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American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Breed

The American Staffordshire Terrier is categorized under the AKC (American Kennel Club) category of Terriers. Originating in England, the American Staffordshire Terrier bears multiple nicknames, including the Staffie, Stafford, Am Staff, and the American Staffy. Descended from the cross between English Bulldogs and various terriers, the American Staffordshire Terrier was used throughout the 18th Century for tasks such as bull managing as well as blood-sports and dog fighting.

American Staffordshire Terriers have an average height of 16 – 19 inches (41 – 48 centimeters) and an average weight of 24 – 38 pounds (11 – 17 kilograms), depending on gender. They have an average lifespan of 10 – 13 years.

History/Origin

The American Staffordshire Terrier originated through further breeding from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a breed that was developed through the crossbreeding of the English Bulldog and various terrier breeds. The American Staffordshire Terrier came about when American breeders increased the weight of the Bull Terrier, complete with a heavier head. As a result, the American Staffordshire Terrier is much larger and much heavier than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was originally used for manual labor – managing bulls and holding caught the game for their owners. They were also used in blood-sports, and after these ‘sports’ were deemed illegal in England, they were used in dog fighting. Due to its strength, stamina and tenacity, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier became a popular choice in dog fights.

American Staffordshire Terriers today are much more docile, and they make great companions as well as watchdogs.

Physical Appearance

Heavier and larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terriers have a stockier frame than their cousins. Their bodies are muscular, complete with a broad head and a solid chest. Am Staffs have a strong jaw, and their ears are high on their heads. Their coats are short, the hairs smooth and thick. They come in a variety of colors, and the patterns of their coats can either be a solid color or patched. Their tails are relatively short compared to their bodies and tapers off in a point.

Personality/Temperament

Despite having been bred to fight, Am Staffs are very affectionate and fun-loving. They are extremely loyal dogs, and they get along well with children; as such, they make great family dogs. Am Staffs are fearless, and combined with their intelligence they can make very good watchdogs. If the Am Staff feels that its owner or itself is in danger, it will not hesitate to attack.

An active breed, the Am Staff requires daily exercise, and will do best in a home with a fenced in yard with room to run around. Am Staffs that are un-socialized may be very aggressive towards other canines; it is suggested that they socialize starting at a young age.

General Care & Health

The coats of Am Staffs should be brushed once or twice a week with a firm brush in order to remove dirt and loose hair. Am Staffs shed annually, and apart from that, hair loss is minimal. They do not need to be bathed regularly; bathe them only when odor gets too strong or when they get too dirty for a brush down to be effective. Their teeth should be brushed two to three times a week minimum, and their nails should be trimmed regularly, preferably once or twice a month. Clean their outer ears with a cotton swab and a solution obtained from the breeder/vet. During grooming, one should be on the lookout for signs of infection in areas such as ears, nose, mouth, and eyes.

The recommended daily amount of food an American Staffordshire Terrier should be getting is 1½ to 2¼ cups of dry food, divided into two or three meals throughout the day. Despite the presence of a guideline, the amounts can be altered if the dog is highly active or otherwise.

American Staffordshire Terriers are prone to the following diseases:
• Skin Allergies – affected dogs will suffer from itchy skin, and can lead to hair loss or sore spots on their skin. Skin allergies are made worse by bacterial infection – check closely for fleas.
• Hip Dysplasia – a dog suffering from hip dysplasia will have a thigh bone that does not fit comfortably into the hip joint. This leads to lameness and can further lead to arthritis.
• Hereditary Cataracts – dogs with this disease will develop opacity and/or cloudiness in their lenses, and if left untreated, they may lose sight completely in three years.
• Patellar Luxation – dogs with this disease will see their patella misaligned, and it will constantly slip out of place. Symptoms include skipping and hopping, and if left untreated, the rubbing caused by the patella being out of place can lead to arthritis.

Summary

The Am Staff’s friendliness and loyalty to its family makes it an ideal pet and family companion. Although friendly, it will protect its family as long as it senses any form of danger. Strong, courageous, and active, the Am Staff will bring entertainment and fun to its family. If training starts on the day the Am Staff is brought home, the intelligent dog will pick it up very quickly. Stay firm, patient, and consistent throughout training, and before long, the bond between the Am Staff and its family will be impossible to break.


Image Credit

Photo by Tom HenrichCC BY 2.0

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