American Staffordshire Terrier: 5 Things To Know

American Staffordshire Terrier: 5 Things To Know

The American Staffordshire terrier (Am Staff, Staffie) is a medium-large, muscular dog with a squarish head. This dog breed is well-known for its courage, loyalty, and high energy level, but you can be surprised to hear that it is also a highly gentle animal.

Even though it initially created for dog fights, it is not aggressive toward humans. Dogfighting was banned in the United Kingdom in 1835, but this so-called sport exists even today, and this dedicated dog is still a part of that illegal and shame cruelty.

Everything you need to know about the American Staffordshire terrier:

1. History

Since the British Staffordshire Bull Terrier came to the US from Great Britain in the mid-1800s, it was crossed with the Bulldog, Black-and-Tan Terrier, and White English Terrier.

The goal was to create a new, bigger breed than the original one. In the very beginning, it was known as American Bull Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, and sometimes Yankee Terrier.

In 1936, the AKS (American Kennel Club) registered Staffordshire Terrier, the Am Staff’s forerunner. It combined the fearlessness of the terrier and the strength of the old-style British dog.

The new name was finally established in 1972, which was a moment when Staffie became an entirely separate breed from the original version. They still had much in common, though the American version was burlier, with more docile personality.

At first, American farmers kept these dogs catch rodents while hunters took them on a wild boar hunt. A peak of popularity it reached during the 20th century, especially the first half thanks to its courage and stable temperament.

American Staffordshire Terrier standing

Except for being a family pet, you can see it as police- and watch-dogs. Unfortunately, the Am Staff still has a reputation as an aggressive breed, mainly because of irresponsible owners and misuse.

Moreover, it was targeted by BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) in the 1980s. The aim was controlling and banning certain dog types. A few American cities banned this particular breed altogether, and some insurance companies have refused to cooperate with households keeping it.

Despite all that, American Staffordshire Terrier is still one of the most beloved dogs in the US and the most popular breed registered by the UKC (United Kennel Club).

You can see this gentle dog in the Ken Burns documentary ‘Horatio’s Drive’ from 1903 and the popular movie ‘Our Gang’ from the 1930s. Am Staff named Sgt. Stubby was the most honored American war dog and a national war hero, loved by even three US presidents.

2. Breed Characteristics


The energy level, watchfulness, and affection to the exercise and training of this breed are high. It enjoys playing, especially with kids, and usually adores traveling.

This intelligent, docile, compassionate, and fearless dog feels someone else’s helplessness, so you don’t need to worry about babies and older adults. It is ready to support and take care of them.

You can expect that your new furry friend is not kind and patient with other dogs, especially puppies. However, its attitude will depend on you and your command. I have heard many times that Am Staff is intolerant to cats. In fact, it is considered one of the main cat-hater among dogs.

American Staffordshire Terrier running

It seems to me that my beloved brindle Staffie Malena hasn’t heard about these claims. So, she rescued and adopted three cats and even a wild baby-duck from the street, brought them home, and raised them as her own children.

This dog is an excellent choice when you have demanding neighbors since it won’t bark much. However, once it starts barking, it will be heard far and wide. It likes to dig, so don’t let it stroll among your flower beds.

Once you bring Am Staff home, you will get a dangerous-looking baby that demands a lot of attention and at least 20 to 45 minutes of exercise a day. For example, my Malena adores grabbing a branch with a jaw and hanging there until tearing it off.

On the bright side, this dog won’t drool, but it will probably snore, which can be adorable.


Be sure that your new friend enjoys both mental and physical challenges, so you should find a way to occupy its attention as much as possible.

Another solution is to have a baby or adopt a cat, which will provide it with a friend and a permanent occupation. Your dear dog will adapt to these little creatures, take care of them, and snooze near their beds instead of running around tirelessly.

American Staffordshire Terrier puppy

Unfortunately, American Staffordshire Terrier is not playful only with its family, but also friendly toward strangers. So, if you need a guard dog, it is definitely not the breed of choice.

It will be so until it feels that you are in danger. In that case, it will show the attacker a ‘smile’ and take a defensive position while assessing the threat level.

Size and Look

The average American Staffordshire Terrier is approximately 18 inches (45.7 cm) tall at the shoulder and up to 80 pounds (36.3 kg) heavy.

American Staffordshire Terrier female
American Staffordshire terrierMaleFemale
Height18 to 19 inches (45.7 – 48.2 cm)16 to 18 inches (40.6 – 45.7 cm)
Weight55 to 80 pounds (25 – 36.3 kg)40 to 60 pounds (18 – 27.2 kg)

The color of its short coat varies from black, brown, fawn, blue, and reddish. Many have brindle patterns and white markings on their chest, head, and throat.

Staffies have a broad head with the dark, round eyes, well-defined jaws, and pronounced cheekbones. Their muscles are impressive, and movements graceful and confident.

3. Care

Luckily, the Am Staff has a short and smooth coat that doesn’t require routine grooming. On the other hand, take care to trim its nails regularly, keep it safe from too warm weather, and avoid walking in the rain.

American Staffordshire Terrier swimming

Even though my Malena adores swimming in the river, she freaks out as soon as the first drop of rain falls on her head and can’t wait to run into the house.

4. Diet and Nutrition

You should provide food high in proteins for your Staffie, such as raw bones, meat-forward pet food, and fresh meat. Keep in mind that it can gain weight over time if it doesn’t exercise enough.

5. Possible Health Problems

Although Am Staffs are generally in good health, they can have problems with:

  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Coronary heart disease.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy.
  • Canine atopic dermatitis.
  • Skin allergies.

In most cases, you can expect this exceptional dog to live from 12 to 16 years.

In a Nutshell

If you look for an American Staffordshire Terrier, you can adopt or buy it in numerous nationwide rescue groups, including Staffordshire Terrier Club of America and American Staffordshire Terrier Rescue. You can also find an American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Rescue Group in your state and adopt your new buddy. This dog will know how to reciprocate with infinite devotion and love.