Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Terrier > American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

Quick Checklist
with kids
with seniors
with other animals
Training Needs
Grooming Needs
Size: Large (60 to 100+ lbs.)
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
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Not to be confused with their close cousin the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terriers are tough-looking yet sweet dogs specifically bred from Pits as doting family pets. American Staffordshire Terriers are trustworthy with children and easily cared for by strangers (including pet sitters), and are also often raised as community-service dogs for tasks such as pet therapy, farming, police work, and search and rescue operations. Unfortunately, most areas or residential associations that have banned Pit Bulls have also banned Am Staffs, and these are definitely dogs that get a bad rap based on looks alone. These dogs are docile and obedient dogs, but they must be carefully watched and handled around other dogs off-leash due to their instinctive dog-fighting nature: they can get aggressive, especially when they feel challenged. According to the AKC, an American Staffordshire Terrier named Stubby earned the rank of Sergeant and was the most decorated dog of World War I.

General Care

American Staffordshire Terriers are sweet-natured, devoted, smart and comical dogs that only need moderate exercise and little to no grooming. "Am Staffs" are strong and stocky with big, square heads, but are quite agile for their size. Their short coat only needs to be brushed weekly, and they only need to be bathed monthly depending on the amount of outdoor activity they get. Am Staffs can be stubborn and difficult to train for the novice owner--these dogs definitely need to feel that you are the dominant "alpha" in the partnership--and they also pick up on the subtlest of behaviors, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the example you set. American Staffordshire Terriers are protective of their families but, contrary to their intimidating appearance, do not make good guard dogs since they were bred for friendliness towards humans.

For more information on American Staffordshire Terrier ownership and care, check out Spindletop Refuge.

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