American Staffordshire Terrier breed characteristics, origin and care

American Staffordshire Terrier breed characteristics

  • Size: Large
  • Traits: Intelligent, happy, outgoing, stable, confident
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Best Suited To: Families with older children, active adults

Intelligent, obedient and outgoing, the American Staffordshire is a muscular ball of energy that’s eager to please its adoring family. These canines love going for a run with their favourite people or playing fetch in the yard.


Where I'm From

The American Staffordshire Terrier is known by a whole host of names. If you’re one for abbreviations you can try out Staffy, Staffie, Stafford, Staff, Am Staff and Amstaff. No doubt, you’ll add your own to the pool too.

The roots of the American Staffy can be traced to Staffordshire, England in the nineteenth century. It was there the Staffordshire Bull terrier was developed from a hodge podge of bulldog and terrier variety.

When it was brought to the United States breeders made certain refinements. The dogs became stockier and developed a more powerful head. This became the basis for the canines to be recognised as a separate breed.

After dog fighting was outlawed in 1900, a show and a non-show strain were developed. The show strain became the American Staffordshire, whereas the non-show strain became the American Pit Bull Terrier. The two are now recognised as distinct breeds.

What I Look Like

Am Staffs are large dogs which come in black, brindle, fawn and sable. Their coats are short and smooth and won’t require too much grooming.

They’re a strong bunch of canines with stocky and muscular bodies. Their heads are broad and powerful and the breed is considered strong for its size.

Staffys have dark eyes that are set far apart, their muzzles are medium in length and their jaws are very strong. The breed can have cropped or uncropped ears.

How I Act

There’s plenty of stigma surrounding the American Staffordshire but if you meet any lover of this breed they’ll soon set you straight. These dogs are outgoing, affectionate and intelligent. They really love their families and will do almost anything to please them. Enthusiasts say this highly energetic breed is suited to children but when they’re puppies they may be a little rough so it’s better to wait till your children are a bit older before you adopt a Staffy.

You’ll need to keep an eye on them around other dogs because some can get aggressive and may attack.

Many love Staffys because they’re a very obedient breed and will always be loyal and protective of their family.

Looking After Me

To properly look after your Staffy, you’ll need to spend time with it exercising and playing. It will enjoy a good run, walk or ball game at the park. If your Staffy doesn’t get its proper amount of exercise each day it may become difficult to handle so bear that in mind if you lead a busy life. It’s also an important footnote for those living in apartments. Staffys will be fine living indoors if they’re exercised adequately.

Am Staffs shed a moderate amount of their short coat so you should brush them regularly to get rid of excess hair. Keep them clean and fresh by giving them a bath once every couple of weeks in warmer weather and monthly in cooler seasons.

Staffys are strong-willed so whoever is in charge of training will need to be calm and patient with this breed. It’s important to teach them with positive inforcement as it will help to build trust with your new mate. Early training and socialisation is recommended for this breed.

These canines are prone to a number of health conditions so keep an eye out for symptoms of hup dysplasia, thyroid issues, tumours and stomach sensitivities. They may also develop hereditary cataracts and congenital heart disease. It’s best to ask your breeder about your Staffys bloodline before adopting.


Am I the pet for you?


  • Suited to apartment life
  • Makes a good running companion
  • Loyal and eager to please


  • Can be aggressive toward other dogs
  • Is prone to certain health problems
  • May be too rough to be around young children and elderly
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