The American Staffordshire Terrier
"Amstaff Terrier"

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American Staffordshire Terrier
Weight: 57 — 67 lbs
Height: 17” — 19”
AKC Rank: 2008 #69
Lifespan: 12—14 yrs
Group: Terrier
Origin: United States

Dog Breed Info - American Staffordshire Terrier

Breed Overview

Originated in the 1800’s. Original function: Bull baiting, Dog fighting. Today, Companion. Colors, any partial or solid color, white, black, tan, white and tan, black and white. aka “Amstaff”

The American Staffordshire Terrier (Staffy) (Amstaff) and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier descended from the same lines. The prototype originally came from crossing the old type Bulldog with some old terrier types, possibly the English Smooth Terrier. The crossbreeding showed up in America in 1870.

By 1936 a new Staffordshire Terrier was circulated and registered by the AKC. The breed has been known, unofficially as the pit bull terrier, American bull terrier, Yankee terrier and pit dog, largely due to illegal dog fighting groups which have been outlawed for many years but still exist.

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The American Staffy is intelligent and trainable. Training needs to start when very young puppies and must be strict, as this dog was bred to fight and guard. Heavy socialization and extensive training are a must.

Use a clicker when training the Amstaff. You'd be surprised how well these big, tough guys respond to clicker training when it's done right.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Amstaff puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Generally, the American Staffordshire Terrier puppy is pretty easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

American Staffordshire Terrier @ the beach.
She just HAD to bring her favorite ball!

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The Amstaff is typically docile and playful with his family. He is generally friendly toward strangers as long as his master is present. The American Staffordshire Terrier is generally good with children but must be closely supervised. This is a protective breed and can be aggressive toward other dogs, especially dogs that challenge it. This dog is stubborn, tenacious and fearless and will protect his family and property to the end. For all of it’s tough persona, the important thing in life to this breed is it’s owners loving attention which can cause separation anxiety with a few dogs.

If you get an Amstaff with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No, not usually. Amstaff's have that aggressive fighting instinct and cannot be trusted.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

No, should probably be the only pet in the house.

Friendly Toward Strangers>

The Amstaff is wary of strangers UNLESS his owner is with him and assures him it’s all right.. Once the dog gets to know you, he’s a great friend.


The American Staffy can fool you. He can be quite playful and friendly.


Yes. The American Staffordshire Terrier gets a bad rap from those who fight dogs. Actually, the Amstaff, if socialized properly as a puppy and raised right, can be very affectionate. They love their family and show it with lots of kisses and physical play.

If you train a dog to be hateful and vicious, that’s how he will act. PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THE PIT BULLS WHAT THEY ARE.

If you train a dog to be loving, kind and gentle, that’s what you’ll end up with.

Little girl with her pet "pit bull."
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Please Watch The Pit Bull Blues!

Good with children?
Yes. This is a family dog. The American Staffordshire Terrier is loyal to his family and kids and will protect them as well as any breed can. The kids should be older, around 6 or 7 and taught manners toward dogs.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe. If the senior can walk a mile twice every day, as many can, this dog would be fine. The American Staffordshire Terrier is playful, loving, loyal and highly protective which a senior needs, and the breed thrives on the love of his master, which would occur. I would advise some last minute professional obedience training and I think the senior would have a great companion for the American Staffy!

Living environment

Farm or house with any size yard, fenced. A medium size yard would allow the Amstaff to chase balls and play fetch for exercise.

Temperamentally, the Staffordshire should live INDOORS with his family. He needs the social atmosphere of his people. Do NOT tie this breed up outdoors in the yard!

Energy level

Moderately high energy. 6 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate exercise. This breed must have enough daily exercise to burn off it’s energy or there will be problems. Jogging or walking a mile or around the block twice daily is good. Playing fetch with a ball in the park, anything where the dog can run is useful.


Yes. Naturally in his blood of the Amstaff.

Guard dog

Yes. Bred for the job.




Brush every other day and wipe off with a damp cloth to retain his naturally shiny coat. He’ll love the extra attention.

American Pit Bull Terrier puppy
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Suggested Reading For the Am. Staffordshire Terrier

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008 and includes a DVD.


Staffordshire Terrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Staffordshire Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been heavily socialized and started in obedience training. Here is a site with one of the best selections of breeders we've found.
American Staffordshire Terrier Breeders with puppies for sale.

Staffordshire Terrier Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Staffordshire Terrier and are looking for a rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Dog Rescue -- Nationwide Check the dog health records if possible for serious past illnesses.
If you don't find anything here, do a little surfing and by all means check your local dog pound, SPCA and other kennels.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site so you might find something here. If not, try a search for American Staffordshire Terrier Rescue.

Lazy Pitbull house pet
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Want more Pitbull Information?

The Proper Pitbull
A devoted pit bull "mom" and former humane welfare worker shares her experience and advice on training, adoption and other issues facing pitbull owners.


Dog Health Issues-American Staffordshire Terriers
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the American Staffordshire Terrier by various vets.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

Other health issues could occur with your American Staffordshire Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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