The American Staffordshire Terrier is a strong and powerful dog for its size. The breed has a stocky, muscular body that is agile and athletic. Their broad head features a short muzzle and a commanding set of jaws. Their erect ears are typically cropped. American Staffordshire Terriers have round black eyes, a tail that tapers to a point, and teeth that close in a scissors bite. The coat of this breed is thick, glossy, and short, and it exists in a variety of colors. The breed is classified by AKC as the “American Staffordshire Terrier”, and is referred to as the “American Pit Bull Terrier” by the UKC. Generally, American Staffordshire Terriers have larger heads and are heavier than American Pit Bull Terriers.
American Staffordshire Terriers are gentle and good-natured towards people. They are happy, social, and excellent with children. The breed makes a great companion, as they are affectionate and protective over their families and owners. They constantly aim to please, and are highly obedient. American Staffordshire Terriers are natural guard dogs, and they are highly intelligent and courageous. Selective breeding has produced American Staffordshire Terriers that are trustworthy, stable, and especially good dogs with children. It’s important for owners to properly socialize this breed to prevent the onset of aggressive behavior. When sufficiently obedience trained, American Staffordshire Terriers will get along well with other animals and dogs. This breed requires an owner that is active, understanding, and patient.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a comparatively healthy breed. Some known concerns include hip dysplasia, cataracts, and congenital heart disease. American Staffordshire Terriers typically live for 9 to 15 years. They average 5 to 10 puppies per litter.
CRITICAL STAGES OF PUPPY DEVELOPMENT 0 to 7 Weeks Neonatal, Transition, Awareness, and Canine Socialization Puppy is with mother and litter mates. During this period, puppy learns about social interaction, play, and inhibiting aggression* from mother and litter mates. (*Note: Some lines of dogs don't begin to get incisors until about 7 weeks, so this time period may last two additional weeks in those dogs--one can't learn to inhibit his bite if he has no teeth.) Puppy learns to use species specific behaviors that make him a dog. Practices body postures, facial expressions, and vocalizations and learns their effects on siblings. Plays chase games to learn coordination and timing, greeting behaviors to learn body postures and fight games teach him use of his body, learns to accept discipline during this time from his mother. Learns bite inhibitions and weaning. Mother dogs set up the puppies for these lessons. Very important to let mother dog stay with pups to teach these lessons. Puppies must stay with their mother and litter mates during this critical period. Puppies learn the most important lesson in their lives - they learn to accept discipline. 7 to 12 Weeks Human Socialization Period The puppy now has the brain waves of an adult dog, but his attention span is short. This period is when the most rapid learning occurs. Learning at this age is permanent so this is a perfect time to start training. Also, this is the ideal time to introduce the puppy to things that will play an important part in his life. Introduce the puppy to different people, places, animals, and sounds in a positive, non-threatening way. 8 to 11 Weeks Fear Imprint Period Avoid frightening the puppy during this period. Any traumatic, frightening or painful experience will have a more lasting effect on the puppy than if it occurred at any other time in its life. Avoid any elective surgery* at this time. 13 to 16 Weeks Seniority Classification Period or The Age of Cutting Puppy cuts teeth and apron strings! Puppy begins testing who is going to be pack leader. From 13 weeks on, if puppy attempts to bite, even in play, it is an attempt to dominate. You must discourage any and all biting because such biting is a sign of dominance! (*Note: A quick pinch of the puppy's lip while staring him in the eye and having a stern voice in his face works well in most puppies.) Pup is attempting to clarify and resolve the question of leadership. Establishing rules for pup extremely important at this time. It is important that you are a strong and consistent leader. Formal training must begin. Such training will help you establish your leadership. 4 to 8 Months Play Instinct Period Flight Instinct Period Puppy may wander and ignore you. It is very important that you keep the puppy on a leash at this time! The way that you handle the puppy at this time determines if the puppy will come to you when called. At about 4-1/2 months, the puppy loses his milk teeth and gets his adult teeth. That's when puppy begins serious chewing! A dog's teeth don't set in his jaw until between 6 and 10 months. During this time, the puppy has a physical need to exercise his mouth by chewing. 6 to 14 Months Second Fear Imprint Period or Fear of New Situations Period Dog again shows fear of new situations and even familiar situations. Dog may be reluctant to approach someone or something new. It is important that you are patient and act very matter-of-fact in these situations. Never force the dog to face the situation. DO NOT pet the frightened puppy or talk in soothing tones. The puppy will interpret such responses as praise for being frightened. Training will help improve the dog's confidence. Use treats and positive methods to coach dog at this time. Any training classes began at this age needs to be fun and non-stressful for the dog. Neuter or spay the dog now. 1 to 4 Years Maturity Period You may encounter increased aggression and renewed testing for dominance. Continue to train your dog during this period.
American Staffordshire Terriers were developed in the nineteenth century in the English region of Staffordshire. The combative, active breed was constructed from the Bull and Terrier types of years past. It was brought to the United States, where the breed was given increased size and a more powerful head. American Staffordshire Terriers make very loving companions, but this breed (along with its cousins) has gotten a bad wave of press from the media. It’s important for people to be aware that many of the news stories (like attacks involving “Pit Bulls”) are performed by ill-bred, mixed dogs that are a different breed altogether. The American Pit Bull Terrier is an excellent companion dog and excels in many different canine talents and abilities. Few breeders are able to list characteristics (besides bloodline) that distinguish the American Staffordshire Terrier from the American Pit Bull Terrier. For this reason, many dogs of these breeds are dual registered as Amstaffs with the AKC and Pit Bulls with the UKC.
The American Staffordshire terrier is not a new breed. Although it gained American Kennel Club registration and recognition in 1936, it has been developed since the early 1800's as a result of crosses between the bulldogs of that time and game terriers. One of the early and very famous AKC registered Staffs was Pete the Pup, (real name Lucenay's Peter), dog star of the original Our Gang comedies of the 1930's. Although the early ancestors of this breed came from England, the development of the American Staffordshire terrier is the story of a truly American breed. This type of dog was instrumental in the success of farmers and settlers who developed this country. They were used for general farm work, hunting wild pigs, bears, and other large game, guarding the homestead, and general companionship. A number of the early ancestors were also developed for the "sport" of dog fighting. The extraordinary vitality of this breed is a direct result of breeding for successful fighting dogs. This now illegal activity is, unfortunately, more often cited as the early purpose of the dogs rather than the general farm work. Although ancestors of the American Staffordshire were fighting dogs, the selective breeding since the 1930's has been away from the fighting heritage. The American Staffordshire terrier of today is a companion and show dog, rather than a gladiator. Although more rarely used on the farm now, the talents that made him a good all purpose dog are still to be found in the breed. The American Staffordshire terrier is one of the oldest of the terrier breeds. It originated in the early part of the 1800s, the result of crosses between the bulldog of that time and the game terrier. We can say that our breed is truly American. The American Staffordshire terrier is now being developed in accordance with the AKC Official Standard established in 1936, the year in which the breed gained ARC recognition. The Staffordshire comes in all colors: brindle, parti, patched, or any combination. In this breed it is easy to find a color you like. They are flashy dogs whose beauty and power immediately win the admiration of onlookers. Just a glance at one is enough to convince you that here is a dog possessed of great class plus strength unusual for his size. The versatility and temperament of an ideal American Staffordshire terrier are unsurpassed. They will hunt, go to ground with the same zest as other terriers, make excellent family guardians or stock dogs, and are not too large for the apartment. Moreover, because they have never been a pampered breed, have always been "all dogs," they have exceptionally strong constitutions. They seem almost immune to all the trivial dog ailments.
American Staffordshire Terriers have a short coat that is easy to groom and maintain. A regular brushing and dry shampoo are all that is necessary. Rubbing the coat of this breed with a cloth will add a glossy sheen. This breed is an average shedder.
American Staffordshire Terriers can live in a small household or apartment if they are sufficiently exercised. This breed is very active indoors and prefers warm temperature climates.
Most owners choose to use boots and sweaters during walks in cold weather. This breed is very vulnerable to extreme cold.
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