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American Staffordshire Terrier

Quick facts

American Staffordshire Terrier AKC Group: Terrier
Height: Male: 17 - 19 inches, Female: 16 - 18 inches
Weight: Male: 55 - 65 pounds, Female: 50 - 55 pounds
Colors: any color, partial and combination (80% white discouraged)
AKC recognized in: 1936

Originating from the Staffordshire during the 19th century, breeders in the area crossed several breeds including those from the terrier and bulldog family in order to produce the American Staffordshire terrier.

When it was introduced in the United States however, it was further bred to possess a stockier and more muscular and powerfully built body. This produced the American Staffordshire Terrier we know today.

Boasting a build that conveys strength, this breed possesses a surprisingly enormous physical power. And although it is not a particularly large dog given its small frame of only around 17 to 19 inches in height among males, the force it can exert will betray its size.

As such, its natural physical prowess combined with its agility and active nature made it very adept to physical activities. These include physically demanding games and exercises like jogging and walking.

The American Staffordshire Terrier has got quite an intimidating look, partially thanks to its high-set ears that point upward as though they are short horns. It also has a rather large face set with a stern and cleanly lined mouth that hardly shows any gaps when closed.

It also has a short coat which can vary in color and pattern. Some are patched and some are dominated by a single color. And although any color pattern is acceptable, the AKC group says it should never be mostly white, that is to say, 4/5 of the dog's body area.


American Staffordshire Terrier Summary
Affection five paws
Cold Tolerance three paws
Ease of Training two paws
Energy level three paws
Exercise Requirements four paws
Friendliness : Children five paws
Friendliness: Other Animals one paw
Friendliness: Other Pets two paws
Grooming Requirements one paw
Heat Tolerance one paw
Playfulness five paws
Protection Ability three paws
Watchdog Ability three paws

Not to be mistaken with the Pit Bull Terrier which is primarily bred as a fight dog, the American Staffordshire terrier is bred as a show dog. Although these two are technically cousins, they are considered as separate breeds by the AKC.

As such, the American Staffordshire Terrier is often accused of having a violent temperament. This is mostly attributed to reported human attacks of Pit Bulls, although the Pit Bull breed is also considerably peaceful given the right training.

So contrary to some circulating false information, this breed is actually very affectionate, loving, gentle and peaceable around people. In fact, they make perfect companions even to children.

If there is any violent tendency to this breed, it only arises from its protective nature. An American Staffordshire terrier will fight to the death in order to protect its owner family. This makes them perfect property guards.

Otherwise, this breed is very outgoing, happy, playful and eager to please others. And should you want to suppress all possibilities of aggressiveness, exposing your American Staffordshire terrier to socializing at early age should do the trick.


The average lifespan of the American Staffordshire Terrier is 12 to 15 years.

While the American Staffordshire Terrier is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Elbow Dysplasia - A condition involving several developmental anomalies of the elbow joint in the dog. This keeps the three bones that make up the joint to fit together imperfectly, causing irritation and pain.
  • Patellar Luxation - Sometimes called a trick knee, this condition causes the kneecap to pop out of place. This can be caused by obesity, but is typically a congenital defect that can be inherited.
  • Cataracts - A cloudiness in the lens of the eye, with varying degrees of opacity. Symptoms vary depending on the degree of opacity.


As common to dog breeds of such physical stature, the American Staffordshire terrier requires regular exercise and exposure to physical activities. If you have a jogging schedule, you should consider taking your dog with you.

When it comes to grooming, the short-haired coat of this breed will pose little problem. This dog does not shed heavily and maintenance is expected to be easier. But regular grooming with a bristle and dry shampooing will keep its coat shiny and presentable.

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