American Staffordshire Terrier

american staffordshire terrier sitting on an outside deck enjoying its day

The prototype of the American Staffordshire Terrier initially sprang from the crossing of the old varieties of Bulldogs with some old terrier types, which was probably the English Smooth Terrier. The Bull and Terrier resulted and later became the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The dogs gained fame with dogfighters, a trendy sport although declared illegal. Thanks to their fighting ability, the dogs gained passage to the United States in the late 1800s, where they dominated in the fighting pits.

american pit bull terrier relaxing in the park

While in America, the dogs became known as the Pit Bull Terrier, Yankee Terrier, and the American Terrier. Americans wanted a slightly bigger dog than the English version of the breed, and with time both strains deviated. The AKC recognized the dog as the Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. However, the name was changed to the American Staffordshire Terrier in 1972.

Tractability and obedience have always been essential traits in this powerful dog that needs to be handled amid a dog fight; therefore, the dog developed to have a trustworthy and sweet disposition around people. It’s just too bad that the American Staffordshire Terrier primarily appeals to people seeking it for its fighting abilities rather than its ability to be loving.

Beginning in the 1980s, the dog often found itself amid controversy and became the target of breed-specific laws to control or ban certain types of dogs. However, the breed is currently one of the most popular dogs among potential owners wanting a fun-loving and people-centered dog.

american staffordshire terrier happily lying down on the lawn

Breed Standard

The American Staffordshire Terrier is an athletic and well-balanced dog. Its body is muscular with sturdy legs and a deep, broad chest. The tail is low-set, short, and tapered. The head is pronounced and broad with pronounced cheek muscles, a medium-length muzzle, well-defined jaws, and a black nose. The breed’s eyes are dark, round, and wide st. The ears are high on the skull and may be cropped or natural. The coat is stiff, glossy, and close-fitting.

Breed Facts

Energy levelWatchdog ability
Exercise requirementsProtection ability
PlayfulnessGrooming requirements
Affection levelCold tolerance
Friendliness toward dogsHeat tolerance
Friendliness toward other petsFriendliness toward strangers
Ease of training

Activity Level: High. The American Staffordshire Terrier possesses plenty of endurance and will love activities done with its owners. It needs to be exercised on a leash or in a secured, fenced-in area. The dogs require a daily outlet for their energy, preferably vigorous games or long walks.

  1. Group: Terrier
  2. AKC Recognition: 1936
  3. Popularity: Somewhat uncommon
  4. Family Group: Terrier, Mastiff, Bull
  5. Country of Origin: America
  6. Date Developed: 1800s
  7. Original Purpose: Bullbaiting, dogfighting
  8. Current Function: Companion
  9. Other Names: American Pitbull Terrier


Brushing once weekly will help control moderate shedding.

Coat: Hard, flat, glossy, and short

Color: Any color is okay, solid, parti-color, or patched. However, specific colors and combinations are discouraged in competition, namely black and tan, liver, solid white, or more than 80 percent white.

American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament

american staffordshire terrier enjoying a little nature

Despite the American Staffordshire Terrier’s formidable ancestry as a fighting dog, the American Staffordshire Terrier is famous for its affectionate disposition. The breed is very loyal and highly courageous and protective toward their families. However, the dog is strong and athletic and requires basic training as a pup. Most AMTs can learn to accept, nurture, and protect other dogs and household pets with adequate socialization.

Mostly playful and obedient with its owners and family, the breed is primarily friendly with strangers as long as the owner is present. The dogs are generally good with children. The breed is protective and can show aggression toward other dogs, especially if challenged. They are tenacious, fearless, and stubborn. This breed’s essential thing in life is its owner’s loving attention, even though it has a rugged, no-nonsense image.


  1. Major Health Problems: CHD, cerebellar ataxia, PRA
  2. Minor Health Issues: elbow dysplasia, heart disease, hypothyroidism
  3. Rarely Seen: cruciate ligament rupture, allergies, hypothyroidism
  4. Recommended Tests: hip, cardiac, (elbow), thyroid, eye, DNA for ataxia
  5. Life Span: 12 to 14 years
  6. Note: CHD rarely causes complications or symptoms in this breed.
  7. Weight: 57 to 67 pounds
  8. Height: male – eighteen to nineteen inches; female – 17 to 18 inches

Breeder and Buyer’s Advice

american staffordshire terrier puppy licking a woman's face while being held to her chest

Because of anti-dog legislation, it is illegal to own one of these dogs in certain parts of the country. Check with your local ordinances before Googling “American Staffordshire puppies for sale near me.” Please purchase from a reputable breeder. Do plenty of research before choosing a puppy. Don’t hesitate to consider adult and rescue dogs, which can also provide you and your family with a loyal, loving, and protective canine companion. The price of the dogs varies and mainly depends on the breeder and the dog’s pedigree. Also, if possible, visit a few kennels before making your final decision.

Parent Club: Staffordshire Terrier Club of America; founded in 1936

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