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  • Temperament: Confident, Smart, Good-Natured
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 81 of 194
  • Height: 18-19 inches (male), 17-18 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55-70 pounds (male), 40-55 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-16 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

American Staffordshire Terrier sitting, three-quarter view
American Staffordshire Terrier coat detail

GENERAL IMPRESSION

The American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.

HEAD

Head: Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop; and ears are set high. Ears – Cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held rose or half prick. Full drop to be penalized. Eyes – Dark and round, low down in skull and set far apart. No pink eyelids. Muzzle– Medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined. Underjaw to be strong and have biting power. Lips close and even, no looseness. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Nose definitely black.
Neck: Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin.

BODY

Back: Fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. Loins slightly tucked.
Body: Well-sprung ribs, deep in rear. All ribs close together. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. Chest deep and broad.

TAIL

Short in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point; not curled or held over back. Not docked.

LEGS

The front legs should be straight, large or round bones, pastern upright. No semblance of bend in front. Hindquarters well-muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out. Feet of moderate size, well-arched and compact. Gait must be springy but without roll or pace.

COAT

Short, close, stiff to the touch, and glossy.

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american staffordshire terrier illustration

About the American Staffordshire Terrier

AmStaffs are stocky, muscular bull-type terriers standing 17 to 19 inches at the shoulder. The head is broad, the jaws well defined, the cheekbones pronounced, and the dark, round eyes are set wide apart. AmStaff movement is agile and graceful, with a springy gait that advertises the breed’s innate confidence. The stiff, glossy coat comes in many colors and patterns. AmStaffers describe their dogs as keenly aware of their surroundings, game for anything, and lovable “personality dogs” around the house. AmStaffs like mental and physical challenges. They are highly trainable, as their many forays into showbiz suggest. When acquiring an AmStaff, there’s only one way to go: Do your homework and find a responsible AKC breeder.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
American Staffordshire Terrier puppy

Find a Puppy: American Staffordshire Terrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find American Staffordshire Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The AmStaff should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

Taking care of the AmStaff’s short, stiff coat is remarkably easy. A quick once-over with a soft bristle brush every week is usually enough to remove any dirt or other foreign matter. What’s more, a good brushing distributes skin oils throughout the coat to help keep it healthy. If an Am Staff gets into something particularly messy, a bath will probably be called for. Otherwise, bathing can wait until when and if he develops a “doggy” smell. As with all breeds, the AmStaff‘s nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can be painful and cause the dog problems while walking and running.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Occasional Bath/Brush

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

An athletic, energetic dog such as the American Staffordshire Terrier requires a lot of exercise. Leaving the dog out in the yard all day is not the right approach, however: Yes, he can run around, but the AmStaff is a people-oriented dog who thrives when he is made part of the family. Long play sessions with his owner develop his physical and psychological health. In addition, many AmStaffs enjoy taking part in canine sports such as obedience, agility, and dock diving. AmStaffs are even trained in search-and-rescue and excel at it.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for all breeds, but given the AmStaff’s strong will, physical strength, and exuberance, they are a necessity. The breed’s intelligence and desire to please make training a fun, easy process. Even so, certain behaviors, such as chewing and digging, may be hard to resolve. It must be noted that dog aggression can develop even in well-socialized Am Staffs; an AmStaff should never under any circumstances be left alone with other dogs.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

The Am Staff is a robust, healthy breed, and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for these health conditions such as canine hip dysplasia, cardiac disease, and skin and coat allergies. A genetic test has recently been developed for cerebellar ataxia, which causes a progressive decline in muscle coordination, first appearing between ages 3 and 5 years; now, by identifying dogs with the mutation, breeders can avoid producing it in their  bloodlines. As with all breeds, the ears should be checked regularly, and the dog’s teeth should be brushed often.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • NCL DNA Test
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier

History

Years ago in Great Britain, several dog breeds were created to excel in blood sports. They were expected to fight one another, or they were turned loose in packs against a staked bear or bull, with spectators betting on the grisly outcome. Such revolting pastimes have long since been outlawed. These sad spectacles did, however, leave us a happy legacy: Several of today’s most loved breeds—the Bulldog, the Bull Terrier, and AmStaff among them—got their start as fighting and baiting dogs of the 18th and 19th centuries.

When it comes to the bull-type terrier breeds, all can agree that the common component in their makeup was the Bulldog. (Note that the Bulldog of 200 years ago was a vastly different, more ferocious creature than the lovable “sourmugs” of today.) Argument begins when breed experts try to nail down which preexisting terrier breeds reside in the AmStaff’s genetic background. Some suggest that such extinct breeds as the White English Terrier and Black-and-Tan Terrier were part of the genetic mix that led to the creation of the Staffordshire Terrier, forerunner of the AmStaff.

Whatever the AmStaff’s true genetic composition might be, we are certain that working-class Brits with an interest in blood sports combined the stocky build and punishing jaws of old-style Bulldogs with the innate courage and “gameness” of terriers to create bull-type terrier breeds.

By the mid-1800s, Staffordshire Terriers had arrived in America. U.S. breeders developed a Staffordshire Terrier that was larger than the English version. Eventually, the AKC recognized the two types as separate breeds: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier.

The well-bred AmStaff of today is a more mellow fellow than his pit-fighting ancestors and has long been a great American favorite. This is suggested by the breed’s many sightings in our popular culture: In 1903, an AmStaff named Bud was along for the ride on America’s first cross-country auto trip (the subject of the Ken Burns documentary “Horatio’s Drive”); Petey, in the old “Our Gang” film comedies of the 1930s, was an AmStaff, as is Tige, the dog in the Buster Brown Shoes logo; and America’s most decorated American war dog was an AmStaff named Sgt. Stubby, a K-9 of World War I who counted three U.S. presidents among his admirers.

Did You Know?

An American Staffordshire Terrier named Stubby earned the rank of Sergeant and was the most decorated dog of World War I.
As the breed moved to America the names Pitdog and Pitbull Terrier stuck. However, American breeders wanted an animal heavier than the British breed, hence the name American Staffordshire Terrier.
The roots of the American Staffordshire Terrier can be traced through early Mastiff warriors, to the original Bulldogs in England, which were used in the bloody sport of bull baiting.
The American Staffordshire Terrier was accepted in 1936 for registration in the American Kennel Club stud book as Staffordshire Terriers.
American Staffordshire Terriers are intelligent and excellent guardians.
American Staffordshire Terriers love to chew and to dig in the ground.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL IMPRESSION

The American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.

HEAD

Head: Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop; and ears are set high. Ears – Cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held rose or half prick. Full drop to be penalized. Eyes – Dark and round, low down in skull and set far apart. No pink eyelids. Muzzle– Medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined. Underjaw to be strong and have biting power. Lips close and even, no looseness. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Nose definitely black.
Neck: Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin.

BODY

Back: Fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. Loins slightly tucked.
Body: Well-sprung ribs, deep in rear. All ribs close together. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. Chest deep and broad.

TAIL

Short in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point; not curled or held over back. Not docked.

LEGS

The front legs should be straight, large or round bones, pastern upright. No semblance of bend in front. Hindquarters well-muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out. Feet of moderate size, well-arched and compact. Gait must be springy but without roll or pace.

COAT

Short, close, stiff to the touch, and glossy.

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american staffordshire terrier illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLACK BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 279
BLUE Check Mark For Standard Color 037
BLUE BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 056
BLUE FAWN Check Mark For Standard Color 036
BLUE FAWN BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 434
BRONZE Check Mark For Standard Color 060
BROWN BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 065
FAWN Check Mark For Standard Color 082
FAWN BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 088
FAWN SABLE Check Mark For Standard Color 338
LIVER Check Mark For Standard Color 123
LIVER BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 332
RED Check Mark For Standard Color 140
RED BRINDLE Check Mark For Standard Color 148
RED SABLE Check Mark For Standard Color 155
SEAL BROWN Check Mark For Standard Color 433
WHITE Check Mark For Standard Color 199

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
BLACK MASK Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
BLUE MASK Check Mark For Standard Mark 006
BRINDLE POINTS Check Mark For Standard Mark 046
PATCHED Check Mark For Standard Mark 045
SPOTTED Check Mark For Standard Mark 021
SPOTTED OR PATCHED Check Mark For Standard Mark 106
TAN POINTS Check Mark For Standard Mark 029
WHITE MARKINGS Check Mark For Standard Mark 014
WHITE MASK Check Mark For Standard Mark 015

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