American Staffordshire Terrier

FCI GROUP: Terriers

FAMILY: Terrier, Mastiff

Allowed as pet in Singapore HDB Flat: No

Origin: United States, 1800s; ancestors, along with the Bulldog, Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, came from England. After dog fighting was banned in the United States in 1900, two strains of these dogs were developed, a show strain and a non-show strain. The show strain was labelled the American Staffordshire, while the non-show dog strain was labelled the American Pit Bull Terrier. The two are now being recognised as separate breeds.

Original Purpose: Dog fighting; bull baiting.

Behaviour and Temperament: Tenacious, loyal, happy, affectionate, docile (in the family setting), protective, territorial.

Breed Characteristics: Excellent watch and guard dog. Can be protective. Some individuals are able to climb almost as well as a cat. The American Staffordshire Terrier has a very high tolerance for pain. Comparatively less noisy than many other terriers. If carefully bred and correctly trained, this loyal dog is a wonderful pet; however, he is not for the novice or timid owner.

Physical Features: 43 to 48.5 cm; 18 to 34 kg. Stocky and heavy-boned, with immensely powerful jaws. This breed comes in an amazing assortment of colours, including solid, parti, and brindled.

Coat Type and Grooming: Short, glossy, stiff. Minimal care; a quick brush up with a firm bristle brush will do it, bathe when necessary. Light to moderate shedding. Estimated grooming charges in Singapore: Basic, S$70 – S$80.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years.

Health Concerns: Cataracts, CMO, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, thyroid and heart problems.

Exercise: Moderately high; needs daily long walks or jogs; will become restless if not given sufficient exercise.

Housing: Can live equally well in town or country. If sufficiently exercised, will do okay in an apartment. Amstaffs prefers warm climates.

Sociability: Tends to bond with one person. Usually good with family children (despite his fearsome reputation) if socialised properly. If aroused, however, this breed can be dangerous and should not be around stranger children. Protective of family but friendly to strangers if introduced by the owner. Will fight with other dogs; not good with other pets in general.

Trainability: Moderate to high. This breed may challenge his owner for dominance; needs very firm training beginning from the instant you bring him home. May be difficult to housebreak. Socialisation must begin very early.

Activities: Tracking, agility, search and rescue.

Notes: The Amstaff is classified under the Part I Scheduled Dogs in Singapore. This requires the dog to be leashed and securely muzzled when in a public place. The dog has to be micro chipped, and must be sterilised if over six months of age. The owner is required to take up an insurance policy for at least SGD100,000 coverage against injury to persons and damage to property. In addition, the owner must take up a banker’s guarantee of SGD5,000. This banker’s guarantee would be forfeited for any non-compliance, after which a new banker’s guarantee of SGD5,000 is required. All newly licensed American Staffordshire Terriers must undergo obedience training.

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