pets crave plenty of exercise and a lot of attention, so be prepared to throw a lot of tennis balls and frisbees!
Although these dogs may have an incredibly muscular physique, they’re surprisingly nimble. Playing fetch with them is always a fun experience since you get to witness their incredible agility firsthand.
#5. They’re Highly Intelligent Dogs
AmStaffs enjoy a good physical and mental challenge as they’re incredibly intelligent dogs. The reason behind their intelligence is their fighter training. But that doesn’t mean your AmStaff is genetically predisposed to be aggressive. Its behavior depends on how you decide to discipline it.
With that in mind, this breed is easy to train, as they can learn commands quickly, and are eager to please their humans. You can teach an AmStaff plenty of tricks, and they’re even trainable as service or detection dogs
#6. They’re Quite Large in Size
According to the AKC, AmStaffs are larger in size than pit bulls. The typical male can grow from 17 to 19 inches in height, whereas the typical female can grow to an average of 16 to 18 inches in height. This breed can weigh anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds, and this weight is mostly due to its muscular physique.
#7. The Breed Has a Long Lifespan
Everyone wants to have their furry friend in their life for as long as possible. Luckily, this breed has a pretty long lifespan, especially for a larger breed. In general, this breed is quite healthy and has an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years (which is quite a lot in doggy years).
#8. The Average Price for an AmStaff is Quite High
The average price for an AmStaff puppy is $2000. Ultimately, the price will depend on the breeder, location, and the pup’s bloodline, as well as its color and age.
#9. The AmStaff’s Coat Comes in All Sorts of Colors
No two AmStaffs are alike since their coat comes in a variety of color combinations:
- Pure black
- Clear red
- Fawn with heavy black pigmentation on the face
- Fawn brindle
- Black brindle
- Red brindle
- Mahogany brindle
- Blue brindle
- Blue fawn
- Black and tan
- Blue and tan
- Black with brindle points
American Staffordshire Terrier Caring Tips
If you’re ready to purchase your first American Staffordshire terrier, there are some additional caring tips you will need to consider.
1. Purchase Your Dog From a Responsible Breeder
A responsible AKC-registered breeder will provide the necessary paperwork proving that your dog is healthy and registered. Unregistered pups could potentially be aggressive due to improper breeding. Also, steer clear of breeders who knowingly sell these dogs to fight. Keep in mind that dogfighting is a crime in all 50 states.
Alternately, you can adopt an AmStaff from a rescue organization or dog shelter. Both places will provide a full history of each dog and will allow you to spend some time with the pup of your choice in order to see if it will be a good fit for your lifestyle.
2. Socialize Your Dog From a Young Age
Introducing your AmStaff terrier to other dogs and people as soon as possible is crucial for its development. Socializing pups as young as 7 weeks old will help in the long term, and will make training your dog a whole lot easier. The best way to do this is to take your pup to the dog park and make sure to let it interact with strangers whenever possible.
3. Enroll Your AmStaff in Obedience Class
Puppy and adult obedience classes will help your dog learn verbal commands quickly, and also keep its mind engaged. Furthermore, these classes will prevent your dog from developing any unwanted, destructive behaviors. After its training is complete, you’ll be the owner of a well-behaved, loyal, fun-loving pooch!
4. Groom Your AmStaff Regularly
The proper way to groom your AmStaff is to clean its coat with a soft, damp towel. Give its coat a once-over with the towel, and then brush it with a natural bristle brush. Repeat this at least once a week in order to keep your dog’s coat nice and shiny. As for bathing, only do so when it’s absolutely necessary.
5. Vaccinate Your Pup On Time
Take your dog to the vet as soon as you adopt or purchase it, so the vet can fill you in on which vaccines it will need to get. Keeping your dog vaccinated against diseases such as parvo is crucial for i long-term health. Also, regular checkups will help stay ahead of conditions such as cataracts, hip dysplasia, arthritis, ear infections, and progressive retinal atrophy.
Ultimately, if you have your heart set on owning an American Staffordshire Terrier, hopefully learning about these facts has encouraged you to take the leap. While this breed typically gets a bad rap, in the end, it’s completely up to the way you discipline your dog. So go on and get yourself one of these fun, loyal furry companions!