Everything You Need to Know About Your American Staffordshire

American Stafforshire Terrier
Amstaff

When we first adopted our American Staffordshire Terrier, or more commonly known as the Amstaff, we didn’t know what to expect or know much about the breed. All we knew is that she had the most loving face and eyes that melted us. After researching and owning one ourselves, it’s easy to see that here is a lot of misinformation about these dogs on the internet.

Amstaffs are a great breed. They are very gentle, loyal, confident and loving. However, people will still cross the streets when they see you walking with this dog. There is a stigma with this breed so you have to make sure you are committed to putting in the extra time needed. We decided to write an article about it, and hopefully, it will help people understand this breed better.

Differences between Amstaffs and American Pit Bulls

It’s very easy to confuse these breeds. They look very similar, (some people might even consider it as the same dog) but the American Staffordshire is a little shorter and a little more muscular and bulkier. They are both very gentle and good natured dogs.

Temperament

Amstaff at the park

They are very sensitive to human emotions. It’s hard for us not to feel bad when we discipline our Amstaff, she always looks so sad after! However, they do need rules and boundaries. You need to show them “who is the boss”, so they see you as a pack leader and not someone who they need to protect. They are very good with humans but they can get dog aggressive if they are not socialized as puppies with other dogs (like any other dog). We didn’t have the chance to socialize our dog since we got her when she was 3, so we were more careful while approaching other dogs.

American Staffordshires are very loyal, sweet and affectionate. Our Amstaff will whine, talk and barks at us to give her some love and attention. They really have a great temperament. They are happy and confident. Through the years, I have owned many breeds and dealt with many breeds when working and volunteering with pets but this breed, it’s definitely special.

Energy Levels

Your Amstaff will need moderate exercise. They are the perfect combination between a couch potato dog and an energetic dog. They can lay around and sleep for the most part of the day but they still need exercise. Daily long walks or runs are preferred around 30-45 minutes at the very least. Daily walks also help to keep them in great shape.

Training

They are easy to train. American Staffordshires really like to please their owners and are very smart, so it’s easy to train them. However, they can be very stubborn, make sure to be calm and confident always with this breed to help them break off their stubbornness. Don’t let your Amstaff get his way. It’s very recommendable to give them basic training, they like to be trained, it keeps them their mind busy and it will ensure they listen to you better.

Barking is not natural to this breed. Isn’t that awesome? If you are like me and love a full night of sleep, this breed is for you. I’m still so surprised to NOT hearing her bark. She doesn’t bark when someone knocks at our dog or when she hears other dogs barking, she only barks when she wants something from you. Like when she barks because she wants for us to give her attention. They can get quite vocal when they get bored, so make sure you exercise them enough to avoid boredom or you can also teach them not to whine by ignoring them or training them to be quiet.

Diet

Amstaff waiting for food

Make sure to feed them good quality food and check that your dog food has protein as the first ingredient. Look at the label and check for words like Salmon, Beef, Chicken to be the first item of the ingredient list. For more information about what to look when choosing dog food, you can check this article. The quantity depends on of the height and food brand but they will need about 2 or 3 cups of food a day. Our dog does better with dog foods that contain higher protein content. Our dog food of choice is Orijen because they use quality products from local farmers. If you are looking to try Orijen for your dog, you would probably have to check smaller dog food stores because they only sell their product as independently owned pet supply stores.

Health

They are usually very healthy dogs. There is a small predisposition for hip dysplasia and some heart problems.

Bonus

Adorable Pitbull

Puppy faces forever! Maybe I’m too in love of my Staffy but her face is so sweet and every other Amstaff I have seen have this puppy face no matter their age. Just look at her! I could never understand why some people are so scared of them. It’s probably mostly about the misinformation of the media and how they have manipulated the news to make them look bad.

20 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Your American Staffordshire

  1. Angela Whitby says:

    Thank you so much, this article has been so helpful. You are right, there are so many forums and articles but none have really gave me a good insight. I have had my girl now for 3 months and just need help with training as I can’t afford obedience training but really want to help her. It seems to me she’s a really timid dog, and I’m unsure to why.

    • Lorena says:

      I’m happy to help. If she is shy, I’d recommend taking it slowly and try not to rush her into situations where she is not comfortable. If she is shy with strangers, tell people to throw her treats that she really likes. Tricks like “sit”, “paw” and “down” and others can boost her confidence. You can find tutorials online on how to teach these tricks. Our Amstaff is very calm, lazy, stubborn and laidback. If that’s your case, that’s ok, these are characteristics of the breed.

  2. Karl Guynn says:

    My AmStaff Luke is THE most affectionate, obedient, aims-to-please pup I’ve ever had…and yes, those adoring, pure-love puppy eyes when they gaze at you; melts me every time. Best breed ever.

    • Lorena says:

      I know! They are so incredibly cute! I never really knew anything about them until I adopted my Amstaff and they are really a great breed.

  3. Jerry says:

    Thanks for the info, Im really glad you can describe my dog, she’s very polite and playful, people still stigmatized but when they konw Lola they love her, hope you guys open a forum to share some pics

    • Lorena says:

      We would love to see pictures of Lola! I’ll research a way to possibly opening a forum so we can all share pictures of our velvet hippos 🙂

    • Lorena says:

      It depends on the situation. Is he barking inside the house, or in the backyard or when is home alone? Or is he barking at other dogs or people during walks? As a rule of thumb, you might want to displace the barking with other behaviors like sit, give paw or down. If he starts barking immediately ask for a sit and reward him with a treat, and keep asking for more tricks until he is calm.

  4. cynthia greenawalt says:

    I just adopted a dog that I THINK is am Amstaff. His floor to shoulder height is about 21″. The inside of his legs and his stomach are almost bald. He whines a lot when he wants attention. He is very loving and sweet.

  5. Daniel Morales says:

    Help! We love our 5 yr old rescue but her high prey drive makes our daily walks an adventure. Suggestions?

    • Lorena says:

      Have you taught her how to sit by command? Whenever I have a foster dog with a high prey drive I carry high-value treats during walks and when I see a dog, cat or something that might trigger the dog, I request a sit and continue giving treats until the distraction is gone. Timing is very important here, you should get the attention of your dog before the prey drive starts since you don’t want to reinforce the barking or lunging. I also taught my dog to look at me, by simply saying “look” and offering her a treat every time she looked into my eyes. This might not work for every dog but it’s worth trying.

      • Patrick Gannon says:

        I’ve dealt with this in my 3 year old Amstaff. The method I’ve employed with her on lunging, and other prey drive things, or just pulling when walking, is a firm, but gentle, pull of the lead and the “leave it” command. But as previously stated, it’s also best to catch them before they can have the opportunity to escalate the unwanted behavior.

  6. Rita says:

    Our Austistic daughter has an Amstaff for her emotional support dog. She senses when our daughter is upset and immediately comforts her. Awesome breed.

  7. Sabrina says:

    It is ridiculous that people are stuck in the dark ages. we had our 10 month old am staff in a dog class and every owner would react to our dog. he is the most friendly and playful puppy ever. in the meantime, the class was full of dogs who exhibited resource guarding, pure aggression towards other dogs but my little one was the only one who other owners glared at. I hope that the bad rep will end because they are all just sweethearts/

    • Lorena says:

      I know, it’s a daily struggle. We can’t change everybody’s mind about them. All we can do is continue to show the world how great Amstaffs and all bully dogs really are.

  8. Nancy says:

    I took my 1.5 year old 92 lb. AmStaff in for his annual checkup & shots. I never felt so prejudged in my 63 years. We were the only “huge black Pitbull” in a room filled with ill mannered, yappy 8 pound puffballs of various origin. Everyone migrated to the other side of the room … no one would give me eye contact or exchange pleasantries. I finally caught one ladies eye, and she instantly told me “she was attacked by a pit bull”. I responded “are you sure it was a Pitbull?? because HE is not a Pitbull … he’s an American Staffordshire and a wonderful sweet boy” That was the end of it …. no one believes me.

    • Lorena says:

      I understand. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell people my dog is friendly they still look very scared of her while she wags her tail at them.

  9. Janet says:

    Our 15 month old Staffy has had GI issues her entire life. Is this common? She’s allergic to beef, rice, potatoes, egg, peas… pretty much everything In dog food. We’d like to make her homemade food, but at this point we are nervous. She’s been on so many antibiotics, too. Any others having similar issues? We think she was backyard bred. We adopted her from a rescue. We had DNA test done, stating that she is 100% pure bred.
    She’s also very stubborn. 😊

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