American Staffordshire Terrier

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 in 1935.

Later, in January 1972, in order to avoid confusion with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which was then in the process of gaining
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 Bull Terrier.

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.

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