The American Staffordshire terrier also known as Amstaff is a medium-sized, short-coated American dog breed. In the early part of the twentieth century the breed gained social stature and was accepted by the American Kennel Club as the American Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. The name was changed to reflect difference from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England.
Despite its name, the Staffordshire Terrier was first bred in the nineteenth century in Birmingham, West Midlands, rather than in the English county of Staffordshire where it was then later bred. The early ancestors of this breed came from England, where until the first part of the 19th century, the Bulldog was bred in England. Bulldogs pictured as late as 1870 resemble contemporary American Staffordshire Terriers to a greater degree than present-day Bulldogs. Some writers contend it was the White English Terrier, Fox Terrier, or the Black and Tan Terrier that was crossed with the Bulldog to develop the Staffordshire Terrier; all three breeds shared many traits, the greatest differences being in color, and spirit. The cross of Bulldog and Terrier was called by several names, including Bull-and-Terrier Dog, Pit Bull, or Half and Half. Later, it assumed the name of Staffordshire Bull Terrier in England. These dogs began to find their way into America as early as 1870.
Popularity In 1936, Amstaffs were accepted for registration in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Stud Book as Staffordshire Terriers, belonging to the terrier and molosser groups. The name of the breed was revised January 1, 1969 to American Staffordshire Terrier; breeders in the United States had developed a variety which was heavier in weight than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England. The name change was to distinguish them as separate breeds. The breed's popularity began to decline in the United States following World War II. In 2013 the American Kennel Club ranked the American Staffordshire Terrier as the 76th most popular purebreed in the United States
Temperament According to the American Kennel Club "The Am Staff is a people-oriented dog that thrives when he is made part of the family and given a job to do. Although friendly, this breed is loyal to his own family. "
Health and well-being 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. 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. American Staffordshire Terrier pups should not be bought weaned before they are 8–10 weeks old. Their life expectancy is generally 12 years with good care. Notable issues related to health and-well being include:
Inherited disorders Congenital heart disease Elbow dysplasia Hip dysplasia Luxating patella Thyroid dysfunction Cerebellar ataxia
Other disorders The breed may be vulnerable to skin allergies, urinary tract infections (UTI), and autoimmune diseases. Spondylosis and osteoarthritis are common in older dogs.
Breed-specific legislation Worldwide, the American Staffordshire Terrier has been subject to breed bans that target the Bull and Terrier family in response to well-publicized incidents involving pit bulls or similar dog breeds. This legislation ranges from outright bans on possession to restrictions and conditions of ownership. The appropriateness and effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing dog-related fatalities and injuries is disputed. Many animal-related organizations oppose breed-specific legislation: The American Veterinary Medical Association supports dangerous animal legislation by state, county, or municipal governments provided that legislation does not refer to specific breeds or classes of animals. The Centers for Disease Control said that breed-specific approaches to the control of dog bites do not address the issue that many breeds are involved in the problem and that most of the factors contributing to dog bites are related to the level of responsibility exercised by dog owners. Furthermore, tethered dogs are more likely to bite than untethered dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association states that because of difficulties inherent in determining a dog’s breed with certainty, enforcement of breed-specific ordinances raises constitutional and practical issues. SPCA recognizes that dog bites are a serious public safety problem. Their interest in this issue relates directly to the goal of creating humane communities where people and animals enrich each other’s lives. However, the BC SPCA opposes breed banning as a strategy for achieving this goal. According to the SPCA, breed banning is a simplistic and ineffective solution to a multi-faceted problem.
Notable Staffordshire Terriers Pete the Pup, in several Our Gang films (later known as The Little Rascals) during the 1920s and 1930s. American Staffordshire Terriers
Recommended books Listed by year of publication Ormsby, Clifford & Alberta. The American Staffordshire Terrier, 1956 Nicholas, Anna Katherine. Staffordshire Terriers: American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 1991, 256 pages; ISBN 0-86622-637-0 Foster, Sarah. The American Staffordshire Terrier: Gamester and Guardian, 1998, 139 pages; ISBN 0-87605-003-8 Linzy, Jan. American Staffordshire Terrier Champions, 1988-1995, 1998, 84 pages; ISBN 1-55893-054-X Linzy, Jan. American Staffordshire Terrier Champions, 1996-2001, 2002, 84 pages; ISBN 1-55893-102-3 Janish, Joseph. American Staffordshire Terrier, 2003, 155 pages; ISBN 1-59378-248-9