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The American Staffordshire terrier is a breed of medium-sized, short-coated dog whose early ancestors came from England. In the early part of the twentieth century, the breed gained respectability, and it was accepted by the American Kennel Club as Staffordshire Terrier.

History

Origins

Although the early ancestors of this breed came from England, the development of the American Staffordshire Terrier is the story of a truly American breed. This type of dog was instrumental in the success of farmers and settlers who developed this country. They were used for general farm work,guarding the homestead, and general companionship.
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It's said that he was "The greatest fighting dog that ever lived"
number of the early ancestors were also developed for the "sport" of dog fighting. The extraordinary vitality of this breed is a direct result of breeding for successful fighting dogs.

Until the early part of the 19th century the Bulldog was bred with great care in Englandmarker for the purpose of baiting bulls. Pictures from as late as 1870 represent the Bulldog of that day more like the present-day American Staffordshire Terrier than like the present-day Bulldog.Some writers contend it was the White English Terrier, or the Black and Tan Terrier, that was used as a cross with the Bulldog to perfect the Staffordshire Terrier. It seems easier to believe that any game terrier, such as the Fox Terrier of the early 1800s, was used in this cross, since some of the foremost authorities on dogs of that time state that the Black-and-Tan and the white English Terrier were none too game, but these same authorities go on to stress the gameness of the Fox Terrier. In analyzing the three above-mentioned terriers at that time, we find that there was not a great deal of difference in body conformation, the greatest differences being in color, aggressiveness, and spirit. In any event, it was the cross between the Bulldog and the terrier that resulted in the Staffordshire Terrier, which was originally called the Bull-and-Terrier Dog, Half and Half, and at times Pit Dog or Pit Bullterrier. Later, it assumed the name in England of Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These dogs began to find their way into America as early as 1870 where they became known as Pit Dog, Pit Bull Terrier, later American Bull Terrier, and still later as Yankee Terrier.

Popularity

American Staffordshire terriers reached a peak of popularity in the first half of the 20th century; “Pete the Pup” appeared in the Our Gang comedies, and the breed personified the all-American pet and soon spread all over the country.

In 1936, they were accepted for registration in the AKC Stud Book as Staffordshire Terriers. They belong to the terrier and molosser groups. The name of the breed was revised effective January 1, 1972 to American Staffordshire Terrier. Breeders in this country had developed a type which is heavier in weight than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England and the name change was to distinguish them as separate breeds.

Although ancestors of the American Staffordshire were fighting dogs, the selective breeding since the 1930s has been away from the fighting heritage. The American Staffordshire Terrier of today is a companion and show dog, rather than a gladiator. Although more rarely used on the farm now, the talents that made him a good all purpose dog are still to be found in the breed. Amstaff's popularity began to decline in the United States following World War II in favor of other breeds. Today the breed is ranked 66 among 155 dog breeds in the USAmarker.

Characteristics

General Appearance

The 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 intelligence make him ideally suited to many dog sports such as obedience, agility, tracking and conformation.

Official breed standard

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a medium-sized dog that ranges from a height of about 18 to 19 inches (45.7 cm-48.3 cm) at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches (43.2 cm- 45.7cm) for the female, and weighs from 40- 77 lbs (18 to 35kg). .The dog is of muscular, square build, and gives the impression of great strength, agility, and grace for their size.

  • Head: Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop; and ears are set high. Ears - Cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held rose or half prick. Full drop to be penalized. Eyes - Dark and round, low down in skull and set far apart. No pink eyelids. Muzzle - Medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined, underjaw to be strong and have biting power. Lips close and even, no looseness. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Nose definitely black.


  • Neck: Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin. Medium length.


  • Shoulders: Strong and muscular with blades wide and sloping.


  • Back: Fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. Loins slightly tucked.


  • Body: Well-sprung ribs, deep in rear. All ribs close together. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. Chest deep and broad.


  • Tail: Short in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point; not curled or held over back. Not docked.


  • Legs: The front legs should be straight, large or round bones, pastern upright. No semblance of bend in front. Hindquarters well-muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out. Feet of moderate size, well-arched and compact. Gait must be springy but without roll or pace.


  • Coat: Short, close, stiff to the touch, and glossy.


  • Color: Any color, solid, parti, or patched is permissible, but all white, more than 80 per cent white, black and tan, and liver not to be encouraged.


  • Size: Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18 to 19 inches at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches for the female is to be considered preferable.


  • Faults: Faults to be penalized are: Dudley nose, light or pink eyes, tail too long or badly carried, undershot or overshot mouths.


Personality - Behavior - Training

Trained Amstaff
These dogs are generally courageous, tenacious, friendly, extremely attentive, and extraordinarily devoted.

  • Energy Level: moderately low to very high


  • General Nature: Very intelligent, bold and confident, generally very good with children when properly reared. With other pets they can be good but as a Terrier will have a tendency toward viewing smaller animals as vermin and thus prey. Also AmStaff can be aggressive toward other same-sex dogs.


  • Socialization requirements: moderately high since their intelligence and confidence will lead them to make judgements in situations, providing them with a good history of experience will allow them to make responsible distinctions


  • Ideal home characteristics: one that is able to spend time shaping this dog's view of the world, the more communication and trust between both parties the greater the potential for this dog.


  • Temperament: The American Temperament Test Society conducts tests every year on thousands of dogs to determine the soundness of their temperament. The American Staffordshire Terrier routinely rank well above many "popular" breeds such as the Beagle, Collie, Doberman Pinscher and the Cocker Spaniel. This a very intelligent, human-oriented, active dog and an affectionate family pet. This dog wants nothing more than to please its master.Over the past 50 years, careful breeding has produced this friendly, trustworthy, dog who is an especially good dog for children. One of the characteristics that most owners and breeders talked and look for particular in this breed is gameness. Gameness refers to perseverance, spirited, readyness of a dog to put all out to accomplish a task given.


  • Training requirement: Consistent with an energetic dog of intelligence... more is likely better but poorly done will only insure disastrous results.


Health and well-being

Pup shortly after birth
pups should not be brought home before they are 8–10 weeks old. Their life expectancy is generally 12 to 16 years with good care. It is a healthy breed with relatively few major problems. Notable issues related to health and wellbeing include:

Inherited disorders



  • Amstaffs are somewhat prone to Canine hip dysplasia, though not as much as some other breeds. Hip scores are recommended before breeding. (OFA rank:21, Percent Abnormal 26.0%, Percent Normal 71.7% )


  • Elbow dysplasia (OFA rank:12, Percent Abnormal 17.8%, Percent Normal 81.4%)


  • There are some risk of knee problems. A luxating patella is a common occurrence in the knee where the leg is often bow shaped. (OFA rank:72, Percent Abnormal 1.3%, Percent Normal 98.7%)




  • There is a small incidence of other conditions, such as senior ataxia and hereditary cataracts.


Other disorders

Amstaffs are sometimes prone to skin allergies, UTI, and Autoimmune diseases. Spondylosis and Osteoarthritis are common place in older dogs.

Breed-specific legislation

The American Staffordshire Terrier is often subject to breed bans worldwide that target the Bull and Terrier family in response to a number of well-publicized incidents involving pit bull-type dogs or other dog breeds. This legislation ranges from outright bans on the possession of these dogs to restrictions and conditions on ownership. However, the appropriateness and effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in preventing dog bite fatalities and injuries is disputed.Most animal-related organizations also oppose breed-specific legislation:
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association supports dangerous animal legislation by state, county, or municipal governments provided that legislation does not refer to specific breeds or classes of animals.
  • Canadian Veterinary Medical Association supports dangerous dog legislation provided that it does not refer to specific breeds.
  • The Centers for Disease Control said that breed-specific approaches to the control of dog bites do not address the issue that many breeds are involved in the problem and that most of the factors contributing to dog bites are related to the level of responsibility exercised by dog owners. Furthermore, tethered dogs are more likely to bite than untethered dogs.
  • Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association states that because of difficulties inherent in determining a dog’s breed with certainty, enforcement of breed-specific ordinances raises constitutional and practical issues.
  • SPCA recognizes that dog bites are a serious public safety problem. Their interest in this issue relates directly to the goal of creating humane communities where people and animals enrich each other’s lives. However, the BC SPCA opposes breed banning as a strategy for achieving this goal. Breed banning is a simplistic and ineffective solution to a multi-faceted problem.


Famous American Staffordshire Terriers

  • Pete the Pup in several Our Gang films (later known as The Little Rascals) during the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Buzzin' Around Directed by Alfred J. Goulding
  • Bubble Boy (2001) Directed by Blair Hayes
  • 'Jake', a dog, featured in an "easter egg"; hidden in DVD format for the horror film Cabin Fever.
  • Sergeant Stubby died on March 16, 1926, as a hero. Sergeant Stubby is the most decorated dog in military history, and the ONLY dog to have been promoted during battle. He fought for 18 months in the trenches for France during WW1 for 17 battles. Stubby warned his fellow soldiers of gas attacks, located wounded soldiers in No Man's Land, and listened for oncoming artillery rounds. He was also responsible for the capture of a German spy at Argonne. After his time in the war, Stubby met Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding. He was, also, made a life member of the American Legion, the Red Cross, and the YMCA.
  • Jack Brutus was another famous military dog. He was the the official mascot of Company K, First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.
  • “Bud” was the first dog to take a cross-country drive in 1903 with his owner Horatio Nelson Jackson and a bicycle mechanic named Sewall Crocker. “Bud soon became an enthusiast for motoring," Jackson bragged, especially after his masters put a pair of their goggles on him to keep the stinging, alkali dust out of his eyes.
  • Poster image for the U.S. during the 1900s. This breed was the image people saw on various war posters, representing the country's strength and dignity.
  • Is the only dog to have ever graced the cover of Life Magazine three times.


Books

  • The American Staffordshire Terrier by Clifford & Alberta Ormsby, 1956
  • American Staffordshire Terrier by Joseph Janish, 2003, 155 pages; ISBN 1593782489
  • American Staffordshire Terrier Champions, 1988-1995 by Jan Linzy, 1998, 84 pages; ISBN 155893054X
  • American Staffordshire Terrier Champions, 1996-2001 by Jan Linzy, 2002, 84 pages; ISBN 1558931023
  • Staffordshire Terriers: American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier by Anna Katherine Nicholas, 1991, 256 pages; ISBN 0866226370
  • The American Staffordshire Terrier: Gamester and Guardian by Sarah Foster, 1998, 139 pages; ISBN 0876050038


External links



References




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