Everything you need to know to buy or adopt an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy or adult dog.


BE PREPARED

For Your New

American Staffordshire Terrier!

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Raise and train your dog the RIGHT way and he will live a long, healthy, well-behaved life – and both of you will be happy!

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American Staffordshire Terrier dog breed

Buying or Adopting an American Staffordshire Terrier

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog


Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs


Is an American Staffordshire Terrier the right breed for you?

American Staffordshire Terriers: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

American Staffordshire Terrier Health Problems


Are YOU right for an American Staffordshire Terrier?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
  • No young children in the household
  • No other dogs in the household
  • No cats in the household
  • Extra safety precautions – ongoing supervision and surveillance of what's going on around your American Staffordshire Terrier, especially the presence of strange dogs who might start something your Staffordshire might finish in a tragic manner
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your American Staffordshire Terrier stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, schutzhund, flyball, musical freestyle, tracking, carting, weight pulling); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a smaller dog
  • Enough money to treat the health problems American Staffordshire Terriers are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with moderate shedding
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your American Staffordshire Terrier to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior or aggression
  • Commitment to establish the proper Leader-Follower relationship with your American Staffordshire Terrier, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female American Staffordshire Terrier?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?


Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new American Staffordshire Terrier be?


Where can you buy or adopt an American Staffordshire Terrier?

American Staffordshire Terriers are about middle-of-the-road in popularity in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, American Staffordshire Terriers rank 81st.

You might be thinking, "Hey, I see lots of them around!" Actually you're mostly seeing their cousin, the more common American Pit Bull Terrier. Or you're seeing crosses or mixes that might look purebred, but aren't.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
American Staffordshire Terriers may be turned over to Rescue because they need more exercise and interesting activities to do than the owner expected. There might be dominance issues, or destructiveness, or aggression toward other animals. The dog might simply be too much for the owner to handle. You would need to provide these dogs with the exercise, training, and socialization that they are lacking. Other Staffordshires are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
You're more likely to see Pit Bull Terriers (or Pit Bull crosses or mixes) than purebred American Staffordshires. Some communities won't adopt out any dogs who even look like Pit Bulls or Staffordshires.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy an American Staffordshire Terrier from a show breeder, who breeds Staffordshires to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring. You can also buy an American Staffordshire from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have a normal thyroid
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or a report from a veterinary cardiologist – dated within the past year – certifying that the dog has had an Advanced Cardiac Exam and has a normal heart

Also, at least ONE PARENT of an American Staffordshire Terrier puppy should have:

  • a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a severe neuromuscular disease called NCL-A (Cerebellar Ataxia).

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your American Staffordshire Terrier ends up with hip dysplasia.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
I don't see American Staffordshire Terriers in pet shops in my area. Maybe the stores are afraid of the legal liabilities, I don't know. But I do have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!


Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good American Staffordshire Terrier Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of American Staffordshire Terrier puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.


Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered American Staffordshire Terrier puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.