American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier may look a little mean around the edges, but in the correct environment, the Am Staff is quite gentle and sweet. Tough and muscular, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a medium sized dog, that can live on average up to 15 years old. With the right home and master, this dog is friendly, good with children, and has a high level of loyalty.

So what is it that makes this Terrier so popular with dog lovers everywhere? We’ll go over everything you need to know about the American Staffordshire Terrier.

History

The American Staffordshire was a mixed breed dog, that was originally from England. In the late 1800’s, the breed came over to the United States, where it became known as a vicious dog fighter and bull baiter.

Most canine historians aren’t quite sure what Terrier mix was used along with the English Bulldog to produce the American Staffordshire, but they suspect white English Terrier and the Fox Terrier as part of the dog’s background.

Throughout the breed’s early 1900’s run in the U.S. the AmStaff gained a reputation for being aggressive, rugged, and yet docile. It was in 1936, the dog was selected into the renowned American Kennel Club stud book registry. Now, registered as a purebred dog, the Amstaff is ranked as one the most popular dogs today.

Throughout its vicious and brutal history of fighting before tighter restrictions were put into place by many state governments, the American Staffordshire Terrier really grew on dog handlers because of its ferocity against threats. This breed has proved itself with magnificent strength to protect his family, his property, and his master whenever needed. This is why the dog is so often associated as a loyal companion. This made the breed ideal as a farming dog for its effective and intensive baiting practices.

In 1972, the AmStaff received a makeover being named by the AKC as the American Staffordshire Terrier.

You may find other mixed breeds of the American Staffordshire Terrier such as the Bullboxer Staff. This AmStaff Terrier mix looks more like a Bulldog but has the muscularity of a Terrier.

Another AmStaff mix is the Old Staff Bulldog. It shares both characteristics of the Amstaff Terrier and the Old English Bulldog.

Today, thanks to dog fighting laws in the U.S. the AmSaff is a loyal and loving companion, that has found popularity amongst families with younger children.

Pictures

American Staffordshire Terrier

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American Staffordshire Terrier full grown adult and standing on all fours. Credit: Jne Valokuvaus/Shutterstock.com

Size

The Amstaff is bulky with mass-muscle, but it isn’t considered a large dog. This medium sized dog is taller and heavier than traditional English Bull Terriers. Females can weigh from 40-50 pounds, while males may weigh anywhere from 50-70 pounds. A typical height for this breed ranges between 18-19 inches.

Personality/Temperament

As a close relative to the American Pitbull, many people may speculate that the American Staffordshire is a vicious Terrier of its own. But with the right training and conditioning, the Am Staff is hardly mean and aggressive.

Most dog trainers claim that the Staffordshire Terrier is incredibly active, in which it requires exercise and training with regularity. That would explain the dog’s history with bull baiting.

Some experts claim that the Am Staff is quite a goof. While patience and determination will be the key factor in training your American Staffordshire Terrier pup, the dog does like to be a clown of sort.

This breed loves tricks, and is extremely viable in learning commands from its owner. Sometimes, the Staffy is associated as a “nanny dog” because of its protective nature for its family. This makes the dog very sound and good around children. Although some may warn from leaving the dog around small children.

Known as a pack dog, the American Staffordshire Terrier does fine around other pets as well, although it may run your cat up a tree playing a little too rough. That said, because of the breed’s historically aggressive nature, it is best to monitor the American Staffordshire Terrier around other dogs, as it can become territorial.

AmStaff is dedicated, loyal, athletic, and loving under proper nurturing. This is why it’s important to treat the dog as if it was one of your own children by integrating the dog into the family. This will allow the breed to become more comfortable with its surroundings and establish trust from an early age into its development.

Because of how big and busy this breed’s jaw can be, it’s always a good idea to get the AmStaff a toy to play tug of war with.

Health

While the dog may appear healthy, muscular and vibrant, it can suffer the fate of serious and non-serious health risks and issues. American Staffordshire Terriers can suffer from heart murmurs, thyroid issues, skin allergies, hereditary cataracts, hip dysplasia, and can be prone to tumors.

Another key health issue to be weary of when the dog is a pup is Cerebellar Ataxia. This can be very serious, if not treated or diagnosed right away. Ataxia is a neurological disease that can cause degeneration to the central nervous system. It is commonly symptomatic in AmStaff Terriers at around 3-5 years of age. If not treated, you’ll notice the canine’s muscle suffer from declination and voluntary coordination suffering.

If your Amstaff is taken care of, kept on a proper diet, they can live on average from 9-15 years old.

Most veterinarians recommend the 5 in 1 shot when your American Staffordshire Terrier is 2, 3, and four months old. After that, you can visit once a year for the same shot. This inoculation will help prevent your pet from getting the following:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis

Typically, your AmStaff Terrier is in the clear, if you can obtain certification from both of its parents. If your dog’s parents were in good health, then the chances are your dog will be too because most of the serious ailments are hereditary.

American Staffordshire Terriers suffer the 11th worst dysplastic rate out of all dog breeds measured for dysplasia, and have the 18th highest rate of hyperthyroidism of 140 breeds, according to Michigan State University.

Finally, AmStaff Terriers with a lot of white on their heads, have been attributed to inherit genetic deafness. Having your canine regularly checked and tested as a puppy is the best way to avoid these complications, as is routine inoculations for other health issues.

Care

When you first receive a Amstaff puppy, it is recommended that you keep him or her in a 30” crate. An apartment will be enough space for the breed, but it also a good idea to get your dog out and let it exercise several times a week.

If you take your American Staffordshire Terrier for a 20-30 minute walk daily, you’ll be in good condition, as this is the recommended amount of time for him to exercise. Because the dog is active, you can play and do tricks, take him or her to the park and teach them commands. They are quick learners, making them ideal to these conditions.

Due to its short coat, daily maintenance on the dog isn’t required or needed. Yes, the dog will shed quite a bit for their coat length, but the American Staffordshire is rather low maintenance when it comes to grooming care. You can get away with brushing the dog once a week and that will be sufficient.

Unfortunately, you won’t be as lucky with the dog’s breath and mouth. You’ll certainly want to keep an eye out on brushing the Am Staff’s teeth at least once a week because this breed tends to have more bacterial build-up in its mouth than other canines.

When it comes to training, you’ll want to get an early-start with this breed of dog. They do have a tendency of acting like other Terriers and Bulldogs if not properly conditioned.

For the best-behaved dog, make sure you show the puppy at a young age who is boss by being authoritative. The American Staffordshire is incredibly loyal, and as mentioned above, is considered a pack dog, which means it will follow the boss when it knows who is boss. Because this breed of dog can be stubborn and resistant, you’ll want to start at a young age teaching him or her obedience.

Feeding

A medium sized dog isn’t going to devastate your family’s budget much, but you do need to be mindful of portioned nutrients for your American Staffordshire Terrier.

They should be fed appropriately and served fresh and clean water. According to Pet Guide, you should feed your American Staffordshire Terrier a diet that is rich in protein, crude fat, and an efficient amount of fiber content (4 percent fiber content or less).

When you first get yourself a Amstaff puppy, you’ll want to feed is three times per day. The meals should well-balanced and heavy with nutrients from top graded dog chew. It is advised that you feed a pup from 3-6 months, three meals a day.

From 6 months and up, you can begin cutting back on one meal, and feeding your puppy twice a day. The same applies with the older pup as the younger with regards to diet. Always fresh and clean water in its own water bowl, as these breeds are naturally protective of their property.

For an adult Amstaff, you can either feed them top-graded dog food twice with light dishes or once every 24 hours. This is more of the dog’s preference, as you get to know him or her, you’ll understand and adapt to the dog’s eating routines. The Amstaff has been known to eat human food such as eggs, fruits, vegetables, and cheese. An Amstaff will eat dry food at 2-2.5 cups a day. You can either feed them salmon, chicken, or beef. Consult a veterinarian for the most appropriate diet for the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Coat

What makes the Amstaff so indicative is its straight coat texture, with normal hair density. By nature, the breed has a short coat, this is simple for upkeeping.

You can find numerous coat colors on an American Staffordshire Terrier. They have over 10 colors including: white, cream, red, brown, black and more.

The breed’s coats are fairly smooth as well, especially when they are taken care of and get proper nutrition.

Some American Staffordshire Terriers have white patches and marks. Because of their short, smooth and glossy texture, this makes the breed less ideal for colder weather conditions.

Aside from the coat, you’ll also notice the dog’s brown eyes and pudgy noses.

Fun Facts

As mentioned in this article, the American Staffordshire Terrier has a few nicknames that is affiliated with the breed, such as Staffie, AMS, and Amstaff.

When the AmStaff rose to popularity in the early 1900’s, one dog named “Stubby” actually became officially ranked as a sergeant during World War 1.

Known to be stubborn at times, some AmStaff Terriers can be quite the comic. Many trainers have noticed the breed craving a lot of attention during tricks and play time.

AmStaff Terriers are very fast learners, which is why they are considered highly intelligent canines and great at sport. It won’t take long for your AmStaff canine to learn your commands.

The popular TV show, The Little Rascals featured an American Staffordshire Terrier named, Pete the Pup. The dog was one of America’s most beloved dogs at one point in television history.

Conclusion

At first glance, many may equate this purebred canine with its cousin, the American Pit Bull. While they share similarities and relative characteristics, they do differ in size and attitude.

From its beginnings in England, the AmStaff has a history of bellicosity, which brought its aggressive nature over to the United States. Luckily, after the AmStaff Terrier became enshrined into the American Kennel Club, the dog’s ostensible fighting days were finished and transitioned into a more docile and friendly future.

Today, with their popularity surging, the AmStaff is a favorite amongst many dog lovers and families because of their protective, strong, brave, loving, and loyal nature.

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