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American Staffordshire Terrier, Breed Profile
March 5, 2009
The beautiful lady in the picture is my dog, Skye. She is an American Staffordshire Terrier. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a breed that was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1936 and is a member of the Terrier group.
According to the breed standard of the AKC the general impression of the breed is as follows: “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. His courage is proverbial.” Skye is all that and more.
American Staffordshire Terriers (AmStaffs) are a true terrier breed. They are fearless, loyal, courageous and strong for their size. They are well-suited for many of the canine sports available to dog enthusiasts these days. They are good at agility, tracking, and obedience, as well as confirmation. Some of the jobs assigned to this plucky breed include police work, guarding stock, weight pulling, as well as being watch dogs. They need to have a job to do and are never happier than when they are active. This is a breed that needs a fair amount of exercise, and is perfectly happy whether going for a walk or playing a rousing game of ball or Frisbee in the yard.
The adult AmStaff should weigh about 50-65 pounds (23-30kg), and size range for males should be between 18 to 19 inches and bitches should be between 17 to 18 inches at the withers. They have a short coat that is easy to care for. Their life span is usually between 10 and 12 years, but Smokey, my last AmStaff was almost 20 when he passed. They don’t tend to be troubled by hip dysplasia, but congenital heart disease and hereditary cataracts have been reported. Because of their deep chest they can suffer bloat.
The AmStaff is a very social dog and loves their family. They are bred for their temperament and gentleness and make great family dogs. However, because of their keen intelligence like most terriers, they can be independent and stubborn, so they need to be trained and socialized properly. They are not a dog for everyone, and like any large strong dog they need to know you are the alpha dog. However, when raised with love and kindness they make fabulous companions.
Skye was raised in a kennel and only knew other AmStaffs, before she came to live with us. While she was good with other dogs and people, I wasn’t sure how she would be with my cats, chickens and geese, as she had never been around any. She does like to chase the chickens and I have never left her unsupervised with them. I did watch her chase a gander one day, but watching her, I noticed she wasn’t trying to catch him, even though I knew she was capable of it. She was just trying to put him in his place and establish her own place in the pecking order. As for the cats, when everyone gets into bed at night if Skye is up with us, Munchkin (a 6 pound adult) likes to sleep perched up on top of Skye; and the rest of the cats have a healthy respect for her, though she has never harmed any of them.
AmStaffs can be a handful and are not for everyone, but with the right person, they can be a super companion and friend for life.