Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

Smart, Confident, Good-Natured Companions

If you’re looking for a loving, easy-to-handle watchdog, the American Staffordshire terrier, also known as the AmStaff, is a good choice. They are descendants of the terrier and the bulldog.

The Staffy has a long history, and American Staffordshire terriers are the first pit bull accepted by the American Kennel Club.

Staffordshire Terrier


Learn More


Learn More

Lifetime Care

Learn More

What is the history behind these terriers?

The story of the AmStaff begins in Ancient Rome. One of the Romans’ favorite pastimes was gladiator sports, and they bred dogs specifically to compete against the gladiators. These dogs eventually became known as bulldogs, as they also helped hunt bulls.

Bulldogs eventually made their way to England and were used mainly for underground dog fighting, which was very popular with the English. However, this sport was later made illegal.

To make them smaller and more agile, bulldogs were bred with terriers. This new breed became known as a pit bull.

Around the 1850s, pit bulls came to America, although the American Kennel Club (AKC) did not register them as an official breed until the 1930s. The American Staffordshire terrier breed was eventually distinguished from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

The AmStaff is strong and stubborn but extremely loving. With proper training, socialization, and a firm hand, they are wonderful additions to any family.

Breed Profile


breed height icon
  • Males: 18-19 inches
  • Females: 17-18 inches


breed weight icon
  • Males: 55-70 lbs
  • Females: 40-55 lbs


breed lifespan icon
  • 12-14 years

Health Risk

breed health icon

What are the health risks for American Staffordshire terriers?

Like most pets, AmStaffs are predisposed to some health issues. As long as you know what to ask your vet about, you can be prepared for anything.

Although these problems may seem overwhelming, discuss them with your vet, who can check your dog for potential problems. If you get your dog from a breeder, they should also screen for these issues.

Policy holders of a pet insurance plan provided by Spot Pet Insurance can visit any licensed vet in the United States or Canada. They can also take advantage of the 24/7 telehealth line powered by whiskerDocs.

Health risks for American Staffordshire terriers

American Staffordshire terriers can end up with health problems like:

Hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia

This condition is denoted by a malformation of the respective sockets and joints.

% Dogs affected: 


Clinical Signs: 

  • Your pup is less active than usual
  • Difficulty standing up
  • Limps or wobbles when walking
  • Signs of pain when walking


  • Joint supplements
  • NSAIDs
  • Physical therapy
  • Potential weight reduction
  • Surgery

Other Risks: 

  • Obesity
  • Injuries

Average Vet Bill:



This condition, which can also affect humans, is marked by a deficiency of the thyroid hormone.

% Dogs affected:


Clinical Signs: 

  • Weight gain
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of fur
  • Intolerance to the cold


  • Thyroid replacement hormones, administered orally

Other Risks: 

  • More frequent ear infections
  • High blood cholesterol

Average Vet Bill:


Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*

90% = $135

80% = $120

70% = $105

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.

Other potential health risks for American Staffordshire terrier

  • Heart disease
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which can cause blindness
  • Cerebellar ataxia, which causes a lack of coordination
  • Skin allergies
  • Cruciate ligament rupture, which causes knee problems


breed personality icon

What is the personality of an American Staffordshire terrier?

A dogs’ personality can be a big factor in whether your home will be a good fit for them. If you have a family, whether of other pets or humans, it can also affect how they integrate into your home.

AmStaffs are sweet dogs. They love their owners and families and are very loyal to them. They are gentle and playful with their families, and they can also be docile around strangers if their dog owners are present with them. They are also very brave dogs.

AmStaffs are good and loving pets. This type of dog is even known as the “nanny dog,” thanks to their gentle nature with their people.

How does the American Staffordshire terrier respond to people?

Properly socialized Staffordshire Terriers can be pretty friendly with strangers, especially if their pet parent is around. Early socialization is best to ensure the American Staffy deals well with people. They do make great watchdogs or guard dogs because they can be protective of their families.

AmStaffs make good family pets. They’re gentle with kids, and they will protect them from harm.

Even though an AmStaff makes a good family dog, you should watch your children as they play with any dog to ensure no one gets hurt, including your pup.

Do American Staffordshire terriers get along with other dogs?

Unfortunately, AmStaffs aren’t usually big fans of other dogs. They will be polite with the proper socialization and training, but hanging out at the dog park probably isn’t their favorite thing to do.

American Staffordshire terriers don’t usually get along with strange dogs. If you’re with them and they are well-trained, they should behave well.

Is the American Staffordshire terrier easy to train?

AmStaffs are intelligent but stubborn. They can be trained, but you need to have a firm hand and a few treats. They aren’t big fans of being forced to do things.

Lifetime Care

breed care icon

How to care for an AmStaff

Staffordshire Terriers are great dogs, and they deserve the best treatment and care.

What does an AmStaff look like?

There are many other types of bull terriers, like the American Pit Bull Terrier, but each has distinct traits. American Staffordshire terriers tend to have larger bones and heads than their cousins. They are stocky but very agile and usually look extremely muscular.

What Is an AmStaff’s Coat Like?

AmStaffs have short, sleek coats that come in a wide variety of colors and markings. Their short coats mean they are susceptible to hot and cold weather, so you may see American Staffordshire terriers wearing clothes more often than you might expect.

Potential coat colors: 

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Brindle.

Common markings are:

  • Brindle points
  • Black masks
  • Patched
  • Spotted
  • Blue masks
  • White markings

Are American Staffordshire terriers Hypoallergenic?

No, these dogs are not hypoallergenic, as they regularly shed.

How often should they be groomed?

AmStaffs don’t need much brushing since their coats are so short. However, brushing every week or so does help remove dirt and other small particles that get on their coats.

Like most other dogs, you should check their ears regularly for infections, and they need regular teeth cleaning. They also need their nails clipped every now and then.

Basic training and behavior etiquette for your American Staffordshire terrier

  1. AmStaffs need a lot of training, and they love the mental stimulation it provides.
  2. Obedience training is necessary since AmStaffs often need a lot of guidance.
  3. Introduce your American Staffordshire terrier to other pups and people as early as possible to ensure they are properly socialized.

What foods can’t my AmStaff eat?

There are certain foods that all dogs must avoid in order to stay happy and healthy. These include:

Exercising tips to keep your dog fit and healthy

Like most dogs, this breed needs daily exercise, and they have moderate energy levels. They would love to join you for a long walk or maybe play a good game of fetch. They might also like playing tug-of-war, but you may want to get a toy intended to give them a challenge.

Friends for a lifetime

Although most dogs in the pit bull line have bad reputations, dogs like the AmStaff can be very loving and sweet, as long as the owner puts in the time and the effort to train them properly.

American Staffordshire terriers love their families. Their strength and agility made them great in dog fights. However, you can train them for better goals, although you will probably always lose a game of tug-of-war with your pup. They will play well with children, but you should always watch them.

Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we do our best to provide helpful dog info. We care deeply about your dog’s health and want to be with you every step of the way. For other helpful info about pets, check out our Spot Pet Insurance webpage! Here we provide you with educational materials that can help you with the best foods, toys, safety, and care tips for your dog. We also offer personalized pet insurance plan options to help keep your dog protected in case of unexpected accidents and illnesses.


  • American Staffordshire terrier Dog Breed Information |
  • American Staffordshire terrier Dog Breed Hypoallergenic, Health, and Life Span | PetMD
  • American Staffordshire terrier | VCA Animal Hospitals
  • Breed Standards: Staffordshire Bull Terrier | United Kennel Club (UKC)
  • Rankings of Dog Breeds Suffering From Hip Dysplasia | Animaroo
  • American Staffordshire Terrier Thyroid Disease Information | Oxford Labs
  • People Food Dogs Can Eat and Can’t Eat | American Kennel Club
  • Hip Dysplasia In Dogs: Prevention, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | American Kennel Club
  • Hypothyroidism In Dogs | VCA Animal Hospitals