Always Faithful Amstaffs are dual-registered with the American
Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. The AKC refers to this breed as the American Staffordshire Terrier
(Amstaff) while the UKC still recognizes the original name of American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). Before
you seriously consider adding an Amstaff / APBT to your life, take time - a lot of time - to understand what this breed is
and what it is not. The following excerpts are taken from Joe Stahlkuppe's The
American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook which refers to this breed entirely as the APBT. In understanding
the complete APBT, a potential owner should take into account all facets of sharing one's life with a pet of complexity.
Know The APBT
Understanding the APBT requires acceptance
of the total package. The strength and power cannot be seen clearly without acknowledging the personality and charm.
The toughness of the breed cannot be fully reckoned with without assessing the gentleness of the breed. The APBT's harshly
real background should not be a focal point without considering the funny, clownish antics of the dog. Unless you know
what owning an APBT truly involves, you are setting yourself (and an innocent dog) up for what could be a failure of monumental
proportions. Owning an APBT can be a wonderful experience, but never be deluded that this is just another dog.
Are APBTs and Amstaffs the
The AKC allowed APBTs to be registered as Amstaffs
for a number of years until the studbook was closed. This meant that from the closing of the studbook on, the AKC would
register only dogs whose parents were registered as American Staffordshire Terriers. Since that time, the Amstaff has
gradually changed from what it had been as a renamed American Pit Bull Terrier. It is correct to state, in general terms,
that the AKC Amstaff and the APBT of the UKC and ADBA is now not the same breed. They look quite similar, but there
have been changes in the Amstaff after 65 years of breeding purely for conformation.
The differences between the Amstaff and the APBT
would be even greater if there had not been dual registration. Some of the APBT breeders who opted for their dogs' inclusion
in the American Kennel Club as American Staffordshire Terriers, kept their dogs registered in the United Kennel Club as APBTs.
There are still some dual-registered dogs today. Several years ago, the top APBT of the United Kennel Club was also
the top American Staffordshire Terrier of the American Kennel Club! All claims and dramatic protestations to the contrary,
in some cases, the Amstaff and the APBT are the same breed.
Aggressiveness Toward Other Dogs
Many breeds of dogs are animal-aggressive to one
degree or another. The popular Jack Russell Terrier, often animal-aggressive, as other members of the terrier group
usually are, was originally bred to do battle with rats, badgers, foxes, and other animals. Jack Russells were bred
to help deplete the huge number of rats in the days before other reliable extermination processes. To expect the average
JRT not to go after a stray cat or trespassing dog is to be unrealistic, but that is not to say that dogs can't be trained
and socialized to ignore other animals. This is possible with the Jack Russell and it is possible with the APBT.
Dogs that grow up with other animals generally reach an accommodation of their own.
It is important to recognize that APBTs, as a fighting
breed, don't respond to challenges in the same way that nonfighting breeds do. Most dogs are merely trying to establish
dominance over their opponent. When that opponent gives in and strikes classical submission positions, cowering or rolling
over onto its back, most dominant dogs are satisfied and the fight stops.
When game-bred dogs confront each other, neither
of them will submit to the other. Gameness requires that they never give up. When a fight begins between two game
dogs, whether either has never been in a pit before or not, the fight will not stop unless death or human beings stop
it. Gameness brings a whole new dimension to a dogfight. No bristling and dominance displays here. There
is very little time for a human to intervene after the aggressiveness starts. This is no contest to see who will be
top dog, leader of the pack. This fight is more serious with life or death hanging in the balance.
Some game-bred dog breeders have dogs that are
perfectly safe around other dogs when out and away from the yard. One breeder, the owner of ten dogs, stated, "I
have one dog that I can walk on the streets or in parks and he won't be aggressive unless another dog acts in a threatening
manner." This same breeder has nine other dogs that he doesn't feel comfortable in taking out to places where they may
encounter other dogs.
Lack of Aggressiveness Toward Humans
Contrary to the avalanche of public opinion, APBTs
from properly bred litters with proper socialization and proper training are much less a threat to bite humans than are most
other breeds of dogs and mixtures of breeds. In the earlier discussion about dog-aggressive behavior, an APBT breeder
pointed out that nine of his ten dogs weren't really safe to handle around other strange dogs. Ironically, this same
breeder has had several American Pit Bull Terriers stolen right from his backyard! Strangers have been able to walk
in and unchain friendly APBTs and lead the not human-aggressive dogs away. Some APBT breeders have even gone to the
expense of buying dogs of other breeds to keep around their property to serve as a guard system to protect the APBTs from
Another positive attribute that has been instilled
in the APBT is incredible loyalty. Perhaps an offshoot of the well-documented gameness attribute that is legendary within
this breed, loyalty in an APBT is focused and directed toward a specific aspect of a dog's life. The APBT whose ancestors
fought in pits with survival as the main focus now find protecting the members of it's immediate family worthy of intense
concentration. Old APBT breeders are fond of saying that you and your children are never safer than when with a game-bred
A logical attachment to gameness and loyalty is
a high companionability quotient for the American Pit Bull Terrier. They are accustomed to being near their people.
They really enjoy human attention and they enjoy spending time with their owners. The APBT is a strong and confident
companion whose main purpose in life is to serve its master or mistress, even if it means stress, even if it means discomfort,
and even if it means death. The right APBT in the right home setting will be an exceptional canine companion.
Far from a menacing beast, the average American Pit Bull Terrier is a loving, trusting, and often very funny pet.
The APBT can be the most complete of family dogs.
Without proper training and socialization,
an APBT can be a great liability.
Properly housed, an APBT will be less trouble than
many other breeds.
Improperly housed and controlled, the APBT can
be more trouble than you can ever imagine.
The APBT is ready to give its life
for its family.
The APBT requires time with its family.
The properly bred APBT can be a total joy
to live with.
The properly bred APBT will need to be protected
from situations that could cause harm.
The APBT is many times less likely to bite a human
than most other breeds of dogs.
If an APBT does bite someone, it could be much
more serious than a bite from other breeds.
Before you even consider owning an American Pit
Bull Terrier, you must take a fearless and searching moral inventory of yourself and your family. No dog deserves an
inadequate or incomplete owner, and this is many more times true for the APBT. Unless you and your family can live up
to a fairly stiff list of qualifications, get another breed of dog - or perhaps get no dog at all. Try to answer the
following questions truthfully and honestly.
Are you willing to spend the appropriate amount
of time, money, and energy finding the right APBT for you and your family?
Are you willing to make certain that the living
arrangements you plan for your APBT will be more than just adequate and will provide 100 percent for safety and well-being
of your pet?
Do you have the self-discipline to see that your
APBT is properly trained, properly socialized, and properly cared for throughout the dog's life?
Is each member of your family fully committed to
providing the care that an APBT will require?
Are you able to resist the childish propensity
to gloat about having "the toughest dog on the block?"
Can you make absolutely certain that no one in
your family will ever be tempted to let your APBT get into a fight with another dog, no matter how abnoxious that other dog
Are you ready for the closer scrutiny that may
come your way from insurance companies and from some governmental agencies?
Can you allow an APBT to become a complete companion
animal to you by becoming a complete companion human to the dog?
Know Thy Situation
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a tough and adaptable
dog, but even the smartest APBT is still just a dog. Before you own an APBT, you must make sure your family situation,
home environment, work schedule, circle of friends and relatives, and lifestyles are appropriate for such a dog. The
APBT has great potential to be a great pet, but only in a setting that is conducive to maximizing its attributes and minimizing
its negatives. Unless you can assure such a pet of a safe and loving home, then the APBT is definitely not the dog for
you! Some questions about your personal situation should be answered prior to any serious thought about obtaining an
Can you, and will you, allow your APBT to live
inside your home with your family and you?
Do you have room in your schedules to give an APBT
some quality time several times each day?
Do you fully realize all that is required in owning
any dog, as well as what is required in owning an APBT?
Can you constantly safeguard your APBT from getting
away from your control and into harm's way?
Does your lifestyle have enough appropriate room
for an APBT? Are things you enjoy doing going to be things in which you can safely and comfortably include your APBT?
Does your household lend itself to the inclusion
of an APBT with ample room for the dog to be comfortable and kept from dangerous or troublesome situations?
Can you, in good conscience, honestly state that
an APBT will find a good and safe home with your family?
Not only is much to be gained - by the right individual
or family under the right circumstances - by owning an APBT/AST, but much is required. In seeking to know all you can
about this breed, take the high road and learn from a wide variety of sources. Included in our website is a Breed History summary and several Care & Training links containing a conglomeration of knowledge, interesting facts, current
news and extensive breed information. We have also compiled a list of books, below, available through Amazon.Com and various pet supply stores. Although we haven't read all of them, we found quite
a few to be very informative.