|Group classification: Terrier||Country of origin: United States||Date of origin: 19th century|
|Weight (M): 57 - 67 lb||Height (M): 18 - 19"||Life expectancy: 12 - 14 years|
|Weight (F): 57 - 67 lb||Height (F): 17 - 18"|
General Description of the American Staffordshire Terrier
Note: the breed recognized by the AKC as the American Staffordshire Terrier is very similar in appearance to the breed recognized by the UKC as the American Pit Bull Terrier, though the Am Staff is generally slightly larger.
Stocky and muscular, the American Staffordshire Terrier, one of the breeds commonly referred to as a Pit Bull, is a dog of unequaled courage and power for its size. The head is of medium length and broad, with distinct stop and highly developed check muscles. Small ears are set high on the head and are either cropped or uncropped. Dark, round eyes are set deep in the skull and far apart. The dog’s expression is alert and knowing. The body is thoroughly muscled with the back short and sloping slightly toward the rear, and front legs straight and set wide apart. The tail is short, straight and low, never docked. The Am Staff’s coat is short, glossy and stiff. Coloring can be any solid or partial color, but a dog that is more than eighty percent white, black and tan or liver is considered undesirable in the ring.
American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament
Perhaps no other breed in the world has a reputation as undeserved as does the American Staffordshire Terrier, or Pit Bull as it is often called colloquially. Almost everyone has heard stories of vicious Pit Bulls injuring or killing dogs, children and the occasional adult, and many states and counties have even placed restrictions on ownership of the breed. However, these acts are more often than not the product of intentionally brutal training by malicious owners. The American Staffordshire Terrier’s intelligence, bravery and great desire to please its master make it very easy for unscrupulous owners to instill aggression in the breed. However, the Am Staff’s natural disposition is actually very docile and friendly, even toward strangers. Many American Staffordshire Terriers are aggressive toward dogs and other pets, though this can be mitigated through obedience training and socialization. Above all else, however, the most defining characteristic of this breed is its undying devotion to its family and its utter need to be appreciated by its master.
Caring for an American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier needs a good deal of exercise, which can be accomplished with a daily walk or game in the park. Pit Bulls are easy to train, but take special care to discourage any aggressive tendencies in your dog during puppyhood. Since many people have negative opinions toward Pit Bulls, it might be a good idea to introduce your dog to the neighbors and show them how what they hear in the news does not tell the whole story. The American Staffordshire Terrier can live outside in temperate climates, but its proper mental development virtually demands that it be allowed to live with its family. Coat care is an afterthought, and involves a very occasional brushing to remove dead hair. Known health issues in the breed include canine hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, cerebellar ataxia, hypothyroidism and heart disease.