Behind The Breed dogs

Behind the Breed: American Staffordshire Terrier

These stocky, muscular terriers are confident, smart dogs and if well socialized and trained, they can be loyal friends and companions! American Staffordshire Terriers are also known as AmStaffs or Staffys to some and have an agile, graceful, and springy gait. This breed is considered to be a pitbull type but like the other pitbull breeds, AmStaffs can get a bad rap despite being wonderful dogs.

Unfortunately, this breed is a pitbull-type and can be included in Breed Specific Legislation that’s based on ignorance and assumptions. There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding pitbulls.

This breed, like the bulldog and bull terrier, has an unfortunate history in dogfighting during the 18th and 19th centuries. Experts disagree slightly on what breeds came together to make the American Staffordshire Terrier but some suggest the White English Terrier and Black/Tan Terrier are part of the genetic mix of the Staffordshire Terrier, an ancestor of the AmStaff breed. Staffordshire Terriers made their way to the US in the mid 19th century, where they were bred to be bigger than their English counterparts. Eventually, two breeds came from these Staffordshire Terriers: the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the AmStaffs.

AmStaffs have been present in US culture for quite some time and has been an American favorite at different moments. One AmStaff, named Bud, tagged along on the first cross country auto trip in 1903. Petey the dog from The Little Rascals movie was an AmStaff Terrier too! Lastly, the most decorated war dog was Stubby, who was the mascot of the 102 Infantry Regiment during World War I and helped his team avoid mustard gas, served as a loving companion, and much more. Stubby wasn’t quite a full AmStaff but was a bull terrier mix!

Staffies are incredibly smart and love mental and physical challenges. When well trained and socialized (like any other breed), these dogs love to compete in sports like dock diving and agility. Without a confident trainer willing to work with and socialize this breed, they can get bored and standoffish; they can also develop other issues so training is key with this breed. They’ll try to overcome their boredom by chewing anything they can find and without the right training, they’ll also pull any person along on walks with ease. Staffys can be decent guard dogs but only because of sheer intimidation and hurtful assumptions, as they’re quite friendly with humans.

This breed is medium in size, usually standing 17-19 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 40-60 pounds. They have a short and smooth coat that’s easy to take care of and comes in various colors. The most common colors include blue, fawn, white, and red; some Staffys also have a mix of colors or are white and brindle. Weekly brushing can help keep their coats healthy and decrease the amount of fur you might find all over your house. While they won’t need baths very often, they do have a tendency to get bad breath so dental care is important!

American Staffordshire Terriers can be absolutely wonderful dogs and training can only make their incredible personalities and intelligence shine. They’ll do well in houses that have yards and high fences and people who are able to exercise and train them. They have plenty of energy to burn every day so a yard to run in and things to keep them busy would be great! If you’re an experienced dog owner and looking for a hiking or running companion, a Staffy would be a great dog for you!

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