Things you didn't know about the American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a medium-large, muscular, strong and athletic dog that descends from early Greek Mastiff-type dogs that were used for dog fighting, hunting, protection, etc. In the early 19th century these dogs came to England and were known as Pit Bull Terriers. In England Pit Bull Terriers were used as fighting dogs against bulls and bears. In 1835 these “sports” were prohibited so people just started to fight dogs against each other. This continued on the American ground also, where these dogs were brought by immigrants from England, Ireland, and Scotland. In America, selective breeding increased the weight of these dogs and enlarged their jaws. Americans wanted a bigger, more powerful-looking dog. Eventually, the AKC recognized the two types as separate breeds. In America, American Staffordshire Terriers dogs were mostly used as working, all-around farm dogs and companions, but their negative reputation for being fighting dogs followed them. This is why they are often included in Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that bans them. Countries that have restrictions on the American Staffordshire Terrier ownership are France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Israel, and Singapore.
FUN FACT: Although they are known as separate breeds for over 50 years, the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier have a lot in common. They share a similar personality and activity level.
Male American Staffordshire Terrier is 18-19 inches tall and weighs 55-70 pounds. Female one is 17-18 inches tall and weighs 40-55 pounds. The head is broad and square-shaped, jaws are strong, and eyes set wide apart. The ears may be cropped. The body of the American Staffordshire Terrier is very muscular and strong, so make sure to train your AmStaff properly. If not trained properly, this dog will pull on leash and your walks could be frustrating.
The coat of the American Staffordshire Terrier is short, smooth, and easy to maintain. Regular weekly brushing using a firm-bristled brush will be enough. This regular brushing will help manage shedding and will keep the coat clean and healthy. These dogs shed at a low to moderate rate. The coat can come in almost any color (white, black, brindle, blue, fawn, liver, etc.) and pattern, except merle. Coats with more than 80% of white, black and tan, or liver are not preferred. The rest care is basic – trim the dog’s nails regularly, brush his teeth (American Staffordshire Terriers are known to have bad breath), and clean his ears.
FUN FACT: American Staffordshire Terriers usually don’t like to have their paws touched so start touching them on purpose since day one. This way they will get used to the touch, and it will be a lot easier to take care of the paws later.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is highly energetic dog that requires regular, vigorous exercise. They need both physical and mental challenges. Routine exercise is very important. If American Staffordshire Terrier becomes bored or doesn’t have a proper outlet for all his energy, he will become destructive, or hyperactive. Remember that the American Staffordshire Terrier has a strong jaws that can destroy all of your furniture.
FUN FACT: American Staffordshire Terriers love to dig, pull and chew.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a loyal, tolerant, smart and playful dog that loves to be around his human family members. These dogs are deeply affectionate and they create strong bonds with their humans. As with any other breed, early socialization is a must. Training is a necessity, considering this dog’s physical’s strength and exuberance. They need a confident, assertive trainer.
A well-socialized American Staffordshire Terrier is usually good with children. However, dogs and children should always be supervised when together. When it comes to other animals it is important to pay special attention. American Staffordshire Terriers can be aggressive to other dogs, especially those of the same gender. This is why American Staffordshire Terriers should never be left alone with other dogs that they don’t know and get along with.
Today, American Staffordshire Terriers are used as police dogs, guard dogs or simply pets. Although these dogs are generally very friendly towards humans, some people fear them because of their muscular body and reputation for being fierce.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is generally a healthy breed, but, as most breeds are, this breed is also prone to certain health conditions that (future) owners should be on the lookout for. These dogs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia (you can read more about hip dysplasia here), luxating patella, hypothyroidism (a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of certain crucial hormones which can cause the dog’s metabolism to slow down), cerebellar ataxia (a neurologic disease), allergies, and heart diseases. A healthy American Staffordshire Terrier has a lifespan of 12-16 years.
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