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American Staffordshire Terrier Dog Breed Interesting Facts

Jun 13, 2008
In the days when pit fighting was an accepted "sport" in the country of Great Britain and later in America, Pitbulls of various origins were the dogs of choice for this activity.

To a large extent, the original "bulldog" was one of the foundation breeds of dogs of this type. One of the functions of the of the "bulldog" was to hang onto the bull, to worry the bull and not let go once the dog bit.

Thus the jaws have great strength and power. When the Pitbull became a part of the scene of fighting dogs, the function was that of fighting other dogs rather than the bull.

From these dogs descended the American Staffordshire Terrier, bred to be a great fighting machine with punishing jaws and formidable strength but without viciousness.

The Amstaff, as it is known by the shortened version of its name and its close cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, are both of the general description of a dog that was bred to fight other dogs. Blended into this function in the case of both of these breeds was an admirable temperament that combined devotion to human family and gentleness with children.

The dog makes an outstanding guard dog. When it is a true Amstaff it will posses a stable temperament combining these qualities.

The American Staffordshire Terrier was admitted to the registry of the American Kennel Club in 1972. Since then it has become a dog that is quite popular in the show ring. It should have "punishing" jaws of great strength, a muscular appearance, with a deep rib cage and a general appearance of great power.

The temperament however if bred correctly and if trained responsibly should be that of courage and strong guarding tendencies mixed with a devotion and loyalty to its human family members.

The reputation of the breed has suffered due to the close relationship both in appearance and temperament to the "Pitbull terrier", which has been labeled as a "vicious dog" in many municipalities and has even been banned or placed on the list of aggressive dogs by Insurance Companies, who will not even grant home ownership policies to persons with this type of dog in their household.

Unfortunately most of these problems with aggression have been brought about by humankind. Responsible owners are not as numerous as irresponsible owners. As the Pitbull variety has developed in this country it has become a breed that is much admired by teenage gang members as a "status symbol" and has been used also in illegal dog fighting.

Thus a great deal of over breeding has produced a dog that can be a formidable fighting machine with little regard being paid to stability of temperament.

The temperament of dogs is definitely an inherited condition. All breeders should be aware of this fact. Irresponsible breeding combined with irresponsible ownership have contributed to this reputation.

The American Staffordshire Terrier as seen in the show ring is a dog that for the most part has been bred responsibly and will not exhibit the unstable temperament associated with the Pitbull. The general public is not aware of the differences between the true Amstaff and the Pitbull. The fact remains that the two breeds are separate and distinct.

However, this does not make a difference when newspaper accounts of "pitbull attacks" are heavily publicized. This problem is not going to go away and unfortunately it may become a possibility that the American Staffordshire Terrier will become a breed that will be banned also.
About the Author
For more information on the American Staffordshire Terrier or a full list of dog breeds take a look at this Dog Training website.
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