Get to Know the American Staffordshire Temperament
The American Staffordshire Terrier temperament is similar to that of their neighbor across the Atlantic, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, although the American dog has a larger head and heavier body weight. Both breeds are active and muscular, and both were bred for combat.
In the early 20th century, the American Staffordshire Terrier evolved, through selective breeding, into two types. The show type was known as the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the fighting type was called the American Pit Bull Terrier. Some breed registries consider both types to be the same breed, while others recognize them as two quite separate breeds.
The Family Friend and Protector
This dog’s temperament is that of an intelligent and affectionate companion that loves being with their owner. I have met many American Staffordshire Terriers that just want to wrestle and tumble with you. They love to play, but because they are so strong, they can knock over small children. Always watch your children when they are playing with their dog.
If you’re an active person, then the American Staffordshire Terrier temperament will definitely fit your lifestyle. They have plenty of energy to burn, and enjoy lots of exercise. You’ll have the perfect jogging buddy who will look after you and keep you safe when you are out for a run.
One aspect of dogs’ temperaments that often appeals to people is the tendency to be protective of their loved ones. The American Staffordshire Terrier is very good in this role. Depending on the individual dog’s breeding, they can be very reserved around people they don’t know, and can show strong guarding behaviors.
It is absolutely essential that your American Staffordshire terrier is well socialized so they get used to being around different people. This will help them learn to be relaxed and friendly around strangers, but won’t reduce their instinctive watchfulness.
Aggression and the American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament
A difficult aspect of dog temperament is aggression towards other dogs and most American Staffordshire Terriers exhibit their fighting instinct when they encounter other animals. They can kill small creatures such as cats, and they can seriously injure larger dogs that they encounter.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a popular breed of dog and this has led to unscrupulous breeders producing puppies with unsound temperaments. These dogs are dangerous, even in the hands of an experienced dog owner. Before you buy that cute little American Staffordshire Terrier puppy, check out their parents and look particularly at the their temperaments.
Early socialization and training can counter these instincts to a large extent, but you can never completely trust this breed around other pets. Because of these aggressive tendencies and strong will, I don’t recommend this breed for novice dog owners. They need to be owned by someone with experience in managing dogs with challenging behaviors, so that people and animals in the community are safe.
Training your American Staffordshire Terrier
This dog is very clever, and isn’t hard to train. However, they can be strong willed and bossy. They need a confident and experienced owner, or they will take over the household.
Start training your dog from puppy hood and continue throughout their life, with firmness and consistency. This doesn’t mean you need to be harsh with them. Positive training methods work well with these intelligent dogs. However, if you give an inch, they’ll quickly take a mile.
Destructiveness When Bored
Most dogs get bored when they are left alone for long periods of time and they don’t get enough mental stimulation. This breed in particular likes to chew, and with their powerful jaws, they can really do some damage to your home and furnishings. Give them things they can chew safely, such as rawhide or stuffed rubber kong toys.
Another useful activity to alleviate boredom and prevent your American Staffordshire Terrier from creating their own fun is to exercise them. A tired dog is a happy dog, and they are more likely to have a nap when alone than turn their mind to mischief.
If you are a confident dog owner, and are looking for an active, intelligent and protective dog to keep you company, then the American Staffordshire Terrier temperament may suit you perfectly.
However, don’t be complacent when you welcome this breed into your home. Be prepared for their strength and instinctive aggression towards other animals, or you may find yourself with more dog than you can handle.
Other Terrier Dogs
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a memebr of the Terrier Group of dogs. Dogs in this grop come in various sizes, and are ALL full of spunk and spirit. Though they have many things in common, each terrier also has varying temperaments. Here are a few other terriers and their temperaments: