The American Staffordshire Terrier's roots date back to the early 19th century when dog fighting was popular.
They originated in Staffordshire, England, through the crossing of a popular Terrier of the era and the Bulldog of that day.
The desire was to combine the strength of the Bulldog
and the tenacity of the Terrier.
It is from the fighting Bulldog and Terrier that dedicated breeders produced a peaceable dog.
When these dogs (the ancestors of the present day Amstaff) were first taken to USA, in the 1870's, they accompanied pioneer families and served as their pets and as guardians of
the family and property.
They were known as the American Terrier and as the
The breed was recognised by the AKC on June 10th 1936 as the Staffordshire Terrier.
The name, however, was changed to American Staffordshire Terrier in 1972 to avoid confusion with the smaller cousin,
the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Although the Amstaff resembles the Pitbull, it is very much a separate, distinct breed. The Pitbull was specifically bred for fighting, and its only common link with the Amstaff is its ancestry.
The AKC to this day does not recognise the Pitbull Terrier.
Solid and athletic, the breed combines power, grace and agility. Bright, alert and couragous, the Amstaff is very good with children, and makes a fine house-dog. But, because of his
terrier nature, early obedience training is advised.
A proper Amstaff personality and temperament is one of a loving and loyal family pet. They make an excellent guardian
of property and family, and possess the ability to discriminate between strangers who mean them harm and those who do not. They have a wonderful sense of humour.
The Amstaff is highly intelligent, and as such, needs an owner who is knowledgeable about animal behaviour, a basic background in obedience training and an understanding of Terrier traits and personality. They do very well in obedience and make a wonderful companion and friend.
They are not a breed for everyone and generally not a good choice for the first-time dog owner.
As in any breed of dog, or race of people, there are good and bad individuals. It is unreasonable to make a generalization that ALL within a breed, or race, are bad, based only on those few "bad individuals". For the last 50 years, Amstaff breeders have worked to breed the aggressiveness out and have strived to create a gentle, loving companion.
To do so they have bred to a written show standard,
which was established in 1935.