The American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the most misunderstood dog breeds in the country. It suffers from breed stereotypes and has a tenuous reputation that has led to several cities banning the breed altogether. But despite breed specific legislation, the AmStaff is still a popular dog breed in the United States. Those who treat these dogs with love and respect get to see their true nature as loyal family dogs.
How many of these breed facts did you already know?
1. American Staffordshire Terriers originate from Great Britain.
It’s still unknown what exact breeds were used to create the AmStaff, but experts agree that the Bulldog played a big part in their makeup. Other breeds most likely include the extinct White English Terrier and Black-and-Tan Terrier.
2. They didn’t arrive in the United States until the mid 1800s.
Once the breed made it across the pond, Americans started breeding the dogs to make them bigger. Eventually, the AKC recognized the American Staffordshire Terrier as a completely separate breed than the English version–the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
3. The breed has a long history of being used in fights.
American Staffordshire Terriers combine the strength of the old style English Bulldog with the energy and fearlessness of the terrier. They were often used to either fight each other or forced to fight other animals, including bears.
4. They were bred to fight animals, but aggressiveness toward humans was deemed an undesirable trait.
Handlers needed to be able to safely control their dogs and were often with them in the ring. For that reason, people bred them to be friendly and loyal toward humans.
5. American Staffordshire Terriers were also bred to be great farmhands.
The strong and loyal dogs worked to protect their families and livestock and were also used for hunting.
6. The belief that American Staffordshire Terriers have the ability to “lock their jaws” is a myth.
No dog breed can lock their jaw. AmStaffs are simply incredibly strong.
7. American Staffordshire Terriers are often called pit bulls, but that isn’t technically accurate.
The term “pit bull” is not an actual dog breed. It’s an umbrella phrase used to classify a number of different breeds including American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bully, and sometimes the American Bulldog.
8. An AmStaff named Bud rode along during America’s first cross-country road trip in 1903.
Bud went down in history and saw more of the country than most people did back then.
9. American Staffordshire Terriers score exceptionally well on the temperament test run by the American Temperament Test Society.
The latest data gives them a score of 85.5%, which is better than the Beagle, German Shorthaired Pointer, Chihuahua, and several other popular breeds.
10. Despite their tough appearance, these dogs don’t make good guard dogs.
They would be a good partner to have if you need protection from a wild animal, but they’re poor guard dogs if you want to keep people off your property. They’re too friendly and typically greet strangers like they’re new friends.
11. The American Staffordshire Terrier is considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds and is easy to train.
They are the type of dog that finds joy in pleasing people. Most pick up on new skills quickly and can be trained for a long list of jobs. They are trained as both service dogs and detection dogs.
Like learning about dog breeds? Learn about the Labrador Retriever next!