The American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier descended from the same lines. The first of these breeds coming from cross-breeding the old type of Bulldog and an old terrier type, most likely the English Smooth Terrier. The first of these were called the Bull and Terrier, later changed to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, due to the origin of Staffordshire, England. These dogs became very popular with those who fancied dog fighting, which was popular at the time, even with the sport being declared illegal. The breed found its way to America in the late 1800s, where they became the dominating breed in the fighting “pits”. They became known as the Pit Bull Terrier, the American Bull Terrier and the Yankee Terrier. Americans preferred a larger dog than the English, and through time and breeding, the slightly larger American Staffordshire Terrier emerged. The AKC recognized the breed as the Staffordshire Terrier, and in 1972 was changed to the American Staffordshire Terrier. The breed evolved to have a sweet and trustworthy disposition due to the fact that they had to be handled by people when in a fighting arena, which are two ideal traits wanted in a fighting dog. Unfortunately, this loyal breed was wanted for its abilities in the pits and not for its loving abilities. Due to this moniker of a fighting dog, it has been the target of controversy since the 1980s, responsible for some of today’s laws banning certain types of dogs. Through education and the stronger laws against dog fighting, the American Staffordshire is becoming one of America’s favorite family pets, and deservedly so. The breed is easy going and playful with its family, and generally the same with strangers when its owners are present and it is good with children. If challenged by another dog, it will not back down, it is tough and fearless. But most of all, this tough and fearless dog, wants its owner’s affection more than anything. Even though the breed can live outside in temperate climates, it is better suited to be inside with its family. It should receive much exercise, such as a leashed walk or vigorous game in the yard. And with its history comes low public acceptance, so be ready to defend your pet from nay sayers by showing them this love monger up close. One major health concern you can encounter with this breed is CHD(canine hip dysplasia). An occasionally seen medical problem with the American Staffordshire is PDA(patent ductus arteriosus), which is the failure of the embryonic blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery to the aorta to go away in the postnatal dog, resulting in improper circulation of blood.
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