American Staffordshire Terrier

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American Staffordshire Terrier

Strong and muscular, the American Staffordshire Terrier is famous for its impressive strength, protective nature, and fearless courage. Although they look a bit serious and often laid back, they are also loving and affectionate with their human family. Today they are popular pet dogs and sometimes used as a military dog. 

Other Names Am Staff, AmStaff, Staffordshire
Color Black, Blue, Brown, White
Height Males: 18-22 inches. Females: 17-21 inches.
Weight Males: 56-67 pounds. Females: 56-67 pounds.
Life Span 12-16 years
Personality Confident, Smart, Good-Natured
Exercise Regular Exercise
Popularity #85
Groom Needs Occasional
Kids Friendly Yes with supervision
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog
Family Dog Yes
Litter Size 5-7

American Staffordshire Terrier Pictures

American Staffordshire Terrier Video


The American-bred AmStaff is an athletic and energetic dog of medium size. A broad head with squared jawbones is a physical hallmark. Their smooth, stiff, short coat comes in almost any color, whether solid, part or patched. As highly energetic dogs, they require a lot of exercises. A well-bred American Staffordshire Terrier is a confident, good-natured, and smart dog, submissive to training.

As medium-sized dogs, a full-grown male stands 17-19 inches at the shoulder, no huger than a similar female, except in a few cases. The males are, however, stockier and more muscular than the females and would weigh somewhere around 50-70 pounds. A female AmStaff weighs in the range of 40-55 pounds. Classed under the Terrier Group by the American Kennel Club, they have an average lifespan of 13-16 years.

Living with American Staffordshire Terrier

The AmStaff’s short, stiff coat is easy to take care of. Weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush is usually enough to remove any dirt or other foreign matter and keep the coat shiny. Generally, this breed doesn’t have much of a “doggy odor” and can go without a bath for some time. Bathing is only necessary when as needed, and it shouldn’t be very frequently. 

Brush the dog’s teeth at least a few times a week to remove tartar buildup and keep fresh breath. Also, the owner needs to check their ears weekly for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that may indicate an infection. And trim the nails regularly to prevent painful splitting, cracking, or a broken nail.

An athletic, energetic dog such as the American Staffordshire Terrier requires a lot of exercise. It is not appropriate to leave the dog out in a yard all day. Generally, daily walks and play sessions in a fenced yard can help the American Staffordshire Terrier get the exercise that he needs to keep healthy and happy. At least an hour of exercise throughout the day is ideal, and more is better.

And it is not a good idea to take your American Staffordshire Terrier to dog parks because he may involve in a fight. 

In addition, many AmStaffs like to participate in canine sports such as obedience, agility, and dock diving, and they can even be trained in search-and-rescue and perform well.

Generally, it is recommended to feed an American Staffordshire Terrier with two to two and a half cups of high-quality dry dog food every day, divided into two meals. More importantly, the food amount should depend on the dog’s weight, size, age, and activity level. There should be fresh and clean water at all times. 

Some dogs are easy to get overweight, so you need to watch their calorie consumption and weight level all the time. Treats may be an important aid in training, but excessive intake can lead to obesity. Also, owners need to distinguish which human food is safe for dogs and which are not. If you have any problems with your dog’s weight or diet, just consult from your veterinarian.

The American Staffordshire Terriers are prone to the following health conditions: skin allergies, urinary tract infections, autoimmune diseases, hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, hypothyroidism, heart disease, cerebellar ataxia, etc.

Major concerns: PRA, CHD, cerebellar ataxia

Minor concerns: heart disease, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism

Occasionally seen: hypothyroidism, allergies, cruciate ligament rupture

Suggested tests:


Cardiac Exam

Hip Evaluation

Thyroid Evaluation

Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Total Annual Cost: $2889

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

It is ideal to start basic training and socialization early to help American Staffordshire Terrier puppies become well-adjusted adults. The focus of training should be basic behavior, including sitting, lying down, and staying, as well as solid recall and traction methods. They may sometimes display a stubborn streak although they are intelligent and well-behaved. So it is recommended to use treats and plenty of praise for the best encouragement for the dog. 

Besides, agility, advanced tricks and obedience, and Canine Good Citizen training are all great picks for the intelligent, quick-witted, eager-to-please Amstaff. And they can be used for police work, search and rescue, nosework, and as a service dog.


The American Staffordshire Terriers were developed from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier after the latter was brought to America in the mid 19th century. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier itself was developed by a breeder in Birmingham, James Hinks. They were initially bred out of Bull and Terrier breeds. The Bull and Terrier breeds were descendants of a cross between a Bulldog and some terrier breeds, which may include the White English Terrier.

Around the 18th and 19th centuries, blood sports involving animals was an enjoyable and popular pastime amongst game lovers in England. The gruesome show of blood and the savage tearing of flesh in this animal game led to the banning of bull-baiting and bear-baiting in England, as it was considered a criminal act against the bulls, bear, and dogs alike. The Bulldog was a favorite dog for the sport, as it exuded an unmatched tenacity and stockiness required to win the fight. Although blood sports in the form of bull-baiting was outlawed, the sports lovers were not deterred. They invented a new kind of blood sport which was staged illegally in the pits of taverns, dams, and gambling dens. This was the age of dogfighting. 

In the dogfights, the breeders were quite disappointed at the clumsy Bulldog which packed the punch but could hardly win, for its lack of agility and athletic energy. This led to the crossing of the Bulldog with terrier breeds, and subsequently, the Bull and Terrier, as well as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier emerged. It was from the Staffy Bull (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) that the AmStaff (American Staffordshire Terrier) was bred in the U.S. Today, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a fine and well-recognized dog breed.

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