The American Staffordshire Terrier is a close cousin to the British-bred Staffordshire Bull Terrier. When brought to the United States, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was bred to be compact and muscular, ideal for dog fighting. Long after dog fighting was outlawed, the Staffordshire Terrier was recognized as a family dog, known for being highly affectionate towards children. The headstrong nature of past terriers is still seen in current Staffordshire Terriers, making them worth the challenge of training to have such a faithful, playful companion.
American Staffordshires are considered medium-sized dogs, weighing between 55 and 70 pounds on average. They have square heads and stocky builds, making them extremely strong and agile. Coats are short and easy to manage and can come in a variety of colors including brindle, black, tan, brown, white, and any combination of these. Ears are high on the head and floppy. The tail is relatively short but powerful. While energy levels are average for a dog of this size, Staffordshires do require daily, active exercise. Consistent and frequent exercise will promote health and help curb destructive behavior. This breed is generally healthy but is prone to heart conditions, skin allergies, and hip dysplasia (common in most medium and large breeds). Also be aware that they have a high threshold for pain and may not show signs of health problems right away. Staffordshires are friendly towards humans, but they can be shy or wary of other dogs and animals. Training should involve socializing and a firm hand on the leash to steer the stubborn Staffordshire in the right direction. Like any dog, Staffordshires can be prone to territorial or protective behaviors if not properly trained. They are highly intelligent and loyal dogs, especially fond of children.
Like many “bully breeds,” Staffordshires commonly wind up in shelters and rescue organizations, waiting for a loving home. They are confident, caring dogs that require a significant time commitment and the determination necessary to train a strong-willed dog. If you take the leap with an American Staffordshire Terrier, you will not be disappointed by the amount of respect and loyalty they will show in return.