A breed developed in North America, the Staffordshire
Terrier is closely related to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Both
breeds were derived from crossing the Bulldog with various terrier
breeds. But, unlike the Staffordshire Bull, this breed is taller,
heavier, straighter in forelimb and somewhat smoother in over-all
outline. His ears may be either cropped or un-cropped.
The breed was first known early in the 19th
century when dog fighting was a popular spectator sport in parts
of the United States. The Staffordshire was intentionally designed
as a fighting dog combining the tenacity and courage of the Bulldog
with the agility and spirit of the terrier. And he was good at his
job, so good, in fact, that at first the American Kennel Club refused
to acknowledge the Staffordshire Terrier as a pure breed. But he
was admitted to registration by another American-based organization,
the United Kennel Club.
Then the breed's fortunes took a turn for the
better. Dog fighting was outlawed in most states in 1900, and breeders
of the Staffordshire turned their attentions to producing a more
docile animal that would function well as family pet and guardian.
Their efforts were successful and the Staffordshire Terrier was
admitted to the American Kennel Club's official roster of pure-breds
Later, in January 1972, in order to avoid confusion
with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which was then in the process
official acceptance, the American Kennel Club changed the breed
name to the American Staffordshire Terrier. This was to be the last
of a series of names for the breed that over the years had included
the Yankee Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, Half and Half, and the American
The breed has a loyal following in the United
States with good entries at most of the larger championship shows.
For some reason it has failed to achieve the same acceptance in
Canada. Only rarely is an American Staffordshire Terrier seen at
a dog show in Canada.