Breeding Standard

Classification FCI: Group 3 - Terriërs

General Impression:
The American Staffordshire Terriër should give the impression of great strength for a dog his size; a well put together dog, muscular, but agile and gracefull, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long legged or racy in outline. His courage is proverbial.

Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop. Ears set high.
Cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held rose or half prick. Full drop to be penalized.
Dark, round, low down in skull, set far apart. No pink eyelids.
Medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below the eyes. Jaws well defined. Under jaw strong and to have biting power. Lips close and even; no looseness. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Nose definitely black!
Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin. Medium length.
Strong and muscular, with blades wide and sloping.
Fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to romp with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. Lions slightly tucked.
Well sprung ribs; close together, deep in rar. Forelegs set wide. Chest deep and broade.
Short in comparison to size, low set, tap ring to fine point. Not curled or carried over back. Not docked.
Front legs straight, with large bones and upright pasterns. Hindquarters well muscled, let down at hocks, turning either in or out. Feet of moderate size, well arched and compact. Gait springy but without roll of space.
Short, close, stiff to the touch, glossy.
Any color, solid, party, or patched is permissible but more than 80% white, black and tan, and liver not to be encouraged.
Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about eighteen to nineteen inches at the shoulders for a male and seventeen to eighteen inches for a female to be considering.
Faults to be penalized are: Dudley nose, light or pink eyes, tail too long or badly carried, undershot or overshot mouths.

The males must have two testicles of normal appearance descended in the scrotum.

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."


How it began
The American Staffordshire Terriër can be traced with reasonable certainty to late 18th century England. Bull Baiting, a variety of other baiting sports and dog fighting were all common past times. In an effort to produce even more efficient fighting machines, numerous crosses between bulldogs and working terriërs were carried out over a period of several decades. The products of these crosses as early as 1806 bear a striking resemblance to today's American Staffordshire Terriër. Keep in mind that breeds as we know them today did not exist until well into the 19th century. Bulldogs pictured in "The Sporting Magazine" from 1798 to 1824 also resemble today's American Staffordshire Terriër far more closely than the modern Bulldog. In 1835 with the passage of Cruelty to Animals Acts, Baiting, Dog Fighting and other blood sports were driven underground. About 1860, the white Bull Terriër emerged as a distinct off shoot of the basic Bull-and-Terriër. The originator of this cousin of our American Staffordshire Terriër was James Hinks. James Hinks bred the white Bull Terriër using a combination of bull and white terriër and Dalmatian; white English Terriër. Hinks had success in the pit with this "White Cavalier". There is no hard evidence however that the Bull Terriër has been used for that purpose more than occasionally since the mid-19th century. In the early 1900's the colored Bull Terriër was developed by crossing the white Bull Terriër back to the Pit Bull.

1850-1930; The Breed in the United States
Many dogs were brought to this country before 1860. For example, the great dog Spring was imported by McCaffrey in 1857. About 1880, "Cockney" Charlie Floy imported Paddy and Pilot. Both destined to win fame in the fighting pits of the northeast. In 1898 the United Kennel Club was founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan, by C. Bennett for the purpose of registering the American Pit Bull Terriër. Owned by such famous persons as John L. Sullivan and Theodore Roosevelt, making the breed one of the most popular dogs during the first quarter of the century. The American Pit Bull Terriër Club, founded in 1921 in Clay Center, Kansas, published a standard from which our present day standard is derived.

Modern history
By 1930 a number of fanciers of the American Pit Bull Terriër began to work toward American Kennel Club recognition. The man most responsible for achieving recognition was Wilfred T. Brandon. The original petition was under the name "American Bull Terriër" was denied, at least in part. At this time, Captain Will Judy, publisher of "Dog World" magazine proposed the name "Yankee Terriër", this was also denied. A compromise was therefore reached and the breed recognized in 1936 as the Staffordshire Terriër. Wheeler's Black Dinah and "Pete", the famous dog with the ring around his eye of the "Our Gang Comedies", were one the first Staffords registered by the American Kennel Club in that same year (1936).The final step in this long evolution of names occurred in the early 1970's as a result of the coming recognition by AKC of the Staffordshire Bull Terriër. Thus the name AKC offered "American Staffordshire Terriër" as the final designation of the breed. With this new name for the breed, they also needed a new standard. After visiting a few kennels, a committee headed by Wilfred T. Brandon, chose ColBy's Primo as a standard for the breed.

Colby's Primo



The above information was partly taken from "The American Staffordshire Terrier", published in 1977 by H. Richard Pascoe.

>>Historical Pictures<<


Movie about Sergeant Stubby, who is the most decorated dog in military history.


The Amstaff is a very physical dog that loves human contact.

They are not hyper but are as active as their owners allow them to be. If you are planning to acquire an American Staffordshire Terriër as a pet, be prepared to start your training from the day you bring him home. The more basic training (house-manners) that you instill in your puppy, the better the adult will be. Be prepared to lay a good foundation of behavior in the first year. This is a very intelligent breed that will make up their own routine if you do not show them what is expected of them. Contrary to what most people think, the Amstaff is not a stubborn breed that is typical of many of the other breeds in the Terriër Group. When well bred and the right puppy is selected for the right owner, these dogs are very bright and trainable, they are willing workers and adapt very well to any family situation. These dogs make loving companions and guardians for many years.

The Amstaff is self-confident, good natured and friendly. He exudes a positive but not threatening attitude. He is often mistaken by first time owners as too trusting and friendly, in actual fact, this is the discriminating nature of the breed. If there is ever a problem, your Amstaff will jump into action. This is the best attribute of the breed; he can welcome friends and friendly strangers but at the same time he will be wary of and protective against unfriendly ones. When you purchase an Amstaff, you will have to think about it's origions and understand that this breed often doesn't go hand in hand with other dogs. He will not avoid a challenge (fight) and you must be aware that you can not let the adult Amstaff walk unleashed wherever you like.

If children are a concern (whether you already have young ones or are planning a family in the future), there is no need to worry about your choice of the Amstaff as a family pet, but please be prepared to take full responsibility for the puppy's care and training. It is very important, as outlined above, that you lay a good foundation for training in the early months. The young puppy must be monitored and trained while it is in the presence of young children and he should never be left unattended with your youngsters. (That is not just a rule for this breed, but for every breed you choose.) If you are prepared to spend special time every day training your puppy, you will have a wonderfull family pet. The American Staffordshire Terriër makes an excellent guardian, a great family pet and a true companion.



One of the most serious disorders from which this breed suffers is called Hereditary Ataxia or Cerebellar Ataxia. This is a neurological disorder of a serious nature and as of yet there is no cure; it seems as if the gene governing the disorder is quite widespread in the breed and often avoiding the breeding of affected dogs is difficult due to the late onset of symptoms. Research to find out the exact mode of inheritance and to find some kind of treatment is ongoing and owners of dogs with the disease are encouraged to allow their dogs to participate in trials and studies.

This condition involves the cerebellum, a very important part of the brain; it’s located at the base of the brain, just above the brainstem and spinal cord. The most important function of the cerebellum is the coordination of movement. It takes information regarding the position of the body and its muscles and integrates it with pathways coming from higher structures of the brain that involve movement commands. Based on the body’s position, the cerebellum is able to control movements with a high level of precision; the cerebellum is constantly working to maintain posture and muscle tone. If this area is damaged, the individual will have great difficulty moving and often swaggers and sways; there may even be cognitive damage as well.

Hereditary ataxia is a condition in which there is widespread degeneration of the cerebellum. While the signs resulting from hereditary ataxia could be indicative of a wide variety of diseases or problems that affect the cerebellum, this particular disease is characterized by a certain order and rate of appearance of signs. First, you’ll see your dog behave somewhat clumsily and he could begin to sway occasionally. Clumsiness worsens over time with the progression of the disease and soon the dog will constantly fall over, losing his balance. You may also notice rapid eye and head movements and walking will become much more difficult; weight loss is often seen in dogs suffering from hereditary ataxia. These symptoms usually do not occur in dogs younger than two years of age.

Exactly how the disease develops is still poorly understood and it actually seems to be different in different dogs. Signs are slow to develop in some dogs, while they develop rapidly in other dogs. As of now, this is a fatal disease as there is no cure and a normal life is impossible; Amstaffs with hereditary ataxia are more often than not humanely euthanized by the time they are 7 or 8 years old.

Dogs who are found to be "Heterozygous Carriers" of Ataxia will NEVER develop the disease and can be bred to "Homozygous Clear" dogs to produce offspring who will also NEVER be affected by the disease.

Clear x Clear = 100% Clear
Clear x Carrier = 50% Clear, 50% Carrier
Clear x Affected = 100% Carrier
Carrier x Carrier = 25% Affected, 25% Clear, 50% Carrier
Carrier x Affected = 50% Affected, 50% Carrier
Affected x Affected = 100% Affected

Click here to read more about the Ruffian Bloodline

Click here to see some of my favorite Am Staffs