American Staffordshire Terrier
There are currently 3 American Staffordshire Terriers available.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a muscular breed that is known to be strong for its size, but they are also loving and affectionate with people in the family. American Staffordshire Terriers love nothing more than being with the people they care about, whether they are out jogging, playing in the garden, or snuggling on the sofa.
They are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them highly trainable; however, that intelligence means they need mental stimulation. If they don't get it, they will use those strong jaws and chew everything to death out of boredom. American Staffordshire Terriers can also use their strength to pull their owners with ease wherever they want to go, if they are not properly trained. This means they need a strong, confident trainer who sets boundaries without being overly strict.
The ancestors of the modern American Staffordshire Terrier came from England and were a mix between Bulldogs and Terrier breeds. Their mixed ancestry earned them many names, including Bull-And-Terrier Dog, Pit Bull Terrier. Eventually they came to be known as Staffordshire Bull Terriers. These dogs were used by butchers to manage bulls, hunters to catch wild boar, and farmers to help with farm work and act as rat-catchers and family companions because they were so affectionate with people. Later, they were used in the barbaric sports of bullfighting and bear baiting for their tenacity, courage and muscular build. When these blood sports were finally banned, they were used in dog fighting, which unfortunately continues today in illegal events. It is because of their abuse by humans that they bear their reputation as an aggressive breed. Around 1850, many of these dogs found their way to America. They began to be known as American Pit Bull Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers, American Bull Terriers, and Yankee Terriers. At the turn of the 20th century, they were recognised by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as American Pit Bull Terriers. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised the breed as Staffordshire Terriers in 1936. In 1976, the AKC changed the name to American Staffordshire Terrier, as the Americans had bred a larger dog than the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the two breeds needed to be more clearly distinguished. Some breeders, however, preferred the UKC's name American Pit Bull Terrier and retained it. Today, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier still have much in common, although they have been bred separately for over 50 years. There are very few differences between the breeds, although American Staffordshire Terriers are generally a little larger than American Pit Bull Terriers and seem to have a more docile personality. American Staffordshire Terriers are now used as guard dogs, assist in police work, and compete in weight pulling and agility competitions, but are also family pets.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is celebrated as a family dog that loves to be around people. American Staffordshire Terriers are never happier than when spending time with their family, whether it's during a vigorous play session, a long walk, or just cuddling on the sofa. In fact, although they have a reputation for being watchdogs, they will greet strangers with lots of licks and affection. It is mainly their muscular build and undeserved reputation as aggressive "Pit Bulls" that intimidates intruders and keeps them away. That said, many American Staffordshire Terrier owners claim that dogs of this breed are good at judging character and knowing people's intentions, and they can make excellent watchdogs for that reason. American Staffordshire Terriers are intense dogs that will pull, chew, dig, and bark when bored. As strong, athletic dogs, they can be difficult to walk, and will take their handler anywhere if allowed. They need a confident, assertive trainer who is able to keep them on a lead, set boundaries, and give them proper mental and physical stimulation. They also need early socialisation with people and other animals. Although the breed is naturally friendly to people, they can be confrontational with other dogs if not properly socialised. American Staffordshire Terriers are intelligent, eager to please, and generally cope well with training. They like to have a task, whether that is as a jogging buddy, nose work, agility course or performing in other dog sports. A trainer who can meet the physical demands of the American Staffordshire Terrier and keep them busy and under control will have a devoted, affectionate and obedient companion for life.