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American Staffordshire Terrier

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I have a question for those who have owned both Amstaffs and staffordshire bull terriers - how do these breeds differ in temperament? I have heard the Amstaff tends to be slightly more protective and more suspicious of strangers than the SBT, is that generally true?

Also one more question, are there any breeders in Australia breeding Amstaffs for working purposes, or who have titled their dogs to a high level in dogsports such as obedience/agility/tracking etc?

Thanks!

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I'm sure there are others as well :)

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I'm a bit rusty but I used to have Amstaffs, just in between at the moment, I did show, do obedience and bred one litter some years ago so maybe some stuff in the memory bank might be useful here...

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

I was a breeder if one litter counts and have had two AmStaffs so far and loved them and the breed to bits, still grieving their losses. I have other family dogs, cats and horses so I need to wait till there is room and time for another AmStaff.

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

Memory tells me that the breed was first recognised in America around 1934/35 when there was a split between those wanting to name them American Staffordshire Terriers and those whose preference was the American Pit Bull Terrier, and that is where the two breeds first began to be separated, (including different kennel clubs recognising teach breed, UKC & AKC I think) The split occurred however, in the 70's I think it was, AmStaffs were used to 'add fresh lines' to the APBT and there are still dual registered dogs today. The breed was first developed from bully type breeds, the White Bull Terrier rings a bell, and a few other 'english' breeds and used as 'butchers dogs' they were required to hold the bull by the muzzle so that the butcher could do his job. They went on to become family guardians, herding dogs and generally held any role their owner required. Or so the books tell me if I have remembered correctly...

3. How common is it in Australia?

These days the AmStaff can be found for sale in too many papers and too many pounds and shelters seem to have them up for adoption, or at least they are listed as AmStaffs and crosses.

4. What is the average lifespan?

12 to 14 years.

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

Very much like the staffy bull terriers - they love their family, they love to please their owners (if they understand what you want) and are typical boisterous terriers who have strong jaws and can chew through lots of shoes if bored :)

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

Regular daily walking, playing, running and toys definitely and mental stimulation is very important, however, having said that, my first girl didn't hold weight well so she didn't require as much walking and didn't seem to miss it.

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

Provided they have commonsense and intend to put the effort into understanding what an energetic and intelligent dog they have and that they research the breed to be sure they can devote the time, socialisation and training into their dog to end up with a fantastic friend, but most dogs need owners who have commonsense and time don't they?

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

I think it really depends on the dog, some can be incredibly full on needing time, attention, training and even a doggy playmate and others are happy to lay in the warm sun while you are at work etc.

9. How much grooming is required?

Minimal, the occasional brush if you feel like it, although a good rub/massage is probably as good, and a bath when they need one.

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

Some can be, this is an incredibly strong dog in a fairly smalll package, or at least it's a small package if it's close to the preferred heights for the breed so if they are not well trained then yeah, they can be boisterous, they are terriers after all. An adult dog may be less boisterous than a pup or juvenile, but they are for the most part easily trained. I hear and read stories of them having an innate sense of who they need to be gentle with, and I know my girls were calmer than usual when around my new born son but maybe they had simply matured and calmed and it was just coincidence.

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

Ataxia was not not around when I was more seriously involved (early 90's) so I don't know much about it.

Hip displaysia can be an issue, I wonder if it's because the dogs are getting heavier and too solid, I don't know but it wasn't as common back then in the breed. Elbows can now be an issue, again, I don't recall it being an issue.

I was aware of epilepsy in two related dogs, they weren't closely related so I don't know if hereditary or if an issue these days.

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

Dependent on why you are buying an AmStaff, you need to know their history with the breed, what papers the pup will have, are pups ataxia clear by parentage and the parents too, any history of any health issues, hips, elbows, anything. Agression in any of the lines, what are they breeding for, in particular with AmStaffs as some breeders are breeding for size "big heads, big boned" but there is only one breed standard and this is not what the standard is aiming for, a big oversized, dog can't perform to the same standard as a less heavy, fitter dog when asked to work whether as a butchers dog or as a herding animal etc. Making sure the pups nose, lips and eyelids colour in black or very dark grey/blue is important and espcially these days with BSL, AmStaffs shouldn't have a red nose, although very occasionally, they will which possibly links back to colour dilutions, or, dual registrations back in the lines. If going for a show ring or future breeding stock pup then of course you need to know your standard, make sure the lines don't carry the obvious defaults like more than 80% white, tri colour, black with tan etc or the hereditary health concerns.

Also, be sure to find out the reputation of the breeder, ask others, ask them what their guarantees are etc. I would hope that all good breeders back their dogs on common sense matters (eg a hereditray issue over a new owner not teaching their dog basic obedience) and would want first option if a dog needed to be rehomed, I know I did.

Whew, I don't know if I actually added anything new or useful but it was fun trying to see what I could remember ;)

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booge   

Amstaff was what I was originally going to buy, but I went with a boxer. I love my boxer but there's many days when I've thought an Amstaff may have been easier on my sanity.

He's a dominant dog too with other pooches. The main reason i didn't get an Amstaff was fear of it being overly dog aggressive, I know this is more about socialisation and training, but I wasn't prepared to take the risk being a first time dog owner.

Are they as high maintenance as a boxer exercise and training wise?

My boxer is smart, when he feels like it.....which doesn't suit me!

Does anyone have any comparison to training/owning a boxer?

I'd still like an Amstaff as a next dog.

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Lorelle   

Hi there,

Does anyone know how to stop an american staffy from jumping up on our friends? he will be 1 yrs old in October - 17th and he is getting desexed on early October.

He doesnt do it to us (me and my partner)as he has learnt. It's really annoying and sometimes our friends dont want to go outside for this reason.

When he jumps up we were told to knee him(not hard) but enough to say NO. We tell our friends to gently knee him in the chest to say NO but there must be another way? He cames down after awhile. I know it must be excited thing aswell.

Thanks

Lorelle

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Put him on lead before your friends go out in the garden.

When he is sitting quietly beside you, he can say hello to your friends.

If he jumps up, he is put back into a drop or sit and stays there until he can be appropriate.

Positive reinforcement with treats/pats when he does the right thing.

It sounds like you are only telling him what he is not to do - you also have to show him what he IS to do.. Sitting and waiting are really good things to teach jumpers...

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Lorelle   

Thank you,I shall do this & hopefully it will help :)

Put him on lead before your friends go out in the garden.

When he is sitting quietly beside you, he can say hello to your friends.

If he jumps up, he is put back into a drop or sit and stays there until he can be appropriate.

Positive reinforcement with treats/pats when he does the right thing.

It sounds like you are only telling him what he is not to do - you also have to show him what he IS to do.. Sitting and waiting are really good things to teach jumpers...

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Safffy   

QUESTIONS

1. What is my relationship with the breed? (ie breeder, first time owner etc)

First time owner of this breed, and a possible breeder.

2. Where and why was the breed first developed?

Like with any of the modern breeds its impossible to tell the origins for sure of the american staffordshire terrier/american pit bull terrier.

Ancient Greeks called the Molossi tribe where associated with these dogs - Molossian family of dogs.

They also gave rise also to mastiffs

The britons used a variation of the mastiff called pugnaces - fighting dogs or ones capable of using in warfare.

Roman emperor claudius beat briton chief caractacus in 50 ad. He liked these dogs and selected quantities where

sent to rome.

From 50 ad to 410 ad they where disseminated accros the roman empire as fighting dogs. They where mixed with

other indigenous breeds throughout europe, creating a genetic melting pot for the bulldogs that are thought

to be the immediate antecedents of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

1066 Normans invaded england and introduced baiting. originating from butchers who used them to keep wayward

bulls in check.

The butchers pride in there dogs ability to take down bulls created shows to appease the crowds.

And by the 16th century nearly every town in england had it own baiting ring

In baiting events, no more than one or two dogs were unleashed on the bull. They were trained to unrelentingly

harass the bulls until they collapsed from fatigue, their injuries, or both. These episodes lasted for prolonged

periods, sometimes as long as three or four hours. Eventually, the public's grew bored with bulls and introduced

a creative flair to the sport, baiting dogs with bears, boars, horses, and even monkeys!

In 1406, Edmond de Langley - the Duke of York - produced a short treatise for Henry IV entitled, "The Master of

the Game and of Hawks." In it, he described a descendent of the ancient Mastiffs that he called the "Alaunt",

the most commonly used baiting dog of the era. A 1585 painting of the Alaunts hunting wild boar portrayed lean,

muscular animals with profound similarities to the dogs we know as pit bulls.

Baiting was made illegal by the British parliament in 1835. However, this legislation did little to satiate the

public's desire to watch the spectacle of dogs in fighting sports. As a result, their attention turned to a variety

of other pursuits such as ratting - a practice in which a dog was thrown in a pit with a varying number of rats.

The dogs raced against the clock and each other to determine which one could kill the most rats in the shortest

period of time. The "pit" in pit bulls comes from the fact that ratting occurred in a pit that kept the rats from

escaping.

Ultimately the public's fickle gaze fell on the sport of dog fighting, primarily because it could be more easily

hidden from the prying eyes of the law than baiting and other fighting sports. Since dog fighting required smaller

and more agile animals than the ones that were used in baiting, fighting bulldogs were bred with terriers who were

known for their feistiness and indefatigable focus. The result was the bull-and-terrier, more commonly known as the

first pit bull terrier - a muscular, canine gladiator bred specifically for combat with other dogs.

Sometime in the early 1800's crossing bulldogs and arguably english white terriers in England and Ireland they made

essentially 3 breeds. SBT Staffordshire Bull Terrier, AST American Staffordshire Terrier and APBT American PitBull Terrier.

3. How common is it in Australia?

A lot more common than when they where first introduced in 1984 in Australia

4. What is the average lifespan?

12 - 14 years

5. What is the general temperament/personality?

Energetic, excitable and loving. Always seem to have a look on there face like "What are we doing next?"

6. How much daily exercise is needed for the average adult?

Minimum half hour if you work, hour and hours if you don't!

7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with?

If they get one that is food driven NOT prey driven sure. If the latter then you need to be vigilante and responsible.

8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods?

Of course, just depends on where they are left. If chucked in the laundry for hours they will get up to mishcief but give them a

backyard and they will be fibne.

9. How much grooming is required?

Once a week a groom them, saves having to vacuum it up later.

10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)?

Depends on the dog. Some are very well behaved and respond quickly to commands. But I wouldn't leave any adult staffy with any 5 year old

unsupervised no matter what.

11. Are there any common hereditary problems a puppy buyer should be aware of?

Ataxia if they are not papered. If papered no need to worry. Mainly hip and elbows. Also heart, eye and thyroid tests. There are more but couldn't be bothered listing them all!

12. When buying a puppy, what are the things you should ask of the breeder? (eg what health tests have been done (if applicable) and what is an acceptable result to those tests so the buyer has an idea of what the result should be)

Elbows and hips a must and as above ataxia if not papered. Not exactly sure but results for hips going by http://www.offa.org/hd_grades.html indicate to me no more than 22 points. Which is half way point between borderline. Hips are graded diff to 3 grades. I am not sure exactly either but I would assume only grade 1 would be acceptable. Someone correct me if I am wrong. Also if heart an eye tests are done as well that is a bonus but wouldn't expect it. Thyroid as well.

Edited by saithroth

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Just be aware that papers don't mean that an AmStaff is ataxia clear. I spoke to a breeder this year who advertised a litter and the advert said the parents had been tested for ataxia - what the breeder didn't say was that while the sire was ataxia free by parentage the mother had been tested and confirmed as a carrier! Sadly the "breeder" still used her to breed and was misleading with the advertising so it sounded like both parents were clear so please don't think that papers mean an AmStaff is ataxia clear. I will say when I spoke to the breeder they were quick to point out to me that the mother was a carrier so maybe just an inexperienced breeder, they were a first timer from memory.

Lovely to see another AmStaff response, hope you are loving your baby. Just wanted to clarify for anyone who is in the process of getting an AmStaff :)

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Ruffles   

You can breed a carrier to a clear without a problem... doesn't mean they were inexperienced or a first time breeder at all.

Edited by Ruffles

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Tiara   

Hey all,

I often look after a few SBTs and was wondering what the differences in temperament are between the two breeds. The Amstaffs that i've met seem to be a bit more "serious" and quiet, and a little on the aloof side with new people. Staffords on the other hand seem *very* friendly. Again this is from what i've noticed.

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Hi Tiara

I always been led to believe that the temperament and personalities of the AST and the SBT should have been similar. For everything I have read about them and what I've observed with my own AST's it was true but I have seen that more serious look you are talking about. It maybe comes down to how they are raised, that in every breed you get variations in temperament and personality but I think the AST should have a loving friendly personality, very much like we expect in the SBT. The AST isn't quite the goofball that the SBT's I've known have been, hehehe maybe cause they are taller they don't need to bounce around for attention, they can just command it.

You have me thinking though, the AST is very comfortable making and holding eye contact, is the SBT the same? I've never paid attention to their eye contact. I have a border collie who cannot cope with eye contact for even a split second so maybe that makes the AST appear more serious? Just a thought, or three :) I'm certainly no expert.

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Tiara   

Hi Tiara

I always been led to believe that the temperament and personalities of the AST and the SBT should have been similar. For everything I have read about them and what I've observed with my own AST's it was true but I have seen that more serious look you are talking about. It maybe comes down to how they are raised, that in every breed you get variations in temperament and personality but I think the AST should have a loving friendly personality, very much like we expect in the SBT. The AST isn't quite the goofball that the SBT's I've known have been, hehehe maybe cause they are taller they don't need to bounce around for attention, they can just command it.

You have me thinking though, the AST is very comfortable making and holding eye contact, is the SBT the same? I've never paid attention to their eye contact. I have a border collie who cannot cope with eye contact for even a split second so maybe that makes the AST appear more serious? Just a thought, or three :) I'm certainly no expert.

I've only ever been around SBTs for longer periods of time and can say that they're fine with eye contact. They don't seem to be phased by anything, very sturdy and confident. I have met a few ASTs with a more "bouncy" temperament most seem to have an aloof disposition (even young pups). :confused:

(btw this is not criticism of the breed i am actually quite partial to the calmer, dignified character i've seen in AmStaffs)

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Hahaha, I love both breeds, the AST can definitely be bouncy, just like his smaller cousin. I didn't take your post the wrong way but its easy on here to be read with the wrong tone isn't it. :) I always loved the SBT but wanted a bigger dog, then I discovered the AST back in the 90's and fell in love.

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M United   

Hey there new to this forum so please take it easy on me. Im a dog lover but im new to the game. We currently have a small dog (3 years old) and im now really confident with dogs.

Been playing around with my friends American Staffy and i have really grown fond of them. They are a beautiful dog. I'm looking into getting one. But i'm afraid i'm clueless in what questions to ask. I know the basics to buy off registered breeders(with paperwork) and have paper work also confirming there healthy. But what kind of paperwork should i be asking for to prove the dog is high quality or champion quality? What should i be looking for in this paperwork? What else do i need to be asking? What should i be looking at to get a top tier quality pup? I'm looking into the blue color, i'm really into this color and i dont see many around. My choice will not be affected by price, just quality.

Edited by M United

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Can someone who has never experienced dog showing, easily learn to show their dog? Whats involved? We have a papered bitch coming next month (still a pup), so can I learn to show her?

I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but i think most decent obedience dog clubs have a showing class, where you learn to show your dog. How to stack them , heel them etc around a ring..

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Hey there new to this forum so please take it easy on me. Im a dog lover but im new to the game. We currently have a small dog (3 years old) and im now really confident with dogs.

Been playing around with my friends American Staffy and i have really grown fond of them. They are a beautiful dog. I'm looking into getting one. But i'm afraid i'm clueless in what questions to ask. I know the basics to buy off registered breeders(with paperwork) and have paper work also confirming there healthy. But what kind of paperwork should i be asking for to prove the dog is high quality or champion quality? What should i be looking for in this paperwork? What else do i need to be asking? What should i be looking at to get a top tier quality pup? I'm looking into the blue color, i'm really into this color and i dont see many around. My choice will not be affected by price, just quality.

If you read this whole thread the breeders and longer term owners have indicated what you need to check for and ask about.

All I can really offer is to do your homework.. Research, research and then research some more..

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M United   

Hey there new to this forum so please take it easy on me. Im a dog lover but im new to the game. We currently have a small dog (3 years old) and im now really confident with dogs.

Been playing around with my friends American Staffy and i have really grown fond of them. They are a beautiful dog. I'm looking into getting one. But i'm afraid i'm clueless in what questions to ask. I know the basics to buy off registered breeders(with paperwork) and have paper work also confirming there healthy. But what kind of paperwork should i be asking for to prove the dog is high quality or champion quality? What should i be looking for in this paperwork? What else do i need to be asking? What should i be looking at to get a top tier quality pup? I'm looking into the blue color, i'm really into this color and i dont see many around. My choice will not be affected by price, just quality.

If you read this whole thread the breeders and longer term owners have indicated what you need to check for and ask about.

All I can really offer is to do your homework.. Research, research and then research some more..

Thanks for the reply. As the breeders are far away it is hard to tell through photos. I did read the info on the front page but would love to know if people know top tier breeders which i will then study. But i must of missed some information in this thread i will read all the thread and hopefully some of that information will help me in my quest. I dont rush buy i like learning and getting advice from people with knowledge to eventually make the right choice. After all, this is a friend for life.

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