American Staffordshire Terrier
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American Staffordshire Bull Terrier at a dog show
Common nicknames
  • AmStaff
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 black, fawn, red, white, blue, solid, part or patched, brindle
(All-white, 80%+ white, black and tan, and liver are not encouraged). Must have black nose and not red. Note there is also no such thing as a “blue nose Amstaff” or Merle colored Amstaff
Kennel club standards
American Kennel Club standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as the AmStaff is a medium-sized, short-coated American dog breed[2][3][4][5] recognized by the American Kennel Club, but not the United Kennel Club, which instead allows American Staffordshire Terriers to be registered under the American Pit Bull Terrier breed.[6]

The height of an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 18–19 in (46–48 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 not to be confused with American Pit Bull Terriers, though the American Pit Bull Terrier has similar ancestry they are two distinct breeds. It also should not be confused with the “Staffy” Staffordshire Bull Terrier of the United Kingdom.[2]


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. The name Staffordshire Terrier was approved because 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, which is a completely different type of purebred show dog that was recognized in England in 1935.[7][8][9][10][11]

The AKC opened the AmStaff Stud Book to UKC dogs a few more times until the 1970s. Since then, both parents had to be AKC registered in order to register the offspring. Breed selection was based entirely on conformation and established breed standards that, for decades, has transformed the American Staffordshire Terrier into a much different breed from the American Pit Bull Terrier.[9][11]


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
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."[12] 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.[12] The nose should always be black.[12] Many coat colors are accepted. However, dogs with liver or black-and-tan coat, and dogs with more than 80% white are discouraged.[12][2]


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.

Skin allergies: are one of the common health concerns observed in American Staffordshire Terriers. These allergies can be triggered by various factors such as environmental allergens, food allergies, or flea bites. Symptoms may include itching, redness, rashes, and hair loss. Regular grooming and a well-balanced diet can help mitigate the risk of skin allergies and promote healthy skin and coat.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs): can also affect American Staffordshire Terriers. UTIs occur when bacteria or other pathogens enter and multiply in the urinary tract. Symptoms of a UTI may include frequent urination, discomfort, blood in the urine, and accidents in the house. Prompt veterinary care and maintaining good hygiene practices can aid in preventing and treating UTIs.

Autoimmune diseases: are another concern for this breed. These conditions occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues in the body. American Staffordshire Terriers may be prone to autoimmune disorders such as immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP). These conditions require medical intervention and close monitoring by a veterinarian.

As American Staffordshire Terriers age, they are more likely to develop spondylosis and osteoarthritis. Spondylosis refers to the formation of bony spurs or bridges between the vertebrae, leading to stiffness and discomfort. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, inflammation, and decreased mobility. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and appropriate veterinary care can help manage these conditions and improve the dog's quality of life.

It is important to note that American Staffordshire Terrier puppies should not be weaned before they are 8 to 10 weeks old.[13] Weaning too early can deprive the puppies of essential nutrients and socialization opportunities provided by their mother and littermates. Delaying the weaning process allows for proper growth and development, as well as the acquisition of important social skills.

By adhering to the appropriate weaning age for American Staffordshire Terrier puppies, responsible owners and breeders can ensure that these young dogs have a solid foundation for a healthy and contented life.

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,[14] Canada,[15] Ireland,[16] and Turkey.[17] American Staffordshire Terriers are banned as a type of pit bull under the United Kingdom's Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991. The breed is also commonly listed on breed restriction lists for apartments[18] and military housing[19] in the United States.


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 "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. ^ UKC APPLICATION FOR AMERICAN PIT BULL TERRIER SINGLE REGISTRATION (PDF), United Kennel Club, archived (PDF) from the original on June 26, 2022, retrieved April 17, 2023
  7. ^ Frome, Jane Hogg (March 13, 2012). Staffordshire Bull Terrier. i5 Publishing. ISBN 9781593789879. Archived from the original on April 17, 2023. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  8. ^ Smith, Alison; Smith, Lecturer in Contrinetal European Cinema Alison (2009). Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Collins. ISBN 9780007274284. Archived from the original on April 17, 2023. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Stahlkuppe, Joe (April 2, 2000). American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook. Barron's Educational Series. ISBN 0764147447 – via Internet Archive. ISBN9781438081410.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ a b Zaurisio, Neylor (May 16, 2019). "The so-called "modern" bloodlines". Medium. Archived from the original on July 28, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Spree, Ryan (March 14, 2023). "American Staffordshire Terrier: A Better Complete Breed Information". The Pitbull Center. Retrieved June 14, 2023.
  14. ^ Association (AVA), Australian Veterinary. "Breed-specific legislation". Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  15. ^ "Information on The Dog Owners' Liability Act and Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 – Ministry of the Attorney General". Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  16. ^ Book (eISB), electronic Irish Statute. "electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB)". Archived from the original on March 9, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ "What are Breed Restrictions? Common Restricted Breeds List". Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  19. ^ Smith, Dawn M. "Dog Breed Restrictions for On-Base Military Housing". Archived from the original on January 5, 2023. Retrieved April 16, 2023.
  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". Archived from the original on July 17, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2021.

Further reading

Listed by year of publication