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What is an American Staffordshire?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2018
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An American Staffordshire terrier is a cross between a bulldog and a terrier. This breed of dog normally has a short coat and is of medium size. They are typically described as people-oriented dogs that are both intelligent and athletic, with a stocky build. These terriers have been the subject of much controversy due to the reputation of pit bull breeds. In some jurisdictions, the American Staffordshire terrier is illegal to own, or restrictions are put in place in attempts to minimize the breed’s potential danger to people and other dogs.

When well bred, these terriers have a stocky build with a broad chest and short tail. The coat is typically short and stiff to the touch but glossy when clean. American Staffordshire terriers can be of any color, though some solid colors are discouraged due to potential health problems when breeding the dogs for the purpose of being these colors. They can live up to 16 years old, but 10 to 12 years is more likely.

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There are quite a few health defects and problems that can potentially affect an American Staffordshire terrier. A couple such conditions are hip and elbow hysplasia, which can both cause significant pain and lameness to a dog. Another dangerous condition is heart disease, which is potentially fatal. Though there are quite a few conditions that can affect an American Staffordshire terrier. A fairly common one is hypothyroidism, which can usually be regulated by daily medications. Many of these conditions, such as hip and elbow hysplasia, can be identified as a risk or non-risk for a certain dog by screening its mother and father.

Bull dog breeds in general have a bad reputation across many countries. People tend to view them as naturally aggressive and be fearful of them. Many animal-related organizations oppose breed-specific bans or restrictions, with some asserting that owners are to blame for dog bites through abusing, tethering, or not properly socializing their dogs. These organizations frequently argue that pit bull breeds like the American Staffordshire terrier are not hardwired to be aggressive; rather, they claim that all breeds of dogs have the potential to injure people when mistreated.

The American Staffordshire terrier is not an obscure breed of dog and was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1936. There have been a few famous dogs related to this breed, such as war hero Sergeant Stubby and film star Pete the Pup. Sergeant Stubby was a stray discovered around a college campus in the United States and brought to France in World War I, where he engaged in exploits such as warning allied troops of poison gas attacks and capturing German spies.

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