As most of you probably already know by now, the American Staffordshire Terrier or “Amstaff” is one of my favorite dog breeds in the world.
Not only are they absolutely beautiful, but they also have a strong and reliable temperament that make them the perfect family dog.
But is the American Staffordshire Terrier a good first dog?
The American Staffordshire Terrier can make an excellent good first dog – for some owners. It really depends on the personality of the owner, and how much energy and effort they are willing to put into training and obedience.
A responsibly bred, well-socialized AmStaff is a loyal, trustworthy friend to the end.
With that being said, this is the same advice I would give to anyone considering any type of dog breed because not all dogs are right for all owners.
Some owners do better with calm, relaxed dog breeds, while others prefer breeds that are energetic and athletic.
Some people choose small dogs, while other people prefer large dogs, and so on and so forth.
So where does the American Staffordshire Terrier fall into this spectrum?
Let’s have a look at some:
American Staffordshire Terrier Facts:
- American Staffy Size: The male American Staffy stands approximately 19 inches tall. The females are only slightly shorter, with an average height of approximately 18 inches.
- American Staffordshire Terrier weight: The male American Staffordshire terrier can range anywhere from 50-70 pounds in weight, while females weigh in slightly less at 45-60 pounds once full grown.
- American Staffy coat: The American Staffy has a short, flat coat, and doesn’t shed as much as many other dog breeds. With that being said, they may go through a heavier shed once a year. To remove dead hair, it’s recommended that you brush an Amstaff once per week, but overall, their maintenance level is low.
- American Staffy Exercise requirements: Overall, the American Staffordshire Terrier has average energy levels. They require 20-40 minutes of heavy exercise each day.
Of course, if you want to know if the American Staffordshire Terrier is the right breed for your first dog, you will need more additional facts about:
- What is an American Staffy puppy like?
- What is the American Staffordshire Terrier temperament?
- What type of owner personality traits fit best with the Amstaff breed?
- How do Amstaffs interact with children?
- What can you do to ensure that your Amstaff becomes your best friend, as opposed to your owner?
Today we will discuss answers to all of these questions and more in hopes of determining the answer to the question,
“Is the American Staffordshire Terrier a good first dog” – for you.
What Should I Expect With An American Staffy Puppy?
As with all dog breeds, the temperament of an American Staffy will change as they get older.
In most cases, puppies are a lot more work than older dogs, as they require more exercise, playtime, and training.
If you are willing to put in the time and hard work, any breed of dog can be raised to be respectful, loving, and personable.
But when not given the time and attention, dogs can take over the household as adults.
So what can you expect from an American Staffy Puppy, and how can you train them to be loving and respectful?
As puppies, American Staffies are little bundles of joy.
They are fun-loving, playful, and extremely social at this age.
As puppies, Amstaffs are very energetic and love doing anything outdoorsy.
In return, they make the perfect adventurous companion.
At this stage in their lives, they are basically tiny teddy bears that have a love for life and anybody in it.
Having said that, your Amstaff will not take long to grow, and that adorable little puppy will quickly become a strong, beautiful, and loyal dog.
Their temperament really depends on how you treat them and train them as a puppy.
So here are some things you should know about training an American Staffy puppy if you are considering the breed:
- American Staffordshire Terriers require a great deal of socialization as puppies. They should be introduced to other dogs and other people as often as possible.
- American Staffordshire Terriers are extremely intelligent and are eager to please their owners. Having said that, they are also very dominant and stubborn. This is why they require a strong master who can provide firm, patient, and consistent training.
- American Staffordshire Terriers have a lot of energy and require a lot of exercises to prevent boredom.
- American Staffordshire Terriers love the outdoors, but they are not outdoor dogs. They thrive in the presence of their family, and should never be left outside on their own.
- The American Staffy puppy loves to chew, and therefore needs lots of rough, tough, and durable chew toys.
- American Staffies have a strong prey drive, even as puppies. In return, they will often take off after smaller animals. As such, they should be trained to walk at an early age, and again, should never be left outside alone.
- American Staffordshire Terriers can be destructive as puppies and require close supervision at all times to prevent household damage.
What Is The American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament?
American Staffordshire Terriers are, by nature, a pack dog.
This means that they are protectors, and will be extremely loyal to, committed to, and protective of their family.
This makes them an excellent guard dog but can also lead to aggression if the Terrier feels that their family is being threatened.
The sheer American Staffy size can make people feel nervous around the breed, so it’s important to give them plenty of socialization as puppies so that they can learn the difference between real threats and perceived threats.
If properly trained and socialized, aggression will be the last thing you have to worry about with this breed, and they will be fun-loving, social, and outgoing.
In terms of the American Staffordshire Terrier weight, as we mentioned before, they grow to be quite large dogs.
Though they may not always mean to hurt someone, their playful tendencies combined with their large size can lead to accidents – especially with small children.
Again, this can be tamed by spending plenty of time with your Staffy as a puppy, teaching them how to play gently.
In terms of energy levels, American Staffordshire Terriers have plenty of energy to burn.
As mentioned previously, they require at least 20-40 minutes of exercise per day but will be more than welcome to extra runs or more playtime.
All in all, when properly trained, the American Staffordshire Terrier makes the perfect companion and addition to any family.
One area where they do have difficulty, however, is with other dogs.
American Staffordshire Terriers are extremely protective of their family and can become territorial as well.
In return, they may become aggressive when other dogs enter their territory and are usually best when they are the only dog in the home.
With that being said, aggressive tendencies towards other dogs can be lessened if properly trained and socialized as a puppy.
Am I The Right Fit For The Staffordshire Terrier Breed?
When answering the question, “Is the American Staffordshire Terrier a good first dog?”,
it’s not just about whether the breed is the right fit for you, it’s also whether you are the right fit for the breed.
As I mentioned before, the American Staffordshire Terrier makes a great pet, as well as a loyal and loving companion, but they are not for everyone.
Due to the American Staffy size, they are best for people who own homes.
While they can do very well in apartments or smaller homes, it’s not recommended for the simple fact that they do require a great deal of exercise and movement.
Having a large American Staffy in a small apartment building would not be fair to the dog.
So if you’re planning on getting an American Staffy, make sure you have enough room for them to play and run – a backyard is an added bonus.
If you have a small space or do not have a backyard, you need to be prepared to put forth the time and effort to give your dog plenty of walks, playtime, and exercise breaks.
A bored American Staffy can quickly become destructive, so it’s important that you give them plenty of exercise throughout the day.
As such, they make an excellent companion for active personality types.
In addition to playtime, Staffordshire terriers also require plenty of love and affection. If you are a busy person, this may not be the right breed for you.
What If I Have Children?
American Staffordshire Terriers are excellent with children.
The only concern here is the American Staffordshire Terrier weight.
Amstaffs are the type of dog that will let your children play with them, tug on them, sit on them, or dress them up, but when playing, they often don’t remember their size.
Your Staffy would never intentionally hurt your child, but during rough play, they might knock them over.
As such, if you have a terrier and a child, it’s best to keep an eye on them during playtime.
How To Be Your Amstaff’s Best Friend:
American Staffordshire Terriers like to be around their owners, and the more time spent, the more loving and affectionate they will become as well.
Another reason that Staffordshire Terriers need an owner who is willing to dedicate their time is that they require a great deal of socialization and training.
While American Staffordshire Terriers can be the most social and loving dogs, without proper training, they can go the opposite way and become aggressive towards strangers and other animals.
Related: Is the American Staffordshire Terrier A Pit Bull?
As such, it’s important that the owner is willing to spend time to train and socialize their dog, not only with other people, but also with other dogs.
Because the American Staffordshire Terrier is a pack dog, they do require a strong leader.
If you don’t act as the pack leader, the American Staffordshire Terrier will quickly take over the role and will start to run the household.
As such, the owner should have a dominant personality that can act as the leader of the pack.
American Staffordshire Terriers require a strong, confident owner that is willing to put forth the effort to train and socialize them properly.
If you feel that you have the personality and time to donate to an Amstaff, then they could be the perfect first dog for you.
But if you lack time and are hesitant to start off with a strong-willed, confident breed, then you may want to consider another breed for your first time.
How long does an American Staffordshire Terrier Live?
The good news is that American Staffy’s have relatively long life spans (though forever wouldn’t be long enough).
On average, American Staffordshire Terriers live between 12-14 years, depending on their health and nutrition levels. Regular visits to the vet, and proper exercise and nutrition can help to ensure they live long, healthy lives.
In regards to the American Staffordshire Terrier Temperament, do they like to relax?
I have mentioned a lot about the fact that Staffordshires have high energy levels and require a lot of exercises.
Having said that, I also think it important to mention that they also enjoy relaxation.
Just as most people do, the Staffordshire needs balance in their lives.
An equal amount of activity and relaxation makes the perfect balance for the Staffy breed.