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American Staffordshire Terrier (Pit Bull Terrier)… Your Guide to Best Care.

If there were ever a dog that got a bad rap in life it would without a doubt be the American Staffordshire Terrier.  You see, the American Staffordshire Terrier (and sometimes its British cousin the Staffordshire Terrier) are often indiscriminately labeled as a “Pit Bull Terrier” which as we all know has a very negative reputation.

And while…

We don’t really want to discuss whether or not there is such a thing as a “dangerous” dog breed, what can’t be denied is that once a dog is labeled a “Pit Bull” or an American Pit Bull Terrier, many folks regardless of how many times you tell them how “sweet” your American Staffordshire Terrier is, some people will only see a monster!

So rather than try and change minds…

Let’s just take a moment and discuss what it is about the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier that makes so many Americans afraid of them?

You see…

People haven’t always feared this dog breed, in fact, the American Staffordshire Terrier has a long and largely positive history within the United States, dating back to before it was first recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) back in 1936.  You see, the American Staffordshire Terrier originated when folks began breeding the older more established Bulldog and some of the pre-existing terrier strains of the day producing a cross breed between a “Bull and Terrier”.

This is why…

Within the United States the American Staffordshire Terrier will often be referred to by many names including: a Pit Bull, a Pit Bull Terrier, an Amstaff, an American Bull Terrier and even the Yankee Terrier.

So why have they gotten a bad rap as of recently?

That’s simple, it’s because the physical attributes of the American Staffordshire breed gained popularity within the dog fighting community during the early 1900’s which kick started the urban legend that these animals are naturally aggressive simply because their physique which includes strong neck and jaw muscles allowed them to be very successful in the life and death situation upon which they were so cruelly placed.

Which brings us to…

A firm belief that we here at IndulgeYourPet has which is that there is no such thing as a bad dog or a bad dog breed.  There are only bad dog owners who either neglect their animals or specifically encourage them to act dangerously.  Either way, the fault lies 100% on the dog owner and should never be taken out on the breed itself.

American Staffordshire Terrier Fast Facts

Average Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years.

Original Function:  Combat sports including bull baiting and dog fighting.

(Yep that’s right, they were originally breed to fight bulls!)

Color:  Variable.

Size and Physical Characteristics of an American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the larger Terrier breeds in their group.  Typically ranging between 17 to 19 inches tall and weighing around 50-70 lbs, its no wonder why these terriers can be a bit intimidating to those who have an intrinsic fear of them.

And while…

The American Staffordshire Terrier dog can come in many different colors both solid or mixed, the main distinguishing characteristic of the breed will be its large, somewhat square head, with its pronounced cheek muscles that make them a potential dangerous dog breed when owned by the wrong owner.

Grooming of an American Staffordshire Terrier

One nice thing about owning an Amstaff, or American Staffordshire Terriers, is that, because their coat is very short and smooth, they’ll require very little care when it comes to grooming.  Typically, what you’ll find is that just a good brushing once or twice a week is all that is needed if that that assuming that he or she is getting a lot of loving and pet downs from you on a daily basis.

American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament and Training

One of the most ironic thing about Amstaffs is that despite their reputation as a killer, their actually quite sweet and often display a very comical disposition in general.  It is true that these dogs can be extremely protective but isn’t that something that any dog owner would look for when thinking about owning a pet?

They’re also…

Quite trainable and very intelligent particularly if you begin their training when they’re a puppy.

That said however…

If you’ve read any of our other dog breed reviews, you’ll notice that one thing we always talk about is the “why” a particular dog breed has been created.  You see, some dog breeds were created to for protection, for hunting, and in some cases just companionship.

And it is…

This “reason” why a dog breed has been created that we can often times understand why a particular dog is acting the way he or she is and try to incorporate this “ingrained” behavior into the dogs daily routine and training program.

And this is where…

We run into a bit of difficulty when it comes to the American Staffordshire Terrier because this dog was originally bread to be a hunter and was then breed to fight other dogs and, in some cases, even other animals (bull baiting)!

And while this…

Heritage can be overcome, it’s important to understand that the main problem is that if an American Staffordshire Terrier does make a mistake, and it does end up biting another animal, or a person, God forbid, the sheer genetic makeup of this breed can mean that that “mistake” can be deadly.

This is why…

If someone does choose to be an owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier, they need to take that responsibility very seriously.  It also means that they need to do their research about the dog breeder that they choose to work with and be sure to take the obedience training of their animal very seriously.

We would also…

Recommend that folks also reach out to their local American Kennel society (AKC) in their area so that they can learn more about breeders in their areas as well as whether or not they may be able to adopt a puppy or puppies in their area that may have been rescued or abandoned.

Potential Health Issues with American Staffordshire Terriers

As with all pure breeds, you’ll likely find that certain breeds may have a increased risk for certain health issues.  And in the case of the American Staffordshire Terriers, this is no different, and simply another reason why if you are looking to adopt a Pitbull puppy rather than an adult Amstaff, you’ll want to be sure and ask your breeder about the following conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Bloating, or gastric Dilation volvulus.
  • Deafness.
  • Elbow dysplasia.
  • Myotonia.

Which can be pretty pricey if you’re American Staffordshire does contract one of these issues.

Which brings us…

To the last top that we wanted to discuss which is insurance.  As you’ve probably noticed, we here at IndulgeYourPet don’t like to “sugar coat” pet ownership.  We take owning a pet very seriously, because at the end of the day, when you choose to adopt a pet, whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re committing yourself to the well being of that animal for its entire life!

And the last thing…

That we would want to see happen is for you to one day find yourself having to make the decision between what you can afford and the life of your four legged family member.  This is why if you are considering adopting an American Staffordshire Terrier, we would strongly encourage you to at least explore what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on him or her, so that if your pet does develop a costly medical condition, you won’t be forced to go into debt just to keep your loved one alive or pain free.

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies in the industry, feel free to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Dan E. July 11, 2019, 1:38 pm

    I disagree. This breed got a bad rap not because of “polpularity among the fighting community”, but because the name is in the news everyday with incidents of mauling deaths – of humans and other pets.

    • indulgeyourpet July 11, 2019, 5:32 pm


      It’s difficult to argue with your opinion about these animals. That said however, here at IndulgeYourPet we as a whole seem to lean more to the opinion that no “domesticated animal” is born “bad” and when these animals make it into the news, it usually because of what some human owner has either done or failed to do to make sure that their pet was raised properly.

      One thing that I think both sides of the argument can agree upon is that these animals are not ones that should be owned by an irresponsible person. And… that if someone chooses to adopt an American Staffordshire Terrier, they should be prepared to assume the responsibility of that animal for his or her entire life and not allow them to grow up to one day be a threat to the general community.



  • Alper August 16, 2019, 4:38 am


    As an Amstaff owner, I can see Dan’s point and I agree that the prejudice among people towards Pit Bulls in general are sourced by the media coverage of bad incidents really happened. Ordinary people don’t know about this breed’s past and breeding reasons. But looking at the big picture, said incidents really happen just because their owners are not vigilant (or smart) enough to train them with care, taking into account the physical and mental characteristics of their dogs or simply because their subconscious ego of being strong, powerful and offensive.

    In any of the cases I’ve witnessed, encountered or informed of, I’m unable to find the dogs themselves guilty of the situation. Rather, I can clearly see what was done wrong in the past or present to lead to that specific outcome.

    People who are not careful enough to handle and train a powerful, stubborn and determined dog should definitely not own them.

    Do you like Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson? He is a funny and heartwarming guy in real life. But seeing his build and size, he could be an intimidating or even dangerous person for some, if he acted (trained) differently. I like to use that allegory about Amstaffs. Hope I could make my point clear, English is a second language to me.


  • Ellie August 26, 2019, 6:57 pm

    My husband and I are adopting a bull terrier from a shelter (not sure of her full breeding). Most of the people there have said she is very friendly. However she does not like one of the staff, possibly because when she had pups, 2 of them died and this person had to take them away from her. We were also there when she barked at 2 strangers (the only thing in common that we noticed were that they were females and had black hair). Since we don’t know her previous owners what is the best way to get her to be a home pet. She is between 1 and 2 years old.

    • indulgeyourpet August 27, 2019, 2:16 pm


      In cases like these, we always advise that folks proceed with extreme caution particularly if they don’t have ton of experience working with or rehabilitating dogs. Especially in cases where a Pit Bull is concerned because a “missteps” could end in a tragedy.

      Perhaps you should spend more time with your “potential” new family member at the shelter and see if there isn’t a local Pit Bull rescue expert you can consult with local that might actually be able to visit your animal specifically.

      We know this might not be the advice you were looking for, but one really does need to be careful when adopting a new pet with aggressive “tendencies”.



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