American Staffordshire Terrier Dogs

American Staffordshire Terriers are loving, loyal dependable dogs. A trained, socialized and (most of all) loved “AmStaff” is an affectionate, dependable and happy friend with loads of energy and intelligence. And, most of the time, they prove to be calm and steady pals who don’t mind hanging out on the couch.

American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier Pictures

  • American Staffordshire Terrier dog named Misha
  • American Staffordshire Terrier dog named Shadytown Gemini Neo D Shark
  • American Staffordshire Terrier dog named Bouncer (1999-2005)
  • American Staffordshire Terrier dog named Cindy Lou
  • American Staffordshire Terrier dog named Maddox
  • American Staffordshire Terrier dog named Stella Cookie Houdini
see American Staffordshire Terrier pictures »

Quick Facts

  • 40 - 50 pounds
  • 15 - 16 inches

Ideal Human Companions

    • Experienced dog handlers
    • Singles
    • Active, sporty types

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Trademark Traits

    • Confident
    • Strong
    • Dependable
    • Eager to please
    • Intelligent

What They Are Like to Live With

American Staffordshire Terriers possess a natural eagerness to please their owners. With proper care and attention, your AmStaff can be an exemplary member of the family.

Bred to be both swift and strong, American Staffordshire Terriers love to play fetch, go for runs and work. They are very strong for their size: AmStaffs can pull very heavy objects, bite through rubber and wire, and they have a high tolerance for pain and fatigue. Keep them busy and loaded with positive reinforcement, and they’ll maintain an upbeat and steady mood.

Things You Should Know

You should consider an AmStaff only if you have the time, strength and know-how to train and socialize your pet. American Staffordshire Terriers sometimes display protective or competitive instincts around other dogs and animals.

These dogs might not be the best apartment dwellers, though as long as they get plenty of outdoor exercise they’ll be happy. Ideally, a fenced yard suits them best, not to mention daily games of fetch and constructive “tasks.” They should be kept on a leash while on walks and at the park.

A healthy American Staffordshire Terrier can live as long as 12 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, skin problems and some allergies.

American Staffordshire Terrier History

In the early 1800s, breeders attempted to create a dog that blended the spirit of a Terrier with the courage and brawn of a Bulldog. The result—using a possible mix of Bulldogs and Fox Terriers—was the English Staffordshire Terrier. In the mid-1800s, English Staffordshire Terriers were brought to America, where they were bred to be larger and stronger. In 1936 they were registered with the AKC as “Staffordshire Terriers.” They were officially named American Staffordshire Terriers in 1972.

The Look of a American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terriers have medium-sized, muscular, agile and solid frames. They have wide, sturdy heads with medium-length muzzles and powerful jaws. Their ears are set high. Their eyes are dark, set low and far apart. And their necks slope down to a deep, wide chest and rib cage. They have short backs, short, tapered tails and straight front legs. Their short, shiny and dense coats can come in almost any color or combination of colors. Overall, American Staffordshire Terriers look strong for their size, combining a muscular stockiness with a graceful poise.

Talk About American Staffordshire Terriers 

A cuddly runner

My American Staffordshire Terrier, Diesel, is a little bit bigger than the norm but BEAUTIFUL. He is the biggest lover: He gives kisses, cuddles up next to you, and plays tug of war.

I love having an AmStaff for many reasons, but mainly because I like to be outside and so does he. Don't let their size fool you: Diesel is a great runner, his max is eight miles right now. He is also really great with kids and other dogs. He is very receptive to my energy and can tell when I am having a good or bad day.

This dog is a lifetime commitment. They are very family oriented and like to be treated like a part of the family. Socialize them at a young age and take control.

They like to be followers, so be the alpha. When you need to correct them, roll them on their back and show that you are the alpha. Be firm in the first few months, if not always -- they are smart and just need direction. And remember they can be very strong and powerful dogs, so be ready to use your muscles. Plus they are great protectors!

~Marie, owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier

These dogs have gentle souls

I have been boarding my brother's two American Staffordshire Terriers for a year now, and I am really sad to see them go. I have three mixed breeds of my own and I must say these two Amstaffs won my heart and soul. They are obedient, loving, loyal, protective and kind. There is a gentleness about them. They love to snuggle and are the best little heaters on a cold night. After this experience I do not think I can ever own another breed. Amstaffs are the best!

~Jessica, owner of three mixed-breed dogs

Quick learners that always want to please

We have two female American Staffordshire Terriers - sisters from the same litter. Sammy was the runt and she is the lover, and the alpha of the two. Pandora is larger and just a happy-go-lucky kind of girl. They both love to swim, chase balls or just sit on the couch with you. One thing is they always have to be next to you with some part of their body touching yours. Most of the time it is fine, but when you are trying to read the paper and you have this large head in your lap it can be hard to do. Then they turn and give you those eyes and roll over so you can rub their tummies and the paper can always be read later. This breed learns quickly and is easily trained for they always want to please.

~Debby K., owner of two American Staffordshire Terriers

Love these Bullies!

I have a four-year-old American Staffordshire/Labrador mix - he is one of the most incredible dogs I have ever owned or encountered. Atticus is affectionate (almost overly if that's possible!), good-natured to a fault, adores other dogs, new people, swimming, exploring, cuddling - everything. His enthusiasm is refreshing and it is always wonderful to come home to his adorable face.

We foster dogs for a local rescue org and he's had to put up with quite a bit - he's not an alpha dog at all, and has never shown aggression (just defensiveness when attacked, he attempts to run away but I have seen him defend himself). We had a bad situation w/ a resource-guarding female AmStaff (extreme case), and he still adored her even after she would go after him (she's no longer our foster, for his sake).

I know aggression issues do pop up in the breed but Atticus is proof to me that nurture (versus nature) is huge and he is a fantastic boy. He's irreplaceable. This breed is so misunderstood it is tragic - however I believe they are a powerful breed, with powerful potential, so you have to know what you're doing to own these guys. They live to please, but need guidance.

I don't believe most first time dog owners are suited to owning this dog (or a short list of other breeds I could mention). They require some understanding - and then they are fantastic!

~JJ Ruth, owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier mix

Unconditional love

Naturally protective with children and women, Sissygirl has so much patience and tolerance. She always has to be on my feet and no matter how much I work her on that, she would rather I beat her with a bat than leave my feet. We definitely have an unconditional love.

This breed must have kennel training. Establish pack leader constantly and work them through their commands consistently.

Sissygirl has never had a problem with aggression, but she does whine and growl at certain men and adolescent boys! My nephew walks on her and pulls on everything dangling, but she has yet to flinch.

~C.M., owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier

A fast learner and a good alarm clock

Ladybird wakes me up in the morning with a loving kiss. She's my alarm clock. She sits and watches me until it's time to go for her walk. Then she has to get a scoop of peanut butter for breakfast before she then eats all her dog food. She has to have her head on my lap everytime I sit.

She's a fast learner. She's already found out how to undo the latch of the gate in the house. She loves to watch our birds fly around the room or to look out the window for hours.

She will crawl into her cage on her bed at night without being told to. She carries her bone everywere she goes. And what a watchdog ! She loves kids, too. She is so sweet and gentle.

~DAVID R., owner of an American Staffordshire Terrier