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American Staffordshire Terrier

Life span: 10-12 Years

Height: 46-48cm (Male); 43-46cm (Female)

Weight: 40-60 pounds

Also known as “Amstaff” or “Staffie”, this breed is incorrectly known for being violent, since it is part of the “Pit Bull” group. In reality, this breed is loving and loyal to its family, and with proper socialization and training when growing up (as with all puppies), they will greet strangers with the same love. They are very strong, however, and need an owner that can handle this strength on a leash when exercising, or they might insist on pulling towards where they want to go.

Physical Characteristics

The American Staffordshire Terrier has a sturdy and strong body, where its muscles are very noticeable and its legs are relatively small. Its head is big with ears that sit high atop its head, semi-erect, where midway they naturally fall. There is a tendency to cut their ears to get them to be completely erect, but it is highly recommended not to do so. The tail is medium length, thick at its base and thinning out as it continues, never curving over the body. Its eyes are brown with a black nose. Its short coat is rough and can come in many varying colors such as black, white, brown, red, and blue, among many others.

History

Originally bred in Birmingham, its ancestors where the Pitbull and the Terrier, later bred in Staffordshire, where its name comes from. In 1850 they were brought to America. In 1936 they were recognized by the American Kennel Club as the Staffordshire Terrier, changing its name to American Staffordshire Terrier in 1976, given its evolution to a larger dog, making it different from the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They were used for many purposes such as to hunt down wild boars and rats, to manage bulls, to help with farm work, and as family companions. Unfortunately, these were also later on used for blood sports, bull and bear baiting, and when these became illegal, in dog fights. It was due to their muscular bodies that they were (and sadly still are, regarding the dog fights) used for these purposes, which earned them the incorrect belief that they were naturally violent. Nowadays, they are used as watchdogs, family pets, participating in agility and strength competitions, and police work. Given the reputation they have, they are often banned in certain places through the Breed Specific Legislation, and insurance companies may refuse to cover a household with this breed in it.

Personality

Despite its previously mentioned violent reputation, this family dog is loyal and loving, especially to children. They enjoy spending time with their families and are very playful, although they can lie on the couch with you and love it as well. They are also known for having a great instinct when judging people, and are usually used as watchdogs. Even if they are not violent, their appearance tends to intimidate strangers. They are prone to having destructive behaviors if not exercised and kept entertained. As puppies, they need to have plenty of socialization both with dogs and other humans, or they might become violent towards other dogs in adulthood. Walking them can be a bit of trouble, their strength may be overpowering if you don’t know how to handle it. Because of this, they need an owner that can handle their strength and train them properly. They are easy to train given their high intelligence and aim to please its owner.  They are athletic dogs, and need constant exercise, which makes them the perfect match for an active owner.

Health

This breed is prone to having many diseases. These can be:

Allergies that produce the same symptoms you see in humans, and depending on the cause, different treatments can be used.

Mastocytoma, tumors in the mast cells.

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Cataracts, in which there is opacity on the eye’s lens that may lead to blindness.

Urinary Tract Infections, which tends to be common in dogs and can be caused by many different problems, and therefore has different treatments that can be used.

Autoimmune diseases, in which the autoimmune system attacks the organs and cells of the body as they would normally attack a disease.

Hypothyroidism, a disease that affects the thyroid gland, its symptoms are ear infections, skin infections, hair loss, lethargy, and depression.

Patellar Luxation, a disease where their kneecaps are slightly out of place or even dislocated, although this disease is genetic, it can also happen through injuries.

Care

Even though the American Staffordshire Terrier has a short coat, they tend to shed a lot, and therefore need weekly brushing, although they might not like it. They need their teeth cleaned weekly due to their likeliness to acquire bacteria in their mouths. They need constant exercise and to be kept entertained, if given that, they can live in apartments with no problem. They cannot be left alone for too long, however, since the love spending time with their family.

 

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