The American Staffordshire or Amstaff Terrier is a versatile dog, as it can be used as a companion or for herding and hunting. It originated in the UK and was once known as the “Staffordshire Bull Terrier.” The breed was so named because of its association with the county of Staffordshire – just like today’s Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Cocker Spaniels.
The present-day American Staffordshire terrier cannot trace their bloodlines to the original Staffordshire bull terrier imported from England. Only a handful of breeders have maintained these bloodlines, and they are limited to 15 or so kennels across America.
Appearance – The physical appearance of the American Staffordshire is different from that of its British cousin, which was a result of several generations of selective breeding for pit fighting purposes
Temperament – Again, due to breeding for various functional purposes, the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier displayed more agility and gameness than its American cousin – an Amstaff was bred more as a companion dog with a calmer temperament
8 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe About the American Staffordshire Terrier
Myth #1: The American Staffordshire Terriers and Pit Bulls are the same breeds of dog
Most people who own an Amstaff know that it is distinct from the pit bull, but often, new owners or those considering ownership confuse these two breeds since they look similar and share identical nicknames. But there are some key differences between such dog breeds, such as temperament, size, and origin.
Myth #2: The American Staffordshire is a breed developed to fight in the pit
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was bred in England for fighting in the pit, but the Amstaff is a different breed altogether, and it wasn’t bred for this purpose.
Myth #3: The Amstaff has been banned from being kept as a pet in some countries
Some countries have indeed banned this breed, but it’s not because of any injuries caused by an Amstaff. The problem lies with pit bulls, often confused with Amstaffs since they share the same moniker. As of 2007, the UK had banned both breeds, although one can still own an Amstaff in the UK if the dog was registered before the ban took effect.
Myth #4: The American Staffordshire Terrier has been banned from all of Europe
In truth, only pit bulls have been outright banned from being kept as pets in some countries within the European Union. In other countries that have a breed-specific ban, local authorities are permitted to decide whether to include the Amstaff within a ban. However, some owners have been prevented from bringing their Amstaffs into countries that have banned other breeds.
Myth #5: The American Staffordshire Terriers are good guard dogs
Some people use Amstaffs as guard dogs, but these dogs are not good for this purpose. They may bark and lunge to protect their master from a stranger who enters the house, but they won’t be able to do much more than that because of their easy-going nature.
Myth #6: The American Staffordshire is highly recommended as a watchdog
Not many people take their Amstaffs to serve as the family watchdog since the breed is very friendly, even with strangers. Although an Amstaff will bark at an intruder, it probably won’t do much else since it was bred not to fight and only to be a loving companion. The best guard for your home would be a dog breed that is born to guard, so look for breeds like Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, or even the Samoyed.
Myth #7: The Amstaff is an excellent guard dog for your children
This myth probably has its roots like pit bulls, used as guard dogs for children because of the breed’s inherent protectiveness and gentleness. But Amstaffs are not a good choice, mainly because they were not bred with guarding children in mind like pit bulls were, so this is more mythology than truth.
Myth #8: The American Staffordshire is an excellent family dog
The Amstaff was always meant to be a companion dog, which is why it has been one of the most famous family dogs in America since the early 1800s. They love and are gentle with their owners, but they are also patient and loyal enough to accommodate children or other household pets. This is not an aggressive breed that will attack children.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a breed that is growing in popularity since more people are getting to know the dog’s true nature. They are not aggressive, and they are very patient with children. If you’re looking for a dog that will become an essential member of your family, then this breed might be perfect for you.