American Staffordshire Terrier: A Better Complete Breed Information

Last Updated on: 26th June 2023, 09:47 am

Welcome to the world of the American Staffordshire Terrier!

This pit bulls breed is a perfect combination of strength, intelligence, and affection, making them a versatile and delightful addition to many households.

In this article, we will explore the unique traits inherited from both parent breeds, discuss their compatibility with different lifestyles, and provide guidance on training, socialization, and overall health management for owners or potential adopters of this mixed healthy breed.

American Staffordshire Terrier History

The American Staffordshire Terrier has a rich and complex history that traces back to the early 19th century in England. The breed’s origins can be linked to a combination of various terrier breeds, including the Bulldog and the now-extinct Old English Terrier.

During the early 1800s, in the Staffordshire region of England, these dogs were selectively bred for their strength, tenacity, and loyalty. They were primarily used in blood sports such as bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and dog fighting. The breed’s ancestors were valued for their determination and ability to withstand physical challenges in the arena.

However, as attitudes towards these brutal sports changed, a shift occurred in the purpose of these dogs. In the mid-19th century, a breed known as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier began to emerge. These dogs were smaller and more agile than their predecessors, and they were bred primarily for the purpose of ratting and as family companions.

As time went on, a fraction of the Staffordshire Bull Terriers found their way to America. These dogs played a significant role in shaping the American Staffordshire Terrier as we know it today. The breed began to evolve separately in the United States, with an emphasis on strength, agility, and versatility.

In the early 20th century, the American Staffordshire Terrier was recognized as a distinct breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1936. The breed standard was established, which outlined the desired physical characteristics and temperament of the American Staffordshire Terrier. The United Kennel Club , allows American Staffordshire Terriers to be registered under the American Pit Bull Terrier breed.

Throughout its history, the American Staffordshire Terrier has served in various roles. They were employed as working dogs on farms, used for hunting, and even as guard dogs. However, they are most commonly known as beloved family pets and companions. Their loyalty, affectionate nature, and eagerness to please have made them popular with dog enthusiasts worldwide.

It is important to note that the American Staffordshire Terrier should not be confused with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, despite their shared heritage. While both breeds have similarities, they have been developed separately and have distinct breed standards.

Today, the American Staffordshire Terrier continues to be recognized by major kennel clubs and is cherished by many as a loving, protective, and versatile dog breed. Their fascinating history serves as a testament to their resilience, adaptability, and enduring appeal.

American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament

The American Staffordshire Terrier, affectionately known as the AmStaff, is renowned for its loyal, confident, and good-natured temperament. These dogs are known to form strong bonds with their human families, showcasing their love and devotion. 

AmStaffs are courageous and tenacious, making them excellent protectors and companions for those who understand their unique personality traits.

American Staffordshire Terrier Physical Characteristics

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a medium-sized and muscular breed with a well-balanced and sturdy build. They have a strong and powerful appearance combined with agility and athleticism.

One of the notable features of this breed is their broad and deep chest, which provides ample room for lung capacity and contributes to their endurance. Their neck is muscular and slightly arched, leading to a well-set head.

Head: The head of an American Staffordshire Terrier is broad and medium-sized, with strong jaws and well-defined cheek muscles. They have a distinct stop between the forehead and the muzzle. The breed is known for their deep, expressive eyes that are round and set wide apart. The eyes can range in color, including shades of brown and amber.

Ears: The ears of the American Staffordshire Terrier are set high on the head and can be either cropped or left natural. If cropped, the ears are usually erect. However, if left natural, the ears are medium-sized and fold over, giving a soft and friendly expression.

Coat: These dogs have a short and dense coat that lies close to the body. The coat is glossy and can come in various colors, including solid colors such as black, blue, fawn, and red. Some American Staffordshire Terriers may also exhibit brindle patterns.

Size: In terms of size, males typically stand between 18 to 19 inches (45 to 48 cm) at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, ranging from 17 to 18 inches (43 to 45 cm). The breed’s weight can vary between 55 to 70 pounds (25 to 32 kg), with males generally being larger and heavier than females.

Overall, the physical characteristics of the American Staffordshire Terrier reflect their strength, agility, and athleticism. Their well-proportioned body, powerful head, and glossy coat contribute to their distinctive appearance.

American Staffordshire Terrier Personality  

The American Staffordshire Terrier, affectionately known as the AmStaff, is a breed with a bold and confident personality. These dogs are known for their unwavering loyalty and affection towards their family, making them excellent companions. 

However, they also possess a strong protective instinct, which may lead to wariness around strangers. Early socialization and consistent training are essential to ensure a well-rounded and well-behaved AmStaff.

American Staffordshire Terrier vs American Pitbull Terrier

AspectAmerican Staffordshire TerrierAmerican Pitbull Terrier
Size17-19 inches tall17-21 inches tall
Weight40-70 pounds30-65 pounds
Life Expectancy12-16 years12-15 years
TemperamentFriendly, Confident, Good-NaturedLoyal, Affectionate, Energetic
TrainingEarly socialization and consistent trainingEarly socialization and consistent training
Exercise NeedsModerate to highHigh
GroomingLow-maintenance, regular brushingLow-maintenance, regular brushing

While the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pitbull Terrier share a common ancestry, they have evolved into distinct breeds with unique traits and temperaments. 

American Staffordshire Terrier: Bred for show purposes, this breed is known for its muscular build, strong jaw, and friendly disposition. They are well-suited as family pets and excel in obedience training.

American Pitbull Terrier: Historically bred for dogfighting, this breed is typically more agile and athletic than the American Staffordshire Terrier. They require proper socialization and training to curb any potential aggression, but they can also make excellent companions with the right guidance. Learn more about the American Pit bull terrier.

It’s essential to remember that each dog has its own individual personality, regardless of breed, and proper training and socialization are key factors in ensuring a well-adjusted pet.

American Staffordshire Terrier Compatibility with Different Lifestyles

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a versatile breed that adapts well to various lifestyles. Whether you’re an active individual or a family with children, this breed can fit right in with your daily routine. Let’s explore their compatibility with different living situations. 

Active Individuals 

AmStaffs thrive in active households where they can engage in regular exercise and playtime. Their high energy levels make them excellent companions for jogging, hiking, and other outdoor activities. 

Families with Children 

Known for their affectionate nature and patience with kids, American Staffordshire Terriers are great family pets. Supervised playtime and proper socialization from a young age can help create strong bonds between the dog and children. 

Urban Living 

While they can adapt to apartment living, AmStaffs require sufficient exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Ensure they have access to a nearby park or a yard for regular outdoor activities. 

Multi-Pet Households 

With proper socialization and training, AmStaffs can get along well with other pets. However, they may have a tendency towards dog-aggression, so close monitoring and gradual introductions are essential for a harmonious multi-pet household.

American Staffordshire Terrier Training and Socialization

Training and socialization are crucial elements in raising a well-rounded and well-behaved American Staffordshire Terrier. Early exposure to different people, animals, and environments can lead to a more confident and adaptable dog. 


  1. Start early: Begin training as soon as you bring your American Staffordshire Terrier puppy home.
  2. Positive reinforcement: Use rewards-based training methods to encourage good behavior.
  3. Consistency: Maintain a consistent routine and set of expectations to avoid confusion.


  • Puppy classes: Enroll your pup in a reputable puppy socialization class to expose them to other dogs and humans.
  • Diverse experiences: Introduce your American Staffordshire Terrier to various environments, people, and animals to help them adjust to new situations.
  • Supervised playdates: Schedule playdates with other well-behaved dogs to further their social skills and confidence.

Remember, a well-trained and socialized American Staffordshire Terrier is a happy and well-adjusted companion.

Common American Staffordshire Terrier  Health

Like all dog breeds, the American Staffordshire Terrier can be prone to certain health problems. However, with proper care and regular checkups, many of these can be managed or even prevented. 

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common genetic condition in many breeds, including the American Staffordshire Terrier. It occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain. Also common is elbow dysplasia
  • Heart Disease: American Staffordshire Terriers can be susceptible to various types of heart disease, such as congenital heart defects or dilated cardiomyopathy.
  • Allergies: Skin allergies and food sensitivities are not uncommon in this breed. Regular grooming and a healthy diet can help manage these issues.
  • Thyroid Issues: Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, can affect American Staffordshire Terriers. Regular blood tests can help detect this issue early.

Common Health Issues in Older American Staffordshire Terriers 

As lovable and loyal as American Staffordshire Terriers are, they can be prone to certain health issues as they age. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common ailments that can affect older Staffies: 

  • Urinary tract infections (UTI):

UTIs are infections of the urinary system and can be quite painful for your furry friend. Symptoms include frequent urination, blood in the urine, and straining to urinate. If you notice these signs, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Autoimmune diseases:

Autoimmune diseases occur when your dog’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own body. Common autoimmune diseases in American Staffordshire Terriers include immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMTP). These conditions can be managed with the help of your veterinarian.

  • Spondylosis:

Spondylosis is a degenerative condition that affects the spine, resulting in the formation of bone spurs. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility for your Staffy. Treatment options include pain management, weight management, and physical therapy.

  • Osteoarthritis: are common in older dogs.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints. As your American Staffordshire Terrier ages, they may develop osteoarthritis, especially if they have a history of joint injuries. Managing your dog’s weight, providing joint supplements, and ensuring they have a comfortable place to rest can help alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Feeding Your American Staffordshire Terrier 

Providing the right diet for your American Staffordshire Terrier is essential for their overall health and well-being. As a breed, they require a balanced and nutritious diet that caters to their energy levels, size, and specific needs. 

  • High-quality dog food: Opt for high-quality dog food that contains all the essential nutrients required for their growth and maintenance. Look for ingredients like lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.
  • Portion control: To prevent obesity, it’s crucial to measure and control portion sizes. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of food for your dog based on their age, size, and activity levels.
  • Feeding frequency: Establish a consistent feeding schedule, which can vary based on their age. Puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day, while adult dogs can be fed twice a day.

Feeding Table for American Staffordshire Terrier Puppy

AgeMeals per DayAmount per Meal
8-12 weeks41/4 – 1/2 cups
3-6 months31/2 – 1 cup
6-12 months21 – 1.5 cups
1-2 years21.5 – 2 cups
Adult (2+ years)22 – 2.5 cups

American Staffordshire Terrier Coat Color and Grooming

The American Staffordshire Terrier boasts a short, dense coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Common American Staffordshire Terrier coat colors include black, blue, fawn, red, and white, with brindle and various combinations of these colors also possible. 

Grooming an American Staffordshire Terrier is relatively low-maintenance. Their short coat requires minimal brushing, with a weekly brushing session using a soft-bristle brush or rubber grooming mitt being sufficient to keep their coat healthy and free of loose hair. 

However, this breed is not hypoallergenic, and they do shed, albeit moderately. It’s essential to pay attention to their grooming needs, particularly during seasonal shedding periods, to minimize loose hair buildup.

Adopting an American Staffordshire Terrier

When considering adopting an American Staffordshire Terrier, it’s essential to research and understand the breed’s unique characteristics and requirements. Below, you’ll find some key aspects to keep in mind before welcoming this loving and energetic breed into your family. 

Compatibility with Your Lifestyle 

  • Energy Level: American Staffordshire Terriers are high-energy dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Space Requirements: Although adaptable to various living situations, they do best in homes with a securely fenced yard for playtime.
  • Family Dynamics: These dogs are known for their loyalty and affection towards their family, making them excellent companions for households with children and other pets when properly socialized.

Training and Socialization 

Early training and socialization play a crucial role in raising a well-behaved and confident American Staffordshire Terrier. Consistent, positive reinforcement training methods, along with exposure to various environments and experiences, will help your pup become a well-rounded adult. 

Health Management

Regular veterinary check-ups, a well balanced diet, and consistent grooming will help ensure your American Staffordshire Terrier stays in optimal health throughout their life.

Adoption Considerations 

AgeWhether you choose to adopt a puppy or an adult, be prepared for different training, socialization, and health care needs.
Rescue vs. BreederAdopting from a rescue can offer a second chance to a deserving dog, while purchasing from a reputable breeder ensures a well-bred and healthy pup.
CostFactor in the initial adoption or purchase price, along with ongoing expenses such as food, grooming, training, and veterinary care.

The Importance of Not Weaning Pups Before 8–10 Weeks Old

When it comes to raising healthy and well-adjusted American Staffordshire Terrier pups, it’s crucial to follow appropriate weaning practices. Weaning too early can lead to a myriad of issues, which is why experts recommend waiting until pups are 8–10 weeks old. 

Weaning before this critical age can negatively impact a pup’s physical, social, and emotional development, leading to lifelong consequences.

During these first few weeks of life, puppies not only receive essential nutrients from their mother’s milk, but they also learn invaluable social skills and behaviors from their mother and littermates. 

  • Physical development: Mother’s milk is packed with nutrients and antibodies that are vital for a puppy’s growth and immune system. Weaning too early may result in weak or undernourished puppies.
  • Social development: Puppies learn essential social skills, such as bite inhibition and proper play behavior, from interacting with their littermates. Early weaning can lead to poor socialization and behavioral problems later in life.
  • Emotional development: The bond between a mother and her pups is crucial for a puppy’s emotional well-being. Weaning too early may cause puppies to develop separation anxiety or other emotional issues.

By waiting until the appropriate age to wean American Staffordshire Terrier pups, owners and breeders can ensure that these puppies have the best possible foundation for a healthy, happy life.


The American Staffordshire Terrier is a wonderful and versatile breed, suited for a wide range of lifestyles and families. With their unique blend of strength, loyalty, and affection, these dogs can truly be a loving and steadfast companion. Embracing their specific needs for training, socialization, and health management will ensure a long and happy life together. Be sure to know any breed specific legislation that might be in your state. 

American Staffordshire Terrier Frequently Asked Questions

1: What is the average lifespan of an American Staffordshire Terrier?

The average lifespan of an American Staffordshire Terrier is generally 12 to 16 years with good care

2: Are American Staffordshire Terriers good with children?

American Staffordshire Terriers can be good with children when properly socialized and raised in a loving and responsible environment.

3: How much exercise does an American Staffordshire Terrier need?

American Staffordshire Terriers are an energetic breed and typically require daily exercise consisting of brisk walks, playtime, and mental stimulation.

4: Do American Staffordshire Terriers have any specific grooming requirements?

American Staffordshire Terriers have a short and dense coat that is relatively low maintenance, requiring regular brushing to minimize shedding and occasional bathing as needed.

5: Are American Staffordshire Terriers prone to any health issues?

American Staffordshire Terriers may be prone to certain health issues, including skin allergies, urinary tract infections (UTIs), autoimmune diseases, spondylosis, osteoarthritis, congenital heart disease, elbow and hip dysplasia, luxating patella, thyroid dysfunction, and cerebellar ataxia.

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