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American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier
Other names: AST , amstaff , Staffordshire terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a warrior without fear and reproach, a strong, intelligent and loyal dog, capable of standing up for you without hesitation and fighting to the end.

Brief information

  • Breed name: American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Birth time of the breed: 1936
  • Weight: males 25-30 kg, females 22-25 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males 46-48 cm, females 43-46 cm
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years old


  • Amstaffs are compact enough and well suited for maintenance in a city apartment.
  • These are very powerful and strong animals, which are also surprisingly agile and agile.
  • Fans of the breed note the amazing intelligence and high intelligence of dogs. They are very easy to train, and a properly educated Staffordshire Terrier is able to understand its owner without words. It is worth mentioning that it is possible to grow a real friend from a puppy of this breed only with positive motivation. Rudeness, physical punishment, anger are unacceptable.
  • A characteristic feature of Staffordshire is a very high threshold of irritability — it is quite difficult to get the dog out of himself.
  • Amstaff's versatility lies in the fact that he copes equally well with both the task of a defender and a guard, and with the role of a wonderful spiritual companion.
  • Dogs of this breed are always ready to take part in the game, their energy is just bursting. It is noted that in relations with the host's children, they show enough patience, are happy to join in their pranks and entertainment. At the same time, Amstaff is always ready to react quickly to the changed situation. Sensing danger on a subconscious level is an innate feature of these dogs.
  • The American Staffordshire Terrier is well adapted to urban life. Thanks to a balanced psyche, he calmly reacts to the hustle and bustle, does not feel the need for long walks.
  • Keeping these dogs is not difficult. There will also be no special health problems, provided that your pet is constantly monitored for well-being.

American Staffordshire Terrier is a dog that embodies all the best that a person wanted to see in her. Love and incorruptibility, desperate courage and reasonableness, playfulness and solidity, unrestrained strength and subtlety of nature, physical strength and ease of movement – these seemingly absolutely incongruous features made Amstaff a legend dog.

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Activity ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Training ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Molt ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Need for care ?
Minimum ( Rating 1/5)
Friendliness ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Health ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Attitude to loneliness ?
Does not tolerate ( Rating 1/5)
Intelligence ?
Standard ( Rating 3/5)
Noise ?
Almost inaudible ( Rating 1/5)
Security qualities ?
Excellent ( Rating 5/5)
*Characteristics of the American Staffordshire Terrier breed are based on expert assessment and reviews of dog owners.

History of the American Staffordshire Terrier breed

American Staffordshire Terrier

The desire to witness violent and bloody scenes has been observed by a person since time immemorial. Medieval Englishmen were no exception, who loved to have fun, arranging dog fights with bulls, bears and wild boars. Most often, bulldogs and mastiffs were used for these purposes. The problem was that the dogs of these breeds were very large and not agile enough, which is why they often died from hooves or horns of angry opponents.

The desire to "modernize" the fighting qualities of dogs forced the owners to do breeding work. Terriers turned out to be the best candidate for crossing with bulldogs: dogs are active, mobile and, importantly, very smart. So, at the very beginning of the XIX century appeared bull terriers , which perfectly combined the best features of the predecessor breeds. After the ban on bullfights, which the English Parliament adopted in 1835, dog fights became fashionable, and the justified "terrierization" of the breed allowed to obtain a phenotype that was the best suited for this purpose. Variants of the breed name – Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier – gradually transformed and consolidated into a single name of the English branch "Staffordshire Bull Terrier".

English migrants who rushed to America after the victory of the North over the South in the Civil War brought a large number of animals to the continent. Brutal dogfights, by this time already banned on the islands of Foggy Albion, have gained special popularity in the New World. The main direction of breeding work remained the development and consolidation of fighting qualities of dogs. The United Kennel Club, established at the very end of the XIX century in the state of Michigan, chose the development and improvement of the Pit Bull terrier breed as the main direction of its activity. The dogs bred here not only took part in battles, but were also successfully used to guard houses, farms, and in hunting wolves.

American Staffordshire Terrier Puppy

At the same time, the voices of those animal lovers who did not share the passion for dog fighting and paid more attention to exhibition work were heard louder and louder. They started developing a standard and improving the exterior of the pit bull. As a result, a dog was obtained that looks very similar to pit bull terrier , but quite suitable for "peaceful life". They called her the Staffordshire Terrier, and it was under this name that the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936. This led to the division of breeders into two camps. Some registered their pets exclusively as fighting American pit bulls, others preferred Staffordshire terriers and did not recognize Pit bull terriers at all.

FCI in May 1971 officially registered Amstaffs in its register under No. 286. The following year, the American Kennel Club changed the name of the breed to the "American Staffordshire Terrier", thereby emphasizing that the branches have certain differences – the "American" is on average 8 cm higher at the withers and 5 kg heavier than the "Englishman".

The first amstaffs came to Russia in the 80s of the last century and quickly gained popularity. The high demand led to the fact that unscrupulous breeders did not bother to control either the appearance of the received dogs or their mental stability. This is the reason that Staffordshire Terriers began to be considered "killer dogs". Such notoriety lies entirely on the conscience of the owners, who either stupidly and incompetently, or consciously brought up aggressive and ferocious dogs. Today the trend has changed, Staffords confidently occupy the niche of companion dogs.

Video: American Staffordshire Terrier

Amstaff's appearance

American Staffordshire Terrier with uncooped ears

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a strong dog with a well–developed backbone and pronounced athletic musculature.

The height of males at the withers is 46-48 cm, females – 43-46 cm. Body weight – 25-30 kg and 22-25 kg, respectively.


Medium length, but very voluminous and wide. The skull is almost flat, wide between the ears, almost square in shape. The occipital protuberance is weakly expressed. The transition from the muzzle to a slightly convex forehead is clearly visible. The muzzle is of medium length, the ratio to the length of the skull is 1:1. The chewing, buccal and parietal muscles are prominent, dense. The lips cover the jaws, but do not look saggy.


The lobe is black, rather large in size with well-opened nostrils.


The jaws of the American Staffordshire Terrier are very powerful, strong, dense.


are positioned high and wide. Amstaffs have options for both sharply and short-cropped and uncooped ears. The latter option is rated higher if the shells are naturally short and very stable on the cartilage (the so-called "rose").


Set low and wide apart, round in shape. The color of the iris is dark. The eyelids are pigmented.


Teeth of the American Staffordshire terrier of large size, white. The incisors on the lower jaw are arranged linearly. The bite is scissor-shaped.


Strong, with well-developed musculature, evenly expands to the withers. The length is average. Folds and sagging are not observed.

Muzzle of the American Staffordshire Terrier


Amstaff's withers are clearly pronounced, muscular, with a smooth transition to the back line. The shoulder blades are long, pressed against the back.


Running amstaff

Short, straight, the line drops slightly to the croup. The musculature is well developed.


Slightly sloping, moderately rounded. Broad and muscular.


Wide and deep, rounded ribs.


Amstaff's tail is straight and short. Set low, tapers slightly towards the end. In a state of excitement, he keeps straight.


Forelimbs when viewed from the front are parallel and straight, set wide apart. There is a moderate high tolerance. The backbone is powerful, the musculature is embossed and athletic. The elbows look straight back and are pressed against the body.

Amstaff's hind limbs, when viewed from behind, are straight and parallel, with well-developed (but not excessively) musculature. The angles of the joints are well defined.


Arched, not large, round and collected.


amstaff at the exhibition

The coat of the American Staffordshire Terrier is short, moderately thick, hard to the touch, fits snugly to the body. Straight and shiny in appearance.


Plain – from cream to black, but not white, as well as two-tone, spotted, brindle or piebald. White markings are possible if they make up no more than 20% of the main tone of the Amstaff color.

The dog's gender is clearly manifested in its appearance.

Possible vices

Any deviations from the standard, depending on the degree of their severity, can be considered either shortcomings or defects.

The disqualifying vices of American Staffordshire terriers include: cryptorchidism, flesh color of the nose lobe, skewed lower jaw, overbite, deafness, long or cropped tail, light eyes, as well as ambling.

Photo of amstaff

Character of the American Staffordshire Terrier

If we talk about the character of Amstaff, it is unlikely that there is still a breed of dog whose character would be described by such diverse, and sometimes completely opposite epithets.

Amstaff with the host

Reliable, intelligent, loyal, endowed with a considerable share of fun and even some mischief, balanced and seasoned – that's what fans of the breed say about Staffordshire. Aggressive and vicious – this is the assessment given by critics of the breed. But the latter character traits are associated in almost all cases either with inept or with education aimed at the formation of precisely negative qualities.

Anyone who wants to get such an animal should firmly understand that the American Staffordshire Terrier is a very powerful dog with pronounced guard and fighting qualities. She will fully protect not only the members of the family in which she lives, but also the integrity of the territory entrusted to her from any encroachments. With such inclinations, a properly educated Amstaff will show aggression only if he feels threatened from the outside. The dog's intuition is so strong that sometimes it seems that it reads the thoughts of your detractor. The Staffordshire Terrier attacks very often without a "declaration of war". Barking and growling are for weaklings. The dog leads the fight to complete victory, it is almost impossible to stop him. In "peak" situations, this is quite acceptable, but in everyday life such behavior can bring a lot of problems, so proper upbringing and skillful socialization of the dog are very important. Having made it clear to the puppy that all members of your family are his friends, you will eventually get a loving, attentive and devoted friend.

Initially, one of the tasks in breeding the Staffordshire Terrier breed was to get a dog that was best suited to perform the function of a defender of the family. People of all ages will easily find a common language with Amstaff. For children, the dog will become a gentle attentive nanny who will patiently endure all the pranks of the kids. But leaving a dog alone with very young children is still not worth it.

The American Staffordshire Terrier in a quiet home environment can be the sweetest creature, striving in every way to cheer and please its owner. But the authority of the latter should be indisputable, and only a sufficiently experienced owner can cope with such a strong spirit and body of a dog. In order to control Amstaff and control his natural instincts, desire alone is not enough – you can't do without professional knowledge and skills.

American Staffordshire terrier with a cat
Amstaff walks with a child

Education and training

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a dog whose upbringing and training should never be allowed to take its course. From the very first day of the appearance of a puppy in your home, you need to clearly realize all the responsibility that you have assumed by starting this particular breed.


The main thing at the first stage is to properly organize the socialization of the animal. You can start immediately after the end of the "vaccination quarantine". Pay special attention to introducing your baby to other pets. A small nuance – for this purpose it is better to choose the most good-natured and affectionate pets (you probably know such in your yard or nearby). The puppy is very curious, and it is important that he has only pleasant memories from new acquaintances, since the fright he experienced will be remembered for a long time and will eventually turn into aggression. Surprisingly, the little Amstaff can even remember the breed of his abuser. This is fraught with problems in the future.

Often the owners of Staffordshire terriers, raising a pet, resort to two extremes. They either allow everything or forbid everything. Both are wrong. In the first case, when the dog grows up, you will look, to put it mildly, funny on walks with her. The sight of the owner vainly trying to keep the powerful Amstaff tearing off the leash (even for peaceful purposes) is simply pathetic. In the second case, you will grow up a coward. And from cowardice to malice is one step. And when your pet will make it – no one knows.

It is obvious that some people consider the American Staffordshire Terrier to be an unsafe dog. You should be prepared for the fact that during walks, the reaction of passers-by may not always be adequate. Do not engage in arguments and explanations in raised tones, the dog will feel your aggression and think that your opponent is a danger. It is not difficult to predict the consequences of such an assessment of the situation. The best way out is to pass by in compliance with all the norms of peaceful coexistence.

Rope game

Otherwise, the upbringing of Amstaff is not much different from the interaction with dogs of other breeds. They need to be engaged from the very first day of the baby's appearance at home. The principle is very simple. It says: "What is possible is always possible; what is impossible is impossible under any circumstances." What is good and what is bad should be explained patiently and persistently, but in no case using violence and punishment, without changing the rules of the game along the way.

Do not spoil your pet at least until you develop a stable behavioral stereotype in him.

Amstaffs are very smart and train well. The best results can be achieved by visiting special sites.

And the last thing: you don't need to raise a monster out of a dog. It won't make you cooler than a "cool Walker". Do not turn your pet into a tool for self-affirmation.

Amstaff care and maintenance

Where's my beer?

Amstaff is an unpretentious dog, and following simple rules will avoid many problems or at least minimize them.

Starting from the age of puppies, you should systematically, within the established time frame, carry out preventive measures to combat parasites. Treatment of fleas, ticks, deworming is performed with the use of special preparations selected depending on the age and weight of your dog. Vaccination is another procedure that is extremely necessary and should not be neglected in any case. Notes on all vaccinations must be included in the veterinary passport of the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Caring for the animal's fur is simple. For combing, a special brush is used, which not only removes dead hairs, but also massages the skin well. For daily hygiene procedures, you can use wet wipes (preferably without flavorings and hypoallergenic) or simply wipe your pet with a clean towel soaked in water. But it is often not recommended to bathe the American Staffordshire Terrier. This can harm both the skin and the coat of the dog. Do not forget about the need to use special gels and shampoos designed for this breed.

Trim the dog's claws monthly. Amstaffs do not really like to do a "manicure", so it would be better if this manipulation is carried out by the owner. And you can't trust an outsider to clean your teeth with a special brush, either. Do not forget to monitor the cleanliness of the ears and the condition of the nose lobe. Dryness and cracks in this place indicate health problems in the dog.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a dog by nature quite active, so be prepared to spend enough time communicating with it.

As for feeding, a number of important points should be highlighted.

  • A strong skeleton requires an increased content of "building material" in food – calcium, therefore vitamins containing this element must necessarily be present in the diet of the Staffordshire Terrier.
  • Meat should prevail in the menu, which can be given both boiled and raw. The use of exclusively dry food is not recommended.
  • The amount of food should correspond to both the age and gender, as well as the physical condition of the dog.
  • Amstaff's diet should include cottage cheese, milk, boiled eggs. It is recommended to add vegetables to porridges and soups. Meat and bone meal and bones are useful (only not tubular).
  • Puppies need to be fed especially well so that they actively gain muscle mass.
Amstaff walks with the owner

Health and diseases of the American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a breed with good health. These dogs are active and hardy. However, there are a number of diseases to which they have some tendency.

Setting the ears of an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy

First of all, we can talk about hip dysplasia. The problem is typical for almost all large dogs. This does not mean at all that all Amstaffs suffer from dysplasia, since a lot depends on the diet, the intensity of physical exertion, as well as on genetic predisposition. When buying a puppy, ask the kennel about the heredity of your chosen one. Find out how often his ancestors had this disease, what was its development. No one can say for sure whether your dog will be sick or not, but some kind of approximate forecast, based on the information received, can be made.

Bloating associated with digestive disorders is another problem that occurs in American Staffords. By contacting a specialist, you will find out which foods should be excluded from the diet (or, conversely, added) in order to normalize your pet's metabolism. Proper nutrition will help to avoid the difficulties associated with obesity.

Genetically, amstaffs may also be prone to allergic reactions to a variety of stimuli. Most often, this is manifested by redness of the skin and severe itching. In most cases, it is possible to accurately determine the agent only in the conditions of a veterinary clinic.

Eye diseases – retinal atrophy and cataracts – can also affect American Staffordshire Terriers.

Modern veterinary medicine allows you to cure or at least minimize the consequences of a very large number of diseases. It is only important to detect them in time. Carefully monitor the condition of your pet: how his coat looks, whether his ears and eyes are clean, how active he is, whether he has a good appetite, whether there are any problems with the administration of natural needs. It will not require any extra effort, but it will definitely bring the desired effect.

How to choose a puppy

Let's make a reservation right away: if you want to buy a thoroughbred Amstaff, then the options of the bird market or ads on the Internet are dismissed immediately and unconditionally.

The purchase procedure in a specialized nursery has been well worked out for a long time, and you should definitely familiarize yourself with it in detail, if, of course, we are talking about a place with a good reputation. In this case, it is important to know that when buying a dog, it is better to conclude an official contract. Sometimes the form of purchasing a puppy "under contract" offered to customers has a number of nuances that can infringe on the owner's rights both to the dog itself and to its future offspring.

The third option is to buy an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy yourself from an experienced and proven breeder. In this case, experts recommend paying attention to the following points.

Muzzle of an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy
  • When planning an exhibition career for your dog, ask the owner of the bitch to give you the opportunity to observe the development of the kids. The best future features of Amstaff are manifested at birth, on the third day of life and at the age of one month. It is unlikely that you will have time to see the baby on the first and third days, but the monthly one should be studied more closely. It is at the age of thirty days that the small American Staffordshire Terrier is an exact miniature copy of what can grow out of it if all the rules and conditions for raising dogs of this breed are observed. Do not take seriously the stories that the shortcomings visible at this age can be corrected with the help of massage, a special diet or some kind of "dancing with tambourines".
  • The puppies of the American Staffordshire Terrier, whose color is a lot of white, may not have their nose lobe, eyelids and lips completely colored, but partial procrastination must be observed. This process is finally completed by the age of 8 months (sometimes a little later). The color of the iris of the eyes acquires the final shade even later, so you need to be very attentive to the eyes of a pale blue color, especially if the puppy has a pale blue or red-blue coat color.
  • The puppy's coat should be short, "velour", without bald spots. Skin without ulcers and pustules.
  • The ears should be clean, without an unpleasant smell. The eyes are clear, without signs of souring. Under the tail – clean and dry.
  • If you notice a small hernia during the examination of the abdomen – do not worry. This problem can be solved by simple procedures.
  • A Staffordshire Terrier puppy at this age should weigh from 2.5 to 5 kg, look well-fed enough, without protruding ribs and maklaks. In the baby's diet, in addition to the actual mother's milk, there should already be other dishes: kefir, cereal porridge, scraped meat, cottage cheese.

An interesting fact is that a bitch sometimes regurgitates recently eaten food to her puppies, and the kids are happy to pounce on such a treat. This is absolutely normal and is explained by natural instincts. Moreover, this behavior indicates a well-developed maternal instinct, which with a high degree of probability will get to all the puppies-girls in this litter.

You are unlikely to buy the baby you like right away. The sale of Amstaff is allowed after he reaches the age of 45 days and the owner of the bitch performs mandatory branding and expert evaluation procedures. Your first visit to the nursery will be more of an introductory nature, but it will be quite useful to thoroughly prepare for it by collecting the maximum amount of information.

Photos of Amstaff puppies

How much does an American Staffordshire Terrier cost

As with most other dog breeds, the cost of an Amstaff puppy directly depends on which class it belongs to.

Prices for show-class animals that have good makings for a successful exhibition career range from $250 - $350 and above. Gradation in this case is associated with the name of the parents, as well as the personal inclinations of the puppy, the degree of expression of the best features of the breed.

Representatives of the breed class are cheaper – $180 - $250. These puppies of the American Staffordshire Terrier fully meet the breed standards or have minor drawbacks. They are unlikely to become champions, but they are quite suitable for breeding the breed.

Pit class is the cheapest. Prices range from $120 to $180. If you do not plan to become a breeder or spend time and money preparing a dog for champion shows, but just want to have a reliable friend and defender – the American Staffordshire Terrier pit class will be the right choice.

In any case, no matter which puppy you choose, the responsibility for his happy future lies entirely with you.

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