Why the American Staffordshire Terrier Is the Most Misunderstood Dog Breed
American Staffordshire terriers are basically the same as the American pit bull terrier, or pit bull, except that AmStaffs are a bit narrower in stature. This dog’s loyal, kind heart means it can be easily manipulated if it has an owner that wants to take advantage of it.
That’s why they were prime targets to train for dog fighting, earning them a seriously bad rap in the process. These terriers are on several most dangerous dog breeds lists and one of the most common dog breeds found at dog rescue sites.
So, do you want to know the truth about this misunderstood dog breed? Read on to learn why American Staffordshire terriers make better family pets than most people think.
The Pit Bull Look
The American Staffordshire terrier is a stocky, muscular, short-coated dog with a broad head and dark, round, wideset eyes. A medium-sized terrier dog, it stands about 19-inches tall at the withers and weighs up to 50 pounds.
Of course, their muscular look alone can mean they may look more frightening than other dogs, but as the saying goes, looks can be deceiving.
They’re Active Playmates
This breed requires a lot of daily exercise and, like most dog breeds, can get destructive if they don’t get what they need. They are people-oriented and thrive when exercise is combined with interactive play.
When it comes to canine sports, they may enjoy agility, obedience and dock diving. They also make good search-and-rescue dogs.
Strong and Exuberant Dogs
These are intelligent and generally gentle dogs, but they can be very protective. They enjoy human company and are known to be “people lovers.” While they are known to be good with children and have earned the nickname “Nanny Dog,” the American Staffordshire terrier does have its limits, as most dogs do.
Since these dogs are particularly strong, it is recommended to not leave them unsupervised with children, who may encourage play that is too rough.
They Require Proper Training
Early socialization and obedience training are a must for these dogs. They are smart and eager to please but tend to be strong-willed; certain habits such as chewing and digging may be difficult to correct.
They have a strong prey instinct, so homes with cats or other small animals are not recommended.
A Distinct Breed
Though all are descended from Britain’s bull and terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier is still a separate breed from both the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American pit bull terrier. In fact, it was recognized as its own breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1936.
Unlike the pit bull terrier, AmStaff breeders focused on appearance rather than tenacity.
Surprising Truths About AmStaffs
AmStaffs do not make good guard dogs. They will protect their owners but most are ineffective at guarding a home.
They also have a high pain threshold — so much so that an invisible electric fence may not be a sufficient deterrent. However, they overheat easily in warmer climates.
They’ve Made Film Appearances
In fact, Petey, the dog in the 1930s “Our Gang” films, was an American Staffordshire.