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
The Breed Standard
impression: The American Staffordshire Terrier should give the
impression of great strength for a dog his size; a well put together dog, muscular, but
agile and gracefull, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long
legged or racy in, outline. His courage is proverbial.
Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek
muscles, distinct stop. Ears set high.
Cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short
and held rose or half prick. Full drop to be penalized.
Dark, round, low down in skull, set far apart. No pink eyelids.
Medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below the eyes.
Jaws well defined. Under jaw strong and to have biting power. Lips close and even; no
looseness. Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Nose definitely
Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No
looseness of skin. Medium length.
Strong and muscular, with blades wide and sloping.
Fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to romp with gentle short slope at
rump to base of tail. Loins slightly tucked.
Well sprung ribs; close together, deep in rear. Forelegs set wide.
Chest deep and broad
Short in comparison to size, low set, tap ring to fine point; Not
curled or carried over back. Not docked.
Front legs straight, with large bones and upright pasterns. Hindquarters well
muscled, let down at hocks, turning either in or out. Feet of moderate size, well arched
and compact. Gait springy but without roll of space.
Short, close, stiff to the touch, glossy.
Any color, solid, party, or patched, is permissible; but more than 80% white,
black and than, and liver not to be encouraged.
Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about eighteen to
nineteen inches at the shoulders for a male and seventeen to eighteen inches for a female
to be considering preferable.
Faults to be penalized are Dudley nose, light or pink eyes, tail too long or
badly carried, undershot or overshort mounths.