American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Breed Information, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

It’s a real challenge to source reliable American Staffordshire Terrier dog breed info.

To fix this issue, we scoured the most trustworthy sources and distilled the data you need for a healthy and happy pup.

pitbull Terrier Dog Breed Information, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Is this breed kid friendly? Are you feeding your pup too much? Too little? What about exercise?

These are all worries we have as loyal pup-parents- and here are the answers so you can spend less time in panic and more time in play.


Highlights of the Amazing American Staffordshire Terrier

  • Under much legislation these dogs are a part of the ‘pit bull’ class
  • Originated in England as a crossbreed of Terrier and Bulldog
  • These dogs have had many names over time
  • Generally healthy animals save some small concerns
  • Literally the ‘underdog’, this breed has an unfortunate history with dog fighting
  • Originated as work dogs and became companions later

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Breed Information for Better Bonding

American Staffordshire Terriers (AST) have received an unjust representation.

These dogs are friendly and loving (their role as a pet started because of their friendliness with people).


Large dogs like these often work as watch/guard dogs- but it is due to intimidation, not violent inclinations.

AST dogs are intelligent and extremely able to train, provided the trainer is firm but loving).

Muscular statures and an intense nature set these dogs apart.



  • American Staffordshire Terrier Dog


Other Names

American Staffordshire Terriers: An Origin Story

This breed’s origin story lies in England, with roots dating back almost two hundred years.

The Staffordshire Terrier began as a cross between the bulldog and the terrier.


After years as work dogs, this breed’s history takes a dark turn.

Scores of these dogs suffered in fighting rings and the like.


After the Staffordshire Terrier came to the Americas mid-nineteenth century, they continued to participate in this dark practice.

Despite having been bred separate and apart from pit bulls, the dogs are classed together, making the legality of AST parenting tricky in certain places.


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Height and weight are always variable.

Like the goldfish, all things develop proportionately to their surroundings.


American Staffordshire Terriers are no different (so making sure to keep up with exercise and nutrition is critical).

An average dog of this breed will be around 17.5” in height and around 50 pounds in weight.



Male: 17–19 inches (43.2–48.3 cm)

Males are generally larger than their female counterparts.

Matching this is a (relatively) increased amount of muscle in comparison to the female dog.

Males benefit from added protein for this reason.


Female: 16–18 inches (40.2– 45.7cm)

Females are generally smaller than their male counterparts.

Coupled with this is a (relatively) increased amount of fat. For this reason, these dogs benefit from supplementation with fish proteins and omegas.


Puppies: –8-12 inches (20.3–30.5 cm)

The puppy’s focus is on growing. The average pup will need to over double in height.

Providing optimal calcium intake is critical to achieving proper bone growth.

It prevents any stunting after being weaned from the mother’s milk.



Male: 50–60 pounds (22.7-27.2 kg)

On average, the male dogs will be heavier than their female counterparts.

You can compensate for this in the diet, since we should administer food according to mass and metabolism.


Female: 40–50 pounds (18.1– 22.7 kg)

Females are generally lighter, though will be slightly less lean due to the female reproductive physiology (fat surrounding these critical organs).

Their weight will be subject to change during pregnancy.


Puppies: 2–20 pounds (0.9–9.1kg)

Once these dogs start growing, they continue to do so quickly.

Born so tiny, these dogs need to focus on cultivating mass.


Since they need to grow to be almost twenty-five times their birth weight, these dogs tend to eat and sleep a lot.


American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Breed Purity: PureBred or Mixed?

Breed purity (or pedigree) information is not as significant as it frequently is, especially with American Staffordshire Terriers.

This dog is essentially a cross between bulldogs and terriers, meaning their lineage has been crossed for some time.


It has only been fifty years since their breeding separation from pit bulls.

For this reason, pedigree charts can be more challenging.


In effect, all these dogs are mixed breeds. It is possible to investigate the parentage, but with only 50 years of history, purebred pups of this cross breed don’t really exist.

Parentage is traceable, but only through a small amount of time (especially since these dogs originate the pond).


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Behavior and Temperament

The temperament of these dogs is a double-edged sword.

They began careers as house pets because of their extreme friendliness with humans.


The opposing behaviour is highly territorial and (at best) standoffishness with other canine companions.

These dogs require a firm disciplinary hand to ensure they we train these pups with loving firmness.



These dogs tend to be highly aware and alert.

This couples with a high intelligence which makes the American Staffordshire Terrier an ideal companion.


In general, they are cognizant of surroundings (which makes them great watch dogs).

The cleverness of these pups makes them compassionate to people, since they notice shifts in situation and in the behaviour of their human companions.



When it comes to people, these dogs are some of the friendliest large breed creatures.

In terms of other dogs, however, the American Staffordshire Terrier tends to not react as kindly.


These imposing creatures do best when they are the only pet in the house (letting them focus on humans, and vice versa).



Gentleness of character is largely dependant upon the pet-parent.

Any dog can behave aggressively if you train them for that purpose.


It takes a loyal trainer to ensure that the gentleness comes to the surface.

American Staffordshire Terriers make this an easy task since they are inclined to please and are easy to train.


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The high intelligence of this breed comes from its history as a work dog.

The need to dig, or to hunt and retrieve, leads to increased awareness.


Situational awareness is one of the key methods of understanding the canine intelligence.

So long as they know what is going on around them, dogs have an outstanding ability to tune into the heart of the matter (sometimes perceiving things even people have missed).

Assuming the dog’s life has been kind to them, they tend to be great judges of character.



These large breed pups have a high energy level coupled with a need to please.

They tend to be very outgoing towards people (especially in their younger years).


To other dogs, however, these pups tend to be more closed off, preferring to focus on their two-legged friends instead.

We adore these dogs for their outgoing playfulness in the home, they make great and high energy furry friends.



Terriers of this breed are wonderful companions and tend to be great with children.

Their outstanding loyalty makes them a great dog for kids to grow up with.


Territorialism is a two-sided coin.

On the one hand, it makes them less friendly with other canines.


On the other, it enforces bonding with their human family. In general, these dogs aim to please and are very trainable.


Coat Types

These dogs are not big shedders.

This is due, in large part, to the type of coat which they have.


Short and glossy, the fur is generally quite rigid (sometimes it feels more like petting skin than fur).

While the colors vary, the coat type remains consistent across this breed of dog.


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Coat Colors

  • White
  • Black
  • Red
  • Fawn
  • Blueish White/Gray

The colors themselves tend to combine in a variety of patterns.

When referring to your dog’s coat color, we typically reference the base color and clarify the pattern and color.


For example: “My Staffie is black with patchy white spots”.

The unique patterning found on a great many of these pups works as a solid identifier.


It is also frequent to have a monochromatic fur color (usually one of those listed above.)



The eyes of these gorgeous dogs tend to be dark and energetic.

Eye color of any creature is determined by parental lineage.


Dominant traits will override their recessive counterparts (unless two recessives may be present in the lineage).

This is relatively uncommon, thus the most common iridology for these pups is dark brown to black.    



American Staffordshire Terriers tend to have dark, uniformly colored noses.

This is a sign of good health in the dog (genetically speaking).


Some spotting is common, though less so in purebred animals.

The pinkness seen on many noses functions like a birthmark.


The reduced amount of melanin present denotes a possibility of future health issues.

Many dogs of this breed who have this spotting function wonderfully.



Tail length is another common question (we all worry after our pets’ wellbeing).

For this breed of pup, the healthy tail is of medium to long length.


The purpose of this piece of anatomy is to facilitate balance and understand surroundings.

If the tail is disproportionate, these senses are likely compromised.


Litter Size: Roughly 4 Puppies Per Litter

The healthy (and standard) litter size of the American Staffordshire Terrier is four.

There are exceptions to this rule.


Sometimes a dog will have three pups instead, in which case the litter is typically a little heavier.

If the mother has a litter of five or more, there is risk for low birth weight of one or more of the puppies.



The average lifespan of this breed of dog ranges between ten to fifteen years.

The lower end of the scale represents animals that are predisposed to several health issues.


Higher life spans result from a combination of nature and nurture.

Genetic dominance is one of the key factors in the health of a pup (a healthy lifestyle is significant too).


The best way to have your pet see the longer end of this scale is with proper pet care over time.


Pet Care Needs

These animals need a great deal of affection coupled with a firm hand (figuratively speaking).

Bonding is critical to your pet developing a health temperament.


The trickiest part of pet-parenting is striking a balance between affection and discipline.

Other considerations, naturally, include a healthy diet, socialization, and an optimal exercise routine.


Regular veterinary visits are as critical to dogs as doctor’s visits are to people.


Grooming Requirements

Keeping your Staffie clean is imperative to proper health.

These dogs are, however, some of the easiest pups to groom.


Giving them a good brushing every day or two will keep their skin exfoliated (and their fur behaving).

Proper dental care is always a worry for pups.


Ensure diligent brushing and a healthy diet in order to keep their teeth in good shape.


Check: How Often Should A Poodle Be Groomed?



To prevent health issues later in life, it is best to avoid impact exercise (anything that is challenging to the joints).

It is better for puppies to avoid straining exercise and instead focus on lighter forms of physical engagements.


Once the dog is older and larger, these more challenging activities can be approached.

Even at their most fit, it is best to do these exercises in moderation.


Health Concerns and Credits

  • Learning how to take care of your American Staffordshire Terrier’s health related issues is critical to longevity
  • Avoid health issues by regular screening for potential threats (knowing earlier allows more time for prophylactic methods)
  • Proper hydration is necessary to all animal health (ensure good access to clean water)
  • Regular veterinary visits ensure that all necessary steps are underway, vets can also advise on proper diets specific to your dog’s metabolism and physical needs
  • These dogs are prone to certain health issues including:
    • Elbow dysplasia
    • Thyroid issues (and resulting slow metabolism)
    • Cardiovascular concerns
    • Retinal Atrophy (progressive blindness)
    • Possibilities of allergies

Health Care Requirements

  • The health care requirements for the American Staffordshire Terrier Dog always include an annual trip to the dog’s veterinarian
  • Screening for possible issues is always best when done sooner
  • Ask your vet about tests for eyes, heart, bones, and thyroid (it helps with peace of mind)
  • Proper hydration- you never know when thirst will hit, so it is best to keep water available at any given time
  • Macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats) are necessary for overall health and growth
  • Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) are essential to a functioning anatomy
  • Mental stimulation is necessary to overall health
  • Physical exercise (moderate yet sufficient) is important for general wellbeing
  • Affection (and its impact on Tempermant) is necessary for the development of a healthy mind
  • Time, most importantly, dogs need time spent on their care and happiness in order to thrive

Training Tid-Bits for These Terriers

  • Training and bonding are two sides of the same coin
  • A stern yet loving presence is necessary when teaching this breed the ways of the world
  • Start small when training, incorporating positive reinforcement wherever possible
  • Consistency is important for these dogs, as when the dog understands what is good and what is bad their aim to please will be of assistance
  • Repetition facilitates success since these dogs are highly intelligent
  • Couple training with affection so the Staffie can better understand the nature of its training
  • American Staffordshire Terriers are highly trainable and learn quickly (if you remain consistent, the process will be straightforward)

Training Care Requirements

  • The training care requirements for American Staffordshire Terriers are specific to this breed
  • Consistency is the most important factor of training this breed of dog
  • Having a set plan in place and maintaining self-control is essential for the pet-parent
  • Ensure the task is doable and well understood (you cannot train a dog with fetch before they can sit)
  • Simple, one-step direction is the best starting point, once the dog can understand the training patterns of success/failure, the speed should accelerate
  • Coupling training with affection (separate and apart from the reward system) is essential to these dogs’ success



Physical Attributes of American Staffordshire Terriers

Agile and high in muscle, this breed of dog tends to be very lean.

These dogs are of a medium to large breed and have a carriage that suits their build.


The facial structure is on the rounder end of oblong.

They generally have moderately protruding snouts with medium sized cheeks.

This breed will typically have a dark nose and darker eyes.



This category is one of the noticeable drawbacks of the American Staffordshire Terrier.

Their large size and intimidating features make it difficult for them on a social level.


With the added drawbacks of the media representation of these creatures, these creatures have a difficult time adjusting to changing situations.

In addition to the difficulty with image, these dogs are genetically predisposed to be standoffish and resistant to change.


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Other Dog Friendly

The favorable friendliness of these dogs focusses on humans, not other canines.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but as a breed these imposing animals tend to get along better with their pet parents than with other pets and companions.


It is, nonetheless, important to socialize the dog. Starting small can help (just a fellow puppy playdate).

Keeping activities at a new location can help with territorialism.


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Shedding Level

Seasonal changes impact all living creatures.

So, while these dogs may not shed all the time, they do get rid of their fur on a yearly basis.


When spring comes around, these dogs will go through a quick burst of rapid shedding.

This helps them acclimate to the coming warmth.


Other than this annual genetic tradition, these dogs are relatively non shedding (losing the same amount of hair per square inch as their human companions).


Affection Level

American Staffordshire Terriers are wonderful in terms of affection with their human family.

This is, in large part, how they evolved as domesticated pets.


At first, they were ratters or hunters and this breed’s overall friendliness with people is what saw them incorporated into the household.


Exercise Needs

Surprisingly, for a dog of its size and origin, the best methods of exercise for these dogs are not strenuous.

Due to a predisposition to elbow issues (all that digging in their evolutionary history), it is best to reduce elbow impact for this dog.


Swimming is a great exercise provided the dog itself likes water activities.


Social Needs

All creatures require socialization as a part of healthy psychology.

Their first need is a kind and loving pet-parent and family.


Secondary needs involve knowing other dogs and learning to keep a healthy temperament social situations.

Start with walks and graduating up to dog parks is a good idea for dogs with a hard time adjusting to change.


Apartment Friendly

Due to the size of these dogs, they are generally not the best in apartment settings.

In addition to this barrier is legislation (present in many urban areas) that pertains to ownership of canines classed as ‘pit bulls’.


Double check with local law before adopting an American Staffordshire Terrier to your apartment.


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These pups are quite low maintenance in the grooming department.

Having short and rigid fur reduces shedding and makes for infrequent trimming needs.


Our favorite way to incorporate grooming is into cuddle time.

A quick brushing makes sure that their skin stays healthy (it is the largest organ, after all).


Stranger Friendly

Contrary to common belief, these dogs are stranger-friendly (unless trained otherwise).

Provided it is a human stranger and not a clear threat, these dogs typically get along fine with other people.


This also depends on the situation, since these dogs are not the most comfortable with the perceived usurping of their territory.


Barking Tendencies

The Amstaff barking tendencies varies from dog to dog.

It tends to depend on training specific to this sort of vocalization.


Is the dog on watch? Is there a child the dog is protecting? Was the dog trained to bark? Or not?

All these factors contribute to the barking levels of these pups.

Make clear your intentions and they will generally follow the rules.


Health Issues

Health issues include a few concerns for these dogs.

Of these is the potential for hypothyroidism (a glandular issue that can lead to a slow metabolism).


In addition, there is the potential for elbow issues.

Other problems include a predisposition of the breed to progressive blindness.


Checking early for these issues is diligent practice.



The Staffie is known to be territorial of its area.

The high intelligence of these dogs makes it simple to maneuver this territorialism by establishing clear boundaries.


It is necessary to be clear and consistent with these pups as this will help mitigate any behavioural problems related to them being territorial.   


Cat Friendly

These affectionate creatures tend to not show favor towards feline kind.

Of course, situations may vary and there can be situations wherein the pup is raised with a cat, or simply grows fond of them.


In general, however, this is not the most cat friendly breed of dog.


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Due to being bred as work dogs, these animals tend to be highly instinctual and generally smart.

Alert senses and willingness to please manifest in highly cognizant behaviour patterns. In general, these dogs learn quickly and retain knowledge well.



Due to high intelligence and a desire to make their pet-parents happy, these dogs tend to be easy to train (generally speaking).

We love them for their goofy enthusiasm and generally high energy.


They are easy companions to get along with and training tends to accelerate quickly once traction is first gained.


Child Friendly

These dogs are incredibly great with children.

Not only will they protect the little ones from harm, but they are friendly and high energy.


Of course, clear training is necessary for both the people and the puppies.

Once boundaries are set, this is an ideal pet for families.



The Staffie is a very playful pup, always looking to please and scrounging for attention from their pet-parents.

We love them because of their general enthusiasm and high spirits.


Cleverness makes them good at games and fun to engage with in several settings.

They tend to have good stamina (and are wont to overtire themselves).


For their benefit, it is best to keep exercise at a moderate level.


Watchdog Ability

Amstaff dogs tend to be great watchdogs for a few reasons.

Of these factors is the deterrent influences of their daunting appearance.


In functional terms, these dogs tend to be agile and loud when barking, as well as alert and highly reflexive.

These are all ideal components of a high-quality watchdog.


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Other Pets

Amstaff dogs are generally best when all the animal attention concentrates in their direction.

They are at optimal behaviour when they are the only pets in the household (though they can get along with other dogs of the same breed after proper introductions).


These dogs require a lot of care and attention, making them a full-time pet.


Feeding American Staffordshire Terrier Dog

A well balanced, healthy diet is essential to your dog’s health.

Keep the focus on lean proteins, and kibbles with high fibre contents.


Ensure that all necessary vitamins and minerals are in the kibble (or otherwise supplemented).

We like to keep to a base of kibble, and supplement with wet or raw food options.


It is always good to avoid additives and preservatives.


American Staffordshire Terrier Puppies

While the meals of older dogs tend to split into two dining times, the needs of puppies are far more demanding.

Generally, breaking their meals into three or four dining times throughout the day is the best approach.


Start with half of a cup food a day and increase incrementally from there as they gain size.


American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Adults

These dogs benefit the most from between two and three cups of food a day.

It is best to split this into two meals (one at the beginning of the day and one towards the end).


Ensure that the dog has enough access to water and that fibre and vitamin content is present in the food.


Famous American Staffordshire Terrier Dog

#1 Stubby

Stubby was born in July of 1916 and was a famed combat dog. During the First World War, he offered services as the mascot of the 102nd Infantry of the USA.


After time spent in military life, this dog received a promotion to the rank of Sergeant. This dog highlights the loyalty and courage iconic of this breed.


#2 Petey

Petey the famed dog from the beloved children’s movie: ‘The Little Rascals’ is important to this list.

He has been a beloved icon for generations after offering his services to Hollywood.


This American Staffie was born and bred in the USA, where he later made his claim to fame in California (on the set of this classic kid’s movie)


#3 Nipper

Nipper was another famous Amstaff. This British pup was the inspiration behind a famous painting entitled “His Master’s Voice”.


The painting was done after Nipper passed away, and shows the love and dedication held by the owner, Francis Barraud. Nipper was a part of a three-dog litter and was kind and loyal until the end.


#4 Sir Thomas

Sir Thomas is another important part of this breed’s history. This was the dog of the famed Helen Keller, a known animal lover.


Sir Thomas was a significant part of Keller’s life, offering companionship during rides, sails and walks. Keller notes these dogs as highly affectionate and great for companionship.


#5 Bud

Bud claimed his fame when he hitched a trip across the USA in the vehicle of Dr. Nelson Jackson (who himself made history by making this automobile trek).

This occurred in 1903, a very early period for vehicular transport.


Bud was of the first three living creatures to make this transcontinental journey.

The goggles Bud wore during this trek are now in the Smithsonian.


#6 Lilly

Lilly is a popular Amstaff of the modern era.

Her YouTube videos are iconic of how adorable this breed of dog can be.


Lilly shatters stereotypes and has taken her seat in the spotlight with a gleaming smile.

Especially given modern image problems had by this breed, the work Lilly (and her pet parents) are doing is increasingly important.


#7 Pete

Pete is the famed dog belonging to American President Theodore Roosevelt.

Many American presidents (and leaders the world over) have declared affections for their canine companions.


This particular president showed favor towards this breed (likely due to their energy, kindness, and extreme loyalty)


#8 Other Famed Staffies

Jack Brutus’ who served the First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry during the American Civil War, ‘Wasp’, the much loved dog belonging to Sir Walter Scott (the famous Scottish novelist and poet), and ‘Tige’ the dog of famous America cartoon character, Buster Brown (first appearing in 1902 as published by the New York Herald).


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How to Bring this Breed Home

  • First, ensure that it is legal to own an American Staffordshire Terrier in your jurisdiction
  • Ensure that you have sufficient time and space to accommodate the dog
  • Decide whether you will be buying or adopting the dog
  • Find a reputable breeder or animal shelter that specializes in this breed
  • Learn your specific preparatory needs and fulfill them (dog dish, collar, etc.)
  • Bring your beautiful new buddy home


How Much Does an American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Cost?

These dogs typically are sold from breeders for anywhere from the high end of $1000 to the lower end of $800.

This will, of course, depend on their parentage, the health of the dog, as well as accessibility of services.

In general, an average of $900 is standard. not including supplies, food, etc.)


Breed Group

The American Staffordshire Terrier falls into (you guessed it), the Terrier Breed Group.

Derived from the Latin, ‘Terra’ or ‘Earth’, the name is a throwback to the digging origins of these animals.


This namesake is also what led to the modern presentation of elbow issues in these large animals.

It also facilitated their high energy personalities and is a large component of their general savvy.


Terrier Group (AKC : 1936)

This breed group has iconic high energy and feisty personalities.

Dogs of this type were originally bred for work purposes- so the need for such high energy is apparent.


These helpful hounds have held onto these traits through their evolution.


Terrier Breeds (UKC : 1898)

The specific Terrier Breed type (that of the American Staffordshire Terrier), has been in existence for roughly 150 years.

Breeders have been careful in their curated selection over time.


This has left modern Staffies with the desirable traits of high intelligence and energy (with less focus on aggression needed for wartime and the like).


National Breed Clubs

Rescue Groups

Which Stupendous Staffordshire Terrier Fact Shocked You?

We’ve learned all the reasons to love these beautiful terriers, so which part helped you the most?

For me, it was learning the nuances of temperament and feeding.


Knowing more about my dogs makes it easier to bond with them- and bonding the true pet-parenting goal.

Which facts did you already know? Are there any terrier tidbits that shocked you?


Let us know in the comments- we’d love to learn from your Stafford Terrier experience.

What’ll you keep in mind when adopting an American Stafford Terrier?


Give this article a share so it can find other members of the Terrier team.

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