Loyal, fun-loving, fearless and affectionate, American Staffordshire Terriers (sometimes called Amstaffs) bring great joy to their families. Often confused with Pit Bull Terriers, the two breeds share an ancestral bloodline and were originally bred to fight, but the American Staffordshire line has become much more gentle in the last 100 years. Despite their reputation as an aggressive breed, the Amstaff is a true family dog. Loving and playful, this breed will play with children in the yard, then happily snuggle with mom and dad on the couch.
American Staffordshire Terriers require daily exercise to maintain their muscle tone. They enjoy long walks and playing in the yard. Because of their need for activity, they are best suited for a home with a fenced-in yard with plenty of room to run and play fetch. If raised alongside other animals, a well-bred American Staffordshire Terrier will do fine, but if adopting an older dog, it’s best the family not have other pets. Even the most gentle Staffordshire can attack if challenged by another animal, or if he fears his owner is in danger.
Because of the stigma against the breed, some homeowners insurance policies will not cover American Staffordshire Terriers, so potential owners should consult their insurance companies before committing to this dog.
Amstaffs are strong-willed dogs, so training requires a lot of confidence and patience. They should be trained and socialized as early as possible – every well behaved American Staffordshire Terrier is a goodwill ambassador for the breed. Positive reinforcement should be employed as the training method for an Amstaff, as harsh discipline can lead to mistrust.
Socialization should also be done early. Amstaffs should be taught to be friendly to people, and that children are fun playmates, and non-threatening.
A bored American Staffordshire Terrier is a destructive American Staffodshire Terrier. Plenty of exercise and stimulation is key to maintaining the integrity of a home’s furnishings. This breed loves to chew, so leaving plenty of bones or rawhide around the house can also protect shoes, sofas, and table legs from a bored Amstaff.
Aggression towards other animals is the biggest issue with the Amstaff. As long as the dog comes from a reputable breeder with a gentle bloodline, the Amstaff will not be aggressive toward people. Because they were bred to fight, and because they are loyal to their families, if the Amstaff feels threatened by another dog, he may become aggressive.
This breed should be treated as a family member, and never left tied up alone, outside. Serious behavioral problems and aggression can develop if an Amstaff is neglected and left without the company of loving humans.