American Staffordshire

Also known as: Amstaff, Stafford
  • American Staffordshire
  • American staffordshire

General description

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a dog breed that can live quite well in an apartment. A breed with a strong temperament which quickly adjusts to family life and interaction with kids. Amstaffs don't have any special needs regarding cleanliness and are gifted with strong health for the entire life. This type of dog displays high energy levels and strength, it requires daily exercise in order to release any build-up stress. Maintenance cost for an American Staffordshire Terrier is within average.

American Staffordshire in short

  • Group 3: Terriers
  • Height from 43 to 48 cm
  • Weight from 28 to 40 kg
  • Longevity from 10 to 12 years

Aspect and attributes

Characteristics accepts by FCI:

  • Colors: red, fawn, sesame, white, pinto, grey, grizzle, black, blue, merle, yellowish, dark, light, pepper and salt, harlequin, apricot, silver, brown, liver, lemon, orange, charcoal, mouse, cream, chocolate, tan, cinnamon, seal, sable, gold, purple, ruddy, bronze, lilac, buckskin, sand
  • Hair: thick, wiry, short
  • Coats: tricolor, solid

Staffords are not as big as some of their sturdy "relatives", in fact they are rather compact and defined by a few recurring features that set them apart. The body of an American Staffordshire Terrier displays rather elongated legs with no particularly evident muscularity. The chest is wide and features well-rounded ribs. An Amstaff's head is quite large but the muzzle is relatively elongated and uniquely round-shaped.

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Costs and maintenance

A dog physically built like the American Staffordshire Terrier, which is still quite small compared to other sister-breeds but always very active, will need a decent amount of food. This is where you'll spend the most of your money throughout your Amstaff's life. On the other hand, this breed's strong health brings related expenses to average levels together with coat care and general grooming costs. These benefits can sum up the general expenditures to forecast when raising such a breed.

Maintenance cost within average

Characteristics Summary


Suitability to apartment life

Life in a unit can be difficult for an Amstaff if not properly trained by the owner. This is a powerful, muscular, reactive and quite interactive breed, and all these character traits should be taken into account when choosing a pet, especially this type of dog. In order to accommodate the Amstaff's needs, the apartment should have a decent size courtyard or a nearby public park where this type of dog can freely move around at least twice a day.

Moderately suitable for apartment life

Tolerance for solitude

Housing a dog such as the American Staffordshire Terrier is no easy task. A perfectly trained dog is capable of living quite easily even when left on its own for more than a few hours but this is not the case with American Staffordshire Terriers. This breed needs the care of the owner and doesn't hold back in highlighting a lack of it when it feels neglected. The presence of the owner in the life of an Amstaff can be crucial for the upbringing and training of this unique breed.

Very low tolerance for solitude

Suitable as first pet

The temperament of the American Staffordshire Terrier is very peculiar. This breed is absolutely not aggressive and the general negative opinion is only the result of a mis-informative campaign that permeated even the canine world for years now. However, as with any breed displaying similar physical traits, good knowledge enabling an adequate training is essential especially during the first years of an Amstaff's life and in order to provide your pet with the skills to react correctly in any situation. This is why gaining experience with easier breeds is always recommended.

American Staffordshire Terriers are not quite suitable as first dogs


Good Amstaff owners should behave cautiously with this type of dog. This breed usually displays a strong temperament and this trait can contribute to raising a dominant dog. An undesirable feature for a type of dog this size. Dealing with an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy requires firm hand and patience with a training method based on precise commands. This is how your pet's interactive skills will be relevant to different contexts, even the more chaotic ones.

The Amstaff has quite a tolerant temperament

Tolerance for cold temperatures

Due to a very short coat and despite the obvious muscular build, the American Staffordshire Terrier will suffer in severely cold weather. This type of dog proves to be quite resistant depending on the environment and the kind of interaction it develops outdoors. This is how you'll be able to accustom your pet to a certain type of climate however never expose your Amstaff to excessively cold temperatures. Despite featuring a dynamic mobility, an American Staffordshire Terrier may find these weather conditions distressful.

Amstaffs have a low tolerance for cold temperatures

Tolerance for high temperatures

The level of tolerance to warm temperatures displayed by American Staffordshire Terriers can be considered average. This type of dog can suffer heat and overly humid environments however it has a decent resistance while interacting in sunny or warmer contexts. Although Amstaffs are not to be considered "champions" in accustoming to hot weather conditions, it will be sufficient to provide them with water and food to adapt them quite quickly.

Moderately tolerant to hot climates

Friendliness and sociability

Affection towards family

The best way to prove the good nature of the American Staffordshire Terrier can actually be found in the displays of affection towards all family members. American Staffordshire Terriers are capable of involving the owner and therefore all loved ones during any kind of interaction with them. The need for attentions from the owner pushes the Amstaff to constantly seek for this kind of dialog, even with other family members.

Absolute affection towards the family

Friendly towards children

The size of an American Staffordshire Terrier should be reason for owners to always monitor any kind of interaction this type of dog (especially an adult subject) has with young children. If the kids are too small or young it is best to avoid direct contact with an American Staffordshire Terrier, especially in certain occasions. Best to expose your Amstaff and teach it to gently interact before allowing this type of interaction which should obviously be under careful adult supervision.

Absolutely friendly with children

Relationship with strangers

Despite what some may think, American Staffordshire Terriers are perfectly capable of bonding with strangers. Obviously, this will depend on the owner's ability to adequately train their Amstaff to understand the different contexts in which it will interact with unfamiliar people. An American Staffordshire Terrier that wasn't socialized properly at a young age may be problematic in public but these kind of issues won't generally occur with a perfectly responsible and socialized pet.

Absolute tolerance towards strangers

Friendliness towards other dogs

One of the weak spots in an Amstaff is the ability to interact with other dogs. This trait will hardly show in this type of dog and it may be caused by a high number of reasons. A well trained Stafford is capable of assessing the situation and responsibly understand messages from other dogs, especially in public. Nevertheless, a considerate master should never allow an Amstaff to get in direct contact with another equally reactive dog and therefore always use a strong leash.

American Staffordshire Terriers are not very friendly towards other dogs

Care and health

Coat care and shedding

Another positive feature that makes the American Staffordshire Terrier suitable to live in a unit is the practically nonexistent shedding. The coat of an American Staffordshire Terrier is quite resistant and ideal for the home environment as well as any garment, even the ones that will normally attract more hair. Nonetheless, this disposition should always be supported by actions. Never forget to create an adequate grooming routine, especially during the more critical moulting seasons.

Minimum shedding for the Amstaff

Salivation and drooling restraint level

The American Staffordshire Terrier is not so capable of containing the amount of saliva it produces. This limitation is mainly connected to the shape of this breed's face which can produce excess amounts of dribble, although this will normally occur during the highlights of an Amstaff's day such as closer to meal times or when the dog is more excited. Therefore, even if drooling is quite enhanced in American Staffordshire Terriers it will generally display in connection to certain times of day.

Low ability to restrain drooling

Easiness to clean

American Staffordshire Terriers are capable of maintaining a high standard of cleanliness which can be advantageous under many aspects. Amongst these benefits we can count the very short fur across the entire body which allows to easily spot any annoying enemies like parasites. Generally, a little extra care is recommended for this type of dog especially following its daily walk. On top of this, attention should focus on the mouth area and tail after your Amstaff's meals or walks.

American Staffordshire Terriers are very easy to clean

Health and diseases

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a very strong and resistant breed from a health perspective. American Staffordshire Terriers are capable of maintaining high health standards throughout their entire life partly thanks to the special care provided by breeders. Excluding diseases such as dysplasia, hypothyroidism and some cardiac conditions, the American Staffordshire Terrier can be considered one of the healthiest and well maintained breeds. Nevertheless, this disposition shouldn't become an excuse for lazy owners. All dogs should be checked by a veterinarian on a regular basis.

Good health throughout the entire life span

Tendency to gain weight

The chances of raising a fat Stafford are quite within average. This dog breed is capable of burning any excess calories build up during meals throughout the day. Clearly, in order to enable such a reaction your Amstaff will require adequate exercise routine. This practice should be specific and fairly structured because despite the daily activity of your American Staffordshire Terrier, this breed can consume decent amounts of food.

Amstaffs have a moderate inclination to gain weight

Learning skills

Intelligence and training

American Staffordshire Terriers grow more intelligent as their inclination to interact on a daily basis. This type of dog is very fond of playing with the owner and other family members. Your pet's upbringing gets stronger and the ability to interpret the owner's commands is definitely more functional and accountable. These are great benefits when bringing an Amstaff puppy into your home in conjunction with adequate training.

Great intelligence displayed during training

Loyalty and inclination to escape

As for many other dog breeds, the inclination to escape in an American Staffordshire Terrier is strictly connected to having received appropriate training. Amstaffs are athletes and wouldn't really struggle to get around obstacles such as fences or fairly low walls and this is why proper training is essential. This is only possible through appropriate instructions and firmness in raising this lively type of dog that is usually fond of quite a dynamic interaction.

American Staffordshire Terriers are fairly loyal and little inclined to escape

Inclination to bite

Biting is a typical trait of the American Staffordshire Terrier. This type of dog loves showing off this talent which is supported by a rather strong jaw and will bite objects of different texture. Such a tendency should alert owners to ensure their Amstaff dog doesn't play with unsuitable objects that may be dangerous in shape or size. As it regards the possibility of your American Staffordshire Terrier biting people, we can state this is quite within range and this breed will only consider it as an option based on how people interact with it.

Great self-control of nipping

Hunt drive

Some traits may contribute to a rather enhanced hunting drive in American Staffordshire Terriers. The picture is pretty clear when taking this breed's dynamic nature and curiosity into account. However, Amstaffs are quite within average with other dog breeds in relation to this inclination. Everything unfolds based on the way your American Staffordshire Terriers has developed its socialization skills with other animals as a puppy. Thanks to this trait, the Amstaff is perfectly capable of controlling this hunting tendency.

Average hunting drive

Inclination to bark or howl

Depending on the context and environment, an Amstaff's inclination to bark or howl is within average. This breed may give into this tendency at home only in certain situations. For example, when it senses someone approaching or in the presence of another animal that doesn't belong to the pack. Through accurate training, owners will be able to raise a pet that is aware of the times in which barking is required and that will differentiate the unnecessary bark from the wanted vocalizations.

Average disposition to bark or howl

Exercise requirements

Energy level

The figures identifying the American Staffordshire Terrier in regards to energy levels are those of an overall champion. This is not only an advantage due to a rather important muscular build but also an inclination that arises from the Amstaff's amazing liveliness. American Staffordshire Terriers have high energy levels that should always be let out and never built up, especially when these dogs live in fairly small apartments. This energy build up can easily turn into anxiety which is the number one enemy for your pet's mental and physical health.

Very high energy levels


The strength of a breed such as the American Staffordshire Terrier should bring owners to seriously assess the use of a suitable training method for their pet. A firm approach, obviously without exceeding is required in order to teach an Amstaff how to behave in certain contexts. The great physical force of the breed can become an issue when moving around in public, possibly even in the presence of people that may feel uncomfortable being around an American Staffordshire Terrier. Obviously, this strength must also be contained when indoors to avoid encouraging inappropriate behaviors in this kind of environment.

Maximum degree of strength

Exercise requirements

A type of dog like the Stafford will clearly be an athlete that trains this inclination on a regular basis. The American Staffordshire Terrier needs a fairly large dose of daily exercise in order to keep in shape and release stress build-up created while in the house. It may be useful to separate this kind of activity into two sessions during the day so to break up any possible boredom.

Strong need for exercise

Tendency to play

Thanks to interaction, Amstaffs can improve their intuition skills which may become useful during their everyday life. For example, these skills help an American Staffordshire Terrier control the intensity of a bite especially if trained ahead with different kind of objects. A useful way of teaching your pet the different uses of nipping and when it can freely be used without becoming a danger to other people or animals.

Maximum drive to play

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