Ask dog experts and dog breeders and they may tell you that there is no real breed as the ‘pit bull’. It is just a blanket term for American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or the Bull Terrier. In fact these and dozens of other breeds are all misrepresented under the hateful brand of ‘pit bull’. Much of this negativity is all caused by myth, hype and ignorance. So today we will try to debunk some of those myths about the temperament of the American Staffordshire Terrier (AST) and show you how this loving, loyal breed can make an ideal companion.
Characteristics of the American Staffordshire Terrier
- American Staffordshire terrier weight and height-The AKC/UKC standard for American Staffordshire Terrier weight is between 30-65 pounds with proportionate height of 18-19 inches for males and 17-18 inches for bitches.
- The AST or Amstaff as they are popularly known, come in variety of colors and patterns.
- Other popular nicknames for AST include Staff, Staffy Bull or ‘Stafford’.
- Any color, solid, or parti are acceptable in show dogs. All white, black and tan and liver colors are popular.
- Average life span is 12 years.
- This is a stocky, muscular dog with high set small ears.
- A famous Amstaff named Pete starred in the 1930 ‘Our Gang’ comedy show. Another Amstaff terrier mix named Popsicle was left for dead after a pit fighting past achieved fame as a narcotics detection dog because of its resilient fighting spirit and tremendous sense of smell.
American Staffordshire Terrier vs. Pit bull
Some people say that the American Staffordshire Terrier and the pit-bull are same breeds; others say they aren’t. The truth depends on who you ask. Some registries separate these; others have registered them under the same breed. Here are some major points of consideration between American Staffordshire Terrier vs. Pit Bull:
- According to Amstaff breeders, the AST have a smaller gene pool hence is more likely to look consistent.
- In terms of temperament, the AST and Pit Bull are more or less similar.
- The Pit Bull is generally taller (by 2”) and heavier (by 10-30lb) than the Staffy.
Where to buy your American Staffordshire Terrier puppy
The best place to find responsible American Staffordshire Terrier breeders is the official website of the AST. You can also go in for a carefully evaluated older Staffy. A reputable and kind hearted breeder who asks you several questions is a good choice to buy from as that shows he’s equally concerned whether the Amstaff is a right pet for you.
American Staffordshire Terrier Price- Expect to pay a price ranging into several hundred dollars for a healthy pet. Show prospects can cost even more. Beware of bargains; with an Amstaff you cannot afford one.
- Advertisements– You can also see ads for American Staffordshire Terrier in Sunday classifieds but more often than not, these are a result of casual, irresponsible mating of dogs that should not have been bred.
- Rescue shelters– These organizations tend to be very strict about potential owners; so expect the third degree when you go to adopt an AST from rescue organizations or shelters. After all, these caring people want to ensure that the dog’s new home is not a repeat of its earlier traumatic experience.
- If you decide to buy your pet from American Staffordshire Terrier breeders, then ask for documents like AKC/UKC registration, health and vaccination records, and test records of your puppy’s parents. Make sure the parents do not have hip dysplasia so that your pet has minimized risk of developing this disorder.
American Staffordshire Terrier temperament
- The Amstaff is an intelligent, loyal and caring dog. With good training, he can become an indispensable part of your household.
- If handled properly and with good obedience training, most Amstaff have gentle and loving temperament towards their family members. Teach children to never tease the pet as this breed has a strong hunting instinct.
- With proper training, your Amstaff can easily bond with other dogs but it is advisable not to raise them with cats, rabbits or other small pets owing to their prey instinct.
- They make great watchdogs.
- Engage your terrier in plenty of daily exercise or he will end up digging when bored.
Failure to train your American Staffordshire Terrier puppies can result in poor companion animals and poor companion animals are a danger to themselves and those around them.
- You can enroll your puppy in obedience school but, as far as possible, it will help if you can attend the training sessions with your family members so you can extend the same training at home.
- A combination of food treats and praise works best for all puppies.
- Depending on your lifestyle, it is best to use crate training for your pet. Avoid immediate training after long periods of crate confinement as your puppy will have lots of energy he wants to expel. Separate training time from fun time.
- Each training session should establish the role of you as the alpha. All other family members, including children, should also be portrayed to be higher up in the pack than the pet.
- Keep training sessions short, fun but serious and consistent. Puppy should not confuse it with playtime. Avoid busy and distracting times to train.
- Set clear attainable goals at the start of each session and stick to the goals.
- Be consistent and use rewards and praise. Correct mistakes each time. Use consistent command voice-do not shout while training.
- You must be patient with your American Staffordshire Terrier puppy.
Feed a high quality dry puppy food to your pet. Your vet or breeder can recommend the best variety. Good pet food for Amstaff will be high in proteins to keep stool small and firm. Never change your pet’s food on a whim-always consult a vet before doing so to avoid diarrhea. When feeding your puppy, always stick to the same food he/she was eating in the earlier home. For adult dogs, keep plenty of fresh water available along with high quality, premium food.
This breed does not need too much grooming. A weekly brushing will help keep its coat shiny and free of parasites. Bathe your pet once a month. Make sure you trim your pet’s nails regularly. Likewise, regular ear checks will keep infections at bay. Brushing your pet’s teeth will prevent bad breath and dental issues. A high quality kibble can be used to reduce tartar and plaque.