American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier or AmStaff was bred from fighting bull-and-terrier breeds of the 1800s. In its formative years, this dog breed was known as the Yankee Terrier, the Half-and-Half, or the American Bull Terrier. It was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936 as the Staffordshire Terrier but the name was changed to American Staffordshire Terrier in 1972 to avoid confusing it with the smaller Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

American Staffordshire Terrier Image
American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Let us seek some answers related to the American Staffordshire Terrier breed. Are they good dogs for first-time owners? Are they aggressive? Are they banned? Do they bark a lot? Are they good guard dogs? Are they good family dogs? Good with children? and many more questions that a potential dog owner may be concerned about.

Are Amstaffs good dogs for first-time owners?

American Staffordshire Terrier can make an excellent good first dog for some first-time dog owners. It really depends on the personality of the owner, and how much energy and effort they are willing to put into training and obedience. A responsibly bred, well-socialized AmStaff is a loyal, trustworthy friend to the end.

Blue American Staffordshire Terrier puppies
Blue American Staffordshire Terrier puppies

Is the American Staffordshire terrier a Pitbull?

Pit Bull is a description of a type of dog. American Pitbull Terrier (APBT) is a dog breed recognized by Kennel Clubs. American Staffordshire Terrier is also a pitbull-type dog breed recognized by Kennel Clubs. Other dog breeds that fall under the term Pit Bull include the American bulldog and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

What is the difference between American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier? Are these different dog breeds?

Yes, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier are different dog breeds. One difference immediately noticeable is that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is smaller.

What is the difference between Pitbull (APBT) and Amstaff?

American Staffordshire Terrier vs Pitbull comparison: The Amstaff is larger, heavier, stronger and generally more muscular looking than the American Pitbull Terrier breed. The APBT excels at agility compared to the American Staffordshire Terrier. Both have a high tolerance for pain and are extremely protective of their family and property.

IMPORTANT: If you are planning to get an Amstaff or a Pitbull, you must be a responsible master with a firm hand. You must learn about his body language and the signs that he is getting ready to fight or attack. This will prevent any untoward incidents.

Is the American Staffordshire Terrier a good guard dog?

The American Staffordshire Terrier is protective of property, which makes it an excellent guard dog. Because it is such a protective breed, the American Staffordshire Terrier must be taught the difference between good and bad strangers. Introduce your Amstaff to friends to teach that they are not harmful. American Staffordshire Terriers are also instinctively protective of their owners and families. This trait can be developed to train a Staffie to be an excellent protection dog as his instinct is to guard and protect his ‘people’ from threats.

Is Amstaff dangerous, aggressive, and unpredictable?

It is neither 100% correct nor incorrect to label a particular breed as aggressive or unpredictable. It depends on the breed as well as how a dog is raised. The well-raised American Staffordshire Terrier is affectionate, loyal, and good with children. That said, American Staffordshire Terriers are extremely strong-willed and are instinctively prone to display aggressive behavior toward both people and animals. They have powerful jaws, and an American Staffordshire terrier bite has the capability of seriously wounding victims.

Do American Staffordshire Terriers have locking jaws?

No. The infamous locking jaw is a myth. No type of dog has a mechanism that enables them to lock their top and bottom jaws together.

Are American Staffordshire Terriers banned?

People have a bias against Pitbull type dogs and against these dogs’ owners. American Staffordshire Terriers are Pitbull type dogs and are banned or restricted in many places including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Is the American Staffordshire Terrier breed a good choice as a family pet dog?

A well-bred, well-raised American Staffordshire Terrier is affectionate, loyal, and good with children, making it an outstanding family pet dog.

Is the American Staffordshire Terrier breed good with children?

A well-bred, well-raised American Staffordshire Terrier is good with kids.

Are American Staffordshire Terriers a loyal dog breed?

Yes. American Staffordshire Terrier is a loving, loyal, playful dog that loves to spend time with human family members. They are quite muscular for their size, which can make them challenging if they aren’t trained properly. They also have strong jaws.

Do American Staffordshire Terriers snort like a pig?

Yes. The Amstaff makes such sounds. These sounds of grunting are actually called reverse sneezing. Reverse sneezing is when a dog’s throat muscles spasm and soft palate are irritated. The dog will breathe in too much air through his nose and thus begin the worrisome sound of your dog sounding like a pig.


Ok, so let’s assume you have chosen the American Staffordshire Terrier as the best dog breed suitable for yourself. You have decided to find yourself an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy as your next family member. How will you choose the best pup? Let us look at some standard characteristics of the American Staffordshire Terrier dog breed which will help you select the right puppy, keep reading.

Choosing a good American Staffordshire Terrier puppy

The definition of the best Amstaff puppy depends on your requirements. Your expectations from an adult American Staffordshire Terrier can be broadly categorized as follows: Confirmation for show or breeding; obedience; smart guard dog; companion; homely pet.

Although it is tempting to look for all these qualities in one puppy you are planning to buy, it is almost never possible to find all qualities in a single pup.

If you want your American Staffordshire Terrier puppy to grow up to be a champion in the show ring, you should look for confirmation to the American Staffordshire Terrier dog breed standards. We have put together a general guideline for selecting an all-around good puppy for you. Our guideline not just includes breed standards, but also gives importance to temperament, appearance, physical details, gait, health issues, grooming needs, and maintenance.

Look for the following characteristics while choosing an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy.

American Staffordshire Terrier General Appearance

The American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged, or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.

American Staffordshire Terrier Size

Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18-19 inches (46-48 cm) at shoulders for the male and 17-18 inches (43-46 cm) for the females is to be considered preferable.

American Staffordshire Terriers
American Staffordshire Terriers – more than 80% white is not encouraged in the show ring

American Staffordshire Terrier’s Coat and Colour

The coat should be short, close, stiff to the touch, and glossy. Any color, solid, particolored, or patched is permissible, but all white, more than 80 percent white, black and tan, and liver not to be encouraged.

American Staffordshire Terrier Pair
American Staffordshire Terrier Pair

American Staffordshire Terrier’s Head

Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop; muzzle medium length, rounded on the upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined. Underjaw to be strong and have biting power. Lips close and even, no looseness. Nose definitely black. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Eyes dark and round, low down in skull and set far apart. No pink eyelids. Ears set high; cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held half rose or prick.

Amstaff head
Amstaff Head and Neck

American Staffordshire Terrier’s Neck

Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of the skull. No looseness of skin Medium length.

American Staffordshire Terrier’s Forequarters

Shoulders strong and muscular with blades wide and sloping. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. The front legs should be straight, large or round bones, pastern upright. No resemblance of bend in front.

American Staffordshire Terrier’s Body

Back fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump with gentle short slope at rump to base of the tail. Well-sprung ribs, deep in rear. All ribs close together. Chest, deep and broad. Loins slightly tucked.

American Staffordshire Terrier’s Hindquarters

Well muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out. Feet of moderate size, well arched and compact.

American Staffordshire Terrier’s Tail

Short in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point; not curled or held over back. Not docked.

Blue American Staffordshire Terrier
Blue American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier’s Gait

Must be springy but without roll or pace.

Faults observed in the American Staffordshire Terrier breed

Faults to be penalized are Dudley nose, light or pink eyes, undershot or overshot mouth, full drop ears, tail too long or badly carried.


American Staffordshire Terrier Videos


We hope you enjoyed reading about the American Staffordshire Terrier dog breed. You may consider sharing your views in the comments section below. Inputs and priceless experiences from dog owners, American Staffordshire Terrier breeders, and dog lovers, in general, help us better understand our most loyal friends. Thank you for your interest.

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