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American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as the Amstaff, is a medium-sized, short-coated American dog breed.
In the early part of the twentieth century the breed gained social stature and was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1936 and should not be confused with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of the United Kingdom.
According to AKC’s published breed standard which was approved June 10, 1936, the “American Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.”
His head should be medium in length with a broad skull, a distinct stop, and pronounced muscles in the cheek. The ears should be set high on their head and can be cropped or uncropped, but the latter is preferred. Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18 to 19 inches (46 to 48 cm) at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches (43 to 46 cm) for the female is to be considered preferable.
The nose should always be black. Many coat colors are accepted. However, dogs with liver or black-and-tan coat, and dogs with more than 80% white are discouraged.
According to the American Kennel Club “The Am Staff is a people-oriented dog that thrives when he is made part of the family and given a job to do. Although friendly, this breed is loyal to his own family.”
Their life expectancy is generally 12 years with good care. The breed may be vulnerable to skin allergies, urinary tract infections (UTI), and autoimmune diseases. Spondylosis and osteoarthritis are common in older dogs. Other notable issues may include: congenital heart disease, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, thyroid dysfunction, and cerebellar ataxia.
American Staffordshire Terrier pups should not be weaned before they are 8–10 weeks old.
In 1835 in England the blood sports, once extremely popular, became illegal, but the practice of some of these blood sports continued to be secretly practiced. Sports such as rat-baiting and dog fighting had grown in popularity because it was easier to hide such events. For dog fighting, a particular type of dog gained notoriety. Uniting the traits of the best dogs in these sports (Old English Bulldogs and terriers) was born the Bull and Terrier, a very varied type of dog that became the common ancestor of the modern breeds that are part of the Bull-type terrier group.
Some varieties of Bull and Terrier from England and Ireland began to find their way into America as early as 1850. Some dogs became very famous for their dog fighting skills. Already developed as an American dog, such dogs became a new breed, which was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in February 1898 as the American Pit Bull Terrier. On June 10, 1936, about 50 UKC registered Pit Bull Terrier dogs were accepted for registration in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Stud Book with a new breed name and a new purpose, belonging to the AKC terrier group.
The name Staffordshire Terrier was chosen, with the claim that the ancestors of the breed originally came from Staffordshire County in England. The name of the breed was revised January 1, 1969, to American Staffordshire Terrier to distinguish it from the British Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a separate breed from the Bull-type terrier group, recognized in England in 1935.
The AKC opened the AmStaff Stud Book to UKC dogs for a few more times until the 1970s. Since then, only dogs with AKC registration were to be bred together, if the offspring was to be registered. This fact, along with the breed selection based entirely on conformation through decades, has transformed the American Staffordshire Terrier into a new different breed, separated from the American Pit Bull Terrier.
The breed’s popularity began to decline in the United States following World War II.
In 2017 the American Kennel Club ranked the American Staffordshire Terrier as the 83rd most popular purebred in the United States.
Amstaff, Stafford, Staffy
Male: 17-19 inches (43-48 cm)
Female: 16-18 inches (41-46 cm)
57-67 pounds (25-30 kg)
Average $1200 – $2000 USD
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