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American Staffordshire Terrier


American Staffordshire Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • CKC, AKC
  • Height
  • 17" - 19" (43 - 48cm)
  • Weight
  • 40 - 70lbs (18 - 31.7kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Various Colors
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The American Staffordshire Terrier is also known as Am Staff.


Originally identical to the British Staffordshire Bull terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier was selectively bred for greater height and weight, and a bulkier build. This breed was created in America by English settlers.

Date Of Origin

The American Staffordshire Terrier breed was named by the AKC in 1936.


The American Staffordshire Terrier, like the American Pit Bull Terrier, descends from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the now extinct, Fighting Bulldog. In the 19th century, the English began crossing these breeds looking for a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the Bulldog. The resulting dog embodied strength, courage, and gentleness with loved ones.

Immigrants brought these bull and terrier crosses to the United States. The settlers needed a larger, more powerful dog to protect their farms, ranches, or homes. The dogs that would eventually be named American Staffordshire Terrier had been bred independently from the American Pit Bull Terrier for at least 60 years when the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1936. The American Staffordshire Terrier was mostly used as general purpose farm dogs as a guard, cattle catcher, livestock driver, and even companion.

Some American Staffordshire Terriers were also used successfully in the military. Sergeant Stubby, an American Staffordshire Terrier, died on March 16, 1926 as a hero. Sergeant Stubby is the most decorated dog in military history, and the ONLY dog to have been promoted during battle. He fought for 18 months in the trenches for France during WW1 for 17 battles. Stubby warned his fellow soldiers of gas attacks, located wounded soldiers in No Man's Land, and listened for oncoming artillery rounds. He was also responsible for the capture of a German spy at Argonne. After his time in the war, Stubby met Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding. He was, also, made a life member of the American Legion, the Red Cross, and the YMCA.

In 1936, the dogs were entered into the AKC Stud Book as Staffordshire Terriers, belonging to the terrier and molosser groups. However, the name of the breed was revised effective January 1, 1972 to American Staffordshire Terrier. Breeders in this country had developed a type which is heavier in weight than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England and the name change was to distinguish them as separate breeds.


The American Staffordshire Terrier is very similar the American Pit Bull Terrier: medium size, compact, stocky, and muscular, with a broad skull, medium length muzzle and strong jaw. The eyes are dark and round and the ears are cropped erect or naturally rose or semi-erect. Natural ears are preferred. The Am Staff has a broad, deep chest and muscular hind quarters. The naturally short tail tapers to a point. The coat is short and stiff and of any color, except all white.

The breed has unusual strength for it's size.


The American Staffordshire Terrier is gentle and friendly with children and adults while also stoic and courageous and is a loyal and obedient member of the family. Although it is very friendly towards people, many dogs today retain the instinct to fight other dogs and will display aggression towards them, especially those of the same sex. Many American Staffordshire Terriers will only get along with dogs of the opposite sex. Early socialization can help teach most good manners with other animals, however, interactions with other animals should be supervised.

Contrary to common myth, aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This is of particular note, due to the breeds general love and gentleness with people (including strangers) .

The American Staffordshire Terrier requires daily exercise. Walks, pulling weights, fetch, or other games suit this breed well. Long-distance running is not recommended for this breed. Exercise should take place on-leash or within a fenced yard to ensure problems with other dogs do not occur.


Today, the American Pit Bull Terrier continues to demonstrate its versatility, competing successfully in obedience, tracking, agility and weight pulls, as well as conformation. They also make fantastic companions that will protect their owners without hesitation.

Health Concerns

Potential health concerns for the American Pit Bull Terrier include allergies, heart problems, hip dysplasia, thyroid problems (hypo / hyper).

Additional Information

The American Staffordshire Terrier requires a dog experienced owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog from an early age. Homes with children are fine, but this should be a single dog household or, if another dog is present, he or she should be of the opposite sex.

Grooming the American Staffordshire Terrier is simple and only requires weekly brushing with a bristle brush or curry comb.

One of the early and very famous AKC registered Staffs was Pete the Pup, (real name Lucenay's Peter), dog star of the original Our Gang comedies of the 1930's

Show Sources & Contributors +


The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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