American Staffordshire Terrier
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American Staffordshire Bull Terrier at a dog show
Common nicknames
  • AmStaff, American Staffy
OriginUnited States
Foundation stockBull and terrier
Height 16.9–18.8 in (43–48 cm)[1]
Weight about 50–80 lb (23–36 kg)
Coat Smooth
Color Any color, solid, part or patched
(All-white, 80%+ white, black and tan, and liver are not encouraged)
Kennel club standards
American Kennel Club standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as the AmStaff or American Staffy is a medium-sized, short-coated American dog breed.[2][3][4][5]

The height of an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 17–19 in (43–48 cm) tall and weighs between 40–70 lb (18–32 kg).[2] The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the breed as "confident, smart and good-natured". American Staffordshire Terriers are similar to American Pit Bull Terriers, though the American Pit Bull Terrier is not recognized by the American Kennel Club.[6] The breed was accepted by the AKC in 1936. It should not be confused with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of the United Kingdom.[2]


One of the earliest AKC champions.
One of the earliest AKC champions.

Some varieties of bull-and-terrier from the British Isles began to find their way into America[2] as early as 1850. Some dogs became very famous for their dog fighting skills. Already developed as an American dog, such dogs became a new breed, which was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in February 1898 as the American Pit Bull Terrier.[7][8] On June 10, 1936,[2] about 50[9][unreliable source?] UKC registered Pit Bull Terrier dogs were accepted for registration in the American Kennel Club (AKC) stud book with a new breed name and a new purpose, belonging to the AKC terrier group.[9][unreliable source?] The name Staffordshire Terrier was chosen, with the claim that the ancestors of the breed originally came from Staffordshire, England. The name of the breed was revised on January 1, 1969, to American Staffordshire Terrier to distinguish it from the British Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a separate breed from the Bull-type terrier group, recognized in England in 1935.[10][11][8][12][9][unreliable source?]

The AKC opened the AmStaff Stud Book to UKC dogs a few more times until the 1970s. Since then, only dogs with AKC registration were to be bred together, if the offspring was to be registered. This fact, along with the breed selection based entirely on conformation through decades, has transformed the American Staffordshire Terrier into a different breed, separated from the American Pit Bull Terrier.[7][8][9][unreliable source?]

The breed's popularity began to decline in the United States following World War II. In 2018, the American Kennel Club ranked the American Staffordshire Terrier as the 85th most popular purebred breed in the United States.[13]


According to the American Kennel Club, these dogs are "smart, confident, good-natured companions. Their courage is proverbial. A responsibly bred, well-socialized AmStaff is a loyal, trustworthy friend to the end."[2]


A 1990s conformation champion
A 1990s conformation champion
Male White and Brindle American Staffordshire Terrier
Male White and Brindle American Staffordshire Terrier

According to AKC's published breed standard which was approved June 10, 1936, the "American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial."[14] His head should be medium in length with a broad skull, a distinct stop, and pronounced muscles in the cheek. The ears should be set high on their head and can be cropped or uncropped, but the latter is preferred. Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18 to 19 inches (46 to 48 cm) at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches (43 to 46 cm) for the female is to be considered preferable.[14] The nose should always be black.[14] Many coat colors are accepted. However, dogs with liver or black-and-tan coat, and dogs with more than 80% white are discouraged.[14][2]


Female blue brindle American Staffordshire Terrier
Female blue brindle American Staffordshire Terrier

Their life expectancy is generally 12–16 years with good care. The breed may be vulnerable to skin allergies, urinary tract infections (UTI), and autoimmune diseases. Spondylosis and osteoarthritis are common in older dogs. Other notable issues may include congenital heart disease, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, thyroid dysfunction, and cerebellar ataxia.

American Staffordshire Terrier pups should not be weaned before they are 8–10 weeks old.[citation needed]

Breed-specific legislation and restrictions

Main article: Breed-specific legislation

Worldwide, the American Staffordshire Terrier has often been included in breed bans that target pit bull–type dogs and/or fighting dog breeds. Such breed-specific legislation (BSL) may range from outright bans on possession to restrictions and conditions of ownership. Breed Specific Legislation has been enacted in various states in the United States, France, Australia,[15] Canada,[16] Ireland,[17] Turkey,[18] and the United Kingdom.

The breed is also commonly listed on breed restriction lists for apartments in the United States.[19]


Female American Staffordshire with eye patch
Female American Staffordshire with eye patch

In 2017, the breed was the eighth most popular dog according to the Australian National Kennel Council.[20] According to Société Centrale Canine, it is the sixth most popular dog in France.[21] According to the American Kennel Club, it was the 85th most popular dog in 2020.[22]

See also


  1. ^ "American Staffordshire Breed Standard" (PDF). Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 23, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "American Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog Breed Information". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on October 4, 2005. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  3. ^ Campbell, Dana (July–August 2009). "Pit Bull Bans: The State of Breed–Specific Legislation". GP-Solo. American Bar Association. 26 (5). Archived from the original on August 2, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  4. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Pit Bull Rescue Central. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Truth about Pitbulls". Archived from the original on March 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "Dog Breeds – Types Of Dogs". American Kennel Club. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Zwettler, Marlene (February 7, 2013). The Great Book of Bulldogs, Bull Terrier and Molosser: Part I Bulldogs & Bull Terrier. epubli. ISBN 9783844239225 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ a b c Stahlkuppe, Joe (April 2, 2000). American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook. Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 0764147447 – via Internet Archive. ISBN9781438081410.
  9. ^ a b c d Zaurisio, Neylor (May 16, 2019). "The so-called "modern" bloodlines". Medium. Archived from the original on July 28, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  10. ^ Frome, Jane Hogg (March 13, 2012). Staffordshire Bull Terrier. i5 Publishing. ISBN 9781593789879.
  11. ^ Smith, Alison; Smith, Lecturer in Contrinetal European Cinema Alison (2009). Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Collins. ISBN 9780007274284.
  12. ^ "A Breed That Came Up the Hard Way". The New York Times. September 19, 1971. Archived from the original on December 26, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "America's Most Popular Dog Breeds: From #1 to #189". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c d "American Staffordshire Terrier Standard" (PDF). American Kennel Club. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 3, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  15. ^ Association (AVA), Australian Veterinary. "Breed-specific legislation". Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  16. ^ "Information on The Dog Owners' Liability Act and Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 – Ministry of the Attorney General". Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  17. ^ Book (eISB), electronic Irish Statute. "electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB)". Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  18. ^ "Tehlike Arz Eden Hayvanlara İlişkin Genelge" [Directive on Dangerous Animals] (in Turkish). Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. December 9, 2021. Archived from the original on December 9, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  19. ^ "What are Breed Restrictions? Common Restricted Breeds List". Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  20. ^ "What are the top 10 dog breeds in Australia 2017? Here's a list". February 2, 2017. Archived from the original on February 27, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  21. ^ "Le chien de race en 2018 : Bousculades dans le Top 20 du LOF". Archived from the original on February 4, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  22. ^ "The most popular dog breeds in America".

Further reading

Listed by year of publication