American Staffordshire Terrier

Updated: September 21, 2017
American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier or Amstaff, is a dog originally from the English region of Staffordshire. Among their ancestors we find the English bulldog, the black and tan terrier, the fox terrier or the white English terrier. Later, this breed was popularized in the USA, where they developed a heavier and more muscular variety than the English.

In this AnimalWised breedfile we will tell you everything you need to know about the American Staffordshire Terrier if you are thinking about adopting one: characteristics, temperament and training are some of the sections that you will find below. These are fundamental to consider if you want to have an amstaff in your life.

Read on and find out all about the American Staffordshire terrier. Don't forget to comment and share your photos at the end of the article!

  • America
  • Europe
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
FCI classification
  • Group III
Physical characteristics
  • 5-14
  • 14-18
  • 18-22
  • 22-27
  • 27-31
  • More than 31
Adult weight
  • 2-7
  • 7-22
  • 22-55
  • 55-100
  • 100-220
Life expectancy
  • 8-10
  • 10-12
  • 12-14
  • 15-20
Recommended physical activity
  • Low
  • Meidum
  • High
  • Muzzle
Recommended climate


  1. Origin
  2. Physical characteristics
  3. Temperament
  4. Caring for an American Staffordshire Terrier
  5. Training the American staffordshire terrier
  6. Health
  7. Fun facts


The origin and early history of the American staffordshire terrier are closely related to the history of the American pit bull terrier. The amstaff has its origins in those dogs that helped British butchers to control and demolish the most dangerous bulls. Subsequently, the ancestors of these wonderful dogs were employed in different cruel activities, which today are considered illegal in much of the world. These activities included fights with bulls and dogs.

Over time, the American staffordshire terrier escaped the stigma of dog fights and was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Until that moment, the breed shared the name of american pit bull terrier.

Subsequently, the amstaff was officially separated from the pitbull and its offspring developed separately. However, for a long time, dogs of this breed were registered twice, as "American Staffordshire terrier" in the AKC, and as "American pit bull terrier" in the United Kennel Club. Today, the amstaff is recognized by the AKC and the International Cynological Federation, while the pit bull is not recognized by these entities.

Physical characteristics

The American Staffordshire terrier, or "amstaff", is a dog aesthetically plump and muscular, but very agile. Their head is broad and powerful, with a medium snout and rounded at the top. Their jaws are also very powerful and this creates their characteristic bulging cheeks.

Their eyes have a low position in the skull and are very separated from each other. They are round and dark. The ears have high insertion and should be pink or semi-erect, and never cut. We condemn this practice entirely. The neck of the American staffordshire is thick, of medium length, somewhat arched and without a dewlap.

The body of these dogs should be sturdy and muscular, at the same time stumpy and chubby. The back of the American staffordshire terrier is short and has a slight inclination from the front to the back. The chest is deep and wide.

The tail, of low insertion, is thick at its base and gradually thinned towards its end. It is short in proportion to the size of the body and the dog does not carry it on the back or curled. The American staffordshire terrier has a short coat, stiff to the touch and glossy. Any color is accepted, such as white, black and tan, and liver.

The height at the cross for males is between 46 and 48 centimeters. The height at the cross of the females is between 43 and 46 centimeters. The standard breed does not specify a weight, but they usually weigh between 25 and 30 kilograms.


The American Staffordshire Terrier is a cheerful, confident, curious and friendly dog with people. Despite the bad press received by all breeds of the "bull" type, the amstaff is usually a very sociable and especially extroverted dog. As with all dog breeds, their character will depend on the training they receive, so it will be essential to properly inform yourself about everything we have to teach them.

Generally they are very calm inside the home, affectionate and very attached to all the members of the family. They will take great care of young children if we get them used to the kids from the beginning and educate our children to treat animals properly. Outdoors, the amstaff becomes more active and dynamic, looking for various stimuli that encourage play and fun. They are charming and affectionate dogs, very tender, and convey everything they feel with their deep gaze. Those who have enjoyed an amstaff by their side, will know exactly what we are talking about.

Caring for an American Staffordshire Terrier

Taking care of an American Staffordshire terrier is very simple. Let's start with caring for their coat. Since they have short hair, the amstaff will need to be brushed once or twice a week with a soft-tipped brush, as metallic could cause skin wounds. We can bathe them every month and a half to two months (or when they are really dirty). With these tips their hair will be shiny and healthy for a long time. They are naturally very clean dogs.

On the other hand, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a dog that gets bored very easily when alone and can suffer separation anxiety if they spend too much time without company. For that reason we recommend that you leave them various diverse toys, as well as intelligence games, since these will satisfy their desire for fun and stimulate their mind. The most recommended is the kong (black) a toy that will help you relax and that is impossible to destroy. Try it if your amstaff is a little nervous.

The American Staffordshire terrier needs regular and active exercise combined with games and stimulation of all kinds. If you keep them physically well maintaned, they can adapt to living in confined spaces like apartments. Ideally, the amstaff should enjoy between 2 and 3 walks daily of at least 30 minutes each. In these walks, allow them to sniff and relate to their environment as well as provide time for exercise.

Training the American staffordshire terrier

The very sociable character of the amstaff allows the first part of their education to be carried out smoothly. We're referring to the socialization of the dog, an indispensable process for our puppy to learn to relate well with other dogs, other animals and people. It will also be very important for them in the future, to avoid the development of behavioral problems such as fear, reactivity or inappropriate behavior.

To properly socialize an American Staffordshire Terrier we will start from the puppy stage (after the administration of the vaccines) to relate them with all kinds of living beings, taking them to different environments. It is very important that all these experiences are positive and enjoyable for them so they can relate everything correctly and not suffer a rejection of certain stimuli. Also in their puppy stage, they should learn how to urinate in the street and bite properly.

Later, we will begin to work on basic obedience: come, sit, quiet ... Teaching them will not only help us improve our relationship and communication with the dog, it will also serve to ensure their safety at all times. To teach them, always use positive reinforcement. We must never punish a dog, who by their sensitivity, will reject these behaviors by becoming a sad and apathetic dog.

Having learned the basics, we must continue to review everything we have learned, at least once or twice a week. We can also teach them funny tricks or start them in some kind of canine sport!


In general, the American Staffordshire Terrier is a very healthy dog. But we must be aware that it will be fundamental to follow the dog's vaccination schedule strictly and visit the specialist as often as needed. Every 6 months is usually a suitable figure. However, they may have a slight tendency to develop:

To avoid possible disorders of sexual development, it will be highly recommended to sterilize our dog, an option that will also help us to avoid unwanted puppies, excessive sexual attitudes and other health problems. As we have commented, if we visit a professional vet regularly we will be able to detect any of these problems in a prompt way. Thus, the treatment can be carried out with more effectiveness.

In addition to this, it will be useful to sanitize their teeth, ears, anal glands and remove eye discharge very regularly to avoid minor health problems. Finally remember that it is fundamental to correctly follow the deworming of the dog, both internally and externally, to repel the possible parasites that may affect them.

Fun facts

  • Stubby was the only dog named sergeant by the US Army because of his work holding a German spy captive until the arrival of the American troops. It was also Stubby who triggered the alarm by a gas attack.
  • The American staffordshire terrier in Spain is considered PPP, for that reason the use of muzzle must be present in public spaces as well as the license and liability insurance.

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American Staffordshire Terrier