American Staffordshire Terrier – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Is American Staffordshire Terrier the right dog for you? What you should know if you are thinking about getting this powerful dog. Read on and get your answers fast.
Dog Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs
16 to 19 inches
40 to 60 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The American Staffordshire Terrier is developed in the States and his ancestry includes breeds such as mastiffs and bulldogs.

This dog was bred for a stable temperament and adapted for hunting rodents and other vermin.

American Staffordshire Terriers reached a peak of popularity in the first half of the 20th century when the breed became globally known as the all-American pet.

Also, everyone knows that this breed was used for dog fights, which is why they were crossed with terriers to create fearless dogs that would excel in the fighting pit.

As a physically extremely strong breed, this isn’t a dog for someone who doesn’t have enough physical strength and has a strong dog experience with a great focus on training skills.

American Staffordshire Terriers come in many colors and patterns. Their muscular bodies are usually 17 to 19 inches at the shoulder, with a broad head, and well-defined jaws. This dog is so loyal that they wouldn’t refuse any type of command.

This breed is often associated with many attacks both in humans and dogs, but dog experts urge people to focus on the deed and not on the breed because no matter how hard the data on attacks might be, the reasons for it are usually unknown or dishonest.

Quick Facts

Real name: American Staffordshire Terrier
Other names: AmStaff, American Staffy
Origin: United States
Breed type: Terrier Dogs
Weight: 40 to 60 pounds
Height: 16 to 19 inches
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 4 – 6 puppies
Color: Any color
Coat: Short coat

American Staffordshire Terrier History

American Staffordshire Terriers are an old breed.

Their roots can be traced back to the 18th century in England. At the time, both bulldogs and terriers were mostly used in blood sports.

Dog historians believe that this breed arrived in the States in the 1850s. This breed was first accepted under AKC as a part of the AKC’S terrier group.

Since many claimed that the breed’s ancestors came from Staffordshire, England, the name Staffordshire Terrier was chosen.

From day one this breed was very popular, and popularity for this breed across the States only grew from day one. However, when World War II started the interest in this breed started declining.

Luckily, the breeders and dog lovers continued perfecting the breed and working on the breed’s popularity which lead to the American Staffordshire Terrier being consistently among the top 100 most popular dogs in the States.

American Staffordshire Terrier Physical Appearance

American Staffordshire Terriers are powerful dogs who are known for their strength.

They are muscular but equally agile and graceful. They have a bit of a stocky appearance and well-balanced legs with the rest of the body.

Their legs should never be too long. The head is of medium length, ears are cropped while the eyes are dark and round.

The neck is heavy, while the shoulders are strong and muscular. American Staffordshire Terriers should always have a short, glossy coat. Any coat color is present.

American Staffordshire Terrier Personality

American Staffordshire Terriers are powerful dogs who need early socialization, so people can see how soft-hearted they are.

These dogs are naturally friendly to people, even children of all ages.

Children should know how to behave around dogs and what is allowed and what isn’t.

That being said, children should know that any ear or tail pulling is forbidden as it’s not ok to disturb a dog while resting, sleeping, drinking water, or eating.

As affectionate and loyal dogs, the American Staffordshire Terriers are great for families of any size.

When trained right they are never aggressive nor harsh.

They do tend to be territorial and will not think twice about protecting what is theirs. This is why any interaction between dogs and children should always be supervised.

American Staffordshire Terriers may look tough and independent, but they are extremely clingy.

This isn’t a breed that you can just leave home alone for long hours. No, they cannot stay alone for like an hour or two.

Anything above that will lead to separation anxiety, and possibly destructive behavior, which is common for almost every breed.

American Staffordshire Terrier Training

American Staffordshire Terriers are naturally friendly toward people. This means that they are fast to respond well to positive reinforcement training.

No dog should experience any harsh training methods no matter how big and powerful the dog might be.

These dogs are no exception, and they shouldn’t experience anything but love and gentle handling.

As powerful dogs, they should be trained in the best way possible and socialized from an early age.

Did you know that dogs can learn basic commands as of eight weeks of age?

American Staffordshire Terriers are no exception.

By the time the socialization window end, your American Staffordshire Terrier should know:

  • How to behave around people inside the house
  • To ‘come’ when called
  • To know dog house rules
  • To know how to walk on a leash
  • To know how to behave in a backyard
  • To know dog house rules
  • To know how to behave around unknown home visitors

Since these dogs are only for experienced dog owners, training shouldn’t be a problem. They are intelligent dogs who love having a job to do.

Staffies are gentle dogs of powerful posture and swift mind that should be handled and socialized from an early age.

American Staffordshire Terrier Grooming

If you are not a big fan of heavy and long grooming sessions, you are in luck.

By choosing this breed for your dog, you will have to deal only with short brushing sessions.

American Staffordshire Terriers are great dogs in general, and especially handy when it comes to grooming time.

Brush him regularly (weekly at least once) with a firm bristle brush and bathe when needed.

Talk with your veterinarian on bath-time-frequency, because breeders and owners will tell you different recommendations.

Dogs have different skin than humans do, so for them, frequent bathing shouldn’t be a thing.

Again: discuss this with your veterinarian. Also, when bathing makes sure that you use only shampoo that is specially designed for dogs.

People tend to use some other alternatives when it comes to dog shampoos, but stick to trusted manufacturers and proper dog shampoo.

They come with short coats which means that shedding is never too heavy. Since their coat is short, they don’t need haircuts.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Bathe when needed
  • Clean ears when needed
  • Brush weekly
  • Check gums weekly
  • Check eyes daily for eye discharge

American Staffordshire Terrier Health

When it comes to American Staffordshire Terrier you should do serious research on finding the best breeder.

You don’t want to search for the cheap breed, but you want to find the most responsible one.

Responsible dog breeders will run a legal breeding business and help you choose the best American Staffordshire Terrier for you.

They will not – and we repeat, they will now, give you the puppy if they suspect that this breed will be used for anything else but for being a full-time family member.

Responsible dog breeders will present you the medical documentation on the breed, and inform you if there is anything to think about health-wise.

Quick info: Did you know that American Staffordshire Terrier was used by breeders to create Canis Panther?

Reputable breeders will also give you inputs and tips on proper care, grooming, exercise needs, and healthy and feeding guidelines.

Still, you may provide the best care possible and your American Staffordshire Terrier still may get sick.

This doesn’t mean that your terrier will experience it, but only that you should think about prevention and provide regular veterinarian check-ups.

American Staffordshire Terriers are prone to minor health problems such as elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and heart disease.

As for the major health issues, you can expect to see conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), canine hip dysplasia (although seldom seen), and cerebellar ataxia.

All in all, AmStaffs are healthy dogs as long as you provide the proper care.

Provide the following to maximize strong health in your AmStaff:

  • Serve high-quality food
  • Know how much to feed your AmStaff
  • Know when to feed your dog and why feeding him after an intense workout is dangerous
  • Learn to read dog food labels to choose the best food possible

Last but not least, stick to regular veterinarian check-ups. Early diagnosis is the key when it comes to having a happy and long-living dog.

Is American Staffordshire Terrier For You?

You are ready to welcome this mixed breed into your home?

American Staffordshires are known for being a bit stubborn, which is why they aren’t recommended for first time dog owners.

They will always respond well to confident owners, who know their way around large and muscular dogs.

American Staffordshire Terrier is a breed that suffers tremendously due to media prejudice, which is why you should know into what you are stepping in with this breed.

You should think about muzzle whenever outside, provide extra caution when it comes to off-leash running inside the dog park, and overall extra care, and mandatory supervision when with children, or people who don’t have experience with dogs.

All in all, legal liabilities are a major factor to think about when getting this breed.

If you don’t want to deal with possible legal issues, exuberant jumping, extra training, and socialization, next to destructiveness when bored this breed isn’t for you.

On the other hand, if you have strong experience as a dog owner, and you want a powerful medium-to-large dog, that is easy to groom, an American Staffordshire Terrier may be right for you.

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