American Staffordshire Terrier aka “Amstaff”
Average Size of Male: Height: 18–19 inches, Weight: 57–67 pounds
Average Size of Female: Height: 17-18 Weight: 57–67 pounds
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Suggested Tests: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Cardiac
Major concerns: Canine hip dysplasia
Minor concerns: None
Occasionally seen: Patent ductus arteriosus – a heart condition.
Note: Their high pain threshold may mask problems.
Brief History of the American Staffordshire Terrier
The Amstaff, as it is affectionately known, originated in Staffordshire, England, in the early 1900s. The dog was bred by crossing a terrier with a Bulldog. The Amstaff was originally bred with the intent to create a dog with the strength of the Bulldog and the tenacity of the terrier. Originally bred for bull baiting, the ideal dog was tough, game, and strong.
Around 1870, the dogs began to arrive in America, where they got named Pit Dog, Pit Bull Terrier, American Bull Terrier, or Yankee Terrier. They traveled with pioneer families, serving as pets and guard dogs. In 1936, the AKC recognized them as Staffordshire Terriers. It wasn’t until 1972 that the name became American Staffordshire Terrier. This was to distinguish it from England’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which was a smaller dog in stature and recognized as a separate breed.
While the Amstaff resembles the Pit Bull and is often confused with it, the two are separate breeds. The Amstaff breeders worked to establish a gentle temperament in their breed, but the power and terrier toughness in the dog marked them as candidates for illegal dog fighting rings. While the Amstaff was bred to be a guard dog, the Pit Bull was bred specifically to fight and is not registered with the AKC. Confusion between the two breeds continues to abound. Breeders struggle to educate the public about the differences and preserve the Amstaff for future generations.
American Staffordshire Terrier Breed Appearance
The American Staffordshire is the picture of power, the epitome of canine athleticism. The dog has a tight coat with a solid and muscular body. Its chest is deep and broad, and the dog has a svelte waistline and strong, straight legs. The head is wide, and its mouth is enormous. The eyes are wide-set, round, and give the face a warm and intelligent expression. The ears can flop or be cropped, depending on the preferences of the owner. The coat can be a variety of colors.
American Staffordshire Terrier Breed Temperament
The Staffordshire is bred to have a solid and affectionate personality, with typical terrier lively spunk and “joie de vivre”. The goofball factor abounds in this hilarious clown, yet he is all business when it comes to defending his family. He has a certain independent quality that demands attention and training, starting in his puppyhood and continuing into his adult years. The dog excels at sports, and many are outstanding competitors in agility, flyball, and disc.
American Staffordshire Terrier Breed Maintenance
The smooth, glossy coat of the Amstaff is fairly low maintenance, but as with the hair of all shedding breeds, it needs regular brushing. One way to enhance the sheen is to rub the coat with a chamois cloth.
To prevent behavioral problems, the owner of a Staffordshire should commit to making sure the dog gets a sufficient amount of daily activity. Aerobic exercise is extremely important. The dog can live in an apartment if supplied with enough mental stimulation and physical workouts, but it tends to do better with a fenced yard. It is important to use a leash in public settings. Amstaffs have a tendency toward dominant behavior and have high prey drive.
Amstaff Of Mine: Amstaff History