The American Staffy, also known as the American Staffordshire Terrier, or AmStaff, is a robust, strong, energetic dog. Often confused with, or categorized as a Pitbull, the American Staffy is in fact it’s own recognized breed. They are also a fairly popular dog in the United States.
Is an American Staffy a good family dog? On average the American Staffy is a good family dog for experienced owners. The AmStaff is a loving, loyal, good nature breed of dog that is a wonderful family pet. For those with experience and the commitment to their training and welfare they are excellent pets.
The American Staffy is not a dog for everyone. A first time owner may find it challenging to keep up with the various needs involved with training and exercise. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a powerful dog that requires proper training, socialization, and exercise to form a well balanced pet.
Fact #1 – The American Staffy is a good family dog. They require strong and experienced leadership to ensure a well balanced and obedient dog.
When considering if the American Staffordshire Terrier is right for you and your family you need to be armed with some facts. In this post I will be covering the various aspects around the American Staffy’s temperament, training, exercise, socialization, caregiving and more. Let’s dig in.
Are American Staffies Hard To Train?
American Staffies are not hard to train. In fact the AmStaff can be rather easy to train under the right leadership and approach. The American Staffy is a very intelligent dog. This level of intelligence paired with their eager to please nature can make training fun and easy.
Fact #2 – The American Staffy ranks 48th out of 138 breeds of dogs when it comes to intelligence.Source – The Intelligence of Dogs
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a very family focused dog. They will be willing to do most anything to earn your approval. Positive reinforcement training that is made into a game from a calm, yet firm, leader will bring out the best in the American Staffy.
Beginning training and socialization from a very young age with the American Staffy is crucial. They will grow up to be very energetic, powerful, and large dogs. Managing their behavior from the very beginning will pay off huge in the long run.
Getting your American Staffy around as many dogs, people, places, sounds, and smells is important. This early exposure to the world and the people and animals within it will give them more confidence, and calmness. An under-socialized AmStaff can develop problems with anxiety, aggression, and destructive behavior.
Fact #3 – Early socialization and training of the American Staffy is crucial in having a good family dog
I have an entire post covering over 20 tips to training the American Staffordshire Terrier. Learn more about the approach and importance of a well trained AmStaff.
Do American Staffies Need A Lot Of Exercise?
American Staffies are highly energetic dogs that will require at least 60 minutes of exercise everyday. The strong and athletic AmStaff thrives on physical exercise. They can develop behavior problems when not given an outlet for this high energy level.
Mental stimulation is also important to the American Staffy. They love a good mental challenge, and excel in things like obedience training. A good training session everyday of about 15-20 minutes per session is ideal.
Fact #4 – American Staffordshire Terriers are highly energetic and require 60-90 minutes of physical and mental exercise each day.
The American Staffy also loves to interact with the family. Engaging activities with the family is great fun for the AmStaff. Things like fetch, and tug-of-war are great ways to engage with your American Staffy, and help them burn off that extra energy.
If you are an active person, taking your American Staffordshire Terrier for a run or jog is perfect. They make excellent running or hiking companions. When doing some of the more intense physical exercises be mindful of the heat as American Staffies are sensitive to high temperatures and can overheat in hot weather.
If you would like to learn in more detail about the exercise needs of the American Staffy head over to my post detailing the various activities and needs of the AmStaff’s exercise regime.
Are American Staffies Healthy Dogs?
American Staffies are very healthy and robust dogs. An American Staffordshire Terrier from a reputable and responsible breeder should be screened for some of the more common health issues common to AmStaffs. These health conditions include dysplasia, cardiac disease, and skin and coat allergies.
There are several other screenings a responsible will conduct to ensure some of the more rare genetic mutations, like cerebellar ataxia, do not get passed to puppies. Always speak with breeders about health screens for both the parents and puppies.
To find a good list of American Staffordshire Terrier breeds you can visit the AKC website where they have a list of top notch breeders to research in your area.
Fact #5 – American Staffies are generally very healthy and robust dogs.
Keeping your American Staffy healthy comes down to several factors. First and foremost a diet of premium dog food rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and top quality protein. Supplementation with Wild Alaskan Salmon oil is also a great idea to maintain a healthy heart, coat and skin, as well as joint function.
Visit my recommendations page for some of the best quality premium dog food on the market. I break down the nutrition profiles, cost per pound, and where to purchase.
Are American Staffordshire Terriers Good With Kids And Babies?
The American Staffordshire Terrier has a particular soft spot for kids and babies. They are excellent dogs with kids and babies of all sizes, especially ones in the family unit. The American Staffy has innate Nanny dog like behavior and will make excellent companions for your children.
Fact #6 – American Staffordshire Terriers adore children and make good family dogs because of this affinity with kids and babies.
Like any breed of dog it is important to always monitor children with dogs. Accidents can happen. The AmStaff is a rather large and sturdy dog that can easily knock over a child while playing.
Rough play between kids and your American Staffy should always be discouraged. Gentle play and games should be taught to both parties involved in playtime. Keep a watchful eye always and ensure everyone is behaving appropriately during their interactions.
Can American Staffordshire Terriers Get Along With Other Dogs?
American Staffordshire Terriers that are trained and socialized from an early age can get along with other dogs. They are however prone to be aggressive at times. This is especially true with dogs of the same gender, and more so with males.
American Staffies that are raised in the same household as other dogs can be just fine, and make great companions for each other. Introducing another dog into a household with an adult AmStaff can be problematic however. Caution should be exercised when introducing new pets to the household.
Fact #7 – American Staffordshire Terriers can be aggressive towards other dogs. Socialization can help, but caution around other animals is advised.
Dog parks should only be attended with the most reliable American Staffies and done so under very careful supervision. The AmStaff is not always looking for trouble, but has a low tolerance to other dogs that may challenge them. They might not start a fight, but they will not back down from one either.
Leaving your American Staffy alone with other dogs they are not very familiar with and dont’t have a track record of getting along, should be avoided. They can display aggression towards other dogs. Because of their size and strength, it can be dangerous, especially for smaller animals.
Here again I stress the importance of socialization, training and exercise. A very well socialized and trained AmStaff that is getting all of their exercise needs met, will be less likely to have problems getting along with other dogs.
Are American Staffies Aggressive?
American Staffies are not inherently aggressive. Especially towards their family. Any aggression shown towards a family member is extremely rare, and a sign of problems unrelated to the breed. More likely a lack of exercise, or mistreatment.
Fact #8 – American Staffies scored very high in temperament testing. Consistently demonstrating a 85.5% rating. Higher than Bearded Collies and Australian Cattle dogs.Source – American Temperament Test Society
The American Staffy is a very reliable family companion and will show nothing but love, loyalty and affection when their needs are being met. Blaming the breed when it comes to human aggression is in my opinion inaccurate, and overlooking many other factors I outlined above.
As mentioned the American Staffy can show signs of aggression towards other dogs and animals. This is unfortunately a part of the American Staffies aged history as pit fighting dogs. Some of this gameness and prey drive still remains and can come out in aggressiveness.
Again. Early socialization and training with a calm, yet firm leader can help mitigate much of these aggressive tendencies in the American Staffy. Consulting with a professional is always a smart move if you are noticing a pattern of aggressive behavior towards other dogs or strangers.
Will An American Staffy Protect Me?
The American Staffy is a highly loyal and loving family dog and will protect their owners. Especially if they perceive a threat. Though they are naturally very social towards people, they can be weary of strangers, and very protective if they feel something is off with another person.
The American Staffordshire Terrier has a very distinct alertness and awareness of their surroundings. This can lead to neurotic protective behavior if not corrected thorough training and reassurance as the family leader. Socialization with people at an early age can curb some of this behavior as well.
Are AmStaffs Good Guard Dogs?
American Staffies can make excellent guard dogs. As mentioned, AmStaffs are very loyal, protective, and naturally very aware of their surroundings. If and when they perceive a threat to a member of their family they will act as a guard dog by instinct.
Fact #9 – AmStaffs are very loyal and protective dogs. They can be great protectors and guard dogs when they sense a threat.
This can be a desired behavior by your family, but you must ensure you have control at all times. An AmStaff that is always on guard, and unnecessarily protective and potentially aggressive towards guests or strangers is an extreme liability.
AmStaffs can be trained properly to make excellent guard dogs. This requires an advanced level of obedience training from a professional trainer. Your AmStaff needs to be able to follow commands at all times, or risk becoming a serious hazard due to their size and strength.
A well balanced American Staffy will be protective, but not aggressive to approaching strangers. They are people friendly dogs overall, and can act as more of a deterrent to would be bad guys. I think most bad guys would avoid robbing a house, or assaulting a jogger that has an Amstaff with them.
Do American Staffordshire Terriers Like To Cuddle?
Not only do American Staffordshire Terriers like to cuddle, they live to cuddle. The AmStaff loves nothing more than to curl up next to a family member for cuddles. They are very loving and affectionate dogs that make them ideal for families.
Fact #10 – American Staffordshire Terriers are very loving and affectionate family dogs that love to cuddle.
Whether it’s watching TV on the couch, or reading a book in bed, your American Staffordshire Terrier will be there ready for some loves. In fact you may find it hard to move once they have settled in for a snooze on your lap or legs.
American Staffordshire Terrier Grooming Needs
American Staffordshire Terrier grooming needs are a breeze. Their short coat requires just a regular brushing once a week, and bathing your AmStaff can happen once every 8 weeks. The American Staffy is not a high maintenance dog when it comes to grooming. A few minutes a week is all it takes.
Fact #11 – American Staffordshire Terriers do not require much grooming.
Getting yourself a good soft bristle brush, and a top quality shampoo is important with the American Staffy’s grooming routine. They are prone to sensitive skin, and giving them a proper shampoo and regular brushing can go a long way towards their skin care.
I myself have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that requires an identical regime of grooming the AmStaff would, and I’ve compiled some of my favorite products. If you are looking for the best shampoos, brushes, nail clippers, wipes and paw balms, head over to my resource page.
These are all products I have used myself, or come highly recommended. They are easy on the wallet, and amazing for your American Staffy’s grooming care.
Is An American Staffy A Good Family Dog?
Now that I have run through a number of character traits of the American Staffy I can still say without a doubt they are great family dogs. The loving, loyal, protective and affectionate nature of the AmStaff makes them well suited for a strong and consistent owner.
Fact #12 – An American Staffy is a good family dog for someone with experience and commitment to demonstrating leadership.
The AmStaff is not the dog for every family. However if you are committed to their exercise needs, training regime, and becoming the leader they crave, they could be the dog for you.
Always be attentive to their needs, and remember they are a strong and powerful animal.
Exercise caution around other dogs and animals, and be proactive with training and socialization. A well socialized and trained American Staffy can make great playmates with other dogs, but vigilant attention to play time is always needed.
If you want to learn more about the American Staffy visit some of my other posts about this amazing breed of dog. Arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible is a great step in becoming a great AmStaff owner.