Open main menu

American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as the Amstaff, is a medium-sized, short-coated American dog breed.[2][3][4][5]

American Staffordshire Terrier
(2) Ch Rowdytowns Hardrock Cafe - AmStaff.jpg
American Staffordshire Terrier at a dog show
Common nicknames
  • AmStaff
OriginThe United States of America
Foundation stockAmerican Pit Bull Terrier
Weight about 50–80 lb (23–36 kg)
Height 16.9–18.8 in (43–48 cm)[1]
Coat Smooth
Color Any color, solid, part or patched
(All-white, 80%+ white, black and tan, and liver are not to be encouraged)
Classification / standards
FCI Group 3 Terriers, Section 3 Bull type #286 standard
AKC Terriers standard
ANKC Group 2 - (Terriers) standard
CKC Group 4 - Terrier standard
NZKC Terrier standard
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

In the early part of the twentieth century the breed gained social stature and was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1936 and should not be confused with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of the United Kingdom.[2]


One of the earliest AKC champion.

In 1835 in England the blood sports, once extremely popular, became illegal,[6] but the practice of some of these blood sports continued to be secretly practiced. Sports such as rat-baiting and dog fighting had grown in popularity because it was easier to hide such events. For dog fighting, a particular type of dog gained notoriety. Uniting the traits of the best dogs in these sports (Old English Bulldogs and terriers) was born the Bull and Terrier, a very varied type of dog that became the common ancestor of the modern breeds that are part of the Bull-type terrier group.[7]

Some varieties of Bull and Terrier from England and Ireland began to find their way into America[2] as early as 1850. Some dogs became very famous for their dog fighting skills. Already developed as an American dog, such dogs became a new breed, which was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in February 1898 as the American Pit Bull Terrier.[8][9] On June 10, 1936,[2] about 50[10] UKC registered Pit Bull Terrier dogs were accepted for registration in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Stud Book with a new breed name and a new purpose, belonging to the AKC terrier group.[10] The name Staffordshire Terrier was chosen, with the claim that the ancestors of the breed originally came from Staffordshire County in England. The name of the breed was revised January 1, 1969, to American Staffordshire Terrier to distinguish it from the British Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a separate breed from the Bull-type terrier group, recognized in England in 1935.[11][12][9][13][10]

The AKC opened the AmStaff Stud Book to UKC dogs for a few more times until the 1970s. Since then, only dogs with AKC registration were to be bred together, if the offspring was to be registered. This fact, along with the breed selection based entirely on conformation through decades, has transformed the American Staffordshire Terrier into a new different breed, separated from the American Pit Bull Terrier.[8][9][10]

The breed's popularity began to decline in the United States following World War II.

In 2017 the American Kennel Club ranked the American Staffordshire Terrier as the 83rd most popular purebred in the United States.[14]


According to the American Kennel Club “The Am Staff is a people-oriented dog that thrives when he is made part of the family and given a job to do. Although friendly, this breed is loyal to his own family.”[2]


A 1990s conformation champion

According to AKC's published breed standard which was approved June 10, 1936, 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."[15] His head should be medium in length with a broad skull, a distinct stop, and pronounced muscles in the cheek. The ears should be set high on their head and can be cropped or uncropped, but the latter is preferred. Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18 to 19 inches (46 to 48 cm) at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches (43 to 46 cm) for the female is to be considered preferable.[15] The nose should always be black.[15] Many coat colors are accepted. However, dogs with liver or black-and-tan coat, and dogs with more than 80% white are discouraged.[15][2]


Female blue brindle American Staffordshire Terrier

Their life expectancy is generally 12 years with good care. The breed may be vulnerable to skin allergies, urinary tract infections (UTI), and autoimmune diseases. Spondylosis and osteoarthritis are common in older dogs. Other notable issues may include: congenital heart disease, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, thyroid dysfunction, and cerebellar ataxia.

American Staffordshire Terrier pups should not be weaned before they are 8–10 weeks old.

Breed-specific legislationEdit

Worldwide, the American Staffordshire Terrier has often been included in breed bans that target pit bull type dogs and/or fighting dog breeds. Such breed-specific legislation may range from outright bans on possession to restrictions and conditions of ownership.


The 8th most popular dog according to Australian National Kennel Council.[16] According to Société Centrale Canine it is the 6th most popular dog in France.[17] According to American Kennel Club, it is the 83rd most popular dog.[18][14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "American Staffordshire Breed Standard" (PDF). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Breed Information. The American Kennel Club. Retrieved 29 May 2014
  3. ^ Campbell, Dana (July–August 2009). "Pit Bull Bans: The State of Breed–Specific Legislation". GP-Solo. American Bar Association. 26 (5). Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Pit Bull Rescue Central. Retrieved 2015-06-17.
  5. ^ "The Truth about Pitbulls". ASPCA.
  6. ^ Choron, Sandra; Choron, Harry (August 2, 2005). "Planet Dog: A Doglopedia". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780618517527 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Harris, David (July 24, 2012). "The Bully Breeds". i5 Publishing. ISBN 9781621870326 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ a b Zwettler, Marlene (February 7, 2013). "The Great Book of Bulldogs, Bull Terrier and Molosser: Part I Bulldogs & Bull Terrier". epubli. ISBN 9783844239225 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ a b c Stahlkuppe, Joe (April 2, 2000). "American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook". Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 0764147447 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ a b c d Zaurisio, Neylor (2019-05-16). "The so-called "modern" bloodlines". Medium. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  11. ^ Frome, Jane Hogg (2012-03-13). Staffordshire Bull Terrier. i5 Publishing. ISBN 9781593789879.
  12. ^ Smith, Alison; Smith, Lecturer in Contrinetal European Cinema Alison (2009). Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Collins. ISBN 9780007274284.
  13. ^ "A Breed That Came Up the Hard Way". 19 September 1971. Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via
  14. ^ a b Mar 28, AKC Staff; Mar 28, 2018 | 2 Minutes; Minutes, 2018 | 2. "America's Most Popular Dog Breeds: From #1 to #189". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  15. ^ a b c d "American Staffordshire Terrier Standard" (PDF). American Kennel Club.
  16. ^ "What are the top 10 dog breeds in Australia 2017? Here's a list". Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Le chien de race en 2018 : Bousculades dans le Top 20 du LOF". Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  18. ^ St, 24/7 Wall. "There are 192 registered dog breeds — here are the 100 most popular in the US". Business Insider. Retrieved 7 February 2019.

Further readingEdit

Listed by year of publication

  • Fraser, Jacqueline. The American Staffordshire Terrier, 1990
  • Ormsby, Clifford & Alberta. The American Staffordshire Terrier, 1956
  • Nicholas, Anna Katherine. Staffordshire Terriers: American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 1991, 256 pages; ISBN 0-86622-637-0
  • Foster, Sarah. The American Staffordshire Terrier: Gamester and Guardian, 1998, 139 pages; ISBN 0-87605-003-8
  • Linzy, Jan. American Staffordshire Terrier Champions, 1988-1995, 1998, 84 pages; ISBN 1-55893-054-X
  • Linzy, Jan. American Staffordshire Terrier Champions, 1996-2001, 2002, 84 pages; ISBN 1-55893-102-3
  • Janish, Joseph. American Staffordshire Terrier, 2003, 155 pages; ISBN 1-59378-248-9
  • Off the Chain, 2005, Bobby J. Brown; IMDb 0472478.
  • Beyond the Myth: A Film About Pit Bulls and Breed Discrimination, 2010, Libby Sherrill; IMDb 1993286

External linksEdit