American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

INTRODUCTION

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a muscular breed known for being strong for their size; however, they are also loving and affectionate with human family members. American Staffordshire Terriers love nothing more than to be with the humans they love, whether it’s going for a run, playing in the yard, or cuddling on the couch. They are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them very trainable; although that intelligence means they need mental stimulation. If they don’t get it, they will put those strong jaws to use and chew on anything out of boredom. American Staffordshire Terriers can also use their strength to easily drag dog walkers wherever they want to go if they are not well trained. This means they need a strong, confident handler who will set boundaries without being too harsh. Socialization is also important to help the breed overcome their natural aloof tendencies when it comes to other animals. This breed loves to have a job to do, and does well in athletic competitions, police work, and obedience training. With proper training, the American Staffordshire Terrier can be a loyal cuddle bug and family companion as well as a competent working dog.

HIGHLIGHTS

American Staffordshire Terriers have much in common with American Pit Bull Terriers, even though they have been bred separately for over 50 years. They are considered a “Pit Bull” breed and are subject to breed-specific legislation. Some insurance companies do not cover households with this breed. Check local laws and insurance policy before adopting one. American Staffordshire Terriers were used in the barbaric sports of bull and bear hunting, and are still used in illegal dog fighting rings. This contributes to their undeserved reputation as aggressive dogs. The breed is very strong for its size and pulls on the leash when not well trained. They prefer to have a yard with a strong, high fence so they can run and burn off energy. The American Staffordshire Terrier’s short, smooth coat is fairly easy to groom, and the breed tends not to have a “doggy smell”, meaning that bathing is only necessary when needed. Although they can be good watchdogs out of sheer intimidation, American Staffordshire Terriers tend to be very gentle with humans.

HISTORY

The ancestors of the modern American Staffordshire Terrier came from England and were a mixture of Bulldog and Terrier breeds. Their mixed heritage earned them many names, including Bull-And-Terrier Dog, Pit Bull Terrier and Half and Half. Eventually, they became known as Staffordshire Bull Terriers. These dogs were used by butchers to handle bulls, by hunters to bring down wild boar and by farmers to help with farm work and act as rats and family companions, as they were very affectionate with humans. Later, they were used in the barbaric sports of bull and bear hunting for their tenacity, courage and muscularity. When these blood sports were finally banned, they were used in dog fighting rings, which sadly continue in illegal events to this day. Because of their misuse by humans, they have a reputation as an aggressive breed. Around 1850, many of these dogs came to America. They began to be known as American Pit Bull Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers, American Bull Terriers and Yankee Terriers. In the early 20th century, they were recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as American Pit Bull Terriers. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed as Staffordshire Terriers in 1936. In 1976, the AKC changed the name to American Staffordshire Terrier, as Americans had bred a larger dog than the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and it was necessary to more clearly distinguish these two breeds. Some breeders, however, preferred the name American Pit Bull Terrier from the UKC and kept it. Today, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier still have much in common, although they have been bred separately for over 50 years. There are very few differences between the breeds, although American Staffordshire Terriers tend to be slightly larger than American Pit Bull Terriers and appear to have more docile personalities. American Staffordshire Terriers are now used as guard dogs, assist in police work, and compete in weight pulling and agility competitions, as well as being family pets. They continue to have a bad reputation as aggressive dogs and are often included in breed-specific legislation (BSL) that prohibits them, and some insurance companies refuse to cover homes that have them. Check your local laws and insurance policy before deciding to adopt an American Staffordshire Terrier and contact your legislators if you disagree with the BSL.

Breed Characteristics:
Adaptability:
2/5
All Around Friendliness:
4/5
Health And Grooming Needs:
3/5
Trainability:
4/5
Physical Needs:
4/5
Vital Stats:
Dog Breed Group: Terrier Dogs
Height: 16 to 19 inches
Weight: 40 to 60 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 15 years

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