To correctly give the origin and history of the American Staffordshire Terrier, it is necessary to comment briefly on two other dogs, namely the Bulldog and the terrier.
Until the early part of the 19th century; the Bulldog was bred with great care in England for the purpose of baiting bulls. Pictures from as late as 1870 represent the Bulldog as agile and as standing straight on his legs.The Bulldog of that day looked more like the present-day American Staffordshire Terrier than like the present-day Bulldog.
It was the cross between the Bulldog and the English terrier or the Black-and-Tan 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, Pit Bull Terrier, later American Bull Terrier, and still later as Yankee Terrier.
In 1936, they were accepted for registration in the AKC Stud Book as Staffordshire Terriers. The name of the breed was revised effective January 1, 1972 to American Staffordshire Terrier. Breeders in this country had developed a type which is heavier in weight than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier of England and the name change was to distinguish them as separate breeds.
The American Staffordshire Terrier's standard allows a variance in weight, but it should be in proportion to size. The dog's chief requisites should be strength unusual for his size, soundness, balance, a strong powerful head, a well-muscled body, and courage that is proverbial.
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 good qualities of the dogs are many, which mainly still have their source in the dogs used over 200 years ago.