The American Staffordshire Terrier gets an undeserved amount of bad press in our view, and contrary to what its critics say, it is not the dogs the press should be targeting, but rather those who have been irresponsible in their training.
The American Staffordshire Terrier (AST), is a stocky, muscular and agile dog that is related to its
cousin, the English Staffordshire Terrier. The English line was most likely developed by crossing
the bulldog with various terriers, including the Fox Terrier.
Originally this breed was trained for the bloody sport of bull baiting and later, dog fighting. Unfortunately this breed line is sometimes negatively associated with this early history.
In 1936 the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed as a Staffordshire Terrier and classifed him with other terrier dog breeds.
After arriving in the United States, the breed was differentiated by its American name and developed into two strains of the breed - one for show and one for fighting, the latter being given the name American Pitbull Terrier.
Today, while responsible owners are breeding and
socializing these dogs for their positive traits as well as to subdue dog-aggressive traits, sadly there
are still some who are not.
Don't bypass this wonderful breed because of media sensationalism. Any breed can go haywire if it has been subjected to detrimental training by irresponsible owners.
If you're interested in the breed, seek out reputable breeders and learn the dog's
Contrary to some harsh criticism, the majority of American Staffordshire Terriers are not aggressive to humans, but are affectionate, obedient, loyal and intelligent companions with a devotion to their families.
They are without doubt a strong and powerful dog and early
socialization and training is a must, preferably with an experienced owner who can establish
firm, but not harsh, leadership.
They are also noted for their fun loving high spirits and unswerving protection to owners.
It is a sad situation that the few victimized dogs that have
been aggressively trained and mishandled, have maligned many dogs associated with this breed line.
Height: 17-19 inches
Weight: 40-50 lbs
Color variations: Red, fawn, white, black or blue, with white, any shade of brindle
The American Staffordshire Terrier has a smooth coat that is both short and dense.
Grooming needs are moderate - brushing and rubbing down with damp chamois will keep the coat healthy, and bathing need only be done as necessary.
If you want to get some true facts about ASTs, read an enlightening first hand account of the breed from the proud owner of two AKC Champion American Staffordshire Terriers Zoe and Buzz pictured below.
Do you have an AST you'd like to tell everyone about? You can tell your dog's story here.
It may come as no surprise that the AmStaff needs LOTS of both physical and mental exercise! In fact it is an essential part of parenting one.
This is a very active dog and is best matched with experienced owners that enjoy an energetic lifestyle.
Don't consider the
AST unless you are a family that has sufficient time for regular daily exercise.
Exercise is good for this athletic breed as well as play time with his humans. A house with a securely fenced yard and ample room to run is the ideal setting to provide opportunities for both as well as a place for training .
Although, in addition, plenty of long walks outside of the yard are still needed.
Agility training in another fun physical sport in which the AmStaff has been successful and is another outlet for his high energy.
The American Staffordshire Terrier likes to play and be part of the family. He is considered best with older considerate children, mainly for the reason that they are very strong dogs and could accidentally knock over a small child.
Children should always be taught respect for pets and how to safely interact with them. This is especially true with strong larger animals. As always any play between children and dogs should always be supervised by an adult.
While their appearance likely
makes them wonderful protectors for seniors, the level of exercise required would not be ideal for those who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle.
Don't be mislead by the media that tend to shed the worst light on all Pit Bull type dogs.
Get an honest and complete understanding of the breed from experts and then decide for yourself.
Here is a book to get you started: