The American Staffordshire Terrier (Amstaff) is a strong, athletic American dog breed. This medium-sized dog has a broad, powerful head and a stocky body. Its low centre of gravity helps it remain stable and balanced while running or jumping. The lips cover immensely powerful jaws which are capable of crashing even thick bones. The muzzle is medium in length and rounded at the top while the eyes are dark and round. The coat is made up of short, thick, and glossy hair and comes in a variety of solid or patched colours, making it a very attractive breed.
During the 19th century, bulldogs and various breeds of dogs were crossbred to produce the combative, active, and muscular Staffordshire Bullterrier in the English county of Staffordshire. Brought to America in the late 1870s, the breed was given a more powerful head and a huge body. It was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club (ACK) in the year 1936 and named the American Staffordshire Terrier. This breed is loved by many people and apart from being kept as a pet, it also does police work.
The American Staffordshire is a confident, happy, intelligent, and outgoing dog. On top of that, it is affectionate and very obedient to its owner. It is good with both adults and children, explaining why it makes an excellent family pet. Courageous and persistent, it will fight an enemy to death if threatened or to protect its owner and the owner's property.
Training and Exercise
To curb aggressiveness and other unpleasant behaviours, it is important to socialise the dog properly while still young. This breed requires a consistent and firm owner who not only has good training skills, but also understands how to display proper leadership. Good manners commands such as "stay" and "sit" are essential for controlling the dog. If you do not have time to train the dog as required due to one reason or another, it is advisable to hire the services of a local experienced dog trainer.
To discourage the tendency to escape in search of a mate or to moderate territorial behaviour, the dog should be neutered or spayed.
Daily exercise is of equal importance to the dog. Without adequate exercise, the dog will become difficult to handle. You need to take it for a long walk for at least 30 minutes every day. While walking or running with the dog, be sure to hold the lead to let it know that you are the leader.
This dog breed has an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years and is vulnerable to conditions such as hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, hereditary cataracts, tumors, congenital heart disease, and elbow dysplasia. Older dogs are prone to urinary tract infections (UTI), osteoarthritis, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cerebellar ataxia, and spondylosis. To identify these problems and improve the dog's health, make sure you take it dog to your veterinarian for vaccinations and regular check-ups. If the dog is sick, give adequate medication as prescribed by the veterinarian.
Grooming and Care
The dog's short, smooth coat is easy to groom. Use a brittle brush to groom it on a regular basis and bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. To make the coat gleam, rub it with chamois or a piece of towel.
Although the American Staffordshire Terrier can survive outdoors in temperate climates, it is best suited to staying indoors with its master. As with other guardian breeds, this dog should never be chained or tied outside unattended and should never be teased by anyone who wants to provoke them into growling.