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American Staffordshire Terrier

american-staffordshire-terrier

A Docile Protector

Smart, affable, tenacious

American Staffordshire Terriers are affectionate, devoted, and intelligent, medium-sized dogs. These fearless watchdogs are friendly with strangers as long as their owner is present. This terrier may be stubborn or aloof toward other dogs, but does well with children if properly socialized at an early age. AmStaffs make great companions for families, experienced dog handlers, active individuals, and singles. This breed is compact, and does well living in a small home. They are versatile and athletic; they enjoy regular physical and mental challenges.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:17-19 in. Weight:57-67 lb Lifespan:12-14 years

Size
3

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
1

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
4

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
3

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: American Staffordshire Terriers are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They are easy to train but early obedience and socialization are required to keep them from becoming overprotective and aggressive.

Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

Dental: American Staffordshire Terriers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


Staffordshire Terriers are protective and affectionate dogs who need a strong leader, daily exercise, and enjoys time spent hanging out with their family.

Positive Traits:

• An affectionate companion and family dog

• Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat

• Protective of family: good watch dog

• Compact - does well in small living quarters

• Devoted, loyal, and protective

• Intelligent, friendly, and easily won over

Negative Traits:

• Needs regular exercise and diet regulation to avoid weight gain

• Aggressive toward other animals

• May need supervision around children

• Sees cats and small animals as prey unless trained otherwise

• Must be properly socialized as a puppy to avoid aggression as an adult

• Likes to dig

Whether you are considering adding a new American Staffordshire Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every American Staffordshire Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the American Staffordshire Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert. 

Some health issues an American Staffordshire Terrier could encounter:


The American Staffordshire Terrier originated from a cross between bulldogs and terriers and was initially bred for bull baiting and dog fighting. They were also commonly used for general farm work and hunting. They are affable, smart, and protective of their family. 

American Staffordshire Terriers are a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12 years and can suffer from common conditions like knee ligament tears and hypothyroidism. Early diagnosis is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

Consult with a veterinarian if your American Staffordshire Terrier shows signs of the following:

• General reluctance to run or play

• Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

• Dry, scaly, and sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

• Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

• Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest

• Repetitive, compulsive whirling

• Any new or changing lumps or bumps

• Cloudiness to eye lens

• Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

  • Care

    Routine Care: American Staffordshire Terriers are smart dogs with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They are easy to train but early obedience and socialization are required to keep them from becoming overprotective and aggressive.

    Grooming: They have low grooming needs. Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly.

    Dental: American Staffordshire Terriers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    Staffordshire Terriers are protective and affectionate dogs who need a strong leader, daily exercise, and enjoys time spent hanging out with their family.

    Positive Traits:

    • An affectionate companion and family dog

    • Has a short, easy-to-care-for coat

    • Protective of family: good watch dog

    • Compact - does well in small living quarters

    • Devoted, loyal, and protective

    • Intelligent, friendly, and easily won over

    Negative Traits:

    • Needs regular exercise and diet regulation to avoid weight gain

    • Aggressive toward other animals

    • May need supervision around children

    • Sees cats and small animals as prey unless trained otherwise

    • Must be properly socialized as a puppy to avoid aggression as an adult

    • Likes to dig

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new American Staffordshire Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every American Staffordshire Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the American Staffordshire Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert. 

    Some health issues an American Staffordshire Terrier could encounter:


  • History

    The American Staffordshire Terrier originated from a cross between bulldogs and terriers and was initially bred for bull baiting and dog fighting. They were also commonly used for general farm work and hunting. They are affable, smart, and protective of their family. 

    American Staffordshire Terriers are a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12 years and can suffer from common conditions like knee ligament tears and hypothyroidism. Early diagnosis is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your American Staffordshire Terrier shows signs of the following:

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Dry, scaly, and sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest

    • Repetitive, compulsive whirling

    • Any new or changing lumps or bumps

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

American Staffordshire Terrier Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the American Staffordshire Terrier breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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