Some writers contend it was the white English Terrier, or the Black-and-Tan Terrier, that was used as a cross with the Bulldog to perfect the Staffordshire Terrier. It is reasonable to believe that breeders who were attempting to perfect a dog that would combine the spirit and agility of the terrier with the courage and tenacity of the Bulldog, would not use a terrier that was not game.

 Originally bred in England in the 1800's, it was the cross between the Bulldog and the terrier that resulted in the Staffordshire Terrier, which was originally called the Bull-and-Terrier Dog, Half and Half, and at times Pit Dog or Pit Bullterrier. Later, it assumed the name in England of Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These dogs began to find their way into America as early as 1870, where they became known as Pit Dog, American Pit Bull Terrier, later American Bull Terrier, and still later as Yankee Terrier.

In 1936, a handful of purposely bred American Pit Bull Terriers were accepted for registration in the AKC Stud Book as Staffordshire Terriers. The name of the breed was revised effective January 1, 1972 to the current American Staffordshire Terrier. Breeders in this country had developed a type which is heavier in weight and a little taller than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England and the name change was to distinguish them as separate breeds. 

In mentioning the gameness of the Staffordshire, it is not the intention to tag him as a fighting machine, or to praise this characteristic. These points are discussed because they are necessary in giving the correct origin and history of the breed. The breed was used in the archaic sport of dog fighting in many countries around the world. To us at Highwood The American Pitbull Terrier and The American Staffordshire Terrier are the same breed. In the generations behind every Amstaff there are Pit Bulls. Other breeders and kennels feel differently about this, but the history is the history.

The good qualities of the dogs are many, and it would be difficult for anyone to over stress them.


The breed standard outlines the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed, and ensures that a dog can carry out its original purpose. Breeders and judges should be mindful to prioritize dogs that are healthy and sound in both mind and body.

The Staffordshire Terrier should give the impression of great strength for his size, a well put-together dog, muscular, but agile and graceful, keenly alive to his surroundings. He should be stocky, not long-legged or racy in outline.

His courage is proverbial.

Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 46-48 cm (18-19 in) at shoulders for the male and 43-46 cm (17-18 in) for the females is to be considered preferable.

Coat short, close, stiff to the touch, and glossy. Any colour, solid, parti, or patched is permissible, but all white, more than 80% white, black and tan, and liver not to be encouraged.

Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop; muzzle medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined. Underjaw to be strong and have biting power. Lips close and even, no looseness. Nose definitely black.

Upper teeth to meet tightly outside lower teeth in front. Eyes dark and round, low down in skull and set far apart. No pink eyelids. Ears set high; cropped or uncropped.

Uncropped ears should be short and held half prick or rose.

Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin medium length.

Shoulders strong and muscular with blades wide and sloping. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. The front legs should be straight, large or round bones, pastern upright.

No resemblance of bend in front.

Back fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. Well-sprung ribs, deep in rear. All ribs close together. Chest, deep and broad. Loins slightly tucked.

Well-muscled, let down at hocks, turning neither in nor out.

Feet of moderate size, well arched and compact.

Short in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point;

not curled or held over back. Not docked

Must be springy but without roll or pace.

Any departure from the aforementioned ideals shall be considered faulty to the degree in which it interferes with the health and well-being of the dog and the breed’s purpose.

Faults to be penalized are:
• Dudley nose,
• light or pink eyes,
• undershot or overshot mouth,
• full drop ears,
• tail too long or badly carried