Amstaff History and Breed Standard



While after mid 19th century, in Great Britain the dog fighting "sport" underwent a hard decline, it was not so in America.

There although with different names, among which Bull and Terrier, Half and Half, Pit Dog and Yankee Terrier Pit Bulls found a fertile ground, mainly by boxers, innkeepers and members of the sport brotherhood.

One of the first ones to exploit this trend was C. Z. Bennet, who in 1898 set up a register for Bulldogs called United Kennel Club (UKC). UKC was the first to acknowledge Pit Bulls under the name of American Pit Bull Terriers (The use of the adjective American was a habit and an indiscriminating attitude of Bennet). Not only UKC immediately welcomed arenas and fights surrounding this dog. Through its Bloodlines Journal, for instance, UKC published dates and results of matches, resuming a tradition started off by the Police Gazette (1846<>1932). Things carried on well until Bennet died in 1936. With the inclusion of other "working" breeds in the register, the fighting world became increasingly inconvenient. The Bloodlines Journal no longer published news and advertisements regarding the arenas (pit) activities.

Hence, the need for a new register only for American Pit Bull Terriers protecting that cultural heritage coming from the fighting world. So, in 1909 the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) was established.

In the meanwhile, on the boost by many breeders trying to escape the easy mental association Pit Bull = fighting dog, in 1936 the American Kennel Club decided to acknowledge the APBT with the name of Staffordshire Terrier.

Since then, two different bloodline breeds began: one to create a show dog (the present American Staffordshire Terrier) promoted by the AKC; instead the other, devoted to preserving the old fighting dog (American Pit Bull Terrier) promoted by the ADBA.

After a series of opening and closing of registers for Pit Bull dogs (the last subscriptions date back to 1972), at last the AKC decided to close down completely.

In 1974 the adjective American was added to dogs for exhibition, which became the current American Staffordshire Terrier (that change was necessary to tell between it and the English Staffordshire Bull Terrier).

At last, in 1985 the FCI acknowledged the American Staffordshire Terrier.


The Breed Standard