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 we all know has a very negative reputation.
We don’t 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 take a moment to discuss the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier that makes so many Americans afraid of them.
People haven’t always feared this dog breed 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) in 1936. Back then, 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 crossbreed 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 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 1900s, which kick started the urban legend that these animals are naturally aggressive simply because of 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.
This brings us to…
A firm belief that we here at IndulgeYourPet is that there is no such thing as a bad dog or 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.
(Yes, they were initially bred to fight bulls!)
Size and Physical Characteristics of an American Staffordshire Terrier.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the larger Terrier breeds in their group. They typically range between 17 to 19 inches tall and weigh around 50-70 lbs; it’s no wonder these terriers can be intimidating to those who have an intrinsic fear of them.
The American Staffordshire Terrier dog can come in many different colors, both solid or mixed; the primary distinguishing characteristic of the breed will be its large, somewhat square head, with its pronounced cheek muscles that make them a potentially 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 Terrier, is that they’ll require very little care regarding grooming because their coat is very short and smooth. Typically, you’ll find that just a good brushing once or twice a week is all that is needed assuming that they aren’t getting a lot of loving and pet downs from you daily.
American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament and Training
One of the most ironic things about Amstaffs is that despite their reputation as a killer, they are pretty sweet and often display a very comical disposition. However, it is true that these dogs can be highly 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 brilliant, particularly if you begin their training when they’re a puppy.
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 developed for protection, hunting, and in some cases, just companionship. And by understanding “why” a breed was created, one can often better understand a particular dog breed’s nature.
And this is where…
We run into a bit of difficulty regarding the American Staffordshire Terrier because this dog was initially bred to be a hunter and was then bred to fight other dogs and, in some cases, even other animals (bull baiting)!
And while this…
Heritage can be overcome; it’s essential 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 chooses to own an American Staffordshire Terrier, they need to take that responsibility very seriously. It also means that they need to research the dog breeder they decide to work with and be sure to take the obedience training of their animal very seriously.
Note: Please be aware that breed-specific stereotypes and generalizations can perpetuate biases. Considering individual temperament and behavior when discussing any dog breed is essential.
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 regions 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 species may have an increased risk for specific 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:
Which can be pretty pricey if you’re American Staffordshire does contract one of these issues.
Which brings us…
The last top that we wanted to discuss is insurance. As you’ve probably noticed, we here at IndulgeYourPet don’t like to “sugarcoat” 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…
What we would want to see happen is for you to one day find yourself deciding 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 explore at least what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on them so that if your pet does develop a costly medical condition, you won’t be forced to go into debt to keep your loved one alive or pain-free.
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies, please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.