Back to all breeds
American Staffordshire Terrier
Characteristics, History, and Health

American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a cousin of the Pit Bull Terrier. They were created by breeding old terriers such as the English Smooth Terrier, White English Terrier, and/or the Black-and-Tan Terrier with an old variety of Bulldogs. The American Staffordshire Terrier, often affectionately referred to as Amstaff, is a breed of dog that has its origins in the Staffordshire region of England. The breed was initially developed in the 19th century for bull baiting, ratting, and later for dog fighting due to its courage, tenacity, and muscular build. In the mid-19th century, the breed was brought to the United States, where it was further refined and increased in size.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Amstaff, American Staffy
Life Expectancy
12-16 years
Average Male Height
18-19 inches
Average Female Height
17-18 inches
Average Male Weight
55-70 pounds
Average Female Weight
40-55 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black, Blue Fawn, Blue, Blue Brindle, Brown, Brown Brindle, Fawn, Fawn Brindle, Liver, Red, Red Brindle, Red Sable, White, Black Brindle, Liver Brindle, Fawn Sable, Seal Brown, Blue Fawn Brindle
Coat Pattern
Patched, Spotted, White Markings, Spotted or Patched, Tan points, Black Mask, Blue Mask, Brindle Points, White Mask

Genetic Predispositions and Health

American Staffordshire Terriers are generally healthy and robust, though can suffer from skin allergies, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, cruciate ligament rupture, and cerebellar ataxia. Genetic testing for degenerative myelopathy, hyperuricosuria, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis 4A, progressive retinal atrophy, and cone-rod dystrophy (types 1 and 2) can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

American Staffordshire Terriers are known for their versatility. They are intelligent, confident, and good-natured. Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, they are often gentle and affectionate with their families, including children. They can be protective, which can make them excellent watchdogs. However, due to their history, some may be aggressive towards other dogs if not socialized properly.

While this breed requires an assertive owner who will provide strong leadership and socialization, they are eager to please and can be trained for a variety of tasks. Their physical strength and energy level mean they require regular exercise, and they may not be well-suited to apartment living unless they receive sufficient daily exercise.

Despite their somewhat controversial history and reputation, with the right training, socialization, and care, American Staffordshire Terriers can make loyal, loving, and protective companions.

Fun Facts

In 1903, an American Staffordshire Terrier named Bud went along for the ride on America's first cross country auto trip.

An American Staffordshire Terrier named Sgt. Stubby became famous during World War I.