American Staffordshire Terrier

This heavily boned fighting dog was created in the nineteenth century. Though obedient to its master, this dog is always willing to fight, making him also suitable as a guard dog.


Americans diverted from the old Staffordshire Bull Terrier-type dog through varied infusions. There was not so much emphasis on breeding a distinct type as there was in developing a great fighting machine. The resulting dog is one of tremendous stamina, legendary courage, adaptability and intelligence and yet it is not inclined toward viciousness. The breed’s fighting background has imparted courage and a protective nature. This combination makes the Amstaff an excellent guard dog. Many dog enthusiasts have come to appreciate the Amstaff’s numerous physical and temperamental assets. The American Staffordshire Terrier has taken a secure place in the dog show world and there have been many specimens that have made great wins in the strongest all-terrier and all-breed competitions.


Amstaffs run from 17-19 inches/43-48 cm at the withers, depending upon their gender. Muscular, the American Staffordshire terrier has heavily boned limbs; a powerful, wedge-shaped big head with a deep stop; round dark eyes set low in the skull; and a tail that tapers to a fine point. All coat colors are permissible except white. With a highly developed protection instinct, this breed sensitively responds to its master's mood. Obedience training is easily accepted by this dog.


As with all bull terriers, this one is generally friendly with people and tolerant of children, despite the fact that it has such a potential for ferocity in its genetic background. It has been described by its supporters as "a pleaser not a mauler".

must know

During World War II, posters featuring this dog as a symbol of American courage and determination were commonly found.

Health Matters

The American Staffordshire Terrier suffers from no hereditary illnesses. Also, a bored Amstaff that is kenneled for long periods of time may lick its legs out of boredom and cause an unsightly redness on its white markings. The dog and its surroundings should always be kept very clean. It will benefit from increased “quality time” with walks, obedience training and companionship. As with any muscular, active dog, correct feeding of a balanced nutritious diet is essential.

Special Care and Training

This breed requires no special coat care. The coat will stay healthy and glossy if brushed and massaged. Long walks and galloping on a lead are essential. The American Staffordshire Terrier should always be on a lead or it will fight with other dogs. It requires special training because of its aggressive nature. Since it is intelligent, it will be quick to learn anything that its owner chooses to teach it. It needs an assertive training regimen.


This breed will live happily in both an urban or country setting, and is equally at ease in an apartment or in a home with larger grounds.


There are five to ten puppies in a litter. Firm handling is needed to train them. The ears should be cropped by a veterinarian around the twelfth week.

Gallery of American Staffordshire Terrier