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American Staffordshire Terrier
Intimidating? Perhaps.  Powerful? Intelligent? Athletic? Uncompromising? Absolutely!  Despite the undeserved and horrible treatment of the American Staffordshire Terrier at the hands of the country that developed it, it is still one of the most unsung greats of the canine world.  Developed as a close worker and companion to the pioneers and homesteaders in early America, it's athleticism caught the eye of those who were clearly nondoglovers.  Developing and training the dogs for fighting, they did not distort the temperament unduly.  However, due to the intelligence and confidence of this breed, irresponsible or ignorant handling can produce a dog that is a danger and those interested in dogfighting exploited that.  This is likely true of many breeds that do not share the reputation of the American Staffordshire Terrier.  With this said, it is a breed that is best for homes of some experience.  While they can be excellent with children, cats and other animals as well as delightful canine athletes in any endeavor, they require a home that understands that dominance is not bullying and that training is fun.  Socializing is critical and an understanding of the mind behind those melting eyes is important as well. As a secondary issue, thankfully the vogue is turning AWAY from the cropped ears.  In Europe it is illegal and will hopefully be made so in the US as well as people recognize that dogs lack the need for any aspect of vanity surgeries and the pain, discomfort and often cruelty involved.
By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Terrier Height: 17-19 inches
Weight: around 40-65 pounds Longevity: teens
Colors: black/tan and white over 80% is discouraged. All other color patterns and colors are permissible Coat type: short, smooth
Recognized Registries: AKC and others
Overall Appearance: Powerful, athletic in the sense of a wrestler. Well defined muscles of notable mass on a compact frame. Head is broad and full with intense and intelligent expression.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderately low to very high
General Nature: Very intelligent, bold and confident
  with Children: generally very good when properly reared
  with other pets: can be good but as a Terrier will have a tendency toward viewing smaller animals as vermin and thus prey
  with dogs: generally very good when properly reared though intact animals of the same sex may have issues
Socialization requirements: moderately high since their intelligence and confidence will lead them to make judgements in situations, providing them with a good history of experience will allow them to make responsible distinctions
Ideal home characteristics: one that is able to spend time shaping this dog's view of the world, the more communication and trust between both parties the greater the potential for this dog
Temperament Notes: energy and intensity may vary greatly over the breed, but their intelligence and confidence seems rather consistent
Training requirement: Consistent with an energetic dog of intelligence... more is likely better but poorly done will only insure disastrous results.
Trainer notes: Another misunderstood breed with the potential to be one of the most common of great canine athletes and participants in dogsports of all types.  Uniquely powerful, agile and intelligent, this breed can be a joy to train, for those who have a clear understanding of training versus testing, and dominance versus bullying.  Mishandling of this breed can result in many varying aspects of serious issues.  Indulgence will create a dog unfit to live with anyone as it emerges to rule the home that has no leadership otherwise.  Harsh handling will create a dog ready to be on the defensive whether toward people, other dogs or the world.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: early 1800s but by the AKC in 1936
Country of Origin: England
Original Function: guardians, bearhunting, companion
History: Developed by pioneers and homesteaders of early America as a participant in the work of farm life as well as highly regarded family companion and guardian.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: white beyond 80%,
Health Notes: canine hip dysplasia; senior ataxia; eye problems
Health Testing: OFA or Penn Hip; CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • What health problems are you aware of in the breed?
  • What health issues do you screen your breeding stock for and may I see the results?
  • What do you look for in your breeding stock?
  • Will you be keeping a puppy from this litter?
  • How did you choose the sire for this litter?
  • What titles do you seek for your breeding stock?
  • How long have you had AmStaffs?
  • What do you consider a proper AmStaff temperament?
  • How do you train and socialize your puppies?
  • Do you have a written puppy guarantee and contract?
  • What do you look for in a home for one of your AmStaffs?


Web Sites: - Canadian Club's Rescue section, their entire site is full of GREAT resources for the AmStaff lover! By contrast the STCA site offers only contact information for one person in rescue

Other Resources
Breed standard: - The Standard according to the Staffordshire Club of America

Breeder Ethics: - The Code of Ethics for the Canadian Parent Club, it appears that the US Club lacks this vital code of conduct for breeders

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