The American Staffordshire Terrier did spring directly from the roots of the old Pit Dog brought to America by Irish and English migrants in the 1870's, as did the modern American Pit Bull Terrier. However, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier are definately not one and the same dog. The "Am Staff" has been bred along completely different lines than its predecessor the Pit Bull. He has been bred as a pet, family dog, guardian, show dog and for obedience and agility competition. He has emerged from his past history as one of the most reliable, trustworthy and loyal of all dogs.
Probably one of the most famous early Am Staffs was "Pete" of the Little Rascal movies. His trainer stated that Pete was one of the brightest, easiest to train dogs he had ever worked with. The famed dog trainer William Koehler regards the Am Staff as one of the finest and most reliable of all breeds of dogs.
The Am Staff is proud and noble of bearing. He combines power and grace and agility. He is bright and alert and has boundless courage. He is intelligent, outstandingly amenable to training and discipline, and adaptable to almost any conditions. He is intensely loyal and affectionate, has the striking good looks of a natural athlete, and his sleek short coat requires a minimum of care. In no other breed is there present such a remarkable combination of gentleness, camaraderie and reliability.
(extract from "The American Staffordshire Terrier Annual").
A proper Am Staff personality and temperament is one of a loving and loyal family pet. They make an excellent guardian of property and family, and possess the ability to discriminate between strangers who mean them harm and those who do not. Their courage is proverbial. They have the terrier personality of tenacity and a wonderful sense of humour. As with many breeds, they need an owner who is knowledgeable about animal behaviour, has a basic background in obedience training and an understanding of terrier traits and personality. They make a wonderful companion and friend.
The Am Staff has been used for generations as a general purpose farm dog, a catch dog for semi wild pigs in South America, a guard and a protection dog, and as a companion dog. The Am Staff's reliability around children is one of his most endearing and consistent qualities.
Most Am Staffs are not especially aggressive, but nonetheless will not back down if challenged to fight. The damage an average Am Staff can do to another dog in even a few minutes is considerable. If the owner is willing to put in a little effort to socialise and train their Am Staff puppy they will be amply rewarded with one of the finest of all dogs and a wonderful companion.