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Staffordshire Terrier Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Staffordshire Terrier Club of America

Native Country
United States of America

Other Names
American Staffordshire Terrier, Amstaff

Life Expectancy
Approximately 12-15 Years

Litter Size
Average 5-10 Puppies

Breed Group

General Description

It was the cross between the Bulldog and the terrier that resulted in the Staffordshire Terrier, which was originally called the Bull-and-Terrier Dog, Half and Half, and at times Pit Dog or Pit Builterrier. Later, it assumed the name in England of Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

These dogs began to find their way into America as early as 1870, where they became known as Pit Dog, Pit Bull Terrier, later American Bull Terrier, and still later as Yankee Terrier.

In 1936, they were accepted for registration in the AKC Stud Book as Staffordshire Terriers. 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's standard allows a variance in weight, but it should be in proportion to size. The dog's chief requisites should be strength unusual for his size, soundness, balance, a strong powerful head, a well-muscled body, and courage that is proverbial.

To clarify the confusion that may exist, even in the minds of dog fanciers, as to the difference between the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Bull Terrier, a comment on the latter may be helpful. The Bull Terrier was introduced by James Hinks of Birmingham, who had been experimenting for several years with the old bull-and-terrier dog, now known as Staffordshire. It is generally conceded that he used the Staffordshire, crossed with the white English Terrier, and some writers contend that a dash of Pointer and Dalmatian blood was also used to help perfect the all-white Bull Terrier.

In mentioning the gameness of the Staffordshire, it is not the intention to tag him as a fighting machine, or to praise this characteristic. These points are discussed because they are necessary in giving the correct origin and history of the breed. The good qualities of the dogs are many, and it would be difficult for anyone to overstress them.

According to the American Kennel Club, these dogs are "smart, confident, good-natured companions. Their courage is proverbial. A responsibly bred, well-socialized Staffordshire Terrier is a loyal, trustworthy friend to the end."

Breed Standard

Head: Moderate length. Broad skull. Distinct stop. Pronounced chekk muscles. Powerful, strong lower jaw. Lips close and even, with no looseness.
Ears: Cropped or uncropped. Short, rose or half prick uncropped ears are preferred.
Eyes: Round, wide set. Dark color.
Body: Compact. Thick, arched neck without dewlap. Slight sloping from withers to lump. Croup slightly sloped. Ribs well sprung. Chest is broad and well let down. Slightly loped croup. Rather short back.
Tail: Short, dense and hard.
Hair: Court, serre, dur au toucher.
Coat: Any color, solid, parti or patched is permissible, but coats more than 80% white, black and tan andliver (not brown) are not to be encouraged.
Size: Height: Males 17 - 19 inches (43 – 48 cm), Females 16 - 18 inches (41 – 46 cm)
Weight: 57 - 67 pounds (25 - 30 kg)


The origin of the American Staffordshire Terrier began in the 19th century in the region of Staffordshire. Here they crossbred a variety of terriers to develop a more muscular, energetic, and aggressive Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This breed was brought to America and breeders immediately took to the dog and began to work on increasing their weight and a stronger more powerful head.

Prior to the dog-fighting group taking a fancy to the American Staffordshire Terrier, it was mainly used for farm work, hunting wild game, guarding, and companionship by the American farmer. However, it fell prey to the dog fighters because of the easy training ability and strength of the breed. In addition to the fact, it would fight to the death in order to please its master. Dog fighting was banned in the United States in 1990, which brought about two strains of the American Staffordshire Terrier, the show dog and the fighting dog. The American Staffordshire Terrier was the show strain while the fighting strain was known as the American Pit Bull Terrier. Today, both strains are recognized as different breeds.

In 1936, the American Kennel Club recognized the American Staffordshire Terrier and put them in the classification of the Terrier and Molosser groups. The American Pit Bull Terrier is now being bred with the American Staffordshire Terrier to develop a more gentle nature for the pit bull terrier.


The American Staffordshire Terrier is a happy, outgoing, stable, and confident dog. Gentle and loving towards people. Good-natured, amusing, extremely loyal and affectionate family pet. It is good with children and adults. Almost always obedient, this dog wants nothing more then to please its master. It is an extremely courageous and intelligent guard dog that is very full of life. Over the past 50 years, careful breeding has produced this friendly, trustworthy, dog who is an especially good dog for children. Courageous and a persistent fighter if provoked. Highly protective of his owners and the owner's property, it will fight an enemy to the death if the enemy traps the dog in a corner and threatens its loved ones. This breed has a very high tolerance for pain. Some un-socialized Staffs may be dog aggressive. Socialize very thoroughly when young to curve any dog aggressive tendencies. This breed can be difficult to housebreak. It has given outstanding results as a guardian of property, but is at the same time esteemed as a companion dog. When properly trained and socialized, the American Staffordshire Terrier makes a great family companion.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is great as an indoor dog as long as he receives the exercise he needs. He loves warmer climates and does not need a large yard, but does need regular exercise. Grooming is not a major problem with the American Staffordshire because of the short stiff coat. It should be brushed on regularly about once per week. You should use a firm bristle brush. He will shed but nothing out of the ordinary. As for bathing, this can be done on an as needed basis using either wet or dry shampoo. If you towel dry with chamois or regular towel, his coat will shine.


Guarding, Watchdog, Weight Pulling, Police Work, Rescue Work, Pet.


Some are prone to heart murmurs, thyroid problems, skin allergies, tumors, hip dysplasia, hereditary cataracts and congenital heart disease.

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