American Staffordshire Terrier dog breed is known for its excellence as a watchdog, ever ready to afford protection to its adoptive family no matter what risks are involved. Though very loving and gentle with people in their care, they are fearless in the face of danger, and efficient in performing their guard duty. They make good family dogs, but those with small children should know that they tend to dominate the younger members of the pack, and may not be gentle enough with them. These medium-sized breed with short, smooth coat is also called Amstaff.
American Staffordshire Terrier breed originated in the United States as the first part of their name suggests. But the Staffordshire part is confusing. It probably came from the lineage it shares with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed which is a cross between the English Smooth Terrier and a Bulldog. This breed was originally called Bull and Terrier or Half and Half.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier had became popular in England as a fighter dog used in betting fights. When they reached America towards the end of the 19th century, they became as popular in the fighting pits here too. There were different types of these fighting dogs at that time due to differences in their size. These variations came to be known as Yankee Terrier, American Bull Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier. They were bred together to get a larger fighting dog, and the Staffordshire Terrier was born. Official recognition for this plucky breed came in 1936, and its name was later changed to American Staffordshire Terrier
Belonging to the terrier group of dog breeds, they have the characteristic appearance of terriers. Weighing less than 40 pounds and measuring just over a foot at the withers, these dogs can be best described as stocky and muscular. Head is tough with a typical rounded muzzle. They may have solid color coats or patched ones in various patterns combining white with black, brown or tan.
These dogs are known for their loyalty and devotion to the family to which it belongs. It is important to make your American Staffordshire Terrier really feel like it’s a part of your family because this dog is the happiest when spending time with its pack members. They are friendly to other known people too, but they are wary of strangers. They may express their displeasure by barking at not only people, but other pets too, including dogs. The presence of their owners reassures them.
These intelligent dogs are easy to train and very quick at understanding commands and following them, but they should be handled with a firm hand by a confident trainer. They do have a stubborn streak which should be skillfully managed by a dominant owner who maintains the ‘pack leader’ authority at all times. They need to remain active, and loves to have tasks to perform.
Grooming and exercise
They are extremely easy to groom owing to their short and smooth coat. Only light brushing is required, that too only once or twice a month. That will reduce the hair on the couches. They can spend time outdoors for long periods, and they do well in both hot and cool climates as long as the temperatures are not extreme.
They are very active dogs, full of energy, so they need a good amount of exercise and stimulating activities to maintain their physical fitness and good spirits. It should be kept in mind that they come from fighting stock, and need plenty of action to utilize their high store of energy. Physically active owners are a good match for these dogs as they are always ready for another game and another walk. They would love to accompany their owners on walking trails and while jogging but they need to be on a leash.
Common health issues of American Staffordshire Terrier dog breed
They enjoy good health but some common health issues found in this breed include progressive retinal atrophy affecting the eyes and coronary heart disease. Some of them may have endocrine problems such as hypothyroidism and suffer from allergies. Common musculoskeletal problems include cruciate ligament rupture and hip/elbow dislocation. Regular visits to the veterinarian may help detect these conditions and successfully treat them. These dogs are expected to live 12 to 14 years.