American Staffordshire Terrier

"Little Rascals' Pal"

Photo of American Staffordshire Terrier


Like his canine cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier's origins are in the early nineteenth century. At that time, British blood-sport enthusiasts began developing a breed that was a cross between the Bulldog and the Terrier. Some of those crosses came to the United States later in the century, where they were used to hunt large game and guard the homestead or farm. They also proved to be devoted companions. Eventually, the American Staffordshire Terrier evolved into a distinct breed that was larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England. The American Kennel Club recognized the American Staffordshire Terrier in 1936. In 2006, the breed ranked 66th among the 154 breeds registered to the American Kennel Club.


A well-bred, well-socialized American Staffordshire Terrier is friendly, devoted, tenacious and courageous. Aggressiveness, possessiveness and/or territorial behavior should not be present. Unfortunately, the continued misuse of these dogs for fighting activities has led some to be aggressive to other dogs. Extreme care should be taken when exposing any American Staffordshire Terrier to a dog park, group obedience class, or other situation in which dogs gather in groups. Careful breeding and socialization are essential to ensuring that any puppy retains the breed's true temperament. Not surprisingly for a dog with such powerful jaws, the American Staffordshire Terrier deserves his reputation for being a notorious chewer. Bypass flimsy, squeaky toys in favor of sturdier fare that can stand up to this dog's oral abuse. Daily exercise will also help to curb chewing.


The American Staffordshire Terrier is a medium-sized dog, ranging in height from 17 to 19 inches and in weight from 40 to 75 pounds. His short coat can be just about any color or combination thereof – solid, brindle or mixture. The ears may be cropped or allowed to hang naturally. Unlike the short, stocky Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier's body is long and lean.


Consistent, positive training is crucial to bringing out the best in this breed. Socialization from puppyhood is essential to helping the dog become accustomed to all of the sights, sounds and situations he's likely to encounter in his life with the human community.

Grooming & Care

Grooming this dog is a snap: a weekly brushing, pedicure and ear cleaning, and he's good to go.

Health Concerns

Like all purebred dogs, the American Staffordshire Terrier suffers from some inherited diseases. Among the most common are hip dysplasia, cataracts and hypothyroidism. Dogs intended for breeding should receive OFA and CERF clearances before being bred. Prospective buyers should ask to see these clearances before buying a puppy.

Famous American Staffordshire Terrier

Lucenay's Peter, who portrayed Pete the Pup, the Little Rascals' mascot in the "Our Gang"comedies of the 1930s.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level Moderate
Schedule Work from home or willing to use a doggy daycare service
Personal Style Easygoing and casual, Playful, Confident
Training Style Consistent, Positive, Confident
Home Fenced yard or access to one
Children Older kids
Experience Definitely preferred
Quick Facts
Size Medium
Grooming Easy to care for - brush weekly
Exercise Moderate - needs to walk or play every day
Training Can be stubborn, Early socialization is very important
Temperment Gentle, Friendly, Confident
Challenges Some can be extremely dog-aggressive
Height 17 to 19 inches
Weight 40 to 50 pounds
Life 11 to 12 years
Home Alone Fine as a trained adult
With Kids Fine with older kids
With Strangers Friendly
Availability Highly available - check breeders and consider breed-rescues

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