American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Breed [Full Guide]



An American Staffordshire Terrier makes for a loving companion, fantastic friend, and valued family member. They're also intellectuals, athletes, and hard workers. With their courageous, brave, loving personalities, this amazing breed doesn't lack any character at all!


With all these wonderful characteristics, why aren't American Staffordshire Terrier more popular? As it turns out, they have a deadly and unfortunate history as one of the most commonly seen breeds in animal fighting rings due to their tenacity and muscular builds. However, the American Staffordshire can make the perfect pet to raise children with as long as they are in the right family! Let's take a deeper look at this beautiful breed.



About the American Staffordshire Terrier 

American Staffordshire Terrier belongs to the Terrier group and is often called "AmStaffs" by fans, friends, and families. Famously known for being strong and muscular due to its huge size, the American Staffordshire Terrier is actually very sweet and affectionate deep down. When they are presented with any activity involving their favorite humans, they pour out their best energy to enjoy every second of it. Such activities might include running, playing, or training.


They are passionately courageous, intelligent, and eager in doing various activities such as dog training, which they are very good at. Since they are competitive, when things don't go their way like they imagined it to be, they tend to divert their attention to other things.


They love chewing random things with strong and well-defined jaws or throwing tantrums by harshly dragging their dog walkers or owners. American Staffordshire Terriers need a trainer that can complement its energy. A well-trained American Staffordshire Terrier will be responsible, loyal, loving, affectionate, and trustworthy!



American Staffordshire Terrier Traits

Curious about the various traits an American Staffordshire Terrier has? See this list and its respective ratings through bones!




  • They are meant to be affectionate with family, clinging to them with all their might, showering love and sweetness (🦴🦴🦴🦴🦴)
  • Good and friendly with young children (🦴🦴🦴)
  • Friendly with dogs like them (🦴🦴🦴)
  • Friendly towards strangers (🦴🦴🦴🦴)




  • Welcoming to the environment of apartment living (🦴🦴)
  • Rookie owner's choice (🦴🦴)
  • Sensitive (🦴🦴🦴)
  • Fine with being alone (🦴🦴)
  • Adapts to cold temperature (🦴🦴)
  • Adapts to hot temperature (🦴🦴🦴)


Health and Grooming Needs:


  • Shedding level (🦴🦴)
  • Potential for drooling (🦴🦴🦴)
  • Grooming-friendly (🦴🦴🦴🦴)
  • General health (🦴🦴🦴)
  • Weight gain potential (🦴🦴)
  • Size (🦴🦴🦴)




  • Training intensity (🦴🦴🦴🦴)
  • Intelligence (🦴🦴🦴🦴)
  • Mouthiness potential (🦴🦴🦴🦴🦴)
  • Prey drive (🦴🦴🦴)
  • Barking or howling tendency (🦴🦴🦴🦴)
  • Wanderlust Potential (🦴🦴🦴)





Physical Traits:


  • Energetic (🦴🦴🦴)
  • Intensity (🦴🦴🦴🦴🦴)
  • The need to exercise (🦴🦴🦴)
  • Playfulness potential (🦴🦴🦴🦴)



smiling dog with chain collar



American Staffordshire Terrier History

In the 18th century Great Britain, the earliest Terrier dog breeds began as fighting and baiting dogs, fighting bears and bulls in baiting blood sports because of their bold and aggressive personalities. Due to the controversy of these blood sports and dog fighting rings, they were banned in 1835.


The most common Terrier breed before were the courageous bull-types (i.e. Bulldogs), which were the earliest ancestors of the American Staffordshire Terrier. Their genetic makeup caused various arguments in which some involved the mix of White English Terrier and Black-and-Tan Terrier, claiming that their genes came from them.


By the 1850s, these Staffordshire Terriers began making their way across the sea to America. Soon after, they became known as the American Pit Bull or American Bull Terriers. As the breed's popularity grew, the United Kennel Club (UKC) officially recognized them in 1935. The American Kennel Club (AKC) followed a year after, declared the official breed name as Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier.


Through the years, the aggressive fighter in this breed transformed into a sweet, peace-loving, and a mellow furry friend that people love. The American Staffordshire Terrier even made a series of appearances in films, documentaries, logos, and wars (like the K-9 Sgt. Stubby, who served his duty during the First World War, earning praises from US president that time!)



Similar Breed: Bull Terrier Temperament & Personality



American Staffordshire Terrier Behavior Concerns

"It's not always rainbows and butterflies" can also be applied to this dog breed that has its fair share of behavior problems. They are not always kind and mellow - they can be dangerous if they feel threatened or scared.


So concerning about their behavior?


  • American Staffordshire Terrier Dogs are stubborn, especially when not given proper training by experts. They can quickly throw a tantrum.
  • Given their background, they have a huge potential in showing aggressiveness towards other beings if they do not feel safe.
  • They can also be classified as a high-maintenance breed, requiring extra socialization and obedience training.
  • American Staffordshires can be excessively hyper and energetic, making them difficult to control.
  • They are too intelligent to the point that they want things to go their way, especially when not given a confident and skilled trainer or owner.
  • They can be easily bored, which results in destructive behaviors using their strong physique.


The question is, how do owners take care of them?



American Staffordshire Terrier Care

Like any other animal, American Staffordshire Terriers should have their regular veterinary check-ups. Proper grooming care for this breed consists mainly of four things: teeth, ears, nails, and coat.


  • Teeth - Bad breath is a common issue, so we advise frequent brushing to prevent germs and bacteria from growing. Lack of brushing may lead to gum disease or tartar buildup.
  • Ears - Remember to check for wax buildup in their ears. Make sure no water gets into their ears during bath time, so there is no risk of infections.
  • Nails - Nails should be regularly trimmed so they won't scratch you or the furniture up. Long nails could potentially catch on random objects, which could hurt your precious dog.
  • Coat - American Staffordshire Terriers have short coats, which makes them pretty easy to groom. The breed is fairly clean, which means they typically don't have any odors.



American Staffordshire Terrier Suggested Exercise

American Staffordshire Terriers have plenty of energy, so they need to expend that energy somehow. If they don't get enough exercise, they'll feel restless and bored, leading to destructive behaviors.


We recommend giving them about 1-2 hours of daily exercise for improved physical and mental health. Moreover, their competitive nature allows them to participate in canine sports or search and rescue training to showcase their athleticism and agility.





American Staffordshire Terrier Grooming

Make sure you have a brush, water, soap, and a nail cutter ready to properly groom an American Staffordshire Terrier dog.


Use a soft bristle brush in brushing their short, stiff coats at least once or twice every week. Brushing helps get rid of dust and dirt while distributing the natural skin oils for a shinier coat and healthy skin. When you wash them, use vet-approved, dog-safe shampoo to keep them smelling great and squeaky clean.


When you clip their nails, use a nail cutter for dogs to trim them properly. Trimming too far can hurt your dog since dogs have nerves in the base of their nail. And finally, you can buy special dog ear-cleaning solutions to clean out any trapped dirt and prevent further infections.



Suggested American Staffordshire Terrier Nutritional Needs

American Staffordshires need high-quality dog food with plenty of natural proteins to keep them strong and in shape. Give them diets meant for medium to large dogs that have moderate energy. Make sure to give them healthy ingredients and no foods high in fats, sugars, sodium. You also want to avoid giving them a grain meal or chicken meal, which are just filler ingredients that can contribute to obesity.



Best Dog Food for Staffordshire Terrier Dogs & Puppies

American Staffordshires tend to easily gain weight, hence their overweight or obesity problems. Be sure to monitor their diet closely at first and adjust their food based on their age (puppy, adult, senior). You may want to constantly give them treats or food, but vets recommend that you keep that to a minimum. It's always best to consult your veterinarian for more specific advice! When choosing food or treats look for nutritional options with healthy additives.



American Staffordshire Terrier General Appearance

American Staffordshire Terriers are considered medium to large-sized dogs. Here are some of their features for the breed:


  • Height: 17-19 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 40-60 pounds
  • Head: Broad
  • Jaws: Strongly-defined
  • Cheekbones: Pronounced
  • Eyes: Round and dark
  • Coat: Smooth with various colors such as black, blue, and white
  • Movement: Gracefully showing confidence



American Staffordshire Terrier General Health Information

If you're an owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier Dog, there's no need to worry, given that this breed is known to be a generally healthy breed. However, they can still experience some common health issues.


Common Health Problems

An American Staffordshire Owner should take note of the following health problems concerning this breed:


  • Skin allergies
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Autoimmune diseases


For serious problems in their later life, these include:


  • Joint issues
  • Spondylosis (in later life)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Demodectic mange
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Heart disease
  • Luxating patella


Diet and Nutrition

An American Staffordshire Terrier needs nutrition according to their age group, based on the energy level they need. It is still best to consult a veterinarian for the proper diet they should have, also to prevent some common illnesses.


Although their needs vary according to age, it is still nice to know that they need a specific amount of protein and carbohydrates in their body. And remember that they need to stay hydrated at all times!


Related: How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water



buff black dog standing outside



American Staffordshire Terrier Lifespan

The average lifespan for an American Staffordshire Terrier is about 10-16 years!



Where to Adopt or Buy an American Staffordshire Terrier

There are numerous ways and places on where to buy or adopt these American Staffordshire Terrier dogs. It is important to know where and how, so you can take note of their rules as well. Some of which are as follows:


  • American Kennel Club (AKC) Marketplace
  • American Staffordshire Terrier Club of America
  • Save-a-Bull Rescue
  • OR check local shelters near you!



More About the American Staffordshire Terrier

Despite their strong and intimidating physique and appearance, American Staffordshire Terriers are very much like human beings. They can be very stubborn, leading to destructive behaviors and tantrums, but they can be especially sweet, caring, and affectionate with proper guidance training.


Although they have a rough history of fighting in the right, they still grew up to be the beautiful, bold breed we know and love today. They still carry a negative stigma of being aggressive dogs, but they are better lovers than fighters!


American Staffordshire Terriers make natural additions to any family, given that they are willing to put in the time to train and spend time with them. They are built to protect and fight for the ones they love! There's a reason why so many people love this breed! To learn more about other dog breeds click here.



American Kennel Club (n.d.). American Staffordshire Terrier. Retrieved from (n.d.). American Staffordshire Terrier. Retrieved from


PawDiet (2021). Best Dog Food for American Staffordshire Terriers. Retrieved from


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