American Staffordshire Terrier
Save search for breed
Form and Function
American Staffordshire Terriers are muscular, giving the impression not only of great strength for their size but also of grace and agility. Their gait is springy. Their low center of gravity help them to easily stay on their feet, however they are also quite nimble. The coat is short, close, and glossy.
Ready to see what dogs fit you best? Take our short quiz to find out!
Friendliness To Dogs
Friendliness To Other Pets
Friendliness To Strangers
Ease of Training
Terrier, Mastiff, Bull
Area of Origin
Date of Origin
The American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier descended from the same lines. The fist dog originally sprang from mixing the old type of Bulldog with some old terrier types, probably the English Smooth Terrier. The result was aptly called the Bull and Terrier, later to be dubbed the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They gained passage to America in the late 1800s, where they became known as the Pit Bull Terrier, American Bull Terrier, and even Yankee Terrier. Americans favored a slightly bigger dog than the English preferred, and with time the two strains diverged.
In 1936, the AKC recognized the breed as the Staffordshire Terrier (the name was changed in 1972 to American Staffordshire Terrier). The Am Staff evolved to have a sweet and trustworthy disposition around people. Unfortunately, these dogs have sometimes appealed to people seeking them for their strength rather than their loving abilities. Beginning in the 1980s, Am Staffs sometimes found themselves the target of breed-specific laws aimed at banning or controlling certain types of dogs. Despite this, the Am Staff is extremely popular among people wanting a people- and fun-loving dog.
Typically docile and playful with their family, American Staffordshire Terriers are also generally friendly toward strangers as long as their family is present. They are generally very good with children. They are a protective breed and should be introduced to new dogs carefully. They are stubborn, tenacious, and fearless. For all of their tough persona, the most important thing in life to this breed is their family’s fond attention.
Am Staffs need a daily outlet for their energy, preferably in the form of a long walk on leash or a vigorous game in the yard. Coat care is minimal.
- Major concerns: CHD, cerebellar ataxia, PRA
- Minor concerns: elbow dysplasia, heart disease, hypothyroidism
- Occasionally seen: cruciate ligament rupture, allergies, hypothyroidism
- Suggested tests: hip, cardiac, (elbow), thyroid, eye, DNA for ataxia
- Life span: 12–14 years
- Note: CHD seldom causes problems or symptoms in this breed.